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1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment
"Dragon"/"Can Do"

The 15th Infantry was initially organized on 16 July 1798 in response to the "quasi-war" then being fought with France. The regiment was deactivated in 1800 and reactivated in 1812 for service in Canada. The 15th Infantry fought in the capture of Toronto and Fort George in April and May 1813, and covered the retreat of militia troops from Fort George in December 1813. It was during this retreat that the 15th Infantry earned a reputation for not losing a single man through capture, despite receiving heavy casualties. The 15th Infantry fought in the Champlain Valley campaign in the autumn of 1814 and participated in General Dearborn's offensive in Ontario in October 1814 as well as in many other smaller battles. The Regiment vanished in the Army reorganization of 1815.

On 11 February 1847, the 15th Infantry was reactivated for service in Mexico. As companies of the 15th arrived in Vera Cruz, they joined the provisional 3rd Division under General Winfield Scott and advanced on Mexico City. The Regiment fought with distinction in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, as well as smaller engagements, before storming the walls of Chapultepec in Mexico City itself. Following garrison duty in Mexico City and Cuernevaca, the Regiment returned to the US for deactivation in August 1848.

The 15th Infantry was reactivated on 3 May 1861 with headquarters in Newport Barracks, Kentucky. Before the end of the Civil War, the Regiment fought 22 major engagements, including Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Murfreesborough, and Atlanta. The Regiment's crest included the acorn, the symbol of General Thomas' XIV Corps and the mountain of stone to symbolize the Corps' firm stand as the "Rock of Chickamauga." The 4 acorns represented the 4 major engagements.

Following the Civil War, the 15th Infantry served on occupation duty in Alabama until 1869. The Regiment was redeployed to the West, serving in Missouri, New Mexico, the Dakotas, and Colorado. The 15th Infantry participated in campaign against the Ute Indians of Colorado and against the Mescalero Apaches before relocating to Fort Sheridan in January 1891.

With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Regiment moved to Huntsville, Alabama on 12 October 1898 for intensive training. It sailed from Savannah, Georgia, on 27 November 1898 for Nuevitas, Cuba, for occupation duty. On 5 October 1900, the Regiment sailed home to be posted throughout upper New York and Vermont.

On 16 August 1900 most of the Regiment was in Tientsin, China, for service against the Boxer Rebellion. 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry was ordered to Manilla in September 1900 to assist in suppressing the Aquinaldo Insurrection. By April 1902, the balance of the Regiment joined the 3rd Battalion in the Philippines and saw considerable action against the insurgents. In September 1902, the regiment sailed for Monterey, California, where it built the current Presidio.

In 1905, the Regiment was again posted to the Philippines. When the 15th Infantry returned to the US in 1907, it was assigned to Fort Douglas, Utah. In November 1911, however, the 2nd Battalion, 15th Infantry returned to Tientsin, China, as part of the international peace-keeping mission designed to protect civilians during the Chinese Revolution. The remainder of the Regiment followed in 1912. Much of the 15th Infantry's tradition comes from the 26 years in China. The Dragon on the regimental crest and pidgin English motto "Can Do" symbolized the China service. During World War I, the Regiment was often close to combat in China.

The Regiment left China for Fort Lewis, Washington, on 2 March 1938. On 12 January 1939 the regiment was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. For the next 2 years, the 15th Infantry trained as the Army's only experimental ski unit and also trained in assault landings on the Pacific Coast.

After Pearl Harbor, the 15th Infantry Regiment and 3rd Infantry Division served as security for the northwest while conducting advanced amphibious assault training until October 1942. During that month, the 15th Infantry, along with other divisional units, moved to Virginia and prepared for deployment to Europe.

On 8 November 1942, the 15th Infantry landed at Fedela, Morocco, and participated in the capture of Casablanca against strong resistance on 11 November 1942. The Regiment remained on duty in Morocco until March 1943, serving with other divisional units as the honor guard for President Roosevelt during the Casablanca Conference. In March 1943, the 15th Infantry moved to Tunisia, where it trained for further amphibious operations until July 1943.

The 15th Infantry was part of the 3rd Infantry Division's "Task Force Joss" in the invasion of Sicily on July 1943. The Regiment fought with distinction at Palermo, Messina, and elsewhere in the Sicilian Campaign. At the close of the campaign, the 3rd Infantry Division (including the 15th Infantry Regiment) conducted a month of training before crossing onto the Italian mainland in September.

The 3rd Infantry Division and the 15th Infantry Regiment fought on the Volturno River and farther north on the Italian peninsula, breaching the German Winter Line in November 1943. In January 1944, the 15th Infantry spearheaded the 3rd Infantry Division's landing at Anzio until March 1944 and participated in the capture of Rome in June 1944.

On 15 August 1944, the 15th Infantry led the 3rd Infantry Division landings on Beach Yellow at St. Tropez, France. The 15th Infantry led the divisional attacks north through the Rhone Valley and conducted the first military crossing of the Vosges Mountains. The 15th Infantry reached the Rhine on 26 November 1944. From December 1944 to February 1945, the 15th Infantry reduced the Colmar Pocket. The 15th Infantry was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the fighting in the pocket.

The Regiment was part of the 3rd Infantry Division's advance into Germany in March 1945. The Regiment broke through the Siegfried Line and captured Nuremburg in April 1945. The 15th Infantry remained with the 3rd Infantry Division on garrison duty in Germany until September 1946, when it redeployed to Fort Benning, Georgia. At the end of World War II, the Regiment had 16 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, 1,633 killed, 5,812 wounded, 419 missing in action. Among the 1st Battalion's Medal of Honor recipients was Audie Murphy, the US Army's most decorated soldier.

In 1950, the Regiment, as part of the 3rd Infantry Division, was alerted for deployment to Korea. The Division was sent into action in North Korea where it served to protect the withdrawal of the 1st Marine Division from the Chosin Reservoir. When the Marines were completely evacuated, the 15th Infantry was the last unit of the 3rd Division to hold the perimeter at Hungnam. The Regiment then sailed from Hungnam to Pusan and moved north. For the next 2 years, the 15th Infantry fought in Korea, moving in and out of the line with other divisional units. Though the armistice was signed in 1953, the 3rd Infantry Division remained on duty in Korea until 1954. At the time of the truce, the 15th Infantry had seen action in 8 major campaigns and added 3 more Medal of Honor recipients to its roles.

On 3 December 1954, the Regiment returned to Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1957, the 1st and 2nd Battalion were assigned to Germany as part of the 3rd Infantry Division, where they played an integral part of the Army's deterrence against Soviet aggression in Europe for the next 40 years.

The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 1 July 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 15th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 3d Infantry Division with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. It was again reorganized and redesignated on 15 July 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry.

On 16 February 1996, the 1st Battalion and 15th Infantry Regimental colors were returned to Fort Benning, Georgia.

As of late 2001, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry at Fort Benning and the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry at Fort Stewart were the only active Battalions of the 15th Regiment.

In mid-2002 the 1-15th Infantry deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Spring along with the rest of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized).

Some 115 soldiers of the 1-15th Infantry arrived in Pakistan on 14 Octoeber 2002 for FTX exercises with the Pakistani military referred to as Inspired Gambit.

In March 2003, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division took part in the invasion of Iraq codenamed Operation Iraqi Freedom. Between 21 March 2003 and 14 April 2003 the 3rd Brigade covered 500 kilometers of terrain in the advance.

It was relieved on 16 March 2004 from assignment to the 3rd Infantry Division and assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. This shift was a product of the transformation of the 3rd Infantry Division and its units to the US Army's new modular force structure. It would also later be redesignated again on 1 October 2005 as the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment.

In January 2005 the 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq again as part of Task Force Liberty headed by the 42nd Infantry Division, and subsequently attached to elements of the 101st Airborne Division. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, including 1-15th Infantry, returned from Iraq in January 2006.

In 2007 1-15 Infantry returned to Iraq with other elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team on another tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) remained in Iraq into 2008.




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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:17:26 ZULU