2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment
The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry was first constituted on 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as Company B, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry. It was organized on 4 May 1861 at Fort Independence, Boston, Massachusetts in response to the Southern States' aggression to the North. The unit distinguished itself at Antietam, Petersburg and Gettysburg. At Gettysburg it lost 50 percent of its strength. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 5 December 1866 as Company B, 11th Infantry. The unit was consolidated on 31 March 1869 with Company B, 34th Infantry and the consolidated unit was redesignated as Company B, 16th Infantry. Company B, 34th Infantry was first constituted on 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as Company B, 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry and organized in April 1864 at Madison Barracks, New York. That unit was reorganized and redesignated on 21 September 1866 as Company B, 34th Infantry.
After 3 years of Southern pacification duties, the 16th Infantry Regiment went west to participate in a grueling 3 year Indian Wars campaign. In 1898, the Regiment moved from west of the Mississippi to Tampa, Florida, where it boarded a transport and set sail to Cuba where it participated in the Spanish-American War. Assaulting San Juan Hill, 2 men from the 16th Infantry Regiment planted Old Glory on the top of the block house that sat on the Hill. After a short stint back at Long Island, New York and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Regiment was called to arms again the summer of 1899 and set sail for the Philippines where it fought for 2 years against the Spaniards and Filipino insurgents. In 1901 it returned to the United States to train and conduct garrison duties. What had become, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry was then sent to Leyte in the South Pacific from August 1906 until March 1907 to fight the Pulajanes. In 1912, the 16th Infantry Regiment joined forced with Brig. General "Black Jack" Pershing to capture Poncho Villa.
After Mexican border duty for 5 years, the Regiment was one of the first called for duty to France in World War I. The 16th Infantry was assigned on 8 June 1917 to the 1st Expeditionary Division (later redesignated as the 1st Division and then as the 1st Infantry Division). On 17 October 1917, the 2nd Battalion became the first American Doughboys to occupy French trenches and after a German trench raid on 3 November 1917, 3 2-16th Infantry soldiers were the first killed in action for America in World War I. The Regiment distinguished itself at Cantigny, Coullemelle, Soissons , St. Mihiel, Argonne, and finally Sedan before the Armistice was called.
Prior to departing for Europe again to participate in World War II, the 16th Infantry Regiment became known as "New York's Own" as it spent over 20 years at Fort Jay, Governor's Island, New York training, conducting ceremonies and other various garrison activities.
In World War II, the Regiment served as part of the "Big Red One" 1st Infantry Division and conducted amphibious assaults on Northern Africa, defeating Rommel's Afrika Corps, Sicily defeating Hermann Goering's Panzer Division, and finally its most famous assault on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, during D-Day, on 6 June 1944. It was on Omaha Beach that the 2-16th Infantry earned its nickname "Rangers" as it secured the 2nd Ranger Battalion's eastern flank, while the Rangers assaulted the cliffs of Point du Hoc. The Germans could not tell the difference between the 2 units as both were disciplined in the face of murderous fire and fought with absolute tenacity. Over the course of the next year, the 16th Infantry Regiment distinguished itself in battles throughout France, Belgium, Germany and finally in Czechoslovakia.
Missing the Korean War, 2-16th Infantry provided service as an occupation force in Germany. The unit was inactivated on 15 February 1957 at Fort Riley, Kansas, and relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division. It was concurrently, redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battle Group, 16th Infantry. It was assigned on 1 October 1963 to the 1st Infantry Division. The unit was activated at Fort Riley, Kansas wit its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated, before being reorganized and redesignated on 2 March 1964 as the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry.
The Regiment's next major fight during the Cold War was in Vietnam. After serving there with the 1st Infantry Division, the unit was inactivated on 19 August 1974 at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was again activated on 1 May 1976 at Fort Riley, Kansas before being inactivated on 21 September 1976 at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was activated again on 16 December 1979 at Fort Riley, Kansas.
2-16th Infantry went on to serve in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. After 115 years of active service to the United States, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment was inactivated at Fort Riley, Kansas on 10 April 1996.
The unit was redesignated on 1 October 2005 as the 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment. On 16 January 16, 2006 the 2nd Brigade 16th Infantry Regiment was reactivated along with the activation and reactivation of the rest of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, as part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force. As part of the modular transformation the US Army would add a fourth brigade to its active divisions. The unit was activated with a force of 682 soldiers and as one of 2 infantry battalions in the 4th Brigade.
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