1st Battalion - 5th Infantry Regiment
The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Bobcats), 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Light) is assigned to the third oldest Infantry Regiment in the Army. The Battalion was formed in 1808 and has participated in every major campaign from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. As part of the 1st Brigade, the sister infantry battalion is 1-24 Infantry. Additional Brigade units include 1-33 Armor, 2-8 Artillery, A/65 Engineer (Sapper), 25th FSB, and C/62 Air Defense Artillery.
The Fifth Infantry Regiment was formed on May 17, 1815, but its lineage can be traced to 1808 making it the third oldest regiment in the nation's history. During the War of 1812, the commander of the Fifth Regiment, Colonel Miller, coined its motto "I'll Try, Sir" at the Battle of Lundy's Lane, a pivotal battle late in the war. Colonel Miller's regiment was asked to take a British strong point, which no other unit was able to overcome. Colonel Miller's men destroyed the British position and turned the battle in favor of the Americans. It was the first major engagement against British regulars the American Army won in that war and it gave hope to the nation.
After the war, the Fifth was sent to the frontier to help explore and protect the massive new territories acquired before and after the War of 1812. It suffered the cold of Michigan winters on Lake Superior and the oppressive heat of Corpus Christi, Texas. The regiment was in Texas when the Mexican War erupted in 1846 and immediately joined General Zachary Taylor in driving the Mexicans out of Texas Territory. The regiment then joined General Winfield Scott, who had fought alongside the Fifth at Lundy's Lane, in his drive on the capital of Mexico. The Fifth, with the Fourteenth Infantry, stormed the fortress walls of Chapultepec. Lieutenant James Longstreet and Lieutenant George Pickett both carried the Regimental colors in the assault; also, Lieutenant "Stonewall" Jackson's battery gave artillery support to the Fifth Infantry. These three men later distinguished themselves as leaders and warriors in the Civil War. All told, the Fifth Infantry Regiment participated in every major battle of the Mexican War except one in California and was the focal point of the last engagement that captured Mexico City and ended the war. Again it performed its duty with pride and doggedness, doing all that was asked of it under the harshest of conditions and enemy fire.
After the Mexican War, the Fifth Infantry Regiment returned to the frontier. It protected new U.S. settlements in New Mexico and Texas and quelled the seditious Mormon government in Utah. Also, it was sent to Florida to fight the Seminoles. It remained on the frontier throughout the Civil War, never participating in a major battle, continuing to patrol the frontier against Indian aggression. However, twenty-seven officers who had served with the Fifth Infantry attained the rank of general in the Civil War (twenty-two Union and five Confederates). Before and after the Civil War, the Fifth was the principal infantry unit protecting the frontier. Many units broke down under the stresses of frontier garrison, losing discipline and morale. The Fifth, however, was considered one of the strongest regular army units, known on the frontier for its discipline, esprit d'corps, and integrity.
In 1874, Colonel Nelson Miles took command of the Fifth Infantry. Colonel Miles was considered one of the best Indian fighters the Army produced and he led the Fifth Infantry as the first reinforcements into the Yellowstone Territory after Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn. Though popular history and folklore often portray the campaigns against the American Indians as usually cavalry engagements, they were primarily infantry fights and the Fifth Infantry Regiment did most of the work. Colonel Miles introduced a new way of combating the Indians. Traditionally, all parties rested during the harsh plains' winters; Colonel Miles campaigned all year round, venturing far into usually Indian-controlled lands and wore the Indians down. His Fifth Infantry was responsible for capturing Chief Crazy Horse, Chief Lame Deer and Chief Joseph, the principal Indian leaders of the time. Though his hard working infantry was the big part of ending many of the Indian uprisings, Colonel Miles' professional demeanor and respect for the Indians was the major reason the Indians dealt with him and the Fifth Infantry Regiment. His example was not a new one for the Fifth Infantry. It had been asked to do the most difficult tasks before and it faced its duty on the frontier with the same integrity and doggedness it had shown in combat.
The Fifth Infantry did not arrive in time to participate in the Spanish-American War or World War I. In both cases it performed occupation duties, though it saw action in the Philippines during the Moro uprising of 1900. Again, faced with a difficult responsibility, the Fifth Infantry persevered and accomplished its duties admirably and with the thanks of the Army and nation. While others units disbanded and went home, the Fifth was asked to continue to monitor and maintain the peace, a difficult task that it accepted and completed with dignity and excellence.
With the onset of World War II, the Fifth Infantry was made part of the 71st Infantry Division and participated in an experiment to develop a "light" infantry division, capable of operating in harsh terrain from the mountains to the desert. The light division was deemed unnecessary for World War II and the 71st Infantry Division was converted back to a regular infantry division and shipped to France. However, many of the ideas the Fifth Infantry experimented with later formed the cornerstone of today's light infantry division, proving it to be the first time, but not the last, the Fifth would help develop the Army's future forces. The Fifth shipped in January 1945 and was in the front lines a month later. Initially taking defensive positions, the Fifth was soon on the offensive, driving into Germany. The Regiment fought through southern Germany, seizing the vital cities of Fulda, Bayreuth, and eventually Nuremberg. The Fifth Infantry was the first American Army unit to cross the Danube River and the first to invade Austria. By the end of the war the Fifth Infantry was advancing 30 to 40 kilometers a day, capturing thousands of German prisoners and liberating Allied prisoners and concentration camp victims. For much of the war, the Fifth was the vanguard of the division and successfully fought for the Third and Seventh Armies. It arrived late in the European theater, but it made a good account of itself, upholding the standards set by the men who had served with the Fifth long before.
After brief occupation duty in Germany, the Fifth Infantry was transferred to Hawaii. It was one of the first units to deploy to Korea and helped stem the tide of the North Korean offensive. In September 1950, it won its first Presidential Unit Citation for attacking across the naktong River and capturing the towns of waegman and kunchon. The award was the beginning of the excellent performance of the Fifth throughout the Korean War. It would participate in the defense of the pusan perimeter, the offensive north to the yalu, the defense of the Chinese offensive and eventually the static defense of the 38th parallel. The Fifth stayed in korea until the fall of 1953, making it one of the most experienced units in the conflict. It proved itself as a competent unit, capable of taking on the hard tasks and accomplishing them in spite of tough odds. Through most of the war the 5th Regiment Combat Team served with the 24th Infantry Division.
After the Korean War the Fifth was sent back to Hawaii to become part of the 25th Infantry Division, but it soon would find itself in combat once again. It was one of the few mechanized units to serve in vietnam. Though faced with the considerable problems posed by operating mechanized forces in the jungle, the Fifth fought fiercely and was feared by the enemy. Under the command of Colonel, now Major General, (Retired) andrew Anderson, the Fifth Infantry (Mech) received its second Presidential Unit Citation. It would later win a Valorous Unit Award for action in the Battle of cu Chi. The Fifth fought for three hard years in Vietnam, again establishing its reputation for tough fighting, perseverance in harsh conditions, and excellence in the face of enemy opposition.
After Vietnam the Fifth Infantry Regiment returned to Hawaii where it served with the 25th Infantry Division until the late 1980's when it spent a brief period with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. In August 1995, the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment began its next segment of history at Ft Lewis, wa as part of the 1st Brigade "Lancers", 25th Infantry Division (Light). In 1996, the Fifth Infantry was picked to lead the Army into the 21st century by participating in the Advanced warfighting Experiment, which culminated with ntc Rotation 97-08. The battalion received the Superior Unit Award for its outstanding contribution to the future of the Army.