120th Infantry Regiment (United States)

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120th Infantry Regiment
120InfRegtCOA.png
Coat of arms
Active 1917-present
Country United States
Branch North Carolina Army National Guard
Type Infantry
Role Mechanized Infantry
Headquarters Wilmington, North Carolina
Nickname Third North Carolina (special designation)[1]
Motto Virtus Incendit Vires (Virtues Kindles Strength)
Engagements American Civil War
-Bethel
-North Carolina 1862
-Gettysburg
-Wilderness
-Spotsylvania
-Petersburg
-Appomattox
World War I
-Ypres-Lys
-Flanders
World War II
-Normandy
-Northern France
-Rhineland
-Ardennes-Alsace
-Central Europe
Iraq Campaign
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 120th Infantry Regiment DUI - 2.png

The 120th Infantry Regiment ("Third North Carolina"[1]) is an infantry regiment of the United States Army National Guard.

The unit is an organic element of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the North Carolina Army National Guard. Currently, 1st Battalion is the only active battalion in the regiment and is organized as a combined arms battalion under the Brigade Unit of Action table of organization and equipment. The 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment (1/120th IN) is headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment was most famous for its actions in the Battle of Mortain (German: Operation Lüttich), repelling a German advance and preserving an American breakout from 7-13 August 1944. The 2/120th's actions sustained the American initiative as Allied forces pushed through Northern France after the Normandy invasion.

Distinctive unit insignia[edit]

The 120th Infantry Regiment's distinctive unit insignia, approved on 28 June 1928, consists of a gold metal and enamel device 1 5/32 inches (2.94 cm) in height overall, consisting of a shield blazoned azure, in pale a prickly pear cactus and the entrance to the canal tunnel over the St. Quentin Canal. Attached below the shield is a blue scroll inscribed VIRTUS INCENDIT VIRES ("Virtue Kindles Strength") in gold.

The shield is blue for infantry. The cactus represents service on the Mexican border as the 3rd Infantry, North Carolina National Guard. The tunnel symbolizes the mouth of the tunnel in the Hindenburg Line at Bellicourt, France, captured by the 120th Infantry on 29 September 1918.

Recent history[edit]

The 1/120th, known as the "Tusk Hogs," was deployed to combat for the first time in nearly 60 years in early 2004 as part of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard. In Iraq, the 30th HBCT served under the 1st Infantry Division. Brigade headquarters was at FOB Caldwell, east of Baghdad, while the 1/120th battalion headquarters and Charlie Company was based (for most of the deployment) at FOB Bernstein, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk. The brigade, including the 120th, redeployed Dec. 2004 - Feb. 2005.

On 6 June 2004 - 60 years after the D-Day invasion - soldiers of the 1/120th were awarded right-shoulder unit patches signifying wartime service.

The 1/120th lost four soldiers during the 2004 deployment: Spc. Jocelyn Carrasquillo (HHC, 1/120th, 13 MAR 2004, Baghdad), Cpt. Christopher S. Cash (Commander, Alpha Company, 1/120th, 24 JUN 2004, Baqubah); Spc. Daniel A. Desens Jr. (Alpha Company, 1/120th, 24 JUN 2004, Baqubah); and Staff Sgt. Michael S. Voss (HHC, 1/120th, 8 OCT 2004, near Kirkuk).

The Tusk Hogs were again called to serve in late 2008. Following training at Camp Shelby, Miss., and Fort Stewart, Ga., the 1st Battalion (Combined Arms), 120th Infantry Regiment deployed with the 30th HBCT to central Iraq in early 2009, this time under the 1st Cavalry Division. The 120th redeployed with the 30th HBCT in January–February 2010.

Notable members[edit]

Francis S. Currey earned the Medal of Honor for his actions as a Sergeant in Company K, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. On 21 December 1944, in Malmedy, Belgium, Currey repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire to attack the German forces and rescue five comrades who had been pinned down by enemy fire. He was awarded the Medal of Honor eight months later, on 17 August 1945.

Paul Luther Bolden earned the Medal of Honor as a Staff Sergeant in Company I, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. On 23 DEC 44, at Petit-Coo, Belgium, he and another soldier advanced on a German-held house. While his comrade provided covering fire from across the street, Bolden tossed grenades through a window, rushed to the door, and began firing. Wounded by the greatly superior number of German soldiers inside, he retreated from the house. Realizing that the Germans would not surrender, he returned to the house despite his serious wounds and killed the remaining soldiers. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor eight months later, on 30 August 1945.

Jack James Pendleton earned the Medal of Honor as a Staff Sergeant in Company I, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. On 12 OCT 44, in Bardenberg, Germany, Pendleton voluntarily led his squad in an attack against an enemy machine gun. After being seriously wounded, he continued forward alone, purposely drawing the machine gun's fire so that another squad could advance and destroy the enemy position. Killed by the intense fire from the machine gun, Pendleton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on 6 April 1945.

Newscaster David Brinkley served with the 120th Infantry Regiment before and during the early stages of the U.S. involvement in World War II. He was discharged for a medical condition, which prevented him from serving in the war.

Author J.D. Salinger, then a member of the 4th Infantry Division, is believed to have been at Mortain, France, for the battle of 7-13 August 1944. His unit was briefly attached to the 30th Infantry Division and worked with the 2/120th in preserving the American advances after the Normandy invasion.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Special Designation Listing". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  • "120th Infantry Regiment" The Institute of Heraldry website. [1]
  • "The Army Lineage Book Volume II: Infantry" Department of the Army.
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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