1st Battalion - 111th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized)
The 1-111th Infantry Battalion (Mechanized) is a subordinate command of the 56th Brigade (M), 28th Infantry Division (M). The major subordinate units are four mechanized infantry companies, an anti-armor company and a headquarters & headquarters company. The battalion's subordinate units are located throughout the Delaware Valley, ranging from West Chester to Phoenixville to Plymouth Meeting to Center City Philadelphia.
The 1-111th Infantry Battalion (M) has dual federal and state missions. The federal mission is to deploy on short notice as part of the 28th Infantry Division (M) and destroy, capture or repel enemy forces using maneuver and shock effect. The battalion can also conduct various activities known as Operations Other Than War, independently or as part of a joint or multinational force in peacetime and conflict environments. The state mission of the battalion is to serve the Governor and the citizens of the Commonwealth as needed in times of natural disaster or civil unrest.
The 111th Infantry is one of Pennsylvania's oldest and most decorated units. It located in the Philadelphia area. This storied unit can trace its lineage back to the first units formed in Pennsylvania in 1747.
In the 18th century, the English colonies in America were under constant threat of invasion, either from the French, the Indians or the Spanish. The king of England organized units throughout the colonies to defend the inhabitants from various attacks. For the first 75 years of its existence, however, Pennsylvania was controlled by Quakers, who abhorred violence and resisted forming units.
In 1747, Philadelphia was under a serious threat of French privateers coming up the Delaware River. Benjamin Franklin, already a preeminent Philadelphia politician, recognized the need to create a defense force. Cognizant of the Quaker beliefs, he proposed an association of volunteer militia to defend Philadelphia. Thus on December 7, 1747, the Associators were formed as Pennsylvania's first citizen militia.
Fortunately, the immediate threat to Philadelphia passed, but Associators continued to exist until the Revolutionary War. The Associators were at the core of the militia formed for this war. In 1777, when the militia law was enacted, the units were reorganized as the Philadelphia Brigade of Militia. They consisted of five battalions, earning honors in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown.
An interesting sidelight of the Associators was their contribution to the formation of another important military formation, the U.S. Marine Corps. When the senior captain of the newly authorized Continental Marines began recruiting members for the corps, he was accompanied by drummers, presumably borrowed from the Philadelphia Associators, as they scoured the city for recruits in December 1775.
After the Revolutionary War, Associators were no longer necessary because a militia had been organized and continued to exist in regimental strength. Elements of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division were mobilized for the War of 1812, earning a battle streamer without inscription.
In 1861, elements of the 1st Infantry Regiment were mustered into service in the 18th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, and later the 72nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. These units earned battle honors at Manassas, Peninsula, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellors-ville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsyl-vania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Virginia 1863.
From the end of the Civil War until World War I, the unit was reorganized several times, merging with the State Fencibles (organized 1813) and Weccacoe Legion (organized from the Weccacoe Volunteer Fire Company and Baxter's Fire Zouaves) to become the 3rd Infantry Regiment.
During World War I, the 3rd Infantry Regiment consolidated with the 10th Infantry Regiment to form the 110th Infantry, earning honors at Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine 1918 and Champagne 1918.
After World War I, the unit was consolidated with the 6th Infantry and redesignated the 111th Infantry. The 111th was mobilized for World War II and served in the Pacific Theater. The unit earned honors in the Central Pacific, the Eastern Mandates and the Western Pacific.
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