5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment
The 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, was originally constituted on 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as Company E, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry and organized on 8 September 1865 near Richmond, Virginia. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 6 December 1866 as Company E, 20th Infantry. In the meantime, the 20th Infantry became assigned on 9 July 1918 to the 10th Division. The unit was relieved on 14 February 1919 from assignment to the 10th Division and reassigned on 18 September 1920 to the 2nd Division.
The 20th Infantry Regiment was relieved on 16 October 1939 from assignment to the 2nd Division and reassigned to the 6th Division, later redesignated as the 6th Infantry Division. The 20th Infantry Regiment inactivated on 10 January 1949 in Korea.
The unit was reactivated on 4 October 1950 at Fort Ord, California. The 20th Infantry Regiment was relieved on 3 April 1956 from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division. The unit was inactivated on 15 November 1957 in the Canal Zone and was concurrently redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Battle Group, 20th Infantry Regiment.
The unit was redesignated on 22 June 1960 as Company E, 20th Infantry Regiment. It was reactivated on 24 June 1960 in Korea and inactivated there on 1 January 1966. It reactivated on 25 September 1967 in Vietnam, and was inactivated there on 1 February 1969. It once again was reactivated on 30 June 1971 in Vietnam, being inactivated again on 16 August 1972.
On 16 August 1986 the unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, and assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. It was activated in Korea on the same date with its organic elements were concurrently constituted and activated.
The Battalion was relieved on 16 August 1995 from assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division and was reassigned to the 25th Infantry Division, where it served as part of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. It was relieved on 16 September 2000 from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division and reassigned back to the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis Washington as part of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry was to receive a battalion to replace the 5-20th Infantry in the spring of 2002.
In 2000, the Army began the transformation to the objective force by creating the first 2 initial Brigade Combat Team Unit of Actions at Fort Lewis, Washington. It would then transform additional forces to extend interim force capabilities. 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 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, 5-20th Infantry's was authorized a total of 691 personnel.
Infantrymen from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment were the first soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division to enter combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 15 December 2003 the Battalion then rolled through the city of Samarra at intervals throughout the day. In the morning, Company C made the first trip through their part of the city. They stopped vehicles and quelled a disturbance at a gas station..
Company B rolled into their part of town and encountered contact. As they drove through the city, Soldiers saw a large flock of pigeons take flight. The pigeons were apparently used as a signal to announce the arrival of the Soldiers in Stryker infantry vehicles Moments later, 2 men on a motorcycle, firing automatic weapons used children leaving school as cover to attack the patrol. Soldiers, in consideration of the children and a nearby mosque, employed snipers to target the attackers and successfully suppressed the enemy's ability to inflict damage. The attackers fled as the patrol continued their movement through the city.
A short distance later the patrol was attacked again by automatic weapons fire from a group using an overgrown field for cover. In a simultaneous action attackers detonated an improvised explosive device to the south of the patrol. The patrol was then inundated by fire when, in a continuing coordinated effort, the patrol was attacked by former regime elements using rocket propelled grenades coming from the west and mortar fire that emanated from the north. The enemy's attack was ineffective, causing neither casualties nor damage to any vehicle.
The sound of automatic fire could be heard as they engaged the enemy head on. Soldiers radioed a nearby patrol and requested support. Company A Soldiers responded and moved towards the embattled patrol. Both US elements fought through the ambush and eliminated the threat. Snipers from "Attack" Company took positions on the roof near a casualty collection point.
At the end of the day, a company commander confirmed that 11 attackers were killed. After confirmation, Samarran residents moved the attackers' bodies from the area. There were no coalition casualties during the firefight. Except for a civilian automobile that was damaged by a rocket-propelled grenade, there was no damage to any other property or equipment.
In October 2004, the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment returned to Fort Lewis, Washington along with the other elements of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
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