Military


2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment
"Golden Dragons"

The birth of the 14th Infantry Regiment dates from the Civil War. It was at the end of the war that the regiment gained its motto and proud boast: "The Right of the Line." When asked where the 14th should be placed in the grand review at the close of the Civil War, General George C. Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac, said, "To the right of the line. The 14th has always been to the front of battle and deserves the place of honor." The "Golden Dragons" have as their heritage such battles as Manassas, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Little Big Horn, Manila and Peking. They participated in the campaigns of the Rhineland, the UN Summer-Fall Offensive and the third Korean winter. The 14th received the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for their gallant fighting there.

During its long and colorful history, the "Golden Dragons" have always been to the right of the line. Such men as Captain "Paddy" O'Connell, who commanded the 14th Regiment during most of the Civil War, said, "I would take the 14th to the very gates of Hell, but I want the chance to whip the Devil when I get there." Also exemplifying this tradition is Medal of Honor winner, Calvin A. Titus, who was the first to scale the Peking Wall during the Boxer Rebellion in August 1900.

Scarcely had gallant Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter when President Lincoln on 4 May 1861, ordered the increase of the Regular Army by 25 infantry regiments. The President's action was confirmed by Congress in a special session, and the 14th Infantry was organized on 1 July 1861, at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut.

About a year later, the regiment joined the Army of the Potomac. Battle streamers on the Brigade Colors testify to the valorous service of the 14th during the Civil War. On these battle streamers are found the names of the greatest battles of the Civil War: Manassas, Spotsylvania, Antietam, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.

The lack of an effective system of replacing casualties in the armies at the front greatly hampered the Civil War regiments. The full quota of officers would be present on paper, but actually a number of them, especially the seniors, were detached to perform staff or other duties, and no provisions were made for their replacement.

Thus the 14th, while it had its regular allotment of colonels, and majors assigned, was frequently commanded in battle by its senior captain. Captain "Paddy" O'Connell, in whose honor O'Connell Field at Fort Davis was named, was the actual commanding officer of the regiment during most of the war.

The country now turned to peaceful pursuits, but even in an era of peace, there was work for the Army. The tide of population was flowing westward. Warring Indian and white renegades had to be suppressed and this task fell to the Regular Army. Soon the regulars were to be known from one end of the frontier to the other. Well they might be, for in no small degree was the successful settling of our West due to them. Indian fighting, policing of the vast countryside, and the administration of law and order was the order of the day for the regulars of this period.

In August 1865, the 14th Infantry Regiment received orders for California. The journey to the West was made via New York, Panama and San Francisco. In the years that followed, the regiment saw service in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and North Dakota, with one short tour of duty in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1866, a reorganization took place. The 2nd Battalion became the 23rd Infantry, the 3rd Battalion became the 32nd Infantry, while the 1st Battalion, with replacements, remained as the 14th Infantry. Shortly after this, the regiment was scattered far and wide, having detachments in as many as thirteen camps and posts at the same time.

During the period of the Indian Wars (1865-1884), 4 red and black battle streamers bearing the names Arizona 1866, Wyoming 1871, Little Big Horn and Bannocks were added to the 14th Infantry's colors. At the end of the Indian Wars in 1884, the regiment was moved to Vancouver Barracks, where it remained for 14 years of peaceful duty in garrison, enlivened only by an occasional call to strike or riot duty. Four companies were sent to Alaska in 1893, where they landed just in time to prevent permanent occupation of the Lynn Canal District by the British, and in doing this, the regiment accomplished an invaluable service to the country.

More exciting days came with the declaration of war on Spain on 19 April 1898. On 2 July 1898, after capturing the island of Guam on the way, the 14th Infantry landed at Cavite Arsenal and a few days later participated in the siege and capture of Manila. This action added the yellow and blue Spanish-American War Streamer.

Peace, which ended the Spanish-American War on 12 August 1898, only marked the beginning of the 14th Infantry's real work. Aguinaldo, a leader in the Philippines Insurrection against Spain, had announced himself as the provincial head of the Filipino government and had begun active preparations to drive the Americans out. The first outbreak occurred on 4 February 1899, touching off the insurrection, which was to last nearly 3 years. Tropic heat, torrential rain, deep mud and jungle fever were the allies of the insurrectionist with his bolo. Pitched battles were rare and except for the major engagements at Manila, Laguna de Bay, Zapote and Cavite, minor skirmishes, ambushes, long marches and reconnaissance occupied the 14th Infantry in 1899.

One of the 14th Infantry's most famous "alumni" the distinguished author, Peter B. Kyne, was then a member of Company L and his experiences while in the 14th Infantry afforded him an excellent opportunity to gather material for future stories. His entertaining and humorous stories of the hard-boiled company of "Right of the Liners" commanded by a captain known affectionately as "Auld cut-the-daisies", have their origin and basis in the stern facts of the 14th Infantry's service in the Philippine Insurrection. Its field service was terminated in November 1899 and the regiment was designated as the home battalion and sent to station at Fort Brady and Fort Wayne, Michigan.

On 8 July 1900, the Boxer Rebellion called the 14th Infantry to China as a part of the American force commanded by General Adna R. Chaffee. Taku was reached on 28 July 1900, and the regiment immediately struck out for Peking. On 7 August 1900, there was a sharp engagement in the village of Yang-tsun. Here the 14th Infantry far ahead of its British and French allies, assaulted and captured the town almost unaided. 13 August 1900 found the regiment's columns at the walls of Peking. The Chinese fire from the wall was so severe that it was necessary to silence it before attempting to storm the gates. To do so required placing men on the wall, which was 30 feet high, and the regiment had no ropes or ladders to scale it. There were many loose bricks, however, and it seemed practical for the soldiers, by placing their hands and feet in the crevices, to scale the wall. Volunteers were called for.

A nervy young solider, musician Calvin P. Titus of Company E volunteered and was selected to make the first try. ("I'll try sir.") He struggled up the face of the wall, and reached the top safely. This section of the wall had not yet been occupied by the rebels, but it was under fire from other nearby positions. However, other soldiers followed Titus' courageous lead, then the 14th Infantry was soon topside in considerable force.

There was now some danger that the 14th Infantry's men on the wall might be mistaken for Chinese and fired upon by the allies, so it was decided to place an American flag on the ramparts. A mounted messenger brought the National Colors through heavy fire to the foot of the wall, whence it was quickly hauled to the top and unfurled. As the silken folds waved out over the wall, the Americans let go a mighty shout of triumph and exultation at the thought that our flag was the first foreign flag to float over the walls of Peking in the China Relief Expedition. The next day the regiment, in company of the famous "Riley's Battery", which blew down the gates to the Imperial City, resumed its apparently irresistible advance. Starting at 7:00 in the morning, it drove steadily forward hour after hour. The enemy was forced from 3 high walls and late in the afternoon the 14th Infantry was facing the last stronghold of the desperate Chinese: the wall of the sacred Forbidden City itself. Soon after, when the Chinese rebels capitulated, the 14th Infantry was selected to lead the triumphal entry of allied troops into the fallen city.

For his heroic deed, Calvin A. Titus received an appointment to West Point and was awarded our nation's highest medal, the Medal of Honor.

The Chinese government, grateful to the American troops for helping to reduce the Boxer Rebellion, presented several bars of silver bullion to the 14th Infantry. There were molded into the 14th's punch bowl, which was named the Calvin A. Titus Bowl.

Back in Manila again a monotonous year was passed guarding warehouses and offices. Welcome orders for the States came in June 1901, and on the night of 18 August 1901, it was a joyful outfit that made camp at the Presidio of San Francisco. From here, the Battalion left for its eastern station. Regimental headquarters and the 2nd Battalion went to Fort Snelling, Minnesota. The 3rd Battalion was split up between Fort Porter and Niagara, New York. It was while at Fort Porter that companies K and L stood guard over the house in which the martyred President McKinley lay dying from an assassin's bullet. After he died, Company I escorted the body to Canton, Ohio and stood guard as he lay in state.

Again in 1903, the regiment was ordered to the Philippines. After an uneventful trip, the 1st Battalion debarked to Camp Hartshore, Samar, while the remainder of the regiment proceeded to Camp Connell on the west coast of Samar. This brief uneventful stay in the islands was terminated in 1905, when orders assigned the regiment to its old home in Vancouver Barracks. There, ordinary garrison duty occupied the regiment until that fateful day in April 1906, when almost all the business section of San Francisco was razed by earthquake and the resulting fire. Practically the entire 14th Infantry was ordered to the stricken area. When the troops arrived 4 days later, the fires were still burning. Until the end of June 1906, the regiment remained in San Francisco protecting property, issuing relief supplies, helping the disorganized police force and preventing the sale of liquor. Scarcely had the outfit settled down again to its duties at Vancouver Barracks, when in 1908 orders were received for a third Philippine tour. This short stay in the Philippines also proved uneventful, and in 1910, the regiment was back in the States. The 1st Battalion went to Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, the 2nd to Fort Harrison, Montana, and the 3rd to Fort Missoula, Montana.

In 1913 the 1st Battalion was sent to Alaska and the remainder of the regiment was split between forts Lawton and George Wright, Washington. The Mexican border troubles of 1916 drew the 2nd and 3rd battalions to Fort Douglas, Arizona. Operating from this post as a base, those 2 battalions patrolled miles of the border, with characteristic thoroughness. Upon the entrance of the United States into World War I in 1917, the regiment was ordered back to Vancouver Barracks to prepare for overseas service. However, just before orders were received to sail, the Armistice was signed.

In 1920, orders for Panama were received, and on 27 October 1920, the regiment arrived at Fort Davis, Canal Zone. During the next 23 years, the 14th Infantry was stationed there, where it established its military nickname of the "Jungleers."

In January 1945, the 14th Infantry sailed for France to fight in World War II as a part of the 71st Division. After landing at Le Harve, the 14th Infantry moved 350 miles southeast across France and took part in breaching the Siegfried Line.

During its first 20 days in combat, "The Right of the Line" constantly found its position on the right of the Allied field alignment. It moved by truck and foot approximately 100 miles under combat conditions while helping in the cleanup of the Sarre-Mosel Triangle and the crossing of the Rhine River. Fierce fighting toward the Danube followed, and the regiment continued the drive until it reached the Ens River in Austria on 5 May 1945. There the regiment received orders to remain in position. Two days later, it was officially notified that all hostilities would cease at 0001 hours, 9 May 1945, and war's end found the regiment faced with the problem of handling thousands of displaced persons and prisoners of war. After VE Day, the regiment was relieved from assignment to the 71st Division and assigned to the United Forces, European Theater, for occupation in Germany.

On 1 September 1946, the 14th Infantry Regiment, for the fourth time in its long history, was deactivated.

Two years later, on 1 October 1948, the regiment was once more activated at Camp Carson, Colorado and given the mission of training for mounted warfare. On 1 August 1951, the regiment was reduced to zero strength and transferred to the Far East Command for assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. Personnel and equipment of the 34th Infantry Regiment were transferred to the 14th Infantry, and on 27 August 1951, the 14th Infantry became an organic regiment of the 25th Infantry Division.

The next 2 years found the regiment in the thick of fighting in the Korean War. The war had settled into a defensive operation and was marked by almost constant patrolling. On 27 July 1953, a cease-fire went into effect and shortly thereafter the 14th Infantry moved to Camp North Star in South Korea and started an intensive training program. On 20 August 1954, the 25th Division was alerted for move to the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Chain. This move was completed on 17 October 1954, where the Golden Dragons underwent intensive field and garrison duty.

On 1 February 1957, the 14th Infantry was reorganized into the 1st Battle Group, 14th Infantry. The 14th Infantry actually formed 2 battle groups. The second was the 2nd Battle Group, the 19th Infantry, which was subsequently deactivated.

On 18 March 1957, the newly activated 1st Battle Group, 14th Infantry, became the first battle group to test the effectiveness of pentomic training (organization of a military force in units of 5, especially for nuclear warfare) at the Pohakuloa Training Center on the Island of Hawaii. The Golden Dragons, by setting an exemplary record in training, inspections and sports, established themselves as an outstanding unit of the 25th Infantry Division.

Under the authority of Headquarters, United States Army, Pacific, General Order Number 256, dated 28 June 1963, 2nd Battalion of the 14th Infantry, stationed at Schofield Barracks, was organized effective 26 August 1963. The 2nd Battalion was organized under the command of Major Mark L. Browne, Jr.

Soon after the activation ceremonies were completed, the newly activated battalion proceeded to a task of hard, realistic advanced unit training. This training included participating during September in the Code of Conduct School given at the Division Code of Conduct Field Training Station. This training presented the men with an indication of what to expect if they should ever fall into the hands of the enemy. The very realistic instruction was conducted by ex-prisoners of war from Korea and World War II.

The school was designed to teach soldiers what to expect in propaganda and harassment if captured. Following the Code of Conduct training, companies of the Battalion attended the Jungle Guerrilla Warfare Center of the 25th Infantry Division. Here troops were taught how to rappel down cliffs and from helicopters. There were also taught how to cross rivers, how to survive when all friendly lines of communication are severed and how to conduct patrols in the jungle. Classes were also presented on the sources of food and nutrition for human existence in the jungle, including items from roots, snakes and tree leaves.

On 7 December 1963, 18 men from the Battalion left for 3 months of volunteer duty in Southeast Asia. This platoon, which was led by 1st Lieutenant Gene G. Jordan, executive officer of Company B, was part of an operation designated "Shotgun." At Christmas 1965, a levy of about 400 men was placed on the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry. These men were to be used as replacements for the 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 25th Infantry Division, which were deploying to Vietnam at that time.

In February 1966, the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry took "Battle Dragon" as its unit nickname. An appropriate symbol was made to be put on all Battalion property. The "Battle Dragon Chant" was written, put to music and learned by the men. Also in February 1966, replacements began flowing back into the 2nd Battalion with a large majority of them coming out of AIT. This meant a lot of training had to be done in a hurry to get these new troops and their superiors acquainted with their jobs and the new problems that such a large number of new men brings into focus.

In April 1966 it became known that the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry would be sent to Vietnam to join the rest of the 25th Infantry Division there. Preparations for deployment were made and on the morning of 16 April 1966, the USNS Nelson M. Walker, with all elements of the 1st Brigade on board, moved out of Pearl Harbor for Asia. On the morning of 28 April 1966, the 1st Brigade sailed into Vung Tau Harbor in the Republic of South Vietnam. The 2nd Battalion left the ship on 30 April and was moved by truck and airlift to Cu Chi where it set up a base camp.

The Golden Dragons arrived in Vietnam on 28 April 1966, and there they continued to carry on and add to their rich tradition. During Operation Manhattan, A Company found one of the largest weapons caches up to that point in the war. They also participated in Operation Uniontown near Bien Hoa, Operation Junction City near Dau Tieng, and Operation Yellowstone, a large scale offensive operation in War Zone C. Since the culmination of Yellowstone, the Golden Dragons participated in Toan Thang (Certain Victory).

In the first 2 years in Vietnam, the Battle Dragons of the 2nd Battalion made it clear to the Viet Cong that they were prepared and willing to meet any attack, and that they would go on the offensive to seek out Communist terrorists and troops in the area where they were assigned. The year 1967 found the Golden Dragons with a variety of missions that took the battalion from the Mekong Delta at the beginning of the year to War Zone C at the close. During the year, the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry left its permanent base at Cu Chi and moved to Tay Ninh where base camp construction began once again for the Dragons in conjunction with stepped-up operations in War Zone C.

The operations of 1967 ranged in scope from security missions near Bien Hoa during Operation Uniontown and at Dau Tieng during Junction City to civil action east of Cu Chi on Barking Sands, and finally, during Operation Yellowstone, to large-scale offensive operations in War Zone C at Katum. Once again, the Golden Dragons capably demonstrated, as so many times in the past, that they could accomplish any assigned mission and added new glories to their rich heritage.

On 19 December 1985, the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Infantry Regiment was reactivated at Fort Benning, Georgia, as the first Light Infantry COHORT Battalion in the 10th Mountain Division. On 4 November 1988, the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment was permanently stationed at Fort Drum, New York.

On 3 October 1993, Special Operations Task Force Ranger (TFR) conducted a daylight raid on an enemy stronghold, deep in militia-held Mogadishu. The Rangers had successfully captured some of warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid's key aides, but went to the aid of an aircraft shot down by enemy fire. They were quickly surrounded by Somali gunmen. The 2/14th Infantry quick reaction force (QRF) was dispatched to secure the ground evacuation route. As darkness fell, the 2/14th Infantry was reinforced with coalition armor and for three hours they fought a moving gun battle from the gates of the Port to the Olympic Hotel and the Ranger perimeter.

The 2/14th was successful in linking up with the Rangers and began withdrawal under fire along a route secured by Pakistani UN forces. As dawn broke over the city the exhausted soldiers marched, rode, and stumbled into the protective Pakistani enclave at city stadium. For 2/14th soldiers, the ordeal had lasted over 12 hours. The 2/14th had a total of 29 soldiers wounded and one killed. Task Force Ranger suffered 19 killed, 57 wounded, and one missing (captured, later returned alive). Estimates of Somali militia losses were 300 killed and over 700 wounded. With 6 and a half hours of continuous fighting, this was the longest sustained firefight by regular US forces since the Vietnam War.

During Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia during 1997, 2 companies of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry deployed for Bosnia on 19 March 1997. B Company's mission was to defend a critical bridge site. C Company's mission was to act as the theater reserve.

The 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry served a tour of duty in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division. This battalion also served 2 tours of duty in Iraq, the first tour was under the operational control of the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a battalion task force in northern Iraq. It's second tour of duty took it to central Iraq as a separate battalion task force.

On 16 September 2005 the Battalion was relieved from assignment to the 10th Mountain Division, and reassigned to the 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. This was part of the reorganization of the 10th Mountain Division to conform to the US Army's new modular force structure.

Following the transformation 2/14th Infantry deployed to Iraq under Operation Iraqi Freedom for a third tour of duty in that country.



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