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1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment

The mission of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment is to conducts realistic combat focused training in order to prepare to conduct full-spectrum operations in the future.

The 23rd Infantry was first constituted on 26 June 1812 after hostilities broke out between the US and Great Britain in the War of 1812. The 23rd Infantry's role and participation in that conflict war was unclear and only known to those soldiers served in the war of 1812. After the war, Congress immediately began to downsize the Regular Army. The 23rd Infantry was absorbed into the 2nd Infantry, along with 6th, 16th, 22nd, and 32nd during the summer of 1815. One company of the 23rd went to each of the 4 battalions of the 2nd Infantry, and became part of that unit's lineage and honors.

The 23rd Infantry Regiment officialy traces its lineage to when it was first constituted as the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment on 3 May 1861 and then organized on 8 July 1861 at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut. 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry traces its lineage to A Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry. On 30 April 1862 the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry was redesignated as the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, with A Company, 1/14th Infantry becoming A Company, 2/14th Infantry. During the war 2/14th Infantry established an impressive record as a part of V Corps, the Army of the Potomac. The unit was given participation credit for the following campaigns: Peninsula, Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Virginia 1862, Virginia 1863, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg.

On 21 September 1866 the 14th Infantry Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 23rd Infantry Regiment. Concurrently, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was reorganized and redesignated as A Company, 23rd Infantry. The Regiment was stationed in several western states. Among these were Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, Kansas, and Texas. While assigned in these areas, the Regiment won the following campaign credits during the Indian Wars: Arizona 1866, Idaho 1868 and the Little Big Horn 1876.

With the advent of the Spanish American War, the 23rd Infantry, still located in the western United States, was called upon to participate in Admiral Dewey's attack on Manila. The Spanish defeat and the approaching cession of the Philippine Islands to the United States caused a rapid deterioration of Philippine American relations. During the ensuing native revolt, experience gained by the Regiment in the Indian Wars proved invaluable in suppressing the insurrection of the Philippine guerillas. Campaign credits awarded to the regiment during the Philippine insurrection were Manila, Malolos, Mindanao , Jolo, and Jolo 1903.

The Regiment returned home after the Philippines Campaign via the Suez Canal and the straits of Gibraltar, becoming the first United States Army regiment to circumnavigate the globe.

During World War I, the Regiment participated in 6 campaigns: Aisne, Lorraine 1918, Ile de France 1918, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. The 23rd Infantry had been assigned to the 2nd Division (subsequently redesignated as the 2nd Infantry Division) on 22 September 1917. Along with the 9th Infantry and the 5th Machine Gun Battalion, the Regiment assembled at Bourmont, France on 26 October 1917. The 2nd Infantry Division captured one fourth of the prisoners taken by the American Expeditionary Forces CAFF and suffered one tenth of the casualties. In return, the 2nd Infantry Division won more decorations than any other division.

In its first major campaign, the Regiment was rushed to Chateau Thierry to help halt and counterattack a full scale German drive on Paris. The historic battle of Belleau Woods followed this action. The month of July 1918 found the regiment in active fighting against German positions in Soissons, France. Moving through the sector, the Regiment performed a spectacular sweep that forced the enemy back along the front. After bitter fighting in the St. Mihiel sector the Regiment helped reduce the major military bastion of Blanc Mont. The capture of this strong point initiated the battles of the Argonne Forest. The Regiment then participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive which marked the beginning of a German rout, which ended in terminating the war.

Following the armistice, the Regiment remained with the Army of Occupation. In July 1919, the 23rd Infantry was reassigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas where it remained for the next 23 years.

In 1940, the 2nd Division was reorganized into a triangular division. The infantry units were placed into 3 regiments: the 9th Infantry, the 23rd Infantry, and the 38th Infantry. In 1942 the 23rd Infantry was moved to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for winter training and in October 1943 it left for Northern Ireland.

In April 1944, the Regiment moved to Wales as part of the First Army. The Regiment landed 7 June 1944 on the beach at St. Lauren-Sur-Mer under enemy fire. Handicapped by shortages of ammunition and transportation, their attack moved across the Aure River on 11 June 1944. The 2nd Infantry Division struck at the 3rd Parachute Division of the Wehrmacht in the Periginy St. George Delle-Iven sector. This was the beginning of the battle of the hedgerows and the bitter fight for Hill 192, an enemy strong point on the road-to St. Lo.

After seizing hill 192, the 2nd Infantry Division continued to push through Normandy and went on the capture Tincherbray. A short time later the Division was given the mission of liberating Brest, which was one of Germany's main submarine and naval stations. The garrison's defenses were reinforced by steel and concrete emplacements, under orders from Hitler to deny the port for 90 days, the Germans fought bitterly. After 39 days, characterized close house to house combat the Germans were defeated and Brest liberated.

Moving to a defensive sector along the Siegfried Line the division held its ground, vicinity of St. Vith, during the Ardennes break-through. Resuming the offensive in February and March 1945 the 2nd Infantry Division took the key German towns of Helenthal and Gemund. By the end of April 1945 the Regiment was inside Czechoslovakia. At the cessation of hostilities the Regiment was located in Pilsen.

Leaving LeHarve, France in July 1945, the Regiment proceeded to Camp Swift, Texas. In March 1946, the Regiment moved first to Camp Stoneman, California and then to Ft. Lewis, Washington. The 23rd Infantry remained with the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis until August 1950 when it departed for Korea.

In Korea the 23rd served initially as a "fire brigade type unit" and moved to counter enemy thrusts. Just after the 2nd Infantry Division relieved the 24th Infantry Division along the Naktong River, the communists attempted to overrun the Naktong Line. The attack was stopped in the Changyong-Yongsan sector in a battle, which lasted from 1 to 15 September 1950. The 23rd Infantry Regimental Combat Team joined the other combat teams of the 2nd Infantry Division and made a phenomenal break out of the perimeter against determined resistance and chased the communists north and west.

Moving north in November 1950, the Division had advanced to within 50 miles of the Manchurian border when the Chinese Communists entered the fight. Hoping to trap the Eighth United States Army northwest of the Chongchon River, the Chinese attacked by the thousands. The mission of the 23rd Infantry was to keep the withdrawal route open over the Chongchon River and protect the right rear flank of the Eighth Army. The Regiment suffered casualties amounting to nearly one third of their strength but performed its mission enabling the Eighth Army to execute an orderly withdraw.

The Chinese winter offensive was halted at Wanju. From Kunu-ri to Wonji the 23rd Infantry experienced 84 consecutive days of enemy contact, the longest stint of combat of any regiment during the Korean War. On 11 December 1950, a French Battalion, Le Batallion De Coree, was attached to the 23rd Infantry, for the Battles-of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong. In the epic battle of Twin Tunnels, the 23rd Regimental Combat Team routed the enemy at Bayonet point and defeated 2 regiments of the 125th Chinese Communist Division. 2844 enemy dead were counted in front of the Regiment's positions.

The 23rd Infantry then moved to Chipyong, where on the night of 13 February 1951 the enemy attacked employing 5 divisions. For 48 hours the attack continued with strikes on all sides of the perimeter. The outnumbered Regiment defeated the enemy force and counted over 5,000 enemy casualties around their positions.

In April and May 1951, the 2nd Infantry Division located on No Name Line halted the communist spring offensive. Following a spectacular defense struggle against 10 enemy divisions the 2nd Infantry Division launched a powerful counter-attack. In a 20 day period the units of the Division killed more than 65,000 enemy soldiers. The next major action the 23rd Infantry participated in was the battle of Heartbreak Ridge in September 1951. The 23rd Infantry fought for 30 days before they secured the ridge. The communist attack to retain control of Heartbreak Ridge lasted until the end of the following month, when finally the division was relieved for a well earned rest.

With truce talks being carried on at Panmunjon, the battle lines became relatively stabilized. In December 1951, the 2nd Infantry Division returned to the front by replacing the 25th Infantry Division until April 1952. In July 1952 the 2nd Infantry Division fought in the fierce battle for Old Baldy. On 4 January 1953 the 23rd Infantry moved to man the POW enclosures of Koje-do and Choju-do Islands off the coast of Korea.

The closing days of the war found the 23rd Infantry once again manning front line positions which included blocking operations on the Wyoming and Kansas Lines. The Regiment returned to the Kimhwa-Chorwon sector on 19 June 1953. On 27 July 1953, while defending outposts Tom, Dick, and Harry, the Korean ceasefire agreement was signed and the 23rd Infantry Regiment returned with the 2nd Infantry Division to Fort Lewis, Washington. During the Korean War the Regiment selected the nickname "Tomahawks," which it bears today.

After the Korean War, the 23rd Infantry Regiment returned to Fort Lewis and then was redeployed to Alaska in 1956. On 20 June 1957, A Company, 23rd Infantry was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 23rd Infantry, with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. The 1st Battle Group was relieved from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division on 16 December 1957. The 23rd Infantry Regiment itself was was relieved from assignment from the 2nd Infantry Division on 20 June 1958 and reorganized as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

1st Battle Group, 23rd Infantry was reorganized and redesignated on 25 January 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, and assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. By 1 July 1965, the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry was transferred to Korea to replace the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry. The Battalion occupied 4 compounds on the Korean DMZ and continued to guard against communist aggression from the north.

The 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry was finally deactivated on 16 December 1986. At the time it was part 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division stationed in Korea. 1-23rd Infantry was reactivated at Fort Lewis on 16 April 1995, where they became part of the point of spear of leading the Army into the 21st Century by being the first unit to begin the transformation to the medium weight brigade. It would later become part of a major restructing of the Army as part of what would become the Modular Force.

The decision behind the move to the modular force structure involved the concept that the world continued to evolve into a more dynamic, uncertain, and complex environment. Information technology advances had created powerful asymmetric threat options for potential adversaries, and continued to expand the potential nature and scope of future conflict. Faced with the reality of US military intervention, opposing forces would often seek to avoid US strengths by using asymmetric capabilities and use low technology to negate US high technology systems. These near- and mid-term threats included those surrounding conflicting regional interests and transnational criminal and ethnic groups. These threats, coupled with the rise of peer and potential major military competitors beyond 2015, significantly challenged American domestic and international interests.

The nature of the existing and emerging threats plus continued worldwide urbanization would make military operations in regions with weak infrastructure (especially roads, rail, bridges) and complex/urban terrain extremely likely. Threats in these locations were generally characterized by mid- to low-end industrial age forces equipped with limited heavy weaponry consisting of small numbers of early generation tanks and predominantly motorized Infantry. Other threats would include guerilla, paramilitary, special purpose forces, special police, and militia organizations. Regardless of the nature or origin of these threats, they would equip themselves with man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), mortars, mines, explosives, and machine guns, but would only be capable of limited duration and limited objective, high-tempo combat operations, but long-term, sustained unconventional, terrorist, and guerilla operations.

In response to these threats, the Chief of Staff of the Army implemented a force design plan to meet regional commanders-in-chief (CINCs) existing and future operational needs as understood at the time. These forces would provide a more strategically responsive capability for small-scale contingencies (SSC) that would not compromise major theater of war (MTW) requirements. They had to be able to function as a guarantor combat force in a stability operation or support operation (SASO), and with augmentation, fight as part of a division in a MTW. Most importantly, these forces would be built around Infantry with rapidly deployable organizations that capitalize on the integration of combat support systems, combined arms, and a flexible, mobile, and lethal force mix fueled by the human dimension.

In 2000, the Army began the transformation to the objective force by creating the first 2 initial brigades at Fort Lewis, Washington thereafter planning to transform additional forces to extend interim force capabilities. The Training and Doctrine Command developed the glide path that would take the Army from initial conversion of 2 brigades through to the objective force. The Brigade Combat Team optimized the tenets of its operational concept and organizational design by achieving the most effective balance of force projection and battle space dominance.

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division was to transform to a new type of brigade in the US Army, utilizing the Stryker family of light armored vehicles. 5-20th Infantry subsequently became part of the transforming 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Following its reorganization, 1-23rd Infantry's was authorized a total of 691 personnel.

More than 2 years in the making, the Army had its very first fully functional Stryker infantry battalion. In December 2002, after a 6-day mock mission at Fort Lewis that included urban combat and a thwarted chemical attack, the makeover of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment was all but complete. In May 2003, the entire 3,600-troop 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team would trek to Fort Polk, Louisiana, for a final exam to cap a 3-year, $1.2 billion first step in the Army's effort to create a more mobile, more lethal combat force.

In November 2003, 1-23rd Infantry deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. 1-23rd Infantry conducted full spectrum operations in Samarra, Tal Afar, and Mosul, Al Kutt, Al Hayy, Al Suwaria, and Yousifiah, Iraq. Upon return in November 2004, they immediately reset, trained, and prepared for the next deployment.

In June 2006, 1-23rd Infantry returned to Iraq, once again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. 1-23rd Infantry was selected to conduct operations in Baghdad, Iraq for a period of 13 months. 1-23rd Infantry encountered fierce opposition in the most dangerous neighborhoods of the capital city. 14 months into the deployment, 1-23rd Infantry participated in "Arrowhead Ripper" in Baqubah, Iraq, the self proclaimed Islamic Capital for Al Qaeda. In one month, 1-23rd Infantry cleared and secured western Baqubah, defeating Al Qaeda, and providing a safe environment for the Iraqi people. In September 2007, after 15 months, 1-23rd Infantry returned home to Fort Lewis, Washington.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:18:02 ZULU