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This article deals with the history of the current 1st Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. For the history of an earlier 1st Infantry Regiment, see 3rd US Infantry
1st Infantry Regiment
1st Infantry Regiment coat of arms
Active Constituted 1791-03-03
1st Consolidation 1815
2nd Consolidation 1869
Inactivated 1949-01-10
Reactivated 1950-10-04-Present.
Allegiance United States
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Role Light/Mechanized infantry
Size Regiment
Garrison/HQ 1st Battalion — United States Military Academy, NY
2nd Battalion — Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA
Motto(s) Semper Primus
("Always First")
Colors Blue and white
Engagements War of 1812
American Indian Wars
Mexican-American War
Spanish-American War
Philippine-American War
World War II
Vietnam War
1st Battalion — LTC Thomas M. Bischof
2nd Battalion — LTC Wolfgram
Josiah Harmar
Arthur St. Clair
James Wilkinson
Zachary Taylor
William Weigel
William Clark - nominated as Lt Col of Regiment but not confirmed by Senate
2nd Lt Jefferson Davis
Distinctive unit insignia 150px

The 1st Infantry Regiment is a regiment of the United States Army that draws its lineage from a distinguished line of post American Revolutionary War units and is credited with thirty-nine campaign streamers. The 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry is assigned as support to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and to furnish the enlisted garrison for the academy and the Stewart Army Subpost. 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry is an infantry component serving with the 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Origins[edit | edit source]

On 3 March 1791, Congress added to the Army "The Second Regiment of Infantry" of which today's First Infantry draws its heritage. In September of that year, elements of it and the original 1st Infantry Regiment (today’s 3rd United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)), with sizable militia complements, all under command of General Arthur St. Clair, were sent against the Miami Indians. St. Clair served as a major general in the Revolutionary Army and was now appointed "General in Chief," superseding the first commander of the regiment, Josiah Hamar. Fighting against the Miamis, St. Clair's Soldiers were untrained, ill equipped, underfed, and sickly. This resulted in a disastrous defeat, at the Battle of the Wabash, in which the entire U.S. Army suffered a loss in killed and wounded of nearly 900 out of a total strength of 1,400. It was (and remains) the greatest defeat in the history of the U.S. Army.[citation needed]

Legion of the United States[edit | edit source]

In 1792, Congress created the Legion of the United States, which was a combined arms force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery under the command of Major General Anthony Wayne. MG Wayne had become a hero of the Revolutionary War when he led a small force against a larger British force to regain control of Stony Point, a crucial point on the Hudson River just south of West Point, New York. This Legion in which the Second Infantry became the "Infantry of the Second Sub-Legion," finally defeated the Northwest Indian confederacy in a decisive manner at Fallen Timbers in the Old Northwest (Ohio) on 20 August 1794.

War of 1812[edit | edit source]

In the War of 1812 the 2nd Infantry Regiment as well as the 7th and 44th Infantry Regiments, fought in the southern theater to include the Battle of New Orleans with General Andrew Jackson.

First Indian War period[edit | edit source]

The 2nd Infantry was consolidated May–October 1815 with the 3rd and 7th Infantry (both constituted 12 April 1808), and 44th Infantry (constituted 29 January 1813) to form the 1st Infantry Regiment. In the ensuing years the regiment was primarily concerned with Indian conflicts and the 1st was involved in the Black Hawk War of 1832 and the Second Seminole War from 1839 to 1842. During this time the regiment was commanded by one of its most famous commanders - Colonel Zachary Taylor, who would later become the 12th President of the United States.

War with Mexico[edit | edit source]

When War broke out with Mexico in 1846 the 1st Infantry Regiment was sent across the border with General Zachary Taylor's Army and participated in the storming of Monterrey where the regiment fought house to house in savage hand-to-hand combat. From Monterrey the regiment was transferred to General Winfield Scott's command and participated in the first modern amphibious landing in American history at Vera Cruz in 1847.

Second Indian War period[edit | edit source]

Following the Mexican-American War, the regiment campaigned in the Texas area against the Comanches until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

Civil War[edit | edit source]

After escaping from rebel forces in Texas the regiment returned to the Mid-west and fought in the Mississippi area of operations. The regiment fought in one of the first battles of the Civil War at Wilson's Creek, Missouri, in August 1861. The 1st Infantry then campaigned with General Grant against Vicksburg in 1863. The end of the war found the regiment occupying New Orleans, Louisiana.

Third Indian War period[edit | edit source]

After the Civil War the regiment was sent West to fight the Indians once again. The 1st Infantry was consolidated in April 1869 with the 43d Infantry Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps (constituted 21 September 1865) and consolidated unit designated as the 1st Infantry Regiment. 1st Infantry Regiment campaigned against the Sioux in the 1870s and 1890s and against the Apache, led by Geronimo, from 1882 to 1886.

One member of the regiment was awarded the Medal of Honor for service during this period:

  • 1st Lt. Marion P. Maus, 11 January 1886, Sierra Madre Mountains, Mexico

California labor disputes[edit | edit source]

After the end of the Indian wars the regiment was occupied with quelling labor disputes in California.

Spanish-American War[edit | edit source]

War was declared with Spain in 1898 following the sinking of the USS Maine. The First was quickly sent to Florida where it embarked on ships and was sent to Cuba. While in Cuba the regiment took part in the storming of the San Juan Heights and the capture of Santiago.

Philippine-American War[edit | edit source]

In 1900, following occupation duty in Cuba, the regiment was preparing for shipment to China to participate in the Boxer Rebellion. Instead, the regiment was detoured to deal with the rebellion on the Philippine Islands which had also been captured by the United States in the Spanish-American War. The regiment would fight in this guerrilla war in the Philippines from 1900–1902 and again from 1906-1908.

Subsequently the regiment was redeployed to garrison duties in Oahu, Hawaii.

World War I[edit | edit source]

1st Infantry Regiment was assigned on 11 September 1918 to the 13th Division at Fort Lewis. 13th ID never left Fort Lewis, and demobilized there on 8 March 1919. 1st IR was relieved on 8 March 1919 from assignment to the 13th Division and resumed separate regiment status. The regiment was again assigned 27 July 1921, this time to the 2nd Division, which was headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, and assigned to the U.S. VIII Corps.

World War II[edit | edit source]

The regiment was stationed at Camp Jackson, South Carolina, where it was relieved 16 October 1939 from assignment to the 2nd Division and assigned to the 6th Division. The 6th Division arrived at Fort Jackson on 1939-11-09, and the 1st IR traveled with the division from that point forward. The 1st IR moved to Fort Benning, Georgia on 1940-04-09 to prepare for a series of maneuvers. The 1st IR participated in the Sabine, Louisiana – Texas Maneuver on 1940-05-09. They then moved to Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming on 1940-06-03, and then to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on 1941-04-02, followed by Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on 1941-05-20. They then moved to Tennessee to participate in maneuvers there. This was followed by a training cycle at the Desert Training Center, while billeted at the Camp Young billeting area from 1942-12-10. The regiment then staged at Camp San Luis Obispo, California on 1943-03-23.

The regiment departed from the San Francisco, California Port of Embarkation on 1943-09-19, and arrived in Hawaii on 1943-09-26.

The 1st IR departed Hawaii on 1944-01-26, and arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea on 1944-02-07 to participate in the New Guinea Campaign.

1st IR departed Milne Bay on 1944-06-01, and arrived at Toem on 1944-06-14.

1st IR assaulted Sansapor on 1944-07-30, and left New Guinea on 1944-12-26 with the end of the New Guinea Campaign taking place on 1944-12-31.

The 1st IR won a Presidential Unit Citation for its action at Milne Bay.

1st IR assaulted Lingayen Gulf on the Philippine Island of Luzon on 1945-01-09 to participate in the Luzon Campaign.

1st IR moved to Sixth Army Reserve status from 1945-02-10 to 1945-02-23, when they returned to the Luzon Campaign.

1st IR attached to 38th Infantry Division from 1945-04-28 to 1945-05-01, and then was attached to the XI Corps from 1945-06-10 to 1945-06-25, when they returned to 6th Infantry Division Control.

The Luzon Campaign concluded on 1945-07-04.

1st IR was located at Bagabag, Philippine Islands on 1945-08-14. They then moved to Korea on 1945-10-24, which they Occupied through 1949, with garrisons in Taegu and Pusan.

Korean War and reactivation[edit | edit source]

On 10 January 1949, 1st IR was inactivated in Korea, and then was reactivated on 4 October 1950 at Fort Ord, California as a training regiment for units being sent to the fight in Korea. On 3 April 1956, the regiment was relieved from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division, and then was assigned on 15 May 1956 to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. On 15 May 1958 the regiment was reorganized under the Combat Arms Regimental System as HHC, 1st Battle Group, 1st Infantry Regiment.

In 1960, the 1st Battle Group, 1st Infantry was reorganized under a concept that provided sufficient tactics instructors in the permanent party for continuity, but called for outside augmentation for the summer training program. This left the battle group with a Headquarters, Headquarters and Training Company, Service Company, Airborne Detachment, the 2nd Aviation Detachment, the USMA Band, Detachment 1 and 2 United States Army Hospital, and saw the attachment of the 50th Engineer Battalion (Construction) and the 57th Military Police Company. The old Military Police Detachment personnel formed the nucleus of the newly attached 57th Military Police Company.

On 16 May. 1961, the mission of providing tactical instruction for the Corps of Cadets along with the personnel involved, was transferred to a newly created Office of Military Instruction in the Department of Tactics. All enlisted personnel remained assigned to the battle group. On 1 February 1962, Service Company was eliminated and its personnel absorbed into Headquarters Company.

On 1 January 1965, the 1st Battle Group, 1st Infantry was redesigned as the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry. With the exception of transferring tactical instruction to the Office of Military Instruction (now DMI) in 1961, its mission was essentially unchanged. The 2nd Battalion was then assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia.

Vietnam War[edit | edit source]

In 1966, the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Vietnam with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. The following year, the 3rd Battalion was activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade. After the 11th Brigade arrived in Vietnam, both battalions became components of the Americal Division. These two battalions earned fourteen campaign streamers for the regiment during the war in Vietnam. Also in 1967, the 4th, 5th, and 6th Battalions were activated on 24 November and assigned to the 6th Infantry Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The battalions at Fort Campbell were relieved from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division on 24 July 1968, and inactivated on 21 July 1969.

The 11th Infantry Brigade returned home in 1971, at which time 3rd Battalion was deactivated. The 196th Infantry Brigade was the last combat brigade to leave Vietnam in June 1972.

Following its tour of duty in Vietnam the 2nd Battalion was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, where it became part of the 9th Infantry Division. In January 1991 the battalion became part of the 199th Infantry Brigade at Fort Polk, Louisiana, where it remained until inactivation in 1994.

Two 1st Infantry soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Vietnam:

Reactivation[edit | edit source]

On 16 December 1994 the 2nd Battalion was reactivated at Fort Wainwright as part of the 6th Infantry Division (Light), which was reduced in size and reflagged as the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) in April 1998.

Iraq War[edit | edit source]

In August 2005 2nd Battalion was deployed, along with the 172nd Stryker Brigade, to Mosul Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The battalion conducted counter insurgency operations aimed at securing the city of Mosul from an insurgency headed by the terrorist organization Al Qaida in Iraq. After 12 months in Mosul 2nd Battalion was preparing to return to home station at Fort Wainwright Alaska when their deployment was unexpectedly extended by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The 2nd Battalion, along with the entire 172d Infantry Brigade, was subsequently sent to Baghdad, Iraq, to quell rising sectarian violence. The 2nd Battalion returned home in December 2006 after 16 months in Iraq.

Notable awards / commendations[edit | edit source]

Private Stephen Sanford, Company C, 2nd Battalion, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for actions in Mosul Iraq during the unit's deployment.

Sergeant First Class Peter Lara, Company C, 2nd Battalion, was awarded the Silver Star for actions in Mosul Iraq during the unit's deployment.

War in Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

On 17 February 2009, president Obama ordered 4,000 soldiers that are part of 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan, along with 8,000 Marines. Soldiers are being sent there because of the worsening situation in the Afghan war. These soldiers will be deployed in the southeast, on the Afghan border. July 2010, the brigade is scheduled to return to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.[1]

Honors[edit | edit source]

Campaign participation credit[edit | edit source]

  • War of 1812:
  1. Canada;
  2. Lundy's Lane;
  3. New Orleans;
  4. Alabama 1814;
  5. Florida 1814;
  6. Alabama 1815;
  7. Louisiana 1815
  • Mexican-American War:
  1. Monterey;
  2. Vera Cruz
  • Civil War:
  1. Mississippi River;
  2. Vicksburg;
  3. Missouri 1861;
  4. Texas 1861;
  5. Mississippi 1862
  • Indian Wars:
  1. Miami;
  2. Creeks;
  3. Seminoles;
  4. Black Hawk;
  5. Apaches;
  6. Pine Ridge;
  7. Texas 1850
  • Spanish-American War:
  1. Santiago
  • Philippine-American War:
  1. Samar 1901
  • World War II:
  1. New Guinea (with arrowhead);
  2. Luzon (with arrowhead)
  • Vietnam:
  1. Counteroffensive, Phase II;
  2. Counteroffensive, Phase III;
  3. Tet Counteroffensive;
  4. Counteroffensive, Phase IV;
  5. Counteroffensive, Phase V;
  6. Counteroffensive, Phase VI;
  7. Tet 69/Counteroffensive;
  8. Summer-Fall 1969;
  9. Winter-Spring 1970;
  10. Sanctuary Counteroffensive;
  11. Counteroffensive, Phase VII;
  12. Consolidation I;
  13. Consolidation II;
  14. Cease-Fire
  • War on Terrorism:
  1. Iraq

Decorations[edit | edit source]

  2. for IRAQ 15 AUGUST 2005 TO 15 DECEMBER 2006

Heraldry[edit | edit source]

Coat of arms[edit | edit source]

Blazon[edit | edit source]

  • Shield: Per bend Gules and Azure, on a bend or a bendlet Argent indented of seven and counter indented of the same fimbriated Sable.
  • Crest: On a wreath of the colors Or and Gules the Arabic numeral "1" Azure fimbriated Or within a garland of laurel Vert.
  • Motto: SEMPER PRIMUS (Always First).

Symbolism[edit | edit source]

  1. The regiment was organized in 1791 as the 2nd Infantry.
  2. In 1792 it was designated as the Infantry of the 2nd Sub-legion.
  3. In 1796 it was again designated as the 2nd Infantry.
  4. In the consolidation and reorganization of the Army in 1815 it was designated the 1st Infantry.
  5. The regiment has a history of fighting in all the wars of the country and a logical grouping divides its campaigns or wars into 14 groups. These are heraldically represented by the 14 notches on the diagonal band across the shield.
  6. The upper part of the shield is red, this was the color of the old 2nd Sub-legion.
  7. The lower part is blue the modern Infantry color.
  8. The crest with the numeral within the laurel wreath of Victory and the motto long in use by the regiment are self-explanatory.

Background[edit | edit source]

  1. The coat of arms was originally approved on 1922-03-15.
  2. It was amended on 1959-08-10.
  3. On 1968-11-08 the coat of arms was amended to correct the wording in the blazon of the shield and motto.
  4. It was amended on 1999-11-04 to correct the blazon.

Distinctive unit insignia[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

  • A gold color metal and enamel device 1 5/32 inches (2.94 cm) in height overall consisting of a shield emblazoned: Per bend Gules and Azure, on a bend or a bendlet Argent indented of seven counter indented of the same fimbriated Sable, the shield surmounting a gold color metal oval belt with three blue enamel stripes parallel to the edges of the oval and surmounted by a plain gold color metal buckle in base and a gold color metal band on each side of the shield bearing the motto "SEMPER" on the dexter band and "PRIMUS" on the sinister band in red enamel letters.

Symbolism[edit | edit source]

  1. The regiment was organized in 1791 as the 2nd Infantry Regiment.
  2. In 1792 it was designated as the Infantry of the 2nd Sub-legion.
  3. In 1796 it was again designated as the 2nd Infantry.
  4. In the consolidation and reorganization of the Army in 1815 it was designated the 1st Infantry.
  5. The regiment has a history of fighting in all the wars of the country and a logical grouping divides its campaigns or wars into 14 groups. These are heraldically represented by the 14 notches on the diagonal band across the shield.
  6. The upper part of the shield is red, this was the color of the old 2nd Sub-legion.
  7. The lower part is blue the modern Infantry color.
  8. The motto long in use by the regiment is self-explanatory.

Background[edit | edit source]

  1. The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved on 1923-09-08.
  2. It was amended on 1999-11-04 to add the symbolism and the metric measurements.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. [1] Army.mil: President orders 12,000 Soldiers, Marines to Afghanistan

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "Lineage and Honors 1st Infantry".

External links[edit | edit source]

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