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History

The 24th Infantry Regiment (one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments) was organized on 1 November 1869 from the 38th and 41st Infantry Regiments. All the enlisted soldiers were black, either veterans of the U.S. Colored Troops or freed slaves. From its activation to 1898, the 24th Infantry served throughout the Western United States. Its missions included guarding posts, battling Indians, and protecting roadways against bandits.

Spanish-American War

1898 saw the 24th Infantry deploy to Cuba as part of the U.S. Expeditionary Force in the Spanish-American War. At the climactic battle of San Juan Hill, the 24th Infantry assaulted and seized the Spanish-held blockhouse and trench system on the hill.

Philippine-American War

In 1899 the Regiment deployed to the Philippine Islandsmarker to help suppress a guerilla movement in the Philippine-American War. The Regiment would return to the Islands again in 1905 and 1911. Though the 24th fought a number of battles in the Philippines, one of the most notable occurred on 7 December 1899, when 9 soldiers from the Regiment routed 100 guerillas from their trenches.

Mexican Border

In 1916 the 24th Infantry guarded the U.S.-Mexico border to keep the Mexican Revolution from spilling on to U.S. soil. When it did, the 24th joined the "Punitive Expedition" under General Pershing and entered Mexicomarker to fight Pancho Villa's forces. In 1919, rebels and troops of the Mexican government fought in Ciudad Ju√°rezmarker, Chihuahuamarker, which borders the U.S. city of . The 24th Infantry crossed over again to engage the rebels, ensuring that no violence erupted across the U.S. border.

World War II

At the start of World War II, the 24th IR was stationed at Fort Benningmarker as School Troops for the Infantry School. They participated in the Carolina Maneuvers of October - December 1941. During World War II, the 24th Infantry fought in the South Pacific Theater as a separate regiment. Deploying on April 4, 1942 from the San Francisco Port of Embarkationmarker, the Regiment arrived in the New Hebrides Islands on May 4, 1942. The 24th moved to Guadalcanalmarker on August 28, 1943, and was assigned to the US XVI Corps. 1st Battalion deployed to Bougainvillemarker, attached to the 37th Infantry Division, from March to May, 1944 for Perimeter Defense Duty. The Regiment departed Guadalcanal on December 8, 1944, and landed on Saipanmarker and Tinianmarker on December 19, 1944 for Garrison Duty that included mopping up the remaining Japanese forces that had yet to surrender. The Regiment was assigned to the Pacific Ocean Area Command on March 15, 1945, and then to the Central Pacific Base Command on May 15, 1945, and to the Western pacific Base Command on June 22, 1945.

The Regiment departed Saipanmarker and Tinianmarker on July 9, 1945, and arrived on the Kerama Islands off Okinawamarker on July 29, 1945. At the end of the war, the 24th took the surrender of forces on Aka Shima Island, the first formal surrender of a Japanese Imperial Army Garrison. The Regiment remained on Okinawa through 1946.

Korea

From the end of World War II through 1947, the 24th occupied Okinawa, Japan, after which it relocated to Gifu, Japan. On 1 February 1947, the Regiment reorganized as a permanent regiment of the US 25th Infantry Division. In late June 1950, soon after North Korea invaded South Korea, the 24th deployed to Korea to assist in what was initially termed a "minor police action." The U.S. Armed Forces severely underestimated the tenacity of the forces it would later face.

The 24th Infantry fought throughout the entire Korean peninsula, from the defense of the "Pusan perimeter" to its breakout and the pursuit of communist forces well into North Korea, to the Chinese counteroffensives, and finally to U.N. counteroffensives that stabilized near the current Demilitarized Zone. The Regiment received the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for its defense of the Pusan perimeter. The regiment also had two Medal of Honor recipients, Cornelius H. Charlton and William Thompson.

The cases of Lieutenant Leon Gilbert, court martialed for refusing an order from the 24th's commanding officer (who was white), and of some other members of the 24th helped bring greater attention to problems of segregation and discrimination within the U.S. military.

The landing at Inchonmarker by U.S. and ROK forces on September 15 finally compelled the North Koreans to withdraw from the Pusan perimeter. The 24th Infantry was divided into Task Forces Blair and Corley (named for their commanders), and they, along with several from other commands, began pursuing the enemy on September 27.

The 25th Division remained in South Korea until ordered north in late November to participate in the Chongchon operation. Later in November, overwhelming assaults by Chinese troops forced the U.S. Eighth Army to withdraw. On November 29, the Chinese 40th Army flanked the 24th Infantry's line north of the Chongchon River in North Korea, forcing the neighboring 9th Regiment of the 2nd Division to withdraw.

On November 30, the 3/24th was at Kunu-ri, on the division's open right flank, with Chinese troops behind it. With the help of air support, the battalion extricated itself, losing one soldier killed, 30 wounded and 109 missing. Overall, the 24th Infantry lost one-fifth of its officers and one-third of its enlisted men in the withdrawal across the Chongchon. Colonel Corley blamed the disarray of the 3rd Battalion on its commander, Lt. Col. Melvin E. Blair, whom he summarily relieved.

The Eighth Army's withdrawal did not cease until the force was well below the 39th parallel. But by early March 1951, the American and ROK troops were again ready for a full-scale offensive.

On March 6, the 25th Division advanced across the Han Rivermarker. The 1/24th did well, moving over difficult terrain against an entrenched enemy. The 3rd Battalion initially also performed well, executing a hastily devised river crossing and advancing through rough country against well dug-in Chinese troops, far from the 1st Battalion. While climbing up steep terrain, however, the 1/24th reportedly collapsed under Chinese fire and withdrew in disorder. When the division commander learned of that action, his confidence in the 24th plummeted. Many soldiers of the 24th ran away from the fight, tossing their weapons and equipment aside. A derisive poem throughout the U.S. Army stated:"When them Chinese mortars begins to thud, the Old Deuce-Four begin to bug."

Although the 24th performed well in the attack north of the Han and the subsequent general withdrawal of the Eighth Army after the Chinese spring offensive of 1951, its reputation was somewhat tarnished. But it again performed well in the Army's drive back north in May and June 1951.

In August, the regiment's new commander, Colonel Thomas D. Gillis, prodded by the division commander, closely examined the 24th's record in Korea. Determining that leadership had been the problem, he relieved a number of officers.

After the change in command, Company F conducted a valiant bayonet and grenade charge on September 15. However, the positive performance of Company F was ignored by higher commands and the news media. By October 1, 1951, the 24th had passed into history.

Desegregation

Woodrow Wilson Keeble also received the Medal of Honor awardExecutive Order 9981 desegregated the United States military in 1948. On 1 October 1951, the Deuce-Four was inactivated, and the soldiers were dispersed to other units. These soldiers continued to serve proudly on active duty through the 1980s, but would have to wait until 24 August 1995 to witness the reactivation of one of the most combat-proven historically black units.

Modern legacy

The Deuce Four Skull was put on buildings in Iraq where enemies were killed.
The 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment served as part of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from 24 August 1995 to September, 2006 in Fort Lewismarker, Washingtonmarker. The battalion was reflagged in December, 2006 in Fort Wainwright, Alaskamarker.

They were assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division 'Lightning' (a Stryker brigade), and served in Iraq from October 2004 to October 2005. Along with many other medals, the Battalion came home with 181 Purple Hearts and played a crucial role in the Battle of Mosul marker. During that battle, the Battalion saw some of the heaviest, sustained fighting of the insurgency to date. The unit was also awarded with the Valorous Unit Award as being part of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (SBCT).

The unit has now been reflagged as the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment and moved to Vilseckmarker, Germanymarker. The 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment has replaced the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment of the now decommissioned 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team as of December 14, 2006. The 1-24 Inf. is now part of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based in Fort Wainwright, Alaskamarker.

References



Heraldic Items

Regimental Badge

  • Description:
  1. On a blue field a block house of masonry with tower, walls in color of grey stone, roofs yellow.
  2. On a yellow scroll, the words "SAN JUAN" in blue.
  3. All encircled by a yellow band bearing the motto in blue "SEMPER PARATUS" (Always Prepared).


  • Symbolism: The design commemorates the gallant service of the regiment in the Santiago campaign of 1898.


  • Background:
  1. The badge was approved on 1920-03-27.
  2. The badge is used as the crest on the organizational colors. The breast of the eagle on the colors is feathered.


Distinctive Unit Insignia

  • Description:
  1. A gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in width overall consisting of a blue disc bearing a white blockhouse with tower masoned and roofed gold below a gold scroll inscribed "SAN JUAN" in blue letters.
  2. Attached below the disc a gold scroll turned blue and inscribed "SEMPER PARATUS" in blue letters.


  • Symbolism:
  1. Blue is the color associated with Infantry.
  2. The house with tower depicts a blockhouse at San Juan Santiago de Cuba and commemorates the 1898 campaign service of the regiment.


  • Background:
  1. The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 24th Infantry on 1923-01-121.
  2. It was amended to correct the motto on 1923-03-21.
  3. Amended to add the authorization for wear of the DUI on 1923-05-07.
  4. Amended to add to the authorization for wear of the DUI on 1925-09-21.
  5. On 1925-10-23 it was amended to change the appearance of the DUI.
  6. The insignia was cancelled and a new insignia authorized on 1927-05-17.


Lineage



Honors

Campaign Participation Credit

  • Indian Wars:


  1. Comanches


  • Spanish-American War:


  1. Santiago


  • Philippine-American War:


  1. San Isidro;
  2. Luzon 1900


  • World War II:


  1. Northern Solomons;
  2. Western Pacific


  • Korean War:


  1. UN Defensive;
  2. UN Offensive;
  3. CCF Intervention;
  4. First UN Counteroffensive;
  5. CCF Spring Offensive;
  6. UN Summer-Fall Offensive


Decorations

  1. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for MASAN-CHINJU


Bibliography



References


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