20th Infantry Regiment (United States)

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20th Infantry Regiment
Active 1862
Country  United States
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Role Stryker infantry (5th BN)
Nickname "Sykes Regulars" (special designation)[1]
Motto Tant Que Je Puis
Engagements American Civil War;
Indian Wars
War with Spain
Philippine–American War
World War II
Vietnam War
Iraqi War
Afghanistan War
Commanders
Current
commander
LTC Douglas R. Walter (5th BN)
Notable
commanders
John W. Heavey
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 20 INF DUI.png
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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19th Infantry Regiment 21st Infantry Regiment

The 20th Infantry Regiment ("Sykes' Regulars"[1]) is a United States Army infantry regiment. Currently only the 5th Battalion of the 20th Infantry still exists. Stationed at Fort Lewis, WA and part of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, 5-20 Infantry was one of the original battalions selected to take part in the testing and fielding of the Army's new Stryker vehicle.

History[edit]

Creation[edit]

It was organized on 6 June 1862 at Fort Independence (Massachusetts), as the 2nd Battalion of the 11th Infantry, one of the nine "three-battalion" regiments of regulars, each battalion containing eight companies of infantry, in contrast to the original ten regular regiments of infantry, which were organized on the traditional ten-company line. The 20th Infantry was first lead by General George Sykes in the Battle of Bull Run.

Following the US Civil War, the Army was reorganized by Congress in July 1866, and the 11th was divided into three regiments, each battalion receiving two additional companies and being organized along traditional lines. The 1st Battalion retained the designation of the 11th Infantry, while the 2nd Battalion became the 20th Infantry and the 3rd Battalion the 29th Infantry.

Vietnam[edit]

The 1st Battalion deployed to Vietnam from Hawaii as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade on December 18th, 1967. The Battalion was organized as a light infantry formation. The Battalion served in the vicinity of Đức Phổ, Đông Hà, Chu Lai, and The Loi.
A separate element of the Regiment, Company E, 20th Infantry was deployed from September 25th, 1967 through February 1st, 1969 to serve as the Long Range Patrol element for the I Field Force and the 4th Infantry Division. Company E's second tour was June 30th, 1971 through August 16th, 1972 as a rifle security company in support of the 71st Transportation Battalion and the logistics base at Long Binh.[2]

Cold War[edit]

The 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment ("Sykes' Regulars") was redesignated on 16 August 1986 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry (Mechanized) assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division on Camp Casey, Korea. From 1986 to 1995 the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry (Mechanized) were responsible for conducting patrol missions along the Korean DMZ during the Cold War. Once the Cold War ended the battalion was pulled off of their permanent position along the DMZ, and conducted stability and support operations (SASO) throughout South Korea. In 1995, the battalion was reassigned to Fort Lewis, and the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry replaced them at Camp Casey.

Transformation[edit]

The Army’s evaluation of Desert Storm and operations in the Balkans recognized the need for a rapidly deployable organization that could fill the operational gap between initially deployed light forces, which lack staying power, and the slower deploying heavy armored forces. The Army’s answer, first called interim brigade combat team (IBCT), is today the Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT). A SBCT is an infantry brigade mounted on some three hundred Stryker vehicles. This designation was a direct result of the Army’s concept of a medium weight, rapid deployable unit that was designed to project power with a sustainable fighting force. A Stryker is a 19-ton wheeled armored vehicle that is mounted in eleven different configurations with significant upgrades in firepower. Capable of being transported in a C-130 aircraft, this new weapon is the future of the modular Army.

The transformation began in 1999 with the conversion of the 3rd BDE, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, WA to the Army’s first Stryker brigade. As part of the reorganization, the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, who at that time was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, was chosen to lead the transformation process. Thus, the unit was reassigned from the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. As a result of the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment’s results in their transformation into a Stryker battalion on 1 February 2001, the unit was awarded the Army Superior Unit Award.

Iraq[edit]

Sykes' Regulars have deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment deployed to Iraq (OIF 2 & 3) from November 2003 to October 2004 with seven brother battalions, the 1st Battalion 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion 3rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 296th Brigade Support Battalion and the 276th Engineer Battalion. Also fighting alongside 5th Battalion were: the 18th Engineer Company; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division; 209th Military Intelligence Company; 334th Signal Company; Company C, 52nd Infantry Regiment; 1060th Tactical Psyops Detachment; and 1290th Tactical Psyops Detachment. On 15 December 2003 the battalion then rolled through the City of Samarra at intervals throughout the day.

Soldiers of Charlie Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry took part in Operation Sykes Hammer and patrolled the streets of Tal Afar, August 2004. They worked with the Iraqi National Guard in executing cordon and search operations in the neighborhoods of Tal Afar, which was successful in detained personnel, weapons and propaganda materials. In one year, the battalion operated in a larger area than what they had expected prior to coming to Iraq. The 3rd Brigade as a whole were called on to support major operations when violence heated up in Al Kut, Tal Afar and Najaf.

After coming home and going through their second reset the infantrymen of 5th Battalion deployed with the 3rd BDE, 2nd Infantry Division from June 2006 to October 2007.

Sykes' Regulars deployed from Ft. Lewis, WA to Camp Buehring, Kuwait. While at Camp Buehring Charlie Company was detached to 1-14 CAV. Task Force 1-14 later deployed from Camp Buerhing to Baghdad, Iraq where they spent the deployment bringing stability and security to the capital city. The rest of the Regulars deployed from Camp Buerhing to Mosul, Iraq relieving the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment (Buffaloes) of the 172nd Infantry Brigade (SBCT). While in Mosul, Task Force 5-20 Infantry was responsible for western Mosul, Hammam Al-Alil, and the rural area west of Mosul. While in Mosul Bronco Troop, 1-14 CAV became task organized to 5-20 Infantry in Kuwait in exchange for Charlie Company. In November 2006 the Regulars received orders to move from Mosul to Baghdad. In late November 2006, TF 5-20 Infantry conducted a ground assault convoy from Mosul to Taji, Iraq.

Immediately upon arriving to Taji, the TF 5-20 Infantry launched into al-Anbar province to conduct search and rescue operations in support of a downed aircraft. TF 5-20 Infantry returned to Baghdad and began extensive operations throughout MND-B under 3-2 SBCT, 2-2 IBCT, and other MND-B maneuver forces. During Operation Arrowhead Strike, TF 5-20 Infantry worked with the units from 2-2 IBCT, marking the first time since the Korean War that two brigades from the 2nd Infantry Division operated jointly in combat operations.

In March 2007, the Regulars moved to FOB Warhorse located within the volatile Diyala Province in support of Operation Orange Justice. During this operation, TF 5-20 Infantry, working under 3-1 CAV BDE, grew to include Apache and Bone Companies 1-12 CAV. This task force cleared terrorists from Baqubah.

In June 2007, 3-2 SBCT, with 5-20 Infantry leading the way conducted a RIP/TOA (relief in place / transfer of authority) with 3-1 HBCT and assumed responsibility for Baqubah. This change in leadership lead to Operation Arrowhead Ripper, during which through close fighting and the employment of joint firepower, TF 5-20 Infantry routed al-Qaeda from Baqubah. During this time the Regulars, in addition to their combat duties, conducted humanitarian missions to help the citizens of Baqubah. Simultaneously while conducting humanitarian aid to the citizens of Baqubah, the TF 5-20 Infantry also conducted SASO to promote the confidence and proficiency of the Iraqi Security Forces stationed in the area.

The Regulars of 5th Battalion returned home over the span of three months beginning in August 2007. The last Regular returned to Fort Lewis on 7 November 2007.

Upon redeployment to Ft. Lewis, WA, LTC Bruce P. Antonia relinquished command to LTC Mitchell L. Rambin on 7 November 2007. After a period of reset and re-integration, the Regulars' Attack Company and battalion headquarters were tasked with representing the United States at the annual Cooperative Spirit exercise at Hohenfels, Germany in September 2008. These Regular elements trained alongside other units from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Following this, the Regulars began a series of training events at Ft. Lewis and Yakima Training Center to prepare them for their upcoming deployment, culminating in platoon live-fire exercises at Yakima in February 2009. Immediately following, the Sykes’ Regulars headed to the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA to conduct their final training event before deployment.

In August 2009, TF 5-20 IN deployed once again from Ft. Lewis, WA to Camp Buerhing, Kuwait for their third deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. After receiving their equipment and training, the task force headed north to FOB Warhorse in the Diyala Province of Iraq. Immediately, Rock Company moved out to the Diyala Media Center Combat Outpost (COP) to begin their relief in place of the outgoing unit. On 3 September 2009, 5-20 IN conducted a RIP/TOA (relief in place / transfer of authority) with 1-5 IN Bobcats from Ft. Wainwright, AK. That same day the battalion suffered its first casualties of the deployment; SSG Todd Selge and SGT Jordan Shay, both of Attack Company, were killed conducting combat operations in Baqubah, Iraq.

In September, the Regulars more than doubled the size of their battlespace when they conducted a RIP with 2-8 FA, also from Ft. Wainwright, AK. In October, Attack Company and C/52 IN moved out east towards the Iranian border to conduct a RIP/TOA with TF 3-66 AR. On 1 Nov 2009, Attack and C/52 IN assumed responsibility for the Balad Ruz Qada. On 1 December 2009, the Diyala Media Center COP was officially relinquished to the Local Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) marking a significant step in returning control of local infrastructure to the Iraqi Government. In February 2010, Attack Company moved back to FOB Warhorse and FOB Caldwell was turned over to the ISF, marking another significant step in the drawdown of US forces in Iraq.

In March 2010, the Regulars oversaw the successful second free parliamentary elections in Iraq. In April 2010, Command Sergeant Major (CSM) William Gentry conducted a change of responsibility with CSM Joseph Dallas. CSM Dallas returned to the Regulars after working at the brigade as the Operations Sergeant Major. In May, the Regulars took over additional battlespace when they conducted a RIP/TOA with 2-3 IN Patriots and assumed control of the Muqdadiyah Qada. On 11 June 2010 two more Regulars were killed conducting combat operations in Jalula, Iraq: SGT Israel O’Bryan and SPC William Yauch. In July 2010, the Regulars began their redeployment to home station with the final Regulars’ soldiers landing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on 6 August 2010. The official RIP/TOA with 2-21 IN Gimlets from Schofield Barracks, HI took place on 25 July 2010. In the end, the Regulars had conducted four reliefs in place and assumed five separate battalions' battlespaces while helping train ISF to maintain security and working closely with ISF to increase government and civil capacity. In addition, their efforts were instrumental in conducting the second free parliamentary election in Iraq's history.

On 14 September 2010, the 5-20 IN colors were officially uncased during the brigade welcome home ceremony. On 29 September 2010, the Regulars bid farewell to LTC Mitchell L. Rambin after his three years as battalion commander and welcomed LTC Steven J. Soika as the incoming commander.

Afghanistan[edit]

Dec:2011-Dec:2012 Kandahar, Afghanistan OEF 2011-2012

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as the 2d Battalion, 11th Infantry
  • Organized 6 June 1862 at Fort Independence, Massachusetts
  • Reorganized and redesignated 6 December 1866 as the 20th Infantry
  • Assigned 9 July 1918 to the 10th Division
  • Relieved 14 February 1919 from assignment to the 10th Division
  • Assigned 18 September 1920 to the 2d Division
  • Relieved 16 October 1939 from assignment to the 2d Division and assigned to the 6th Division (later redesignated as the 6th Infantry Division)
  • Inactivated 10 January 1949 in Korea
  • Activated 4 October 1950 at Fort Ord, California
  • Relieved 3 April 1956 from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division
  • Reorganized 15 November 1957 as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System
  • Withdrawn 16 August 1986 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System
  • Redesignated 16 August 1986 as Headquarters and Headquarter Company 5 Battalion 20 Infantry (Mechanized) assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea

Campaign participation credit[edit]

  • Civil War: Peninsula; Manassas; Antietam; Fredericksburg; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Wilderness; Spotsylvania; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Virginia 1862; Virginia 1863
  • Indian Wars: Little Big Horn; Pine Ridge
  • War with Spain: Santiago
  • Philippine–American War: Manila; Luzon 1901
  • World War II: New Guinea; Luzon (with arrowhead)
  • Vietnam: Counteroffensive, Phase III; Tet Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase VII; Consolidation I; Consolidation II; Cease-Fire
  • Global War on Terror: Operation Iraqi Freedom 03-04, Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-07, Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-10, Operation Enduring Freedom 11-12

Decorations[edit]

  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered MAFFIN BAY
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered CABARUAN HILLS
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered MUNOZ
  • Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered BAQUBAH, IRAQ
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1972
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRAQ 2003-2004
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRAQ 2006-2007
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRAQ 2009-2010
  • Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered 1999-2000
  • Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered 2002-2003
  • Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1967-1968
  • Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1967-1968

Company C additionally entitled to:

  • Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered AD DIWANIYAH, IRAQ

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "20th Infantry Lineage and Honors".

  1. ^ a b "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  2. ^ CPT(ret) Shelby L. Stanton, “Vietnam Order of Battle”, Stackpole Books 1981