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16th Infantry Regiment (United States)

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Title: 16th Infantry Regiment (United States)  
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16th Infantry Regiment (United States)

16th Infantry Regiment
Coat of arms
Active 1861 to present
Country USA
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Size 2 battalions
Garrison/HQ Fort Riley, Kansas
Nickname "New York's Own"
Motto "Semper Paratus" (special designation)[1]
March "Sidewalks of New York"

American Civil War

Indian Wars
Spanish-American War

Philippine–American War
World War I

World War II

Kosovo Campaign

Iraq Campaign
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation (5)
Valorous Unit Award
Army Superior Unit Award
French Croix de Guerre (4)
Distinctive unit insignia
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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15th Infantry Regiment 17th Infantry Regiment

The 16th Infantry Regiment ("Semper Paratus"[1]) is a regiment in the United States Army.



The 34th Infantry Regiment and 11th Infantry Regiment consolidated into the 16th Infantry Regiment on 3 March 1869. The 11th Infantry's history prior to the consolidation is normally included with the 16th's.

U.S. Civil War

The regiment took part in some of the hardest-fought battles of the war, including Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Wilderness, and Petersburg. They took significant losses during Gettysburg from a position between the Wheatfield and Devil's Den. Two battalions took part in the battle of Stones River under Maj. Adam J. Slemmer.

Following the Civil War the 16th took part in the reconstruction of the south and then performed duty on the frontier-the Indian Wars.

Spanish-American War

The 16th participated in the capture of San Juan Hill with the V Corps. The 16th later fought in the Philippine–American War. It fought 27 engagements with the greater part of its activities concentrated against the rebels in the Cagayan Valley.

Pancho Villa Expedition

In July 1912, the 16th Infantry returned from its second tour in the Philippines for duty at the Presidio of San Francisco. Two years later, the regiment was transferred with the 8th Brigade, commanded by “Black Jack” Pershing, to the Mexican Border to help secure it from Mexican bandits and paramilitary forces commanded by Francisco “Pancho” Villa. On arrival in April 1914, the regiment was posted to Camp Cotton in the city of El Paso. For the next two years, in addition to the normal garrison duties, the troops conducted foot patrols along the dusty Mexican border. In March 1916, Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, which, in turn, caused President Woodrow Wilson to order Pershing to take an expedition into Mexico to find Villa. Assembling a largely cavalry force, Pershing selected two infantry regiments to accompany the expedition, the 16th and 6th Infantry Regiments. The long march into the interior of Mexico was hot and dusty. After several weeks of movement between Colonia Dublan and El Valle, the 16th Infantry finally settled in the latter place in June. There the soldiers built mud brick huts for quarters and returned to a garrison routine, except for occasional patrols into the nearby mountains and valleys to hunt for rumored Villistas. Though the cavalry had several clashes with Villista and federal forces, the infantry had an uneventful eight months. In February 1917, Wilson recalled Pershing’s expedition from Mexico.

World War I

The 16th was one of four original regiments to form the 1st Expeditionary Division, later known as the 1st Infantry Division. Throughout WWI the 16th participated in every major 1st Division campaign. It was the first regiment to take combat casualties and engage German forces during the war.

On 4 July 1917, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, paraded through Paris. At Lafayette's tomb, one of General John J. Pershing's staff Lt. Col. Charles Stanton uttered the words, "Lafayette, we are here!"

On 4 October 1918, near Fleville, France, the 16th was the only Allied unit to take its objective during the opening drive of the coat of arms pattern from Fleville was later included in the 16th's regimental crest.

The 16th twice earned the Croix de Guerre, France's highest military honor, for actions at Soissons and Fleville. Today 16th Infantry soldiers wear the fourragère on their uniform.

In September 1919, the regiment returned to the United States and posted at Camp now Fort Dix, New Jersey. In 1920 the regiment was posted at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York and remained the U.S. Army's "show" regiment for New York City. Mayor La Guardia named the 16th "New York's own" and the "Sidewalks of New York" became the regimental song. The regiment would remain at Fort Jay until February 1941 when reassigned to Fort Devens, Massachusetts and later Camp Blanding, Florida for combat training prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

World War II

As at the onset of World War II, the 16th Regiment was one of the first mobilized for overseas duty. Still part of the 1st Infantry Division, the regiment took part in the landings in North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy. The US 16th Infantry Regiment's 1,700 soldiers were the first American infantry to land on the beaches of North Africa during Operation Torch. Fox Company, 2nd Battalion of the 16th Infantry was the first unit in the 1st Division to take part in an offensive operation when Fox Company supported by Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, and George Company, 3rd Battalion supported by tanks from 1st Armored assaulted the Le Senia Airfield just south of Oran, Algeria. The 400 Americans killed 270 German soldiers and captured 700 of them without loss.

At Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 1944

During the Battle of Kasserine Pass the 16th Infantry counter-attacked a line that had been left open by retreating units of the 26th Infantry Regiment. During Operation Husky (Invasion of Sicily) the 16th was the first American unit to land with heavy losses on the beach during the Amphibious Battle of Gela. On 15 July, elements of the 16th Infantry raced north to rescue units of the 82nd Airborne Division near Piano Lupo and engaged the Herman Goring Panzer Division resulting in heavy German losses. The regiment then moved north taking several key cities and towns before taking part in the battle of Troina. Following Sicily, the 16th Infantry took part in the invasion of Europe when they landed at Omaha beach. With the rest of the 1st Infantry Division the 16th Infantry Regiment fought its way across Europe, ending the war in Czechoslovakia.


The 16th Infantry Regiment served in the Vietnam War with the rest of the division from 1965 to 1970.

Gulf War

Desert Storm On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. This act precipitated U.S. military involvement in the Persian Gulf. The 5th Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment was put on alert for deployment on 8 November 1990.

At 2:00 am,17 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm commenced with air raids and artillery barrages on Iraqi targets. The regiment continued to rehearse its mission to penetrate Iraqi defenses and destroy the Republican Guard in its zone.

On the morning of 24 February 1991, under Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Rhame, the 1st Infantry Division spearheaded the armored attack into Iraq, by creating the breach in Iraqi defenses that enabled VII Corps units to smash into Iraq. The division broke through the enemy defensive lines, decimated the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division and took over 2,500 prisoners. After the beachhead was secured, the British 1st Armored Division was allowed to advance and pass through the 1st Infantry Division. This kept up the momentum of the coalition force's attack. 5th Battalion, 16th Infantry along with 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor as part of the 1st Infantry Division then followed and drove to the east deep into enemy territory.

Continuing its attack, the regiment collided with the Tawalakana Division Republican Guard and the 37th Brigade of the 12th Iraqi Tank Division. On the night of 26 February 1991, 1st Infantry Division battled with enemy forces and destroyed both units. Enemy losses included more than 40 tanks and 40 infantry fighting vehicles. The division exploited its success and continued its pursuit of the demoralized Iraqi forces.

Following the Battle of Norfolk, 5th Battalion, 16th Infantry raced ahead to cut of the Iraqi lines off retreat from Kuwait City. Division elements destroyed scores of enemy vehicles and took thousands of prisoners as they advanced.

By 8 pm, 27 February, the 1st Squadron, 4th U.S. Cavalry had seized the main highway leading north out of Kuwait, barring the Iraqis' escape. By the next morning, the rest of the division had taken up positions along the highway and fully secured it.

At 8 am, 28 February 1991, the war was over when a cease-fire was called. On 3 March 1991, negotiations were held between coalition forces and Iraqi leaders to cement the cease-fire agreements. The 5th Battalion, 16th Infantry with the 1st Infantry Division secured the site of the agreements at Safwan airfield. Following this, the division prepared for its return to the United States. On 10 May 1991, the division unfurled its colors at Fort Riley, Kansas, signifying its return home.


1st Battalion deployed to Bosnia in August 1999 through March 2000 along with supporting elements Fort Riley for peacekeeping operations. They were assigned under the 10th Mountain Division as part of SFOR 6. They were assigned primarily to Camp Dobol but also had elements assigned to Camp McGovern, Camp Demi and Camp Comanche.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

In August 2003 the 1st Battalion 16th Infantry deployed to Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq and returned to Ft. Riley, Kansas in October 2004. While in Iraq the battalion was attached to 82nd Airborne and then 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit. They fought in many skirmishes most notably the battle of Ramadi on 6 April 2004 with the First Marine Expeditionary Unit in order to establish peace in the city. In 2006 1st Battalion was split into three deployed companies and six training companies. A Company served in Africa while B Company and C Company served in Iraq respectively. D Company, I Company, K Company, L Company, M Company, N Company all took up the mission of training and deploying MiTTs. In 2008 K Company became HHC while D Company became B Company and M Company became C Company (Bandido Charlie). During fiscal year 2009 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry will begin its transformation back to a regular unit and begin training to be deployed in the future.

16th Infantry Regiment soldiers in Baghdad in March 2007

The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment was stood up in 2005 under the new expeditionary brigade doctrine as part of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich. In February 2007, 2nd Battalion deployed to eastern Baghdad as part of the Iraq Surge. They were attached to 2d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division and later 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. They were sent to pacify four of the most violent neighborhoods in Baghdad, controlled by Al-Qaeda and the Jayessh Al-Mahdi. They assisted in the creation of literacy programs, refurbishment of schools and the installation of sewage systems, suppressing the insurgent threat using an experimental platform based on small teams and unconventional tactics. Ultimately, their section of Baghdad would become the quietest sector in the city, but 2nd Battalion suffered 14 killed in action and many more wounded. The 2nd Battalion was also featured in the US Army's new recruiting campaign "Army Strong".

The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment returned to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11 on 1 September 2009 under the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. It replaced the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment in Bayji, Iraq in an advise & assist role, supporting the 4th Iraqi Infantry Division as well as the local governments in its area of operations. The battalion redeployed to Fort Riley, Kansas in late April – early May 2010 with the exception of Alpha Company, which remained until August.

Notable members

Crossing Weser river in April 1945.

Medals of Honor

The following were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving in the 16th
Name Location Date
CPT James M. Cutts The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Petersburg May–Oct 1864
1LT John H. Patterson The Wilderness 5 May 1864
SGT Henry F. Schroeder Carig, Philippine Islands 14 Sep 1900
1LT Jimmie W. Monteith Colleville-sur-Mer, France 6 June 1944
Tech5 John J. Pinder, Jr. Colleville-sur-Mer, France 6 June 1944
TSGT Jake W. Lindsey Hamich, Germany 16 Nov 1944
SGT Alfred B. Nietzel Heistern, Germany 18 Nov 1944
PVT Robert T. Henry Luchem, Germany 3 Dec 1944
SGT James W. Robinson, Jr. Near Courtenay Plantation, Viet Nam 11 Apr 1966
PSGT Matthew Leonard Soui Da, Viet Nam 28 Feb 1968

Unit decorations

In Hurtgen Forest, February 1945

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered MATEUR, TUNISIA
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered SICILY
Presidential Unit Citation (Army) Streamer embroidered NORMANDY
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered HURTGEN FOREST
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered HAMICH, GERMANY
Valorous Unit Award Streamer embroidered AL ANBAR PROVINCE
Army Superior Unit Award Streamer embroidered 2006–2009
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War I, Streamer embroidered AISNE-MARNE
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War I, Streamer embroidered MEUSE-ARGONNE
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered KASSERINE
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY
French Médaille militaire, Fourragère
Belgian Fourragère 1940
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Mons
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Eupen-Malmedy
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1965–1968
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1969
Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1965–1970
B Co has also been awarded
2x Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRAQ SEP 2006-AUG 2007

In popular culture

  • The 16th Infantry was the featured unit in the motion picture The Big Red One.
  • The 16th is also the regiment Fox Company of the game Call of Duty 2: Big Red One.
  • The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry unit was featured in the book The Good Soldiers by David Finkel.
  • The 1st Battle Group, 16th Infantry, was filmed in beach landing in 1961 in "The Longest Day."


  1. ^ a b "Special Unit Designations".  
  2. ^ "An Ordinary Boy's Extraordinary Rage". Washington Post. 2 July 1995. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Gail Lumet Buckley (2002). American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm. Random House Digital, Inc.  
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

External links

  • 16th Infantry Regimental Association
  • Innovation in Integration: Task Force Iron Ranger and Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan 2010-11

by Craig Whiteside

1st Battalion

  • 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry ("Iron Rangers") on Ft. Riley's web site
  • 1st Battalion Lineage Honors at the United States Army Center of Military History
  • The U.S. Army's only officially Named Company C 1–16 INF
  • The short film STAFF FILM REPORT 66-1 (1966) is available for free download at the Internet Archive []

2nd Battalion

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