138th Infantry Regiment (United States)

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138th Infantry Regiment
138th Inf. COA.jpeg
Coat of arms
Active 1832
Country United States
Branch Missouri Army National Guard
Type Light Infantry
Size Regiment
Nickname(s) First Missouri
Motto(s) "St. Louis' Own"
Engagements Mexican War
American Civil War
World War I
World War II
Decorations Meritorious Unit Commendation
Commanders
Current
commander
LTC Douglas McConnell, Jr.
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 138 Inf Rgt DUI.jpg
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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137th Infantry Regiment 139th Infantry Regiment

The 138th Infantry Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Army and the Missouri National Guard.[1] Of the original regiment, only the 1st Battalion remains an active National Guard unit. As of 2008, the 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment is a light infantry battalion currently assigned to the 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

History[edit]

The 138th Infantry Regiment traces its lineage from the St. Louis Grays, a volunteer militia company organized in 1832. The company’s first combat action was during the Mexican War while serving with the St. Louis Legion, a battalion-sized element composed of independent St. Louis-area companies. The unit mustered into federal service on 18 May 1846 along with the Native American Rangers, Boone Guards, Montgomery Guards, Missouri Fusiliers and Riflemen, Morgan Riflemen, and the Texas Free Corps. By 1853 the Greys expanded to five companies to form the 1st Battalion, 1st Missouri Regiment but underwent a series of reductions until 1857 when all but one company of Grays remained.

During the Missouri-Kansas border crises in 1860, the First Missouri Infantry Regiment (of which the Grays were a part along with several other St. Louis area militia companies), patrolled the border to prevent Kansas Jayhawkers from entering the state, an action called the Southwest Expedition.

Civil War[edit]

Many of the Grays maintained loyalty to the state and mustered into service at the call of the Governor outside of St. Louis at Camp Jackson, where St. Louis University now sets. Accused of plotting to capture the St. Louis Arsenal, now the location of the Budweiser Brewery, the 1st Missouri Volunteer Militia, with its two companies of St. Louis Grays, were captured by Union troops and marched to the arsenal. Upon being paroled, the Grays and the remainder of the old First Missouri went to Arkansas and created a Confederate regiment known as the 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the “Camp Jackson Boys” and fought under General John S. Marmaduke. With casualties came amalgamation, and after fighting in the Shiloh, Mississippi River, Vicksburg, Atlanta, Nashville, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama campaigns, the 1st Missouri surrendered at Fort Blakely, Alabama on 9 April 1865.

After the Civil War, the Grays reformed and by 1873 joined other uniformed companies to create the 1st Regiment of Organized Missouri Militia. In 1898 nearly every member of the First Regiment, Missouri National Guard, as it was known at that time, volunteered to fight in the war with Spain under the name of the First Regiment of Infantry, Missouri Volunteers. They mustered into service at Jefferson Barracks and mobilized to Chickamauga Park, Georgia on 21 May 1898 but were never sent to Cuba or Puerto Rico due to lack of funding from the state.

The Militia Act of 1903 required the National Guard of Missouri to conform to federal regulations and with the initiation of the National Defense Act of 1916, the First Missouri took an oath to the President of the United States as well as to the Governor of Missouri. After taking part in the Punitive Expedition in 1916 with service in Loredo, Texas, the 1st Missouri returned home. However, it was a short stay. Ordered to Camp Doniphan, now part of Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, the regiment began training for the Great War. On 1 October 1917, the First and Fifth Regiments, both from St. Louis, were consolidated into the 138th Infantry Regiment, 69th Brigade, 35th Infantry Division.

World War I[edit]

During World War I, the 138th Infantry Regiment first took over operations in the Vosges Mountains in southern France and drew first blood for the 35th Infantry Division during a trench raid at Hilsenfirst. The regiment later took part in the Battle of St. Mihiel. In the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, the regiment led the division on the first day of the attack on 26 September 1918. During this engagement, Private Nels Wald and Captain Alexander Skinker earned the Medal of Honor. Fighting through fog, enfilade fire from their left flank, and under constant artillery barrages, the regiment toiled through an exposed sector, German machine gun nests, and sniper fire to complete its objective on Vauquois Hill. The regiment fought alongside Colonel George S. Patton’s tank brigade to capture the villages of Cheppy and Exermont. After the Meuse-Argonne, the 138th assumed occupation duty south of Verdun.

After the war's end, the regiment returned to its home station in St. Louis. On 8 July 1922 the U.S. Army approved the 138th’s Regimental Coat of Arms along with the regimental colors. The coat of arms is an infantry blue shield with an equestrian statue in profile of King Louis IX of France, the namesake of the City of St. Louis. The actual statue sets in front of the St. Louis Art Museum in Forrest Park. The regiment’s motto, “St. Louis’ Own” alludes to the historical home of the regiment and serves as a recognition if its history – nearly all the original members of the regiment were St. Louisans as were its Medal of Honor recipients. The regiment’s official designation as the “First Missouri” also stands as testament to its former name – Missouri’s first, and now only, infantry regiment.

World War II[edit]

During World War II, the 138th Infantry served under the 7th Infantry Division, participating in campaigns in the Aleutian Islands. After 1945 the regiment returned once again to St. Louis but by 1963 only the 1st Battalion remained in service. 1 May 1974 was the first day that an infantry unit could not call St. Louis and the State of Missouri home, as it had for 142 years. On that day, the lineage and honors of the regiment passed to the 1138th Engineer Battalion and was held by units in St. Louis, including Company B, 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment, until reclaimed by the entire battalion in 2014 when the U.S. Army and National Guard Bureau recognized the 138th once again in the U.S. Army Regimental System.

Global War on Terrorism[edit]

The reactivation of 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment (1-138th) began on 1 September 2010, with early implementation of the modified table of organization and equipment occurring on 1 September 2009. The 1-138th Infantry is the first infantry unit allocated to the Missouri National Guard since the casing of the 138th regimental colors in 1974. The 1-138th Infantry began building, forming, and equipping actions on 1 September 2008 with Federal Recognition granted in January 2012. In a Ceremony on 17 June 2015 at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, the Soldiers of the 1-138th Infantry witnessed the uncasing of its regimental colors since their last casing over 30 years earlier – a poetic gesture, as the regiment’s forbearers went to Arkansas to fight over 150 years before.

First Missouri citizen soldiers deployed to conduct State Emergency Duty during the winter storms of 2010 and most recently, to protect persons, property, and civil liberties in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

The battalion deployed to Qatar in 2017 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Spartan Shield) to provide force protection of U.S. military assets and was there during the turbulent beginning of the GCC-Qatar Crisis.

Notable Members of the Regiment[edit]

Lineage[edit]

Organized in 1832 in the Missouri Militia at St. Louis as the St. Louis Grays

  • Consolidated in 1843 with existing units in St. Louis to form the Regiment of St. Louis Militia
  • Mustered into federal service 18 May 1846 at St. Louis as the St. Louis Legion; mustered out of federal service 25 August 1846 at St. Louis
  • Reorganized as Easton’s Battalion of Infantry and mustered into federal service

10–24 May 1847 at St. Louis

  • Mustered out of federal service 9–10 October 1848 at St. Louis; battalion (less St. Louis Grays) concurrently disbanded
  • St. Louis Grays consolidated in 1852 with existing companies in St. Louis to form the 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment
  • 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment captured by Union Forces 10 May 1861 at Camp Jackson, Missouri
  • Elements of former 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment consolidated 22 June 1861 with elements of former 2d Missouri Infantry Regiment (organized in February 1861 at St. Louis; captured by Union forces 10 May 1861 at Camp Jackson, Missouri) and consolidated elements reorganized in Confederate service at Memphis, Tennessee, as the 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment
  • Consolidated 1 November 1862 with the 4th Missouri Infantry Regiment (organized

30 April 1862 in Confederate service near Corinth, Mississippi) and consolidated unit designated as the 1st and 4th Consolidated Missouri Infantry Regiment

  • Surrendered 9 April 1865 at Fort Blakely, Alabama
  • Disbanded 10 May 1865 at Jackson, Mississippi
  • Former 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment reconstituted in 1869 in the Missouri Militia at St. Louis as the 1st Regiment
  • Disbanded 21 April 1874.

(Missouri Militia redesignated 16 March 1877 as the Missouri National Guard)

  • Reconstituted 16 August 1879 in the Missouri National Guard; concurrently, consolidated with the St. Louis National Guard Battalion (see ANNEX 1) and consolidated unit designated as the 1st Regiment
  • Consolidated 27 June 1884 with the 3d Regiment (see ANNEX 2) and consolidated unit designated as the 1st Regiment
  • Disbanded 23 May 1887 at St. Louis
  • Reconstituted in 1887 in the Missouri National Guard as a battalion
  • Expanded, reorganized, and redesignated, 8 October 1888 as the 1st Regiment
  • Mustered into federal service 13 May 1898 at St. Louis as the 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry;
  • mustered out of federal service 31 October 1898 at St. Louis
  • Disbanded 21 August 1899 at St. Louis
  • Reconstituted 18 September 1899 in the Missouri National Guard at St. Louis as the 1st Infantry
  • Mustered into federal service 18 June 1916 at St. Louis; mustered out of federal service 25 September 1916 at Nevada
  • Called into federal service 25 March 1917 at St. Louis; drafted into federal service

5 August 1917

  • Consolidated 1 October 1917 with the 5th Infantry, Missouri National Guard (organized 21 May 1917 at St. Louis) and consolidated unit designated as the 138th Infantry, an element of the 35th Division
  • Demobilized 12 May 1919 at Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Former 1st Infantry reorganized and federally recognized 14 April 1921 with headquarters at St. Louis (former 5th Infantry hereafter separate lineage)
  • Reorganized and redesignated 1 October 1921 as the 138th Infantry and assigned to the 35th Division
  • Inducted into federal service 23 December 1940 at St. Louis
  • Relieved 1 March 1942 from assignment to the 35th Division
  • Inactivated 20 July 1944 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi
  • Assigned 20 June 1946 to the 35th Infantry Division
  • Reorganized and federally recognized 22 October 1946 in the Missouri National Guard as the 138th Infantry with headquarters at St. Louis
  • Reorganized and redesignated 15 April 1959 as the 138th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, to consist of the 1st Battle Group, an element of the 35th Infantry Division
  • Reorganized 1 April 1963 to consist of the 1st Battalion
  • Converted, reorganized, and redesignated 1 May 1974 as the 1138th Engineer Battalion
  • Consolidated 1 September 1993 with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 880th Engineer Battalion (see ANNEX 3) and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1138th Engineer Battalion
  • Ordered into active federal service 15 March 2003 at St. Louis; released from active federal service 24 July 2004 and reverted to state control
  • Converted, reorganized, and redesignated 1 September 2006 as the 135th Support Detachment; concurrently, location changed to St. Louis
  • Ordered into active federal service 30 April 2008 at St. Louis; released from active federal service 8 May 2009 and reverted to state control

Annex 1[edit]

Organized 26 July 1852 in the Missouri Militia at St. Louis as the National Guards

  • Expanded 28 July 1858 to form two companies
  • Converted, reorganized, and redesignated in June 1860 as the Engineer Corps of Missouri
  • Captured by Union forces 10 May 1861 at Camp Jackson, Missouri
  • Reorganized 14 February 1872 at St. Louis as the Company of National Guards
  • Mustered into state service 9 April 1878 as the St. Louis National Guard Battalion

Annex 2[edit]

Organized 7 November 1877 in the Missouri National Guard at St. Louis as the 1st Regiment of Police Reserves

  • Mustered into state service 21 November 1881 as the 3d Regiment

Annex 3[edit]

Constituted 14 December 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 880th Airborne Engineer Battalion, Aviation

  • Activated 1 March 1943 at Westover Field, Massachusetts
  • Redesignated 24 March 1943 as the 880th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion
  • Disbanded 21 December 1944 on New Guinea
  • Reconstituted 6 March 1952 in the Air National Guard as the 880th Engineer Aviation Battalion, and allotted to Missouri, Louisiana, and Colorado
  • Organized 1952–1954 with Headquarters federally recognized 26 January 1954 at St. Louis, Missouri

(Federal recognition withdrawn 1 April 1954 from Company C [Colorado Air National Guard]; Company B [Louisiana Air National Guard] redesignated 1 September 1954 as Company B, 225th Engineer Aviation Battalion – hereafter separate lineage)

  • Redesignated 15 January 1957 as the 880th Engineer Battalion and allotted to the Missouri Army National Guard
  • Battalion broken up 15 January 1968 and its elements reorganized and redesignated as follows:
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 880th Engineer Battalion
  • (Company A as the 1135th Military Police Company; Company B as the 202d Engineer Company; Company C as Company B, 110th Engineer Battalion – hereafter separate lineages)

Distinctive Unit Insignia[edit]

Description[edit]

A Gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/32 inches (2.78 cm) in height consisting of a shield blazoned: Azure, the equestrian statue in profile of Louis IX (St. Louis) of France Or, (the statue is in forest Park, St. Louis, by Charles Henry Niehaus).

Symbolism[edit]

The shield is blue for Infantry. The statue of Louis IX (St. Louis) alludes to the home area of the organization.

Background[edit]

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 138th Infantry Regiment on 24 May 1926. It was redesignated for the 1138th Engineer Battalion on 3 May 1989.

Coat of arms[edit]

Blazon[edit]

    • Shield- Azure, the equestrian statue in profile of Louis IX (St. Louis) of France Or, (the statue is in forest Park, St. Louis, by C.H. Niehaus).
    • Crest- That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Missouri Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Or and Azure, a grizzly bear rampant Proper. **Motto: ST. LOUIS’ OWN.

Symbolism[edit]

    • Shield- The shield is blue for Infantry. The statue of Louis IX (St. Louis) alludes to the home area of the organization.
    • Crest- The crest is that of the Missouri Army National Guard.

Background[edit]

The coat of arms was originally approved for the 138th Infantry Regiment on 8 July 1922. It was amended to correct the blazon on 11 October 1923. It was redesignated for 1138th Engineer Battalion on 3 May 1989.

Campaign Streamers[edit]

Mexican War

  • New Mexico 1847
  • Chihuahua 1848

Civil War (Confederate Service)

  • Shiloh
  • Mississippi River
  • Vicksburg
  • Atlanta
  • Nashville
  • Mississippi 1862
  • Louisiana 1863
  • Alabama 1864
  • Alabama 1865

World War I

  • Meuse-Argonne
  • Alsace 1918
  • Lorraine 1918

World War II

  • Aleutian Islands 1942/43
  • New Guinea

War on Terrorism

  • To be determined.

Decorations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • official website [1]