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1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment

The beginnings of the lineage of the 178th can be traced back to the 16th Battalion, Illinois State Militia, organized in 1873. Companies A and B of the 16th were organized 31 March and 1 April, 1878, in Chicago. In addition, the Clark County Guards of Marshall and Cumberland County Guards of Greenup were also assigned to this battalion.

There are stories and references that elements of the 178th can be traced back to the 1870's, with the formation of a "colored" militia organization, the Hannibal Guard (1871). These men were not federally recognized or supported by the state. Their recognition came from their neighborhoods in the city of Chicago.

In 1873, the Cadet organization was formed as other members from other states joined, bringing new ideas. Where the previous organization had been local, this one had a broader vision. It is from these groupings that men came to be a part of the 16th Battalion. And so the birthday of our unit dates to 1878, when it was formally recognized.

As a result of the growing membership and interest of the men in the Sixteenth, they were admitted into the Illinois State Militia. This recognized unit remained for a number of years, until the Legislature felt that they were no longer able to maintain a "colored" unit, thus dropping the Sixteenth from its military roster in 1882. In 1883, it was reorganized within the Illinois State Militia at Chicago as the Chicago Light Infantry. Captain Alexander Brown of Chicago commanded this group, with 1st Lieutenant Charles L. Wells and 2nd Lieutenant Enos Bond. Records for this unit in 1884 reflect attendance at Annual Training of 75 enlisted men. The Chicago Light Infantry was disbanded in 1887.

Under the leadership of John R. Marshall, J.C. Buckner, J. Bish, and J. Jordan, yet another organization was formed in the Illinois State Militia at Chicago, known as the Ninth Infantry Battalion. On 5 May, 1890, it gained recognition. This group of men would ultimately become the nucleus of the Eight Illinois Volunteer Regiment (Infantry). As the ranks of the Ninth Battalion grew, they applied to Governor Joe Fifer for admission into the state guard, but he refused their request on the grounds that there was not enough money in the state treasury for an appropriation to be made for the Ninth Battalion.

In 1894, the unit placed Major J.C. Buckner in nomination as State Representative, and in November of the same year, elected him from the Sixth District of Illinois to the Legislature. Subsequently, Representative (and Major) Buckner framed a resolution, which became a law, creative a vacancy in the State Militia, and making an appropriation for the same. The Ninth again made an application for admission to the state guard to Governor John P. Altgeld, who was impressed with and friendly towards the scheme. He endorsed the movement, giving it his earnest efforts and support. By executive order, the Ninth Battalion of Chicago became the Ninth Battalion of the Illinois National Guard on 4 November 1895. Major John C. Buckner commanded this Battalion with Captain John R. Marshall, Adolf Thomas, Charles L. Hunt, and Robert R. Jackson as company commanders. Unit strength was 18 officers and 407 enlisted men.

On 28 June, 1898, the Ninth Battalion was expanded and redesignated as the 8th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel John C. Marshall, with 12 letter companies drawing personnel from throughout the state. It was mustered into federal service at Camp Turner, IL (now the State Fairgrounds at Springfield) for the Spanish-American War. It mustered out of service on 3 April, 1899.

Change of designation of this unit came rapidly. On 18 April, 1899, the unit was redesignated the Ninth Infantry Battalion, and redesignated as the 8th Infantry Battalion on 6 May, 1899. In May and June of 1902, the Battalion was redesignated as the Eighth Infantry Regiment, again commanded by John R. Marshall.

Upon return from service in Cuba, the Regiment engaged in the normal routine peacetime duties, with regular annual training encampments. The Regiment also engaged in two large-scale maneuvers, one at Fort Benjamin Harrison in 1908 and the other at Peoria in 1910.

The Eighth Infantry Regiment was federalized on 30 June, 1916, at Camp Duune, Springfield, and mustered in for brief service during the Mexican Border War. It was mustered out of service at Springfield on 27 October, 1916.

The Eighth was again mustered into federal service on 3 August, 1917, under the command of Franklin A. Denison, and drafted in World War I on 5 August, 1917, by proclamation of the President of the United States. On 1 December, 1917, while participating in the war campaign, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 370th Infantry and assigned to the 185th Infantry Brigade, which was assigned to the 93rd Division (Provisional) on 5 Jan, 1918.

During World War I, as the 370th Infantry, it served with distinction with the French 34th, 36th, and 59th Infantry Divisions, earning streamers for the battles of Lorraine and Oise-Aisne. Sectors occupied and engagements participated in were Saint Mihiel with the French in 1918, Argonne Forest, St. Gobain Forest, Bosi de Mortier, Mont des Signes, Oise-Aisne Canal, Laon, Grandlup, Soissons, and Oise-Aisne and Lorraine offensives. One battalion of the Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Otis B. Duncan, was engaged in pursuit of the retreating enemy far in advance, when halted by the Armistice. Company C, under the command of Captain James C. Smith, was decorated with the French Croix de Guerre for conspicuous bravery and courage in battle. This is one of three instances where each officer and enlisted man of an infantry company was so decorated.

On 8 May, 1918, the unit was relieved of assignment to the 185th Brigade and demobilized on 11 March, 1919 at Camp Grant, IL (near Rockford).

The Regiment was again reorganized in June 1919 in the Illinois National Guard as the Eighth Infantry Regiment; Headquarters were again federally recognized 25 August, 1921, at Springfield. The Headquarters were changed to Chicago on 23 July, 1929.

Intensive peacetime training was again pursued. The Regiment attended all field training encampments, including the significant Second Army Maneuvers of 1936 and 1940.

On 6 October, 1940, the Eighth Infantry Regiment was converted and redesignated the 184th Field Artillery Regiment (155mm Howitzer), Illinois National Guard. On 6 January, 1941, the 184th Field Artillery Regiment was inducted into active federal service in Chicago and departed for Fort Custer, Michigan. This was the beginning of intensive training for combat readiness. The unit served in the European Theater, adding campaign streamers Rhineland and Central Europe.

In February of 1942, the Regiment furnished the initial cadre of officers and enlisted men to activate and organize the 795th Tank Destroyer Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Theophilus M. Mann. On 16 January, 1943, the 184th Field Artillery Regiment was broken up. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery were disbanded, and the rest of its elements were reorganized and redefined. The 1st Battalion, 184th became the 930th, and the Second Battalion became the 931st Field Artillery Battalions and departed for Camp Butner, North Carolina, and Camp Forest, Tennessee, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Wendell T. Derricks and Lieutenant Colonel Marcus H. Ray.

These battalions were converted and redesignated, with the 930th Field Artillery becoming the 1698th Engineer Combat Battalion on 28 February, 1944. On 20 March, 1944, the 931st Field Artillery became the 1699th Engineer Combat Battalion.

The officers reported for duty with the 92nd Infantry Division, and were assigned to the 597th and 600th Field Artillery Battalions stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. In August 1944, the 597th and 600th were committed to action with the 92nd Division in Italy under the command of Major General Edward M. Almond. Campaign decorations included the North Apennines and Po Valley Foreign Italian Cross for Merit of War.

On 25 August, 1945, the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 184th Field Artillery was reconstituted in the Illinois National Guard.

Elements of the former 184th Field Artillery were converted, reorganized, and redesignated as the 178th Infantry Regimental Combat Team (organized and federally recognized 31 March, 1947, with headquarters in Chicago) and the 184th Field Artillery Battalion (organized and federally recognized 4 April, 1946, with headquarters in Chicago). The regimental combat team also had the 1698th Engineer Company, the 184th Medical Collecting Company, and the 154th Army Band (formerly the famous "Eighth Infantry Band"). The Regimental Commander was Colonel Richard L. Jones. Colonel Jones was able to call back many of the officers and enlisted men that had become members of the predecessor organizations.

The combat team commenced the normal peacetime training mission, attending the annual field training encampments, including two missions of assistance in the Moline, IL, and Calumet City areas when disaster threatened due to flooding and dangerously high river waters.

With the outbreak of the Korean War, the 184th Medical Collecting Company, under the command of Captain William Cunningham, was called to active duty and returned four years later.

The 178th Infantry was again reorganized on 1 March, 1959, with many of the officers and men of the 184th Field Artillery Battalion and 795th Tank Destroyer Battalion. This reorganization, under the Combat Arms Regimental System, made the 178th the parent regiment to the 1st Battle Group and the 184th Field Artillery Battalion, which had been concurrently reorganized and redesignated. The 184th Artillery was also made a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, consisting of the 1st Automatic Weapons Battalion.

The 178th Infantry and the 184th Artillery were consolidated on 1 April, 1963. The consolidated unit was designated as the 1/178th Infantry, consisting of the 1st and 2nd Battalions. These units were under the command of Lieutenant Colonels John T. Rose and Bertram R. Pratt. They were again reorganized on 1 December, 1965, consisting of the 1st Battalion and elements of the 33rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Battalion.

On 1 February, 1968, the 178th Infantry was reorganized to consist of the 1st Battalion and an element of the 33rd Infantry Brigade.

The 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry, was ordered into active federal service on 7 April, 1968, for riot control during the Democratic National Convention, and released from federal duty on 11 April.

On 5 February, 1987, the 178th was withdrawn from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the US Army Regimental System, with headquarters in Chicago.

With the change in the world order and the change in the USSR and Europe, the United States Congress authorized an overall Army reorganization in 1992. The Illinois National Guard also was reorganized. The 1/178th Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company are continuing to be maintained at the General Jones Armory at 5200 S. Cottage Grove Ave., in Chicago. Also stationed at the General Jones Armory are reorganized Companies D and B (det.). Added to the reorganized Battalion were three line companies from the former 1/131st Battalion that was redesignated. A Company, located in Woodstock (northwest of Chicago); B Company, located in Waukegan (north of Chicago); and C Company, located in Aurora (west of Chicago).

On Monday, 26 July, 1993, while beginning Annual Training at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, the 1/178th was ordered to State Active Duty for the Great Flood of '93. A Co. and parts of B Co. were sent to Winchester and then to Bluffs for service along the Illinois River. These two companies provided security and sandbagging operations on the levees. The rest of the Battalion was sent to Granite City and staged from there. C Co. was then moved to Prairie du Rocher to provide security and sandbagging details. A segment of B Co. was sent to Alton to provide security and water distribution. HHC and D Cos. provided security support, levee patrols, and sandbagging details for the Melvin Price Center, Granite City, East St. Louis, several manufacturing plants, and East Carondelet. The Battalion was released in sections from State Active Duty on 12 and 13 August, 1993. Some soldiers volunteered to stay on duty for an extended period of time.

October 1, 1999, the Battalion was again reorganized into an Air Assault Battalion assigned to the 66th Infantry Brigade, 35th Infantry Division. The resulting organization put HHC and D Cos. in Chicago at the General Jones Armory, A Co. at Woodstock, Det-1 A Co. at Machesney Park, B Co. at Elgin, C Co. at Aurora, and Det-1 C Co. at Waukegan. The 66th Infantry Brigade, commanded by Colonel Terry L. Downen, is headquartered in Decatur, Illinois.

On January 22, 2000, A Co. was notified of a call to active duty under a Presidential Selective Reserve Call-Up Order for service in Southwest Asia (Kuwait). The unit immediately began to prepare by conducting mobilization exercises and theater-specific directed training. A Co. was ordered to active duty 20 May, 2000, completed all required training, and began deploying to Kuwait on 4 June, 2000. 170 members of A Co deployed to Kuwait to participate in Operation Desert Spring, and were released in mid-October 2000.



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