1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment
The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry is assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and is part of the third oldest infantry regiment in the US Army. The Battalion was formed in 1808 and participated in every major campaign from the War of 1812 to Vietnam.
The 5th Infantry Regiment was formed on 17 May 1815, but its lineage can be traced to 1808 making it the third oldest regiment in the nation's history. The 5th Infantry Regiment was first constituted in 1808 as the 4th Infantry. The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment traces its lineage and honors to this unit, being first constituted on 12 April 1808 in the Regular Army as a company of the 4th Infantry. The unit was organized between May and June 1808 in New England.
During the War of 1812, the commander of the 4th Infantry, Colonel Miller, coined its motto "I'll Try, Sir" at the Battle of Lundy's Lane, a pivotal battle late in the war. Colonel Miller's Regiment was asked to take a British strong point, which no other unit was able to overcome. Colonel Miller's men destroyed the British position and turned the battle in favor of the Americans. It was the first major engagement against British regulars the American Army won in that war and it gave hope to the nation.
After the war, the 4th Infantry was sent to the frontier to help explore and protect the massive new territories acquired before and after the War of 1812. It suffered the cold of Michigan winters on Lake Superior and the oppressive heat of Corpus Christi, Texas. The 4th Infantry was consolidated between May and October 1815 with the 9th and 13th Infantry (both first constituted 11 January 1812), the 21st Infantry (first constituted 26 June 1812), the 40th Infantry (first constituted 29 January 1813), and the 46th Infantry (first constituted 30 March 1814) to form the 5th Infantry. The company of the 4th Infantry that the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry traces its lineage and honors to was similarly consolidated with companies from these units to form a company of the 5th Infantry. This company was designated on 22 May 1816 as Company A, 5th Infantry.
The 5th Infantry as a whole was in Texas when the Mexican War erupted in 1846 and immediately joined General Zachary Taylor in driving the Mexicans out of Texas Territory. The Regiment then joined General Winfield Scott, who had fought alongside the 5th Infantry at Lundy's Lane, in his drive on the capital of Mexico. The 5th Infantry, along with the 14th Infantry Infantry, stormed the fortress walls of Chapultepec. Lieutenant James Longstreet and Lieutenant George Pickett both carried the Regimental colors in the assault. Also, Lieutenant "Stonewall" Jackson's battery gave artillery support to the 5th Infantry. These three men later distinguished themselves as leaders and warriors in the Civil War. All told, the 5th Infantry Regiment participated in every major battle of the Mexican War except one in California and was the focal point of the last engagement that captured Mexico City and ended the war.
After the Mexican War, the 5th Infantry Regiment returned to the frontier. It protected new US settlements in New Mexico and Texas and quelled the seditious Mormon government in Utah. Also, it was sent to Florida to fight the Seminoles. It remained on the frontier throughout the Civil War, never participating in a major battle, continuing to patrol the frontier against Indian aggression. However, 27 officers who had served with the 5th Infantry attained the rank of general in the Civil War (22 Union and 5 Confederates). Before and after the Civil War, the 5th Infantry was the principal infantry unit protecting the frontier. Many units broke down under the stresses of frontier garrison, losing discipline and morale. The 5th Infantry, however, was considered one of the strongest regular army units, known on the frontier for its discipline, esprit d'corps, and integrity.
Company A, 5th Infantry was consolidated in June 1869 with one half of Company K, 37th Infantry. Company K, 37th Infantry had been first constituted on 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as Company K, 3rd Battalion, 19th Infantry and organized on 25 September 1866 at Fort Columbus, New York. It had been reorganized and redesignated on 23 November 1866 as Company K, 37th Infantry. In June 1869 the unit was split in half and consolidated with Company A and Company B, 5th Infantry, and consolidated units were designated as Company A and Company B, 5th Infantry.
In 1874, Colonel Nelson Miles took command of the 5th Infantry. Colonel Miles was considered one of the best Indian fighters the Army produced and he led the 5th Infantry as the first reinforcements into the Yellowstone Territory after Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn. Though popular history and folklore often portray the campaigns against the American Indians as usually cavalry engagements, they were primarily infantry fights and the 5th Infantry Regiment did most of the work.
During the campaigns, Colonel Miles introduced a new way of combating the Indians. Traditionally, all parties rested during the harsh plains' winters. Colonel Miles campaigned all year round, venturing far into usually Indian-controlled lands and wore the Indians down. His 5th Infantry was responsible for capturing Chief Crazy Horse, Chief Lame Deer and Chief Joseph, the principal Indian leaders of the time. Though his hard working infantry was the big part of ending many of the Indian uprisings, Colonel Miles' professional demeanor and respect for the Indians was the major reason the Indians dealt with him and the 5th Infantry Regiment.
The 5th Infantry did not arrive in time to participate in the Spanish-American War or World War I. In both cases it performed occupation duties. It did see action in the Philippines during the Moro uprising of 1900. Again, faced with a difficult responsibility, the 5th Infantry persevered and accomplished its duties admirably and with the thanks of the Army and nation. While others units disbanded and went home, the 5th was asked to continue to monitor and maintain the peace, a difficult task that it accepted and completed with dignity and excellence.
The 5th Infantry was assigned on 27 July 1918 to the 17th Division. It was relieved on 10 February 1919 from assignment to the 17th Division and assigned on 24 March 1923 to the 9th Division. It was relieved on 15 August 1927 from assignment to the 9th Division and assigned to the 5th Division. It was relieved on 1 October 1933 from assignment to the 5th Division and assigned to the 9th Division. It was relieved on 15 July 1940 from assignment to the 9th Division.
With the onset of World War II, the 5th Infantry was made part of the 71st Infantry Division on 10 July 1943. As part of the 71st Division, the 5th Infantry participated in an experiment to develop a "light" infantry division, capable of operating in harsh terrain from the mountains to the desert. The light division was deemed unnecessary for World War II and the 71st Infantry Division was converted back to a regular infantry division and shipped to France.
However, many of the ideas the 5th Infantry experimented with later formed the cornerstone of the light infantry divisions created at the end of the 1980s, proving it to be the first time, but not the last, the 5th would help develop the Army's future forces. The 5th Infantry shipped in January 1945 and was in the front lines a month later. Initially taking defensive positions, the 5th was soon on the offensive, driving into Germany. The Regiment fought through southern Germany, seizing the vital cities of Fulda, Bayreuth, and eventually Nuremberg. The 5th Infantry was the first American Army unit to cross the Danube River and the first to invade Austria. By the end of the war the Fifth Infantry was advancing 30 to 40 kilometers a day, capturing thousands of German prisoners and liberating Allied prisoners and concentration camp victims. For much of the war, the 5th Infantry was the vanguard of the 71st Division and successfully fought for the Third and Seventh Armies. After brief occupation duty 5th Infantry was inactivated on 15 November 1946 in Austria.
It was one of the first units to respond to the crisis in Korea, being reactivated there on 1 January 1949. There it helped stem the tide of the North Korean offensive. In September 1950, it won its first Presidential Unit Citation for attacking across the Naktong River and capturing the towns of Waegman and Kunchon. The award was the beginning of the excellent performance of the 5th Infantry throughout the Korean War. It would participate in the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the offensive north to the Yalu River, the defense of the Chinese offensive, and eventually the static defense of the 38th parallel. The 5th Infantry stayed in Korea until the fall of 1953, making it one of the most experienced units in the conflict. It proved itself as a competent unit, capable of taking on the hard tasks and accomplishing them in spite of tough odds. Through most of the war the 5th Regiment Combat Team served with the 24th Infantry Division.
After the Korean War the 5th Infantry was assigned on 10 October 1954 to the 71st Infantry Division. It was relieved on 25 August 1956 from assignment to the 71st Infantry Division and assigned on 1 September 1956 to the 8th Infantry Division. Company A, 5th Infanry was reorganized and redesignated on 1 August 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 5th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 8th Infantry Division, with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated.
The Battle Group was relieved on 1 February 1959 from assignment to the 8th Infantry Division and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division. It was relieved on 1 February 1963 from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. The Battle Group was reorganized and redesignated on 12 August 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry
The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized) was one of the few mechanized units to serve in Vietnam. It deployed there as part of the contributions of the 25th Infantry Division. Though faced with the considerable problems posed by operating mechanized forces in the jungle, 1-5th Infantry fought fiercely and was feared by the enemy. Under the command of Colonel, now Major General, (Retired) Andrew Anderson, 1-5th Infantry (Mechanized) received its second Presidential Unit Citation. It would later win a Valorous Unit Award for action in the Battle of cu Chi. 1-5th Infantry fought for 3 hard years in Vietnam, again establishing its reputation for tough fighting, perseverance in harsh conditions, and excellence in the face of enemy opposition.
After Vietnam, 1-5th Infantry returned to Hawaii, where it served with the 25th Infantry Division until it was inactivated on 16 January 1986 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. It was assigned on 16 April 1987 to the 2nd Infantry Division and activated in Korea.
On 16 August 1995, the 1-5th Infantry began its next segment of history at Fort Lewis, Washington as part of the 1st Brigade "Lancers", 25th Infantry Division (Light), havin been relieved from assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division. In 1996, the 1-5th Infantry was picked to lead the Army into the 21st century by participating in the Advanced warfighting Experiment, which culminated with NTC Rotation 97-08. The Battalion received the Superior Unit Award for its outstanding contribution to the future of the Army.
The unit was redesignated on 1 October 2005 as the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment. As part of the transformation of the 25th Infantry Division to the US Army's new modular force structure, the Battalion was inactivated on 1 June 2006 at Fort Lewis, Washington, and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. It was assigned on 16 December 2006 to the reorganized and redesignated 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and activated at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
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