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The 26th Infantry Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Army. Its nickname is "Blue Spaders", taken from the spade-like device on the regiment's distinctive unit insignia. The 26th Infantry Regiment is part of the U.S. Army Regimental System; currently only the 1st Battalion is active and assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
|26th Infantry Regiment|
|Part of||101st Airborne Division|
|Regimental Headquarters||Fort Campbell, Kentucky|
|Motto(s)||Palmam qui meruit ferat ("Let him bear the palm who has won it")|
World War I
World War II
|Robert Lee Bullard|
Charles DuVal Roberts
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
Barnwell R. Legge
John H. Hughes
John F. R. Seitz
|Distinctive unit insignia|
U.S. Infantry Regiments
|25th Infantry Regiment||27th Infantry Regiment|
At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States Army was sorely pressed to meet its overseas commitments in Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. As a result, in 1901 Congress authorized five additional Regular Army infantry regiments; the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th Infantry. (These regiments should not be confused with United States volunteer regiments with the same numerical designations which served from 1899 to 1901.)
The 26th Infantry began its life overseas in the Philippines and spent its first 20 years of service on deployments to the Southwest Pacific, the Mexican and Indian frontier and in Europe. It earned its first battle streamer during the Philippine–American War within two years of its forming as a unit.
World War IEdit
After returning to the same location for another tour of duty (a habit the Blue Spaders would keep for the entire century), the regiment fought off Mexican bandits and settled disputes in the Indian Territory, until it was selected as one of only four Regular Army infantry regiments deemed fit for immediate combat to form the 1st Expeditionary Division (later redesignated the 1st Division) in June 1917. Thus began the regiment's long association with the "Big Red One".
As part of the first American soldiers to arrive in France, the regiment immediately left for the front. Along with its sister regiments of the division, it earned more campaign streamers than any other regiments during World War I. However, they came at a terrible cost. Over 900 Blue Spaders lost their lives in a six-month period. At Soissons alone, the regimental commander, executive officer, two of three battalion commanders and the regimental sergeant major were killed in action; sixty-two officers were killed or wounded; and of the 3,100 Blue Spaders that started the attack, over 1,500 had been killed or wounded. But the battle was won and this turned the tide for the Allies at a crucial period during the summer of 1918. By the war's end, the soldiers had earned seven battle streamers and two foreign awards. Following brief occupation duty in Germany, the regiment returned to the United States and served as a part of the smaller peacetime Army.
World War IIEdit
In 1941, the regiment once again stood with its sister regiments and prepared for war in Europe. The regiment was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division for the duration of World War II. In World War II, the 26th Infantry led America's first-ever amphibious assault in North Africa, fought at the Kasserine Pass, assaulted Sicily at the Amphibious Battle of Gela, invaded Normandy at Omaha Beach, conquered the first German city of the war at Aachen, held the line against heavy German attacks at Elsenborn Ridge during The Battle of the Bulge, vaulted the Rhine and attacked all the way to Czechoslovakia by war's end. The regiment, commanded by Colonel John F. R. Seitz, conducted three amphibious assaults, and earned seven battle streamers, a Presidential Unit Citation, and five foreign awards.
Beginning another occupation of Germany, the Blue Spaders bore the United States national colors at the Allied Victory in Europe parade, and served as guards at Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Thus began a lengthy stay in Germany, first as conquerors and later as friends and allies. Called again to serve in the United States after a reorganization of the army, the unit was redesignated 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry and had a very short stay in the United States.[when?]
In February 1963 2nd Battle Group, 26th Infantry was activated (with assets of 1st Battle Group, 5th Infantry) & assigned to 1st Infantry Division at Ft. Riley, Kansas. 2nd Battle Group, 26th Infantry participated in Operation Long Thrust VII, reinforcing U.S. Berlin Brigade summer & autumn 1963 before redeploying to Ft. Riley where it was inactivated in January 1964.
After serving as a battle group in Europe in the early 1960s, the battalion rejoined the 1st Infantry Division shortly before receiving orders to deploy as a part of the Army's first divisional-sized unit in Vietnam in 1965. The Blue Spaders served longer in Vietnam with their Big Red One units than any other division. After five continuous years of combat, the Blue Spaders received orders to return home in 1970 with eleven battle streamers, a Valorous Unit Award and two foreign awards for its colors.
Service in GermanyEdit
At the conclusion of Vietnam, the battalion returned to Germany as part of a forward-deployed brigade of the Big Red One.
The 26th Infantry was reassigned to TRADOC in April 1987. All three Spader battalions spent several years training recruits at Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, until reassigned to the First Infantry Division in January 1996.
In 1996, the battalion rejoined the Big Red One in Germany only to send its soldiers to Bosnia as part of the first American forces to enter the Balkans from February to September 1996. The entire battalion followed its initial deployment from October 1996 to April 1997. In March 1998, the unit deployed to the Balkans, this time to the Republic of Macedonia. Returning briefly in September 1998, the battalion was one of the first unit alerted for deployment to Kosovo in June 1999. It returned in December 1999. During this period, the unit earned the Superior Unit Award streamer and the Defense of Kosovo streamer. Three of the Task Force 1-26 Infantry soldiers lost their lives in Kosovo. PFC McGill. 1 Aug 1999. Cco 1- 26inf 1st ID.
Global War on TerrorEdit
- Operation Iraqi Freedom II
In February 2004 the "Blue Spaders" deployed to Iraq as part of OIF II. The unit primarily bore responsibility for Sammara, the capital of Salahuddin Province, a major part of the so-called Sunni Triangle. The battalion returned to Schweinfurt, Germany in February 2005.
- Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08
On 5 August 2006 Task Force "Blue Spader" deployed to Eastern Baghdad. The battalion's B Company was cross attached to TF 1-77 Armor, in return TF 1-26 Infantry received B Company, 1-77 Armor, B Company, 9th Engineers, a fire support team from 1-7 Field Artillery, and a maintenance support team from 299th Forward Support Battalion. Task Force 1-26 Infantry operated as the primary maneuver element in the Eastern Baghdad area. The unit returned to Schweinfurt, Germany, in December 2007. Thirty-one soldiers from the battalion lost their lives during the deployment.
- Operation Enduring Freedom
In July 2008 the battalion deployed to Kunar Province of Afghanistan. Most of the unit was scattered in small combat outposts throughout the province to include the Kunar Valley, Pech Valley, Watapor Valley, Chapadara, and the Korengal Valley. The unit fell under CJTF-101 and later CJTF-82 during OEF 8 and 9. The unit returned to Fort Hood, Texas in July 2009. They were quickly moved again from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Knox, Kentucky, having only months to get ready for another deployment in January 2011.
Medal of Honor recipientsEdit
- Private James W. Reese. World War II. On 5 August 1943, at Mt. Vassillio, Sicily, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life. above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict with the enemy. When the enemy launched a counterattack which threatened the position of his company, Pvt. Reese, as the acting squad leader of a 60-mm. mortar squad, displaying superior leadership on his own initiative, maneuvered his squad forward to a favorable position, from which, by skillfully directing the fire of his weapon, he caused many casualties in the enemy ranks, and aided materially in repulsing the counterattack. When the enemy fire became so severe as to make his position untenable, he ordered the other members of his squad to withdraw to a safer position, but declined to seek safety for himself. So as to bring more effective fire upon the enemy, Pvt. Reese, without assistance, moved his mortar to a new position and attacked an enemy machinegun nest. He had only 3 rounds of ammunition but secured a direct hit with his last round, completely destroying the nest and killing the occupants. Ammunition being exhausted, he abandoned the mortar. seized a rifle and continued to advance, moving into an exposed position overlooking the enemy. Despite a heavy concentration of machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire, the heaviest experienced by his unit throughout the entire Sicilian campaign, he remained at this position and continued to inflict casualties upon the enemy until he was killed. His bravery, coupled with his gallant and unswerving determination to close with the enemy, regardless of consequences and obstacles which he faced, are a priceless inspiration to our armed forces.
- Sergeant Francis X. McGraw. World War II. On 19 November 1944, near Schevenhutte, Germany, while serving with Company H, He manned a heavy machinegun emplaced in a foxhole near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 19 November 1944, when the enemy launched a fierce counterattack. Braving an intense hour-long preparatory barrage, he maintained his stand and poured deadly accurate fire into the advancing foot troops until they faltered and came to a halt. The hostile forces brought up a machinegun in an effort to dislodge him but were frustrated when he lifted his gun to an exposed but advantageous position atop a log, courageously stood up in his foxhole and knocked out the enemy weapon. A rocket blasted his gun from position, but he retrieved it and continued firing. He silenced a second machinegun and then made repeated trips over fire-swept terrain to replenish his ammunition supply. Wounded painfully in this dangerous task, he disregarded his injury and hurried back to his post, where his weapon was showered with mud when another rocket barely missed him. In the midst of the battle, with enemy troops taking advantage of his predicament to press forward, he calmly cleaned his gun, put it back into action and drove off the attackers. He continued to fire until his ammunition was expended, when, with a fierce desire to close with the enemy, he picked up a carbine, killed 1 enemy soldier, wounded another and engaged in a desperate firefight with a third until he was mortally wounded by a burst from a machine pistol. The extraordinary heroism and intrepidity displayed by Pvt. McGraw inspired his comrades to great efforts and was a major factor in repulsing the enemy attack.
- Corporal Henry F. Warner. World War II. 20–21 December 1944, near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, while assigned to the 2d Battalion Anti-Tank Company, he was a major factor in stopping enemy tanks during heavy attacks against the battalion position. Disregarding the concentrated cannon and machinegun fire from 2 tanks bearing down on him, and ignoring the imminent danger of being overrun by the infantry moving under tank cover, he destroyed the first tank and scored a direct and deadly hit upon the second. A third tank approached to within 5 yards of his position while he was attempting to clear a jammed breach lock. Jumping from his gun pit, he engaged in a pistol duel with the tank commander standing in the turret, killing him and forcing the tank to withdraw. Following a day and night during which our forces were subjected to constant shelling, mortar barrages, and numerous unsuccessful infantry attacks, the enemy struck in great force on the early morning of the 21st. Seeing a Mark IV tank looming out of the mist and heading toward his position, Cpl. Warner scored a direct hit. Disregarding his injuries, he endeavored to finish the loading and again fire at the tank whose motor was now aflame, when a second machinegun burst killed him. Cpl. Warner's gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty contributed materially to the successful defense against the enemy attacks.
- Specialist Robert F. Stryker. Vietnam War. 7 November 1967, while assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, SP4 Robert F. Stryker threw himself upon an enemy Claymore mine as it was detonated near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam. He was mortally wounded as his body absorbed the blast and shielded his comrades from the explosion. His unselfish actions were responsible for saving the lives of at least 6 of his fellow soldiers.
- Specialist Ross A. McGinnis. Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 4 December 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq, while serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, he threw himself upon a grenade that was thrown into his HMMWV gun truck, saving the lives of the other four crewmen. Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis was posthumously promoted to the rank of specialist and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Coat of armsEdit
- Shield: Argent, a royal palm branch paleways Proper, on a chief embattled Azure five Mohawk arrowheads of the first. For informal use, the shield encircled by a fourragére in the colors of the French Croix de Guerre.
- Crest: On a wreath of the colors Argent and Azure a sun in splendor charged with a Mohawk arrowhead Azure.
- Motto: "PALMAM QUI MERUIT FERAT" (Let Him Bear The Palm Who Has Won It).
- Symbolism: The shield is white with a blue chief, the old and the present Infantry colors. The dividing line embattled stands for the entrenchments which the regiment has so many times assaulted. The Mohawk arrowhead was the regimental insignia during World War I. It was selected by Colonel Hamilton A. Smith as indicating the American virtues and the regimental spirit of courage, resourceful daring and relentless pursuit of an enemy. Colonel Smith was killed while leading the regiment in the first great offensive in which it took part. The arrow is repeated five times because in five major offensives the regiment exhibited these qualities indicated by the badge which it had adopted and by which it was designated during these engagements. The palm of victory displayed on the shield and the motto refer to the only award the regiment seeks. The arrowhead is repeated in the crest to indicate the same regimental spirit under all conditions. The sun, taken from the Katipunan flag, symbolizes service in the Philippine Insurrection.
- Background: The coat of arms was approved on 1973-04-16.
Distinctive unit insigniaEdit
- Description: The distinctive unit insignia is a gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height overall, consisting of a white enamel shield charged with a blue enamel Indian arrowhead point to chief.
- Symbolism: The shield is the characteristic device of the regiment.
- Background: The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 1973-04-16.
- Description: A white oval-shaped embroidered item 1 3/8 inches (3.49 cm) in height and 2+1⁄4 inches (5.72 cm) in width overall, all within a 1/4 (3.18 cm) ultramarine blue border notched at the horizontal center line.
- The background trimming was approved on 24 October 2014.
26th Infantry Regiment
Constituted 2 February 1901 in the Regular Army as the 26th Infantry
Organized 22 February 1901 with headquarters at Fort McPherson, Georgia
(1st Battalion organized in December 1900 at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, as the 1st Provisional Battalion of Infantry; redesignated 7 February 1901 as the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry)
(2d Battalion organized March–April 1901 at Fort McPherson, Georgia; redesignated 29 May 1901 as the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry—hereafter separate lineage; new 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry, organized 1 July 1901 in the Philippine Islands)
(3d Battalion organized in January 1901 at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, as the 2d Provisional Battalion of Infantry; redesignated 8 February 1901 as the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry; redesignated 29 May 1901 as the 3d Battalion, 26th Infantry)
Assigned 8 June 1917 to the 1st Expeditionary Division (later redesignated as the 1st Infantry Division)
Relieved 15 February 1957 from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division and reorganized as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System
Withdrawn 3 April 1987 from the Combat Arms Regimental System, reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System, and transferred to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Withdrawn 15 January 1996 from the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Redesignated 1 October 2005 as the 26th Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment
Organized 25 December 1900 in the Regular Army at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, as Company A, 1st Provisional Battalion of Infantry
Consolidated 7 February 1901 with Company A, 26th Infantry (constituted 2 February 1901 in the Regular Army), and consolidated unit designated as Company A, 26th Infantry
(26th Infantry assigned 8 June 1917 to the 1st Expeditionary Division (later redesignated as the 1st Infantry Division)
Reorganized and redesignated 15 February 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 26th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 1st Infantry Division (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated)
Relieved 14 April 1959 from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division
Relieved 24 October 1962 from assignment to the 8th Infantry Division and assigned to the 2d Infantry Division
Relieved 15 February 1963 from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division
Reorganized and redesignated 13 January 1964 as the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry
Inactivated 24 February 1983 in Germany and relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division
Headquarters transferred 3 April 1987 to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and activated at Fort Dix, New Jersey
Inactivated 15 January 1996 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and withdrawn from the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Battalion assigned 16 February 1996 to the 1st Infantry Division and activated in Germany
Redesignated 1 October 2005 as the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment
Relieved 16 March 2008 from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division and assigned to the 3d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
2d Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment
Organized 28 December 1900 in the Regular Army at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, as Company B, 1st Provisional Battalion of Infantry
Consolidated 7 February 1901 with Company B, 26th Infantry (constituted 2 February 1901 in the Regular Army), and consolidated unit designated as Company B, 26th Infantry
(26th Infantry assigned 8 June 1917 to the 1st Expeditionary Division [later redesignated as the 1st Infantry Division])
Inactivated 15 February 1957 at Fort Riley, Kansas, and relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division; concurrently redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battle Group, 26th Infantry
Assigned 1 February 1963 to the 1st Infantry Division and activated at Fort Riley, Kansas (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated)
Inactivated 13 January 1964 at Fort Riley, Kansas, and relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division
Redesignated 3 April 1987 as the 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry; Headquarters concurrently transferred to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and activated at Fort Dix, New Jersey
Inactivated 18 July 1990 at Fort Dix, New Jersey; Headquarters concurrently withdrawn from the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Battalion redesignated 1 October 2005 as the 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment
Assigned 16 April 2007 to the 3d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Hood, Texas
Campaign participation creditEdit
Philippine Insurrection: Streamer without inscription
World War I: Montdidier-Noyon; Aisne-Marne; St. Mihiel; Meuse-Argonne; Lorraine 1917; Lorraine 1918; Picardy 1918
World War II: Algeria-French Morocco (with arrowhead); Tunisia; Sicily (with arrowhead); Normandy (with arrowhead); Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
Vietnam: Defense; Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase II; Counteroffensive, Phase III; Tet Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring 1970
Kosovo: Kosovo Defense
War on Terrorism: Iraq, Afghanistan
- Navy Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered ANBAR PROVINCE FEB 2006-FEB 2007
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered STOLBERG
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered ADHAMIYAH [NOV 2006-MAY 2007]
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered AP GU
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered SAMARRA, IRAQ
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered SAMARRA, IRAQ (OCT-NOV 2004)
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered KUNAR, AFGHANISTAN 2008–2009
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered IRAQ 2006-2007
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered AFGHANISTAN 2011
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered IRAQ 16-17
- Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered 1996–1997
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War I, Streamer embroidered AISNE-MARNE
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War I, Streamer embroidered MEUSE-ARGONNE
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered KASSERINE
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY
- French Médaille militaire, Fourragere
- Belgian Fourragere 1940
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Mons
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Eupen-Malmedy
In popular cultureEdit
Marvel Superhero Captain America served in 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. 1-26 IN is depicted in the critically acclaimed documentary Restrepo as the unit that replaces The 173rd Airborne Brigade in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. 
- "Medal of Honor Citations Archive". World War II Medal of Honor Recipients M-S. United States Army Center of Military History. 8 June 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "World War II Medal of Honor Recipients T-Z". United States Army Center of Military History Medal of Honor Citations Archive. United States Army Center of Military History. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- United States Army Center of Military History: Medal of Honor Recipients of Vietnam M-Z Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- United States Army Center of Military History: Medal of Honor Recipients of OIF Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "TIOH – Beret Flashes and Background Trimmings – 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment". Tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "26th Infantry Regiment". Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- (CMH), U.S. Army Center of Military History. "1ST BATTALION, 26th INFANTRY REGIMENT – Lineage and Honors – U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH)".
- "2d Battalion, 26th Infantry".
- "From 'Blue Spader' to Avenger: Marvel superhero Captain America served with the 'Big Red One'".
- Roberts, J. Parker. "From 'Blue Spader' to Avenger: Marvel Superhero Captain America Served with the 'Big Red One'" Us.army.mil. United States Army, 5 February 2015. Web.
- Days of Perfect Hell-October to November, 1918: The U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive by Peter L. Belmonte Schiffer Publishing, 2015.