1st Battalion - 186th Infantry Regiment
The 186th Infantry Regiment was constituted on the 7th of December, 1921, as a separate Battalion in the Oregon Army National Guard. By 31 March 1922, it was re-designated the 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry, and was made up of companies from Gresham, Portland, Hood River, Cottage Grove and Medford.
For nearly twenty years, soldiers of the Regiment conducted normal peacetime training, but then, in 1940, they were inducted into Federal service for a year of training. When war broke out with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the year extended into 'the duration'. The 186th, as a part of the 41st Infantry Division, was one of the first American Combat units to be sent overseas. The Regiment served in the Pacific Theater, with the first year spent in further training in Australia.
Papua-New Guinea was the site of the Regiment's first combat. Working with the other Regiments of the Division and elements of the Australian Army, the 186th helped overcome difficult resistance by Japanese troops. The Papuan campaign lasted from early January into September 1943. The Regiment landed in New Guinea in April 1944 and helped secure that archipelago by late July. Following reorganization, the effort shifted to the invasion of the Phillipines.
The 186th went ashore on Palawan Island, in the southern Philippines, in February, 1945. That campaign lasted for the remainder of the war. With the 186th scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan, planned for November, the end of the war allowed the Regiment to enter Japan peacefully, as occupation troops instead. In December 1945, the Regiment, and the 41st Division, were deactivated in Japan, and left active service.
The Regiment was re-organized in December 1946, with Headquarters originally located in Portland. In 1968, another re-organization reduced the Regiment to a single Battalion, and Headquarters was moved to Ashland. Units are currently located in Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg and Klamath Falls. The primary mission since WW II has been to train for war, though none of our units have been mobilized for a war mission since that time.
Training takes place locally most of the year. The two week Annual Training normally is conducted at Ft. Lewis, Washington; Camp Roberts, CA, or Camp Rilea, OR. Companies have also traveled to England and Japan for training, and the entire 41st Brigade trained atJRTC in Louisiana in 1998.
Members of the 1st Battalion have also been mobilized to fight forest fires or provide assistance during floods.
The increasing need for troops to supplement Active Army missions has also resulted in the first Federal mobilization of one of the Battalion's rifle companies since WW II. As a result, Bravo company spent four months near Riyahd, Saudi Arabia, to provide security for Patriot missile batteries.
As of mid-April 2002, the 1-186th Infantry was preparing to deploy for a six-month rotation and assume peacekeeping duties in the Sinai region of Egypt in July of 2002, as part of the U.S. portion of the Multinational Force and Observers mission. The unit was slated to replace the active-duty 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, which had originally been tasked to provide one of its battalions for the next MFO rotation. The switch was to enable freeing an active-duty unit for other missions related to the War on Terrorism if needed, and marked only the second time a reserve-component unit has been called upon to perform the Sinai mission. As of mid-April 2002, the 1-186th was scheduled to train at Fort Carson, CO, for the last of its mobilization requirements in May, and formally assume the U.S. portion of the Multinational Force and Observers mission in July.
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