Infantry Branch (United States)

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Infantry branch
USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png
branch insignia
Active 14 June 1775 – present
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Army
Type Infantry right side
Nickname(s) Queen of Battle
Motto Follow me
Branch color Light Blue
Mascot LTC John F McKenna
Engagements Revolutionary War
Indian Wars
War of 1812
Mexican–American War
Utah War
American Civil War
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
Banana Wars
Boxer Rebellion
Border War
World War I
Russian Civil War
World War II
Korean War
Operation Power Pack
Vietnam War
Operation Eagle Claw
Invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Panama
Persian Gulf War
Somali Civil War
Kosovo War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War

The Infantry Branch is a branch of the United States Army first established in 1775.

History[edit]

Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress on 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, was constituted on 3 June 1784, as the First American Regiment

Organization[edit]

On 3 March 1791, Congress added to the Army "The Second Regiment of Infantry"

  • The Act of 16 July 1798, authorized twelve additional regiments of infantry
  • an Act of Congress on 11 January 1812, increased the regular army to 46 infantry and 4 rifle regiments
  • an Act of Congress on 3 March 1815, which reduced the Regular Army from the 46 infantry and 4 rifle regiments it fielded in the War of 1812 to a peacetime establishment of 8 infantry regiments (reduced to 7 in 1821). The Army's current regimental numbering system dates from this act.

Army organized into seven infantry regiments, 1815

Ten one year regiments were authorized by the Act of 11 February 1847. and after the Mexican–American War reduced back to pre war levels. (Mexican War expansion added eight regiments (designated 9th–16th Infantry), 1847, but these were discontinued,)

Civil war expansion to 19 regiments

In a major expansion under General Order 92, War Department, 23 November 1866, pursuant to an act of 28 July 1866 (14 Stat. 332), 2d and 3d battalions of the existing 11th- 19th Infantry Regiments were designated 20th–37th Infantry Regiments, with four new regiments (38th–41st) to be composed of black enlisted men, and new 42d-45th Infantry Regiments for wounded veterans of the Civil War.

(Reduced by consolidation to 25 regiments, under General Order 17, War Department, 15 March 1869, with the 24th and 25th constituting the black enlisted force.)

On 2 February 1901, Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act which authorized five additional regiments (26th-30th).

The Militia Act of 1903 established the National Guard.

In 1916 Congress enacted the National Defense Act and under War Department General Orders Number 22 dated 30 June 1916 that ordered seven new Regiments to be organised; four in the Continental United States, one in the Philippine Islands (31st Infantry Regiment (United States), one in Hawaii (32nd Infantry Regiment (United States), and one, the 33rd Infantry, in the Canal Zone.

In 1917 a new numbering system was set up 1–100 for regular army, 101–300 for the national guard, 301 and up for the National Army (USA). 167 national guard units were renumbered from the old state system to the new federal system. However the "69th, and 71st New York" were able to lobby for their old 19th Century numbers which created doubles of these numbers.

A new system, the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, or CARS, was adopted in 1957 to replace the old regimental system. CARS uses the Army's traditional regiments as parent organizations for historical purposes, but the primary building blocks are divisions, and brigade became battalions. Each battalion carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization no longer exists. In some brigades several numbered battalions carrying the same regimental association may still serve together, and tend to consider themselves part of the traditional regiment when in fact they are independent battalions serving a brigade, rather than a regimental, headquarters. The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981.

There are exceptions to USARS regimental titles, including the Armored Cavalry Regiments and the 75th Ranger Regiment created in 1986. On 1 October 2005, the word "regiment" was formally appended to the name of all active and inactive CARS and USARS regiments. So, for example, the 1st Cavalry officially became titled the 1st Cavalry Regiment

Branch insignia[edit]

Two gold color crossed muskets, vintage 1795 Springfield musket (Model 1795 Musket), 3/4 inch in height.

Crossed muskets were first introduced into the Army as the insignia of officers and enlisted men of the Infantry on 19 November 1875 (War Department General Order No. 96 dtd 19 Nov 1875) to take effect on or before 1 June 1876. Numerous attempts in the earlier years were made to keep the insignia current with the ever changing styles of rifles being introduced into the Army. However, in 1924 the branch insignia was standardized by the adoption of crossed muskets and the 1795 model Springfield Arsenal musket was adopted as the standard musket to be used. This was the first official United States shoulder arm, made in a government arsenal, with interchangeable parts, caliber .69, flint lock, smooth bore, muzzle loader. The standardized musket now in use was first suggested by Major General Charles S. Farnsworth, U.S. Army, while he was the first Chief of Infantry, in July 1921, and approved by General Pershing, Chief of Staff, in 1922. The device adopted in 1922 has been in continual use since 1924. There have been slight modifications in the size of the insignia over the years; however, the basic design has remained unchanged.

  • Branch plaque

The plaque design has the branch insignia, letters and border in gold. The background is light blue.

  • Regimental insignia

Personnel assigned to the Infantry branch affiliate with a specific regiment and wear the insignia of the affiliated regiment.

  • Regimental coat of arms

There is no standard infantry regimental flag to represent all of the infantry regiments. Each regiment of infantry has its own coat of arms which appears on the breast of a displayed eagle. The background of all the infantry regimental flags is flag blue with yellow fringe.

  • Branch colors

Saxony Blue – 65014 cloth; 67120 yarn; PMS 5415.

The Infantry has made two complete cycles between white and light blue. During the Revolutionary War, white facings were prescribed for the Infantry. White was the color used for Infantry until 1851 at which time light or Saxony blue was prescribed for the pompon and for the trimming on Infantry horse furniture. In 1857, the color was prescribed as light or sky blue. In 1886, the linings of capes and trouser stripes were prescribed to be white. However, in 1902, the light blue was prescribed again. In 1917, the cape was still lined with light blue but the Infantry trouser stripes were of white as were the chevrons for enlisted men. The infantry color is light blue; however, infantry regimental flags and guidons have been National Flag blue since 1835. White is used as a secondary color on the guidons for letters, numbers, and insignia.

  • Birthday

14 June 1775. The Infantry is the oldest branch in the Army. Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by the Continental Congress Resolve of 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army Infantry Regiment, the 3d Infantry, was constituted on 3 June 1784 as the First American Regiment.

Current configuration[edit]

The United States Army Infantry School is currently at Fort Benning.

Current types of U.S. Infantry[edit]

U.S. Army Infantry[edit]

The US Army currently employs six types of infantry: light infantry (consisting of four sub-types), "Stryker infantry", and mechanized infantry. The infantrymen themselves are essentially trained, organized, armed, and equipped the same, save for some having airborne, air assault, and/or Ranger qualification(s), the primary difference being in the organic vehicles (or lack thereof) assigned to the infantry unit, or the notional delivery method (i.e., parachute drop or heliborne) employed to place the infantryman on the battlefield. All modern US Army rifle platoons contain three nine-man rifle squads, with each type of infantry having a discrete TO&E.

1) Light Infantry (primarily foot-mobile, usually transported by motorized assets, capable of air assault operations.)

a) Light Infantry ("standard" light infantry not otherwise designated or qualified as either airborne, air assault, or Ranger. Organized into battalions consisting of an Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) and three rifle companies. Three light infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Light).)

b) Airborne Infantry (Parachute qualified and capable of night, low-level parachute insertion when deployed by U.S. Air Force fixed-wing strategic or tactical transport aircraft or Army Aviation assets. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC, three rifle companies, and an antiarmor company. Three airborne infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne).)

c) Air Assault Infantry (assigned to units with associated Army Aviation elements, with both the infantry and aviation elements specifically trained and organized to perform the air assault mission, however all light infantry are capable of performing the air assault mission when transported by appropriate aviation assets. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC, three rifle companies, and an antiarmor company. Three air assault infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Air Assault).)

d) Ranger Infantry (Parachute qualified and specifically trained and designated for special operations missions as well as conventional light infantry tasks. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC and three Ranger companies. The three Ranger infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of the 75th Ranger Regiment.)

2) Stryker Infantry - equipped with M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles (while technically a form of mechanized infantry, because of their namesake wheeled mounts, nominally this would be the "medium" infantry, while not designated as such, their equipment/armament is "heavier" than light infantry but not as robust as "mechanized" infantry. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC and three Stryker infantry companies. Three infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.)

3) Mechanized Infantry- equipped with M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (nominally this would be the "heavy" infantry, historically designated as "armored" infantry, because they are trained, organized, and equipped to operate in conjunction with tanks. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC, two tank companies, and two mechanized infantry companies. Three Combined Arms Battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Armored Brigade Combat Team.)

Light and Ranger infantry have similar battalion organizations (i.e., an HHC and three Rifle or Ranger companies, as applicable), however there are significant differences in the composition of each of the two types of companies between the battalions. Airborne and Air Assault infantry battalions (sharing essentially the same battalion, company, and platoon organization), are significantly larger than the light and Ranger infantry battalions, because they contain an antiarmor company and have a larger HHC. Stryker and mechanized infantry unit's TO&Es are markedly different from each other as well as from the several sub-types of light infantry. An obvious difference is the requirement to allow for additional manpower and equipment to man, maintain, and service their respective vehicles.

U.S. Marine Corps Infantry[edit]

Marine Infantry

In addition to the six types of US Army Infantry, described above, the US Marine Corps has it own version of infantry. Marine infantry is essentially multi-purpose, heavily-manned, light infantry (e.g., a Marine rifle squad having 13 Marines, vice nine soldiers in an Army squad). With three rifle companies that are over 40% larger, plus a weapons company, and an additional 100 members in its Headquarters and Service Company (as compared to the TO&E of a light infantry battalion), the Marine infantry battalion contains approximately 970 members as compared to approximately 560 in an Army light infantry battalion.

Marine infantry battalions that are reinforced to form a Battalion Landing Team (BLT) are also very heavily supported (as compared to Army light infantry) with additional organic assets. This combat support includes: a field artillery howitzer battery (six guns), three reinforced armored vehicle platoons (including one each of amphibious assault vehicles, main battle tanks, and light armored reconnaissance vehicles), and one platoon each of infantry reconnaissance and combat engineers.

While primarily trained, organized and equipped to be foot-mobile, Marine infantry is of course, prepared to execute amphibious operations, either by Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV-P7-A1), Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB/RIB), Rigid buoyant boat (RBB), or conventional landing craft such as the Landing Craft Utility (LCU 1466/1610/1627) and Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8), etc. In addition, all Marine infantry units are prepared, and regularly train, to perform heliborne, or "vertical envelopment" (i.e., air assault) operations when supported by MV-22 medium tiltrotor and/or CH-53 heavy helicopters and mechanized operations (when supported by attached amphibious assault vehicle units).

Furthermore, while not designated as special operations forces, deployed Marine Expeditionary Units (containing a heavily reinforced Marine infantry battalion, consisting of approximately 1,200 Marines and Navy personnel, designated as a BLT) are certified as "Special Operations Capable" (SOC). In addition to significant differences between Marine infantry and their US Army counterparts in training and organization, there are some differences in individual weapons, equipment, and vehicles, as well.

The Infantryman's Creed[edit]

Infantryman's Creed
I am the Infantry.
I am my country's strength in war.
Her deterrent in peace.
I am the heart of the fight...
wherever, whenever.
I carry America's faith and honor
against her enemies.
I am the Queen of Battle.
I am what my country expects me to be...
the best trained soldier in the world.
In the race for victory
I am swift, determined, and courageous,
armed with a fierce will to win.
Never will I betray my country's trust.
Always I fight on...
through the foe,
to the objective,
to triumph over all,
If necessary, I will fight to my death.
By my steadfast courage,
I have won more than 200 years of freedom.
I yield not to weakness,
to hunger,
to cowardice,
to fatigue,
to superior odds,
for I am mentally tough, physically strong,
and morally straight.
I forsake not...
my country,
my mission,
my comrades,
my sacred duty.
I am relentless.
I am always there,
now and forever.
I AM THE INFANTRY!
FOLLOW ME!

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Institute of Heraldry document "Infantry branch".

  • Historical register and dictionary of the United States Army, from ..., Volume 1 By Francis Bernard Heitman [1]
  • Official U. S. bulletin, Volume 1 By United States (1917). Committee on Public Information [2]
  • Encyclopedia of United States Army insignia and uniforms By William K. Emerson (page 51).[3]
  • Infantry Division Components of the US Army By Timothy Aumiller [4]

External links[edit]