Infantry Regimental History
Infantry Regiment has performed 130 years of service to the nation a
of honor, devotion to duty and patriotic. Solders of today’s 16th
Inf. Reg. follow in the footsteps of thousands of your countrymen whoth
Inf. Colors since its
organization on the 6th
of April 1869. Company C of the
battalion has the distinction of being the most decorated unit in the
1861, as the Civil War swept across the land, the 11th Inf.
organized at Fort Independence,
as part of the Army of the Potomac. During the
bloody years that followed, the regiment took part in some of the
fought battles of the war while being assigned to V Corp, including Manassas,
Antietam, Fredricksburg, Chancellorville, Spotsylvania,
Cold Harbor, Wilderness, Gettysburg
and Petersburg. While
the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Div., 5th Corps
regiment fought one of its most celebrated battles at Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. On 3 July 1863, during fighting
in a wheat field, and
a battle scarred rock outcropping known as the “Devil’s Den”, the
50 percent of its effective strength attempting to hold back
Confederates. There were few of those
sworn in at Fort Independence
left to make the regiment’s last charge when it closed the ring around
weary confederates at Petersburg.
Three of the regiments’ members, Sgt. Maj. Augustus Barry, 1Lt. John
and Cpt. James M. Cutts earned the regiment’s first three Medals of
during Civil War actions.
the Civil War, the 11th Infantry served with the Army of
in the South until 6 April 1869 when it merged with the 34th
form the 16th Inf. Reg. Sgt. Maj. Augustus Barry became the
Inf.’s first sergeant major with Col. G. Pennypacker as the first
the 16thth remained in the South as part
of the Army of Occupation until 1877, when it was recalled to combat.
westward expansion had caused conflict with the Indians so the 16th
went West, serving briefly at Fort
between campaigns against the Ute and Cheyenne Indians. At Pine Ridge, the regiment fought its most significant
action in the long and arduous task of keeping the westward road of America’s
1898, the regiment was transported across half a continent to board
ships at Tampa, Florida,
for service against the Spanish in
the advance on Santiago, 1 July 1898, the lead element
and refused to advance past a well-placed Spanish ambush. The soldiers
16th had to surge through and establish the forward lines.
troops deployed for the assault, B.Gen. Hawkins rode out front and
“Boys, the time has come. Every man who loves his country, forward and
lieutenant ordered Sgt. Henry Schroeder, the regimental bugler, to
charge to attack the fort atop the hill. With fixed bayonets, the
pushed the Spaniards off the hilltop. A new chapter of honor was added
Sgt. Diehl and Cpl. Van Horne raised our flag on the fort’s
block-house. The 16th
lost seven officers and 112 enlisted men to the Spanish artillery while
crossing the San Juan River. The 16th
pressure and continued forward, after capturing the San
toward the Spanish garrison which surrendered at Santiago
on 14 July 1898.
regiment returned with the rest of 5th Corps to the U.S.
less than a month later, less than half of the original strength
to combat casualties, increased sickness, and the danger of a yellow
sailed to the Philippines
in 1899 to help quell the Filipino Insurgents. PSgt. Henry Schroeder,
regimental bugler in Cuba,
won the Medal of Honor for his actions at Carig, Philippine Islands on 14 Sep 1900, in he lead 22
in the defeat of 400 insurgents, killing 36 and wounding 90. Schroeder
received a commission and commanded the 2nd Battalion after
1901, the 16th returned to the U.S.,
serving in South Dakota
1906 when it was again dispatched to the Philippines.
After quelling unrest on the island
of Leyte, the regiment
1907. In 1910, the 16th was sent to Alaska
to assist in keeping public order in Alaskan gold fields. In 1912, the
was assigned to the Presidio of San Francisco where it remained until
broke out along the Mexican border. From March 1916 to January 1917, the 16th campaigned with Bgen.
John J. Purshing as part of the Punitive Expedition into Mexico
against Pancho Villa. The campaign was unsuccessful in its efforts to
and punish Pancho Villa for his lawless activities, specifically his
provocative raid on Columbus, New
Mexico, on 9 March 1916. This campaign, however, allowed the
regiment to test
its new infantry weapons and use of motorized transport.
regiment made such a strong impression on B.Gen. Purshing that he
ordered it to
be the first American unit sent to France
the following year. Having sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey, the 16th
Inf. landed at St. Nazarine, France, at the end of June 1917, as part
of the 1st
Expeditionary Forces, later redesignated as the 1st Inf.
to being committed to battle, the 16th Inf. Reg. Was trained
47th French Division of the Chasseurs Alpines, the “Blue
the Gondrecourt area in July 1917. The 2nd Battalion
served as B.Gen. Purshing’s “Guard of Honor” when he entered Paris,
the occasion on which he remarked, “Lafayette,
we are here.” Later, while occupying a section of trenches near
the 16th became the first U.S.
regiment to fight in World War I when it repelled a German night raid
on 3 November 1917.
In the months that
followed, the 16th twice earned the Croix de Guerre, France’s
highest military honor, for actions at Soissons
and Fleville. The regiment’s gallant action at Fleville in the Argonne
Forest region on 4 October 1918 was its
causing the 4th of October to be celebrated annually as the
Organization Day. The French government later erected a monument at Meurthe-et-Moselle,
first three 16th Inf. Reg. soldiers killed during the German
raid, with the inscription: “Here lie the first soldiers of the Great
fallen on French soil for Justice and Liberty..”
August 1919, the 16th returned to the U.S.,
serving at Fort Jay,
Governor’s Island, New York.
In the 20 years that followed, the regiment remained at Fort
Jay where it became
known as “New York’s own”
and adopted the popular “Sidewalks of New
York” as its regimental song. The 16th moved to Fort
from New York on 19 November 1939. As war
gathered once again in Europe, the 16th
back to its state of origin, joining the rest of the 1st
at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
August 1942, the 16th Inf. Reg. sailed from New
York City abroad the Queen Mary
for Gourok, Scotland.
By 9 August 1942
regiment had moved into Tidworth Barracks in southern England.
The 16th Inf. combat record in World War II is exceeded by
no other U.S.
unit. It was among the first American units to engage Hitler’s “Africa
in Northern Africa, during Operation Torch, the
combat operation of the 16th Inf. in World War II. During
fighting in the Kasserine Pass the 16th earned its third
‘Croix de Guerre’ for its role in stopping the German counterattack
nearly destroyed the U.S. II Corps. At Matuer,
the 16th again distinguished itself, earning its first
Unit Citation. On 10 July 1943,
at Gela, Sicily,
the regiment earned its second Presidential Unit Citation by stopping a
Panzer Division and spearheading a subsequent assault deep into the
heartland during Operation Husky. On Omaha Beach,
Normandy, 6 June 1944, the 16th
earned its third
Presidential Unit Citation during Operation Overlord. That same day,
Fifth Grade John Pinder and 1stLt. Jimmie Montieth each earned and
Medal of Honor at Colleville-sur-Mer for their roles in getting
across the fire swept beaches. For its exceptional valor in the
Campaign, the 16th was awarded its forth French Croix de
Fourragere, thus being awarded the
French Medaille Militaire Fourragere, the highest honor ever bestowed
foreign unit by the government of France.
September 1944, the 16th entered Belgium,
earning the Belgium Fourragere and two citations of the Belgium Army
exceptional gallantry at Mons
Malmedy. The following month the 16th entered Germany,
taking part in the capture of Aachen,
the first German city to be captured by American forces during World
War II. In the Hurtgen Forest of Hamich, T.Sgt. Jake
Lindsey earned the regiment’s seventh Medal of Honor and the 16th
was awarded its forth Presidential Unit Citation. Only two weeks later,
the “Battle of the Bulge”
Robert Henry gave his life to earn the Medal of Honor as his regiment
awarded its fifth Presidential Unit Citation. ‘Never before or since
has a U.S.
unit been more decorated for valor.
of the 16th’s assault landings during World War II, at Algeria,
Sicily, and Normandy
the regiment stormed the beaches alongside the 2ndth
were constantly mistaken by observers and newsmen as
Ranger units. After the war, the name stuck and to this day, men of the
are referred to as “RANGERS”, the only non-Ranger unit in the U.S Army
such a distinction. Ranger Battalion.
In each case it took its objective with such speed and dash that the
of the 16
the war, the 16th remained in Germany for 10 years,
1955 to Fort Riley as part of Operation Gyroscope, a post it had not
its Indian campaigns nearly a century before. A change took place
Army and the 16th Inf. on 15 February 1957 with the advent of the Army’s
being emplaced. The 1st Inf. Div. three regiments, the 16th
Inf. being one of those, was reorganized into five “combat groups”,
16th was relieved from assignment to the 1st Inf.
and reorganized as a parent regiment. Shortly thereafter the name
group” was changed to “battle group”. With this new concept being
4th Bn., 16th Inf. was established and
inactivated on 15 February
1957. Other units of the
16th served in the Army Reserve.
Inf. served in Viet-Nam and was deployed to Saudi
Arabia in Support of Operation Desert
Shield/Desert Storm. The 16th continues to serve our country
proud tradition of its predecessors of years gone by. Our colors, heavy
battle streamers and citations, wave proudly in testimony to our
dedication to the defense of our nation.