1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment
The 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment is an infantry battalion of the Virginia Army National Guard assigned to the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division. The Battalion, headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, consists of 5 companies located in various parts of Virginia.
The unit designation conventions and the process by which units acquire their lineage and honors is different between the active US Army and Army Reserve and the Army National Guard, regardless of state. Active US Army and the Army Reserve always maintain their type and numerical designator when they are redesignated. When these elements change, the unit's lineage and honors is swapped out for another appropriate unit's lineage and honors, and the unit's heraldry is also changed. In the Army National Guard units can be redesignated in almost any way without any change to the unit's overall history or lineage an honors, while maintaining the same heraldry. Also, though separate, the lineage and honors for the 116th Regiment and its battalions are intertwined with that of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The 116th Infantry Regiment as a whole traces its lineage and honors back to when it was first organized on 3 November 1741 in the Virginia Militia as the Augusta County Regiment with Headquarters at Beverley's Mill Place, Virginia (Beverley's Mill Place was later renamed Staunton). Elements of the Augusta County Regiment were called into active service at various times during the French and Indian War and Dunsmore's War and provided elements of the Virginia provincial forces. These included Captain Andrew Lewis' Company, Virginia Regiment (first organized on 18 March 1754); and Captains William Preston's, David Lewis', and John Smith's Companies of Rangers (organized between 11 and 25 August 1755).
The Augusta County Regiment and its associated elements were called into active service at various times during the Revolutionary War and provided elements of the Continental Army. These included Captain William Fontaines' Company, 2nd Virginia Regiment (first organized 21 October 1775); Captain John Hayse's Company, 9th Virginia Regiment (first organized 16 March 1776); Captain David Stephenson's Company, 8th Virginia Regiment (German Regiment) (first organized 25 March 1776); and Captains David Laird's and John Symes' Companies, 10th Virginia Regiment (first organized 3 December 1776).
After the American Revolution and War of Independence, the Augusta County Regiment was expanded on 31 December 1792 to form the 32nd and 93rd Regiments. Elements of the 32nd and 93rd Regiments mustered into federal service at various times during the War of 1812.
The 32nd and 93rd Regiments were expanded around 1839 to form the 32nd, 93rd, and 160th Regiments Elements of the 32nd and 160th Regiments were mustered into federal service 6 January 1847 at Richmond, Virginia as the Light Infantry Company, 1st Regiment, Virginia Volunteers (also known as the Augusta Volunteers). This unit was mustered out of federal service on 27 July 1848 at Fort Monroe, Virginia.
During the American Civil War, the Augusta County volunteer infantry companies of the 32nd, 93rd, and 160th Regiments reorganized and redesignated on 13 April 1861 as the 5th Regiment, Virginia Volunteers. This unit was mustered into Confederate service on 1 July 1861 as the 5th Virginia Infantry, an element of the 1st Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah. This units were organized between 1 June and 15 July 1861 to consist of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia Infantry, from volunteer companies in the Shenandoah Valley. The remainder of the 32nd, 93rd, and 160th Regiments, Virginia Militia mustered into Confederate service on 1 May 1862 as the 52nd Virginia Infantry. The 1st Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah was commanded by Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson. It was at the first battle of Manassas on 21 July 1861, that the Brigade won the illustrious nickname "The Stonewall Brigade." The Stonewall Brigade and the 52nd Virginia Infantry both surrendered on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House with the Army of Northern Virginia.
Former elements of the Stonewall Brigade and the 52nd Virginia Infantry were reorganized between 1871 and 1881 in the Virginia Volunteers as separate infantry companies in the Shenandoah Valley. These were reorganized on 2 May 1881 as the 2nd Regiment of Infantry with Headquarters at Staunton, Virignia. This location was changed on 22 April 1886 to Harrisonburg. The 2nd Regiment of Infantry was disbanded on 2 April 1887 and its elements reorganized as separate infantry companies.
The units were reorganized on 20 April 1889 in the Virginia Volunteers as the 2nd Regiment of Infantry with Headquarters at Winchester, Virginia. This location was changed on 15 June 1893 to Woodstock, Virignia. The 2nd Regiment of Infantry was consolidated with elements of the 1st Regiment of Infantry (first organized in 1851) and mustered into federal service between 10 and 21 May 1898 as the 2nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry. It mustered out of federal service between 13 and 20 December 1898 at the various units' home stations. The 2nd Regiment of Infantry was entirely disbanded on 29 April 1899.
Elements of the former 2nd Regiment of Infantry was reorganized between 1899 and 1902 in the Virginia Volunteers as separate infantry companies in western Virginia. These were consolidated on 19 May 1905 with elements of the former 3rd Regiment of Infantry. That unit was first organized on 13 June 1881 in the Virginia Volunteers from existing companies in central Virginia as the 3rd Regiment of Infantry with Headquarters at Charlottesville, Virginia. This location was changed on 15 November 1888 to Culpepper, Virginia, and again on 12 March 1898 to Warrenton. The 3rd Regiment of Infantry mustered into federal service between 13 and 26 May 1898 at Richmond, Virignia as the 3rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry and mustered out of federal service there on 5 November 1898, before being disbanded on 29 April 1899. Elements of the former 3rd Regiment of Infantry were reorganized between 1899 and 1902 in the Virginia Volunteers as separate infantry companies in central Virginia, before being consolidated. The consolidated unit was reorganized as the 72nd Infantry with Headquarters at Luray, Virignia.
The unit was redesignated on 1 September 1908 as the 2nd Infantry. The Virginia Volunteers were redesignated on 3 June 1916 as the Virginia National Guard. The 2nd Infantry was called into federal service on 30 June 1916 at Camp Stuart, Virginia and mustered out of federal service on 28 February 1917 at Richmond, Virginia. The unit was again called into federal service on 25 March 1917 and mustered in between 25 March and 3 April 1917 at the units' various home stations. The unit was drafted into federal service on 5 August 1917. It was consolidated on 4 October 1917 with the 1st Infantry (first organized in 1851) and the 4th Infantry (first organized in 1882), with the consolidated unit subsequently reorganized and redesignated as the 116th Infantry and assigned to the 29th Division. The 116th Infantry Regiment saw heavy action in France during World War I, and as a result, the infantry battalions earned the motto "Ever Forward" for their reputation of never having given ground in battle. The 116th Infantry was demobilized on 30 May 1919 at Camp Lee, Virginia.
Former elements in western Virginia were reorganized on 12 October 1921 in the Virginia National Guard as the 2nd Infantry. The 2nd Infantry was redesigned on 9 March 1922 as the 116th Infantry and assigned to the 29th Division (later redesignated as the 29th Infantry Division). The 116th Headquarter's was federally recognized on 3 April 1922 at Staunton, Virignia. This location was changed on 26 June 1933 to Lynchburg, Virignia.
The 116th Infantry was inducted into Federal service on 3 February 1941 at the units' various home stations. "D-Day", 6 June 1944, found the 116th Regimental Combat Team spearheading one of the greatest military operations in history, the assault landing on the German held coast of Normandy, France. The 116th Infantry, the assault regiment of the 29th Infantry Division, suffered 341 casualties on Omaha Beach.
After gaining a foothold and pushing inland, the 116th Infantry drove on toward St. Lo. The fall of this heavily defended stronghold led to the breakout from the Normandy beachhead. Major Thomas D. Howie, a battalion Commander in the 116th, killed in action before the capture of the town, became a legend as the "Major of St. Lo". As he issued his final attack order, he parted company with his Commanders and staff with, "See you in St. Lo!"
Pinched out of line in August 1944, the 116th Infantry was sent to Brittany to reduce the Wehrmacht fortifications at Brest, chief port on the peninsula, and fanatically defended by Nazi paratroopers. This mission accomplished, the Division took off on a 200 mile move across France, Belgium and Holland to attack the vaunted Siegfried Line. They smashed through at Aachen and allowed the 29th Infantry Division to become the first allied division to reach the Roer River, holding its position throughout the Battle of the Bulge to the South.
In February of 1945 the 29th Infantry Division, including the 116th Infantry, crossed the Roer and pushed on to the Rhine. On 2 May 45, the Blue and Gray made the historic link-up with Russian forces along the Elbe River. A few days later the war ended and the 29th Infantry Division counted its casualties: 19,814 killed, wounded and missing. After returning from Europe, the 116th Infantry was inactivated on 6 January 1946 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.
The 116th Infantry was reorganized and federally recognized on 24 March 1948 with Headquarters at Staunton, Virginia. It was reorganized on 1 June 1959 as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System to consist of the 1st and 2nd Battle Groups, both assigned to the 29th Infantry Division. It was reorganized again on 22 March 1963 to consist of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, which remained assigned to the 29th Infantry Division.
The 116th Infantry was reorganized on 1 February 1968 to consist of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, which were assigned to the 28th Infantry Division. The 116th Infantry was again reorganized on 1 April 1975 to consist of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, which were assigned to the 116th Infantry Brigade (Separate). With the reactivation of the 29th Infantry Division in 1985, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the 116th Infantry were reassigned to 1st Brigade, 29th Infantry Division (Light).
The 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, was one of the first National Guard units to be deployed to Bosnia in 1995.
The battalion deployed in July of 2000, to Fort Irwin, California, as part of a National Training Center rotation. While there, the unit assumed the role of the Opposing Forces (OPFOR).
In 2006, the 1st Brigade, 29th Infantry Division was reorganized and redesignated as the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division. The 116th Infantry was also reorganized to consist only of the 1st and 3rd Battalions, which were assigned to this unit.
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