1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment
In the late 2000s, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division began a transformation to the US Army's modular force structure, as part of the transformation of the 1st Armored Division as a whole. The 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was reorganized, but remained part of the reorganized and redesignated 2nd Brigade Combat Team. As a result it relocated with the rest of the Brigade to Fort Bliss, Texas. Prior to the transformation and relocation, the mission of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment was to, on order, rapidly deploy within the EUCOM, CENTCOM, or other directed areas of vital interest to conduct combat or stability operations.
The 6th United States Infantry Regiment as a whole was born during a storied period of American history. It also had the distinction of having been commanded by Colonel Zachary Taylor, who later became the twelfth president of the United States of America. The 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment itself had a long and proud history, dating back to The War of 1812. Its lineage and honors covered: The War of 1812, The Mexican War, The Civil War, Indian Wars from 1823-1879, The War with Spain, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Expedition, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam. The 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was also part of IFOR, Task Force Eagle, which was charged with implementing the military aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry traces its lineage back to 11 January 1812, and the formation of the 11th Infantry Regiment. The Regiment was constituted when the Congress authorized a strengthening of the regular Army in preparation for the threatening conflict that became known as the War of 1812. The unit served on the Canadian border throughout the War of 1812. 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was first constituted on 11 January 1812 in the Regular Army as a company of the 11th Infantry Regiment and organized between March and May 1812 in Vermont, New Hampshire, or Connecticut.
The unit was consolidated between May and October 1815 with a company of the 25th Infantry (first constituted on 26 June 1812) and a company each of the 27th, 29th, and 37th Infantry (all first constituted on 29 January 1813) to form a company of the 6th Infantry. The resulting unit was designated on 22 May 1816 as Company A, 6th Infantry.
In 1831 and 1832, the entire Regiment entered the series of actions to be known as the Black Hawk War, against the Sac and Fox Indians. On 2 August 1832, the 6th Infantry caught the Indians at the junction of the Bad Axe River with the Mississippi (in present day Wisconsin), and killed most of Black Hawk's band (records say that 950 Sac were massacred), earning the Campaign Streamer Black Hawk. In 1837, the units of the Regiment left Jefferson Barracks for Florida via Louisiana. As part of a force commanded by Colonel Zachary Taylor, the Regiment entered the Second Seminole Indian War in eastern Florida in 1837. It was the first "guerrilla-style" war fought by US troops.
At the outset of the Civil War in April 1861, the Regiment was directed to hurry eastward from California and join the Federal forces. According to one biographer of the time, "Several of the Regiment's best and bravest officers, honest in the mistaken construction of the Constitution and true to their convictions as to their duty, had tendered their resignations and given themselves to the Confederate cause." During the American Civil War, the 6th US Infantry Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 29 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, and 1 Officer and 43 Enlisted men by disease, for a total of 75 men.
For six years after the Civil War, the Regiment served at various stations in Georgia and South Carolina. Company A, 6th Infantry was consolidated on 1 May 1869 with Company A, 42nd Infantry, Veteran Reserve Corps (first constituted 21 September 1866), and the consolidated unit was designated as Company A, 6th Infantry. The Regiment as a whole moved to Fort Hays, Kansas in October 1871. For the next several years, the Regiment saw duty on the frontier in Kansas, Colorado, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. In 1872, the Regiment was in the Dakota Indian Territory, fighting many engagements against hostile Indian forces. In 1872 and 1873, the Regiment earned Campaign Streamers North Dakota 1872 and 1873. The next several years saw much action for the Regiment during the Indian Wars, and they were awarded Campaign Streamers Montana 1879, Little Big Horn, Cheyennes, and Utes.
In 1880, the Regiment moved to Fort Thomas, Kentucky, where it remained until called to action again in June 1898, in the Spanish-American War. On 1 July 1898, the 6th Infantry Regiment took the brunt of the fighting during the charge up San Juan Hill, but carried its standard high and bravely, and always forward, and won the battle.
The Regiment sailed in late July 1898 to the Philippines to help quell the Philippine Insurrection. The Moro tribe was one of the toughest enemies the 6th had ever faced. Every one of them fought to the death and preferred to do it in hand-to-hand style. The Regiment fought over 50 engagements, and it left with Campaign Streamers for Jolo, Negros in 1899, and Panay in 1900. In March 1905 the Regiment returned to the Philippines to do battle with the Moros again. For 3 days in 1906, elements of the Regiment fought in the Battle of Bud Dago, one of the fiercest conflicts of the entire island campaign. The successful ending to the battle broke the Moro strength and ended the fighting in that part of the island.
Following service in the Philippines, the 6th Infantry Regiment returned to The Presidio in California. In May 1914, it entered into service on the Mexican border. In March 1916, it proceeded to San Antonio, Chihuahua, as part of the Punitive Expedition. In February 1917 the Punitive Expedition was withdrawn and the Regiment returned to the United States, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. For their actions, the Regiment was awarded another campaign streamer, Mexico 1916-1917.
On 18 November 1917, the 6th Infantry Regiment was assigned to the 10th Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, and began training stateside for the Great War. In the latter part of May 1917, the 6th Infantry Regiment was declared ready for introduction to combat and was placed at the disposal of the French for service at the front. In July 1918, a strategic offensive plan was agreed upon by the Allied commanders, the immediate purpose of which was to reduce the salients that interfered with further offensive operations. One of these was the St. Mihiel salient. The First US Army was organized on 10 August 1918 and directed to launch an offensive on 12 September 1918 to reduce this salient. The 6th Infantry Regiment was destined to play an important role in this operation. On 1 December 1918, the 6th Infantry Regiment conducted a march from Luxembourg to the city of Trier, Germany, becoming the first American troops to enter that ancient city.
Between World War I and World War II, the Regiment returned to the United States, where they continued to train to become one of the best regiments in the Army. The Regiment was relieved in August 1921 from assignment to the 5th Division. It was assigned on 24 March 1923 to the 6th Division. The Regiment was relieved on 16 October 1939 from assignment to the 6th Division. In 1936, the Regiment had been designated as a mechanized unit by the War Department. Company A, 6th Infantry was reorganized on 15 July 1940 as Company A, 6th Infantry (Armored), an element of the 1st Armored Division.
In February of 1941, the Regiment was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, conducting routine training and activities under the command of Colonel Harry B. Crea. In April 1941, the Regiment began supplying cadre for the Infantry Regiment of the 4th Armored Division, which was to be stationed at Pine Camp, New York. In May 1941, the Regiment continued to get replacements and conduct routine training. The Regiment consisted of a Regimental Headquarters, an Anti-Tank company, the Regimental Band, and 2 battalions, each with a Headquarters company and 4 line companies. In August 1941, the Regiment moved to Louisiana to conduct maneuvers, then returned to Fort Knox in November 1941. A few weeks later, on 7 December 1941, war was declared, and soldiers awaiting release were returned to their barracks. Shortly thereafter, the unit was redesignated on 1 January 1942 as Company A, 6th Armored Infantry, an element of the 1st Armored Division.
The Regiment was broken up 20 July 1944 and its elements reorganized and redesignated as elements of the 1st Armored Division as follows: 6th Armored Infantry (less 2nd and 3rd Battalions) as the 6th Armored Infantry Battalion; 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry as the 11th Armored Infantry Battalion; and 3rd Battalion as the 14th Armored Infantry Battalion. Company A, 6th Armored Infantry was reorganized and redesignated on 20 July 1944 as Company A, 6th Armored Infantry Battalion, an element of the 1st Armored Division.
After the end of the Second World War, the 6th Armored Infantry Battalion was converted and redesignated on 1 May 1946 as the 12th Constabulary Squadron and concurrently relieved from assignment to the 1st Armored Division. It was subsequently assigned to the 1st Constabulary Regiment. It was inactivated on 20 September 1947 in Germany. It was converted and redesignated on 10 October 1950 as the 6th Infantry (less 2nd and 3rd Battalions) and relieved from assignment to the 1st Constabulary Regiment. Similarly, the Company A, 6th Armored Infantry Battalion was converted and redesignated on 1 May 1946 as Troop A, 12th Constabulary Squadron, an element of the 1st Constabulary Regiment, before being inactivated on 20 September 1947 in Germany. In that time the unit was assigned throughout the American zone of Occupation in West Germany.
In Berlin, on 16 October 1950, the 12th Constabulary Squadron, having been converted and redesignated, was reactivated as the 6th Infantry Regiment. At that time the 12th Constabulary Squadron had also been relieved from assignment to the 1st Constabulary Regiment. Troop A, was converted and redesignated on 10 October 1950 as Company A, 6th Infantry, and was activated on 16 October 1950 in Germany.
The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 15 February 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Rifle Battalion, 6th Infantry, and assigned to the 1st Armored Division with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. The Battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 3 February 1962 as the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry.
The Battalion was relieved from assignment to the 1st Armored Division on 12 May 1967 and assigned to the 198th Infantry Brigade. On 17 May 1967, the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was reorganized as a standard Infantry Battalion, attached to the 23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL Division). 1-6th Infantry was the first element ashore, arriving at Chu Lai in October 1967 to participate in its 35 campaign and 9th war. After a brief initial operation south of Duc Pho, the Battalion was assigned the mission of securing the installation at Chu Lai.
The Regulars participated in Task Force Oregon, Task Force Miracle, Operation Wheeler/Wallowa, Operation Burlington Trail, and had the mission of protecting the AMERICAL Division Headquarters and Chu Lai Defense Command from enemy ground mortar and rocket attacks. 1-6th Infantry was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation for its victory at the battle of Lo Giang, between 7 and 11 February 1968.
Task Force Miracle was formed in February 1968 during the enemy's Tet offensive when the city of Da Nang was threatened by the 60th Main Force Viet Cong Battalion. 1-6th Infantry and 2-1st Infantry assisted elements of the US Marine Corps in the fighting. After 4 days of fierce fighting, the threat to Da Nang was obliterated and the task force was deactivated and returned to the AMERICAL Division's area of operation. During the Vietnam Conflict, 1-6th Infantry was awarded streamers for Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69 Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, and Consolidation I.
On 15 February 1969, the Battalion was released from assignment to the 198th Infantry Brigade and assigned directly to the 23rd Infantry Division. On 12 September 1972, the Battalion was relieved from assignment to the 23rd Infantry Division and assigned back to the 1st Armored Division, returning to West Germany.
In 1974, the battalions of the 6th Infantry were dispersed between Germany and the United States. The 1st Battalion was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Illesheim, Germany. The Battalion was relieved on 17 January 1992 from assignment to the 1st Armored Division and assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, moving to a new base at Vilseck, Germany.
On 5 January 1994, Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was assigned to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as part of Operation Able Sentry.
In 1996, divisions in Europe were again reorganized, and the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was reflagged in Vilseck as an element of the 1st Infantry Division. In Baumholder on 16 February 1997, the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry and 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry were reflagged as the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, and 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry, both assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
In Baumholder, Germany, they were mechanized warfighters, maneuvering Bradley fighting vehicles and firing heavy weapons. In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, were UN peacekeepers. They patroled international borders on foot and manned remote mountaintop observation posts.
On 18 August 1997, Task Force 1-6th Infantry was again assigned to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) to assume the mission of Able Sentry. Once the mission concluded in March of 1998, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment returned home to Baumholder, Germany. The UN Security Council had reduced the size of the overall UN force in Macedonia to 750 from 1,050 people. As a result the American component, which has been about half of the force, was also be reduced accordingly. These soldiers were primarily from the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment in Baumholder, Germany. There were also, however, some National Guard troops assigned to that mission in Macedonia.
In May of 1998, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry was joined by Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, in deploying to Bosnia-Herzegovia as part of Operation Joint Endeavor / Operation Joint Forge (OJE / OJF). They were relieved in October, 1998, and returned home to Baumholder.
Captain Robert C. Scheetz Jr, 31, of Dothan, Alabama, died 30 May 2004 in Musayyib, Iraq, when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. Scheetz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Baumholder, Germany.
In the late 2000s, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division began transformation to the US Army's new modular force structure. It also returned to the United States, being reactivated as the reorganized and redesignated 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bliss, Texas. 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry was reorganized, but remained assigned to the reorganized and redesignated 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
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