Infantry Branch (United States)

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Infantry branch
USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png
Branch insignia, worn on the left collar of some U.S. Army uniforms.
Founded14 June 1775
Country United States
Branch United States Army
Home stationFort Benning, Georgia
Nickname(s)"Queen of Battle"
Motto(s)"Follow me!"
Branch color  Saxony blue[1]
EngagementsRevolutionary 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
Operation Inherent Resolve
Chief of InfantryBG Larry Q. Burris Jr.
Infantry blue cord
U.S. Army infantry blue cord.png

The Infantry Branch (also known as the "Queen of Battle") is a branch of the United States Army first established in 1775.


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

18th century[edit]

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

  • An Act of Congress on 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 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, further reduced to 7 in 1821. The origins of the Army's current regimental numbering system dates from this act.

19th century[edit]

The Army organized into seven infantry regiments, 1821;

Ten one-year regiments were authorized by an Act of Congress on 11 February 1847 because of the Mexican–American War, but only the 9th through 16th Infantry Regiments were activated; they did not re-form permanently until the 1850s and 1860s.

Civil War expansion to 19 regiments;

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

This was reduced by consolidation to 25 regiments under General Order 17, War Department, 15 March 1869, with the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments constituting the black enlisted force. On 2 February 1901, Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act, which authorized five additional regiments, the 26th through 30th;

20th century[edit]

The Militia Act of 1903 standardized the regulations, organization, equipage, and training of state militia force, forming the genesis of the modern National Guard (see Militia (United States)).

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 organized; four in the Continental United States, one in the Philippine Islands (32nd Infantry Regiment), one in Hawaii (32nd Infantry Regiment), and one, the 33rd Infantry Regiment, in the Canal Zone.

In 1917, a new numbering system was set up. Infantry regimental numbers 1 through 100 were allotted to the Regular Army, 101 through 300 to the National Guard, and 301 and up to the National Army. 167 National Guard units were re-organized and re-numbered from the previously-used state system to the new federal system; the 71st New York Infantry Regiment was able to lobby to keep their old 19th century number which violated this numbering rule while serving on the Mexican border in 1916; however, the unit was broken up and most of its troops assigned to the 27th Division after re-federalization in 1917.[2] The 71st was re-formed in 1919 and served in World War II as the 71st Infantry Regiment. In the 1990s the 165th Infantry Regiment (formerly the 69th New York Infantry Regiment) reverted to its old number as the 69th Infantry Regiment.

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 brigades composed of battalions. Each battalion of a brigade carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization (i.e., an organized headquarters) generally 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 their 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, which requires soldiers to "affiliate" with a regiment of their choice, increasing esprit de corps and the possibility of soldiers serving multiple assignments with the same regiment.

21st century[edit]

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 U.S. 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, 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[edit]

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

Regimental insignia[edit]

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

Regimental coat of arms[edit]

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[edit]

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 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.


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 3rd Infantry, was constituted on 3 June 1784 as the First American Regiment.

Current active units[edit]

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

(*)Note: Combined arms battalions contain two mechanized infantry companies, along with two armor (tank) companies and a headquarters and headquarters company.

Current types of U.S. Army Infantry[edit]

(Comparison with U.S. Marine Corps Infantry)

The US Army currently employs three 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 (e.g., parachute drop or heliborne) employed to place the infantryman on the battlefield. All modern US Army rifle platoons contain three nine-man rifle squads, except for mechanized infantry, which only has two rifle squads per rifle platoon due to troop carrying limitations of the four Infantry Fighting Vehicles organic to each rifle platoon. Each type of infantry has a discrete TO&E.

Light and Ranger infantry have similar battalion organizations (i.e., an HHC and three infantry companies), 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 anti-armor company and have a larger HHC. Stryker and mechanized infantry units' 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.

Light Infantry[edit]

Primarily foot-mobile, usually transported by motorized assets, capable of air assault operations.

  • Light Infantry: Standard light infantry not otherwise designated or qualified as one of the other three subtypes. Organized into battalions consisting of a 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).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.

Stryker Infantry[edit]

Equipped with M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles, "Stryker" infantry is essentially a new form of "medium infantry." While technically a form of mechanized infantry, because of their namesake wheeled mounts Stryker infantry is more heavily-armored and weapon-equipped than light infantry, but not as robust in either category as mechanized infantry. Organized into battalions consisting of a headquarters and headquarters company and three Stryker infantry companies. Three infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Mechanized Infantry[edit]

Equipped with M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, they are trained, organized, and equipped to operate in conjunction with tanks, therefore, essentially forming the modern equivalent of "heavy" or "armored" infantry. (Both terms, historically eschewed by the U.S. Army Infantry Branch due to supposed pejorative or "Armor Branch," viz., "tank unit" biases.) Mechanized infantry is organized into "Combined Arms" battalions consisting of an HHC, and either two tank companies, and one mechanized infantry company, or two mechanized infantry companies and one tank company. Three Combined Arms Battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Armored Brigade Combat Team.

The U.S. Army Infantryman's Creed[edit]

Infantryman's Creed[3]

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 fail 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.

See also[edit]


  • Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Institute of Heraldry document: "Infantry branch".
  1. ^ The Institute of Heraldry Color List and Color Conversion Chart. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. ^ Sutliffe, Robert Stewart (22 March 2018). "Seventy-first New York in the world war". New York, Printed by J. J. Little & Ives co. – via Internet Archive., pp. 34-39
  3. ^ The Infantryman’s Creed PDF. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  • 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]
  • Rinaldi, Richard A. (2004). The U. S. Army in World War I: Orders of Battle. General Data LLC. ISBN 0-9720296-4-8.

External links[edit]