299th Infantry Regiment (United States)
|299th Cavalry Regiment|
Coat of arms
|Branch||Army National Guard|
|Role||Reconnaissance and surveillance|
|Garrison/HQ||HHT and D FSC Hilo/Kona. A and B Troops Pearl City. C Troop Hanapep/Kapa'a.|
|Nickname||"Hawaiian Guardians" (special designation)|
|Motto||E Maka'ala Kakou (Let's Be Alert)|
|Distinctive unit insignia|
|U.S. Infantry Regiments|
|289th Infantry Regiment||304th Infantry Regiment|
The 299th Cavalry Regiment, formerly the 299th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the "The Koa Regiment", is a unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard. It was established in 1923 from the old 2nd Hawaiian Infantry Regiment, and it served during World War II as part of the 24th Infantry Division. The name "Koa" comes from the Hawaiian word for "Warrior", and is currently headquartered in Hilo, Hawaii. The 1st and 2nd Battalions, 299th Infantry were federally activated in 1968 to support the United States Army Pacific during the Vietnam War. More recently 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry Regiment deployed to Iraq and again after being re-flagged in 2006 as 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment.
The 299th Infantry Regiment was formed on 17 August 1923 from the old 2nd Hawaiian Infantry. Both the old 2nd Hawaiian Infantry and the new 299th were part of the Hawaii National Guard. The old 1st Hawaiian Infantry was also reformed and designated the 298th Infantry.
World War II
In 1940, the 299th Infantry and its sister regiment, the 298th Infantry were called into federal service as the United States began to prepare for a possible war with the Axis Powers. In 1941, the Hawaiian Division was reformed from a square division, which was the army's World War I divisional format, into the triangular division that would be the norm for World War II and Korea. Out of the old division came both the 24th Infantry Division and the 25th Infantry Division. The 299th IN was sent to provide the third infantry regiment for the new 24th Infantry Division. In May 1941 the 299th was sent to the neighbor islands to provide for their defense,:170 since the regiment was mostly composed of citizens from these islands. On 4 June, the Japanese-American soldiers of both the 299th and 298th were pulled from the ranks of the regiments, some 29 officers and 1277 enlisted men in all.:212 These Hawaii Nisei (Japanese-Americans) would form the famed 100th Infantry Battalion of the 442nd RCT and would fight heroically in Europe becoming the most decorated unit of its size in World War II. However the Nisei soldiers were nearly 40% of the 299th ranks, and the removal of these men put the regiment grossly under strength. Therefore in July 1942, the 299th was relived from the 24th Infantry Division and deactivated, the unit's men and material being transferred to the 298th. However the 2nd Battalion, 299th's HHC and B Company remained intact. These units were sent overseas to the Philippines and the Ryukyu Islands for which the 2–299th received campaign participation. However it is not clear with whom they were attached and what role they played in these campaigns.
After the war, the Hawaii National Guard had to be reconstituted as most of their units had been deactivated and the men sent to other units. The 299th was activated in August 1946 and formed into the 299th Regimental Combat Team (RCT). The regiment was to have its companies on the islands of Hawai'i, Maui and Moloka'i, with the 298th Infantry taking O'ahu and Kaua'i. The process to rebuild the regiment was slow in the post-war years and but by May 1947 the regiment had over 1,000 men in ranks. However by 1949, the 299th RCT was at full strength and equipped with new weapons and gear, taking part in a large military review with the 298th RCT at Schofield Barracks. In 1959 the 299th RCT was deactivated and the 299th Infantry with its 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions transferred to form the 29th Infantry Brigade Hawaii Army National Guard.
In May 1968 the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 299th was called to active duty under its parent unit the 29th Infantry Brigade. The 299th reported to Schofield to begin training for any possible deployment to Vietnam or other Asian hotspot(i.e. Korea) The 29th SIB was to serve as a strategic reserve for the Army since active duty units such as the 25th Infantry Division were tied up fighting in Vietnam. According to Hawaii's political leadership at the time, the 299th and the 29th Brigade were never intended to deploy to Vietnam when they were federalized. Nonetheless many soldiers from the 299th went to Vietnam as individual replacements, serving in the active duty units that were already in country. Some 1,500 Hawaii Guard soldiers served in Vietnam during the 29th's mobilization, the majority of them coming from the 299th. Thirteen soldiers from the 299th died in Vietnam:
Operation Iraqi Freedom III
In August 2004 the 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry Regiment was activated for deployment to Iraq with the 29th BCT (the 1st Battalion having been decommissioned after Vietnam). The 2–299th IN, commanded by LTC Kenneth Hara, began train-up at Schofield Barracks before moving to Ft. Bliss in October 2004. The bulk of the battalion's training was done at Camp McGreggor near Ft. Bliss. In January 2005 the battalion completed combat certification at JRTC in Ft. Polk, and began arriving in Iraq in February. The 2–299th IN was based out of Camp Victory in Baghdad were it was charged with base defense (i.e. manning the ECPs, guard towers and providing quick reaction forces). In addition, the battalion was also responsible for security in the areas and neighborhoods surrounding Camp Victory (such as Al Furat, Makasib and parts of Route Irish) conducting patrols and cordon and search missions to capture, kill, or disrupt the enemy insurgents in the area. During the 2–299th's IN deployment the battalion's strength was augmented by the attachment of A Company, 2d Battalion, 297th Infantry from the Alaska Army National Guard. The battalion redeployed from Iraq in February 2006. For its service, 2d Battalion, 299th Infantry Regiment was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.
Conversion to cavalry
When the 2–299th Infantry returned from Iraq they began the process of being re-flagged into a reconnaissance squadron under the command of LTC Kenneth Hara. They would become 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry, a "cav scout" squadron, and serve as the eyes and ears of the 29th IBCT. In 2007 the 299th Cavalry officially inherited the lineage, honors and history of their 299th Infantry predecessors. There were many transitions during this period as the 29th Separate Infantry Brigade (Enhanced) morphed into the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, part of the Army's new modular Unit of Action doctrine. All of the battalion's former infantry companies were reflagged as cavalry troops and a forward support company was added, maintaining the lineages of the previous units. A Troop and B Troop, 1st Battalion, 299th Cavalry were stationed in Pearl City, Oahu taking their lineages from D Company and B Company, 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry respectively. C Troop, 1st Battalion, 299th Cavalry was positioned on Kauai in the Hanapepe and Kapa'a armories. They took their lineage from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry and maintained their infantrymen as a dismounted reconnaissance troop. HHT remained on the Big Island of Hawaii in Hilo, taking its lineage from 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry.
During this time, many soldiers on the Big Island of Hawaii found themselves in a new position as many units on that island were reflagged as Company D, Forward Support 29th BSB, taking its lineage from C Company, 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry and stationed in the Hilo and Kona armories. This forward support company was added to 1st Battalion, 299th Cavalry as its support arm, and was made up of mostly HHC, 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry's Support Platoon, mechanics from HHC 2-299th IN's Maintenance, infantryman from B Company 2-299 IN and HHC Mortar Platoon, and combat engineers from 227th Combat Engineer Company. Many of the soldiers had to change their military occupational specialties (MOS) as their new positions required them to change their branches. Then squadron was now retasked from an infantry battalion to a reconnaissance squadron that was built to provide intelligence to the 29th IBCT's commander.
Operation Iraqi Freedom VIII
Following the 1-299th Cavalry's conversion to cavalry, the squadron was assigned to Camp Buehring, Kuwait in November 2008 as part of a convoy security task force. As "Task Force Koa," the squadron was commanded by LTC Rudolph Ligsay and CSM Craig Ynigues. TF Koa conducted convoy escorts from logistical bases in Kuwait, into and throughout the entire Iraq Theater of Operations. From Basra in the south to Mosul in the north, 1-299th Cavalry escorted supply and equipment convoys all over the country. The squadron had four convoy security companies in total, as they were augmented by other units within the 29th IBCT. Among the units was the Headquarters, Headquarters Troop 1-299th Cavalry (Hellfire) commanded by CPT Kevin Carbrey, Convoy Security Company (CSC) 1 was A Troop, 1-299th Cavalry (Roughriders) commanded by CPT James Fea-Fiame, CSC 2 was B Troop, 1-299th Cavalry (Blackjack) commanded first by CPT Jonathan Ishikawa and later CPT Peter Ammerman, CSC 3 was A Company 29th BSTB (Sapper) commanded by CPT Audreth "Tino" Tumpap, CSC 4 was A Battery 1-487th FA BN (Animal) commanded by CPT Timothy Spencer. The vehicles the convoy escort teams (CET) used at the time were originally the M1151 Armored HMMWV, and later the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles were used as the lead vehicles. As TF Koa, 1-299 CAV logged well over 10,000 miles and engaged in numerous contacts with the enemy. The unit also took over escorts of US troops to the Kuwait City International Airport late in their deployment, providing security for soldiers leaving theater on emergency leave. The unit redeployed in August 2009 and focused on its new role as a reconnaissance squadron.
Operation Enduring Freedom
In support of "Operation Enduring Freedom", members of the 1-299 Cavalry have been deployed on an ongoing mission to augment the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines. They assisted in training the Philippine Marines, and augment them as a security element. In 2008 some volunteers from the 1-299 Cavalry were sent to help augment the 1-158 IN (AZ ARNG), a new member battalion of the 29th IBCT, in their deployment to Afghanistan. In November 2012, senior officers, non-commissioned officers, and some enlisted soldiers of the 1-299th Cavalry were selected and deployed forward to Afghanistan as security forces advisor teams (SFAT) as part of a group pooled from the 29th IBCT to train the Afghan National Security Forces. The SFAT advisors were distributed throughout southern Afghanistan in support of the Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF initiatives in the Regional Command-South.
Campaign participation credit:
World War II
Global War on Terrorism
The following are the unit awards for the 299th Cavalry Regiment:
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRAQ 2005–2006 (2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry)
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945
- "Special Designation Listing". U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "299th Infantry Regiment (Hawaiian Army National Guard)". Military.com. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- Fairchild, Byron (1964). United States Army in World War II: Guarding the United States and its Outposts. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History.
- "2,100 Guardsmen move to camp". Honolulu Advertiser. 10 June 1952.
- "Gov. Long Reviews Guard Combat Teams". Honolulu Advertiser. 21 June 1949.
- "299th Infantry Regiment (Hawaiian Army National Guard)". Military.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- "Sen. Inouye does not foresee combat duty for Guard". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 3 May 1968.
- Kakesako, Gregg K. (18 July 2004). "Guard leader readies for war". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- Kakesako, Gregg K. (23 February 2005). "Guard starts 1-year tour in Iraq". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- Kakesako, Gregg K. (19 November 2006). "Hawaii Guard unit will go to Japan". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- "Permanent Orders 005-05" (PDF). Department of the Army. 5 January 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2011.