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28th Infantry Division SSI (1918-2015)

Shoulder sleeve insignia of the 28th Infantry Division. Worn by soldiers of 55th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division.

The 55th Heavy Brigade Combat Team "STRIKE BRIGADE" is a brigade of the United States Army, maintained by the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

It is a subordinate formation of the U.S. Army National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division.[1] Its headquarters is in Scranton.[2]

Pennsylvania's 7th Division moved to Camp Hancock, Georgia, in April 1917, and was there when the entire division was federalized on 5 August 1917. From May to October 11, 1917, the division was reorganized into the two-brigade, four regiment scheme, and thus became the 28th Division. It thus comprised the 55th Infantry Brigade (109th and 110th Infantry Regiments) and the 56th Infantry Brigade (111th and 112th Infantry Regiments).[3]

The brigade was inactivated in 1941-42, and reactivated after the Second World War.

HistoryEdit

The history of the 55th HBCT headquarters began in July 1898 with the organization of Company K, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment in Scranton. In August, 1899 the company was re-designated as Company K, 13th Pennsylvania Infantry.[4]

In September, 1916 Company K was activated for service on the Mexico-United States border during the Pancho Villa Expedition.[5] Company K was activated again for federal service in August, 1917. In October, 1917 Company K, 13th Pennsylvania was combined with Company K, 1st Pennsylvania Infantry, and the new unit was re-designated as Company K, 109th Infantry. The 109th Infantry Regiment fought in France during World War I as part of the 28th Infantry Division, and was demobilized in May, 1919.[6]

In July, 1920 the unit was reorganized as Company K, 13th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, and a 1921 reorganization resulted in Company K being renamed Company B, 109th Infantry Regiment.[7]

In February, 1941 the 109th Infantry was activated for service in World War II. The regiment fought in the European Theater as part of the 28th Infantry Division, and was demobilized in October, 1945.[8][9][10][11][12]

The 109th Infantry was activated with the 28th Infantry Division during the Korean War, and served in West Germany from 1950 until returning home in 1954.[13]

In June, 1959 Company B was reorganized and designated Company B, 1st Battle Group, 109th Infantry.[14]

Company B was re-designated Headquarters, 3rd Brigade, 28th Infantry Division in April, 1963. In February 1968 3rd Brigade was renamed the 55th Brigade.[15]

Campaign participation creditEdit

World War IEdit

World War IIEdit

DecorationsEdit

Recent eventsEdit

Today the 55th Heavy Brigade Combat Team is headquartered at Adams Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18510-1004, where the 1-109th Infantry (Scranton) and the 55th Brigade Special Troops Battalion are also located. The 55th Brigade has a strength of about 3,600 soldiers. The Brigade's units are concentrated in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Appropriately, the soldiers of the 109th Infantry Regiment, the element from which the 55th was born, earned the nickname "Men of Iron" for their three-day defense against overwhelming odds during the Champagne-Marne Offensive in World War I.

55th Brigade Soldiers and units took part in Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2002 and 2003.

Soldiers from the 55th Brigade have participated in operations since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, both as individuals and as members of units. These activations include Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.[18]

In 2003-04, the 55th Brigade led "Taskforce Keystone," a major deployment of about 2,000 soldiers of the 28th Infantry Division to Europe to provide force protection and enhanced security in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While Task Force Keystone was on duty, another 1,100 soldiers from the 28th Division served as the core of the American peacekeeping presence in Bosnia.

3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor served in Afghanistan in 2008, and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.[19] In 2012 and 2013, approximately half the 55th Brigade deployed to Kuwait to conduct security operations at several logistical bases as part of Operation New Dawn.[20]

Task organizationEdit

In 2005 and 2006 the 55th Brigade converted to a heavy brigade combat team as part of the Army’s transition to modular brigades.[21] As of 2013, the task organization consists of: 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor Regiment (Lewisburg); 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment (Scranton); 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment (Philadelphia); 1st Battalion, 109th Field Artillery Regiment (Wilkes-Barre); 228th Brigade Support Battalion (Sellersville); 55th Brigade Special Troops Battalion (Scranton).[22]

The 55th Brigade Support Battalion is the former 103rd Engineer Battalion.

ReferencesEdit

  1. David Singleton, Scranton Times-Tribune, 55th Brigade Commander Reflects on What it Means to Protect and Defend, May 14, 2009
  2. WNEP TV Web Staff, Scranton Colonel Reacts to End of Iraq War, December 15, 2011
  3. McGrath, The Brigade, p.168
  4. Pennsylvania. Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1900, page 352
  5. Frederick Lyman Hitchcock, History, 13th Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania and 109th Infantry and 108th Machine Gun Battalion, U.S.A.E.F., and 109th Pennsylvania National Guard, 1877-1923, 1924, page 38
  6. Pennsylvania State College Alumni Association, Penn State in the World War, 1921, page 21
  7. Center of Military History, Lineage and Honors, 109th Infantry Regiment, accessed July 1, 2013
  8. William Engle, Pittsburgh Press, 28th Division Ready to Open ‘Big Battles’, August 27, 1941
  9. William Engel, Pittsburgh Press, ‘Iron Division’ Wants Service Overseas, December 11, 1942
  10. United Press International, Pittsburgh Press, Keystone Division Fighting in France, September 24, 1944
  11. United Press International, Miami News, 2 Ships Land 809 Returnees, August 5, 1945
  12. Associated Press, Reading Eagle, Reading Unit Recognized, January 17, 1947
  13. Associated press, Reading Eagle, Relatives, Friends of Scranton Men to Visit Camp Atterbury, November 10, 1950
  14. Associated Press, Gettysburg Times, Gen. Biddle Names Unit Commanders, May 30, 1959
  15. Associated Press, Washington Observer-Reporter, 28th Infantry Division Now Three State Force, February 19, 1968
  16. Pennsylvania General Assembly, An Act Designating the Bridge crossing the Lackawanna River along 8th Avenue, also known as U.S. Business Route 6, in downtown Carbondale, Lackawanna County, as the 109th Infantry Bridge, 2013, page 3
  17. John B. Wilson, Center of Military History, Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades, 1999, page 313
  18. United States House of Representatives, House Concurrent Resolution 414, June 6, 2002
  19. Sunbury Daily Item, U.S. Army Honors Local National Guard Battalion, June 14, 2011
  20. Matt Jones, Pennsylvania National Guard, Pa. National Guard’s 55th Heavy Brigade honored for upcoming deployment, September 30, 2012
  21. Global Security, 28th Infantry Division, accessed July 1, 2013
  22. Pennsylvania National Guard, Unit Locator, accessed July 2, 2013

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