12th Infantry Regiment
|[World War II]
|[12th Infantry Today]
|[Coat of Arms and Insignia]
|[Lineage and Honors]
The 12th Infantry Regiment has served the United States with distinction and courage during its 128-year history. The Regiment has fought in six wars from the Civil War to Vietnam and has been awarded three Presidential Unit Citations, three Valorous Unit Awards and the Belgian Fourragere. During the Vietnam War the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry served with the 25th Infantry Division from August 1967 to April 1971. The 2nd Battalion participated in 11 Vietnam campaigns and received a Presidential Unit Citation.
Less than a month after the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, SC, the 12th Infantry Regiment was constituted 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry and was organized 20 October 1861 at Fort Hamilton NY. The Battalion saw extensive combat during the Civil War, participating in twelve campaigns with the Army of the Potomac. In the Peninsula Campaign the 12th Infantry distinguished itself in its first combat action at the Battle of Gaines Mill, 27 and 28 June 1862 while sustaining fifty percent casualties. The 12th Infantry also participated in such historic battles as Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and six additional campaigns culminating with the siege of Petersburg, Virginia in April 1865.
The Battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 12th Infantry Regiment on 7 December 1866. In the 1870’s the Regiment took part in two campaigns of the Indian Wars; against the Modoc tribe in California during 1872-1873 and against the Bannocks in the northwest in 1878. The 12th also took part in the campaign against the Sioux at Pine Ridge, SD from 1890-91.
WAR WITH SPAIN & THE PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION
During the War with Spain, the 12th Infantry was sent to Cuba in June 1898 and participated in the storming of the Spanish fortress of El Caney where the 12th had the distinction of capturing the Spanish colors. At the conclusion of the War with Spain the Regiment was immediately dispatched in February 1899 to the Philippine Islands to reinforce US Army units fighting elements of the Filipino army that resented the takeover of their islands by the United States after the Americans had defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Manila. There the Regiment participated in three campaigns of what was to be known as the Philippine Insurrection and then served as garrison troops, not returning to the United States until 1912.
On 17 December 1917 the 12th Infantry was assigned to the 8th Division but was not sent overseas in World War I. The Regiment remained assigned to the 8th Division until 15 August 1927 when it was reassigned to the 4th Division. The 12th was once again reassigned to the 8th Division on 1 October 1933 and stationed at Fort Howard MD. On 10 October 1941 the Regiment was transferred to Fort Benning GA and assigned to the 4th Motorized Division.
The 12th Infantry Regiment was reorganized as a motorized infantry regiment on 9 September 1942. Less than a year later on 1 August 1943 the 12th was reorganized as a standard infantry regiment when the 4th Division was converted from motorized to dismounted infantry. The Regiment along with the rest of the 4th Infantry Division arrived in England on 29 January 1944. On D Day, 6 June 1944, the 12th Infantry saw its first action of the war when, as part of the 4th Infantry Division, it made an amphibious assault landing on Utah Beach. The Regiment fought in five European campaigns through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. The 12th Infantry was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its valor in the defense of Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge. The Regiment was also awarded the Belgian Fourragere. After Germany’s surrender, the 12th Infantry, along with the 4th Infantry Division, returned to the United States on 12 July 1945 and was inactivated 27 February 1946 at Camp Butner, NC.
On 15 July 1947 the 12th Infantry Regiment was reactivated as a training regiment when 4th Infantry Division was given the mission of basic training at Fort Ord, CA. In July 1951 the 4th Division was returned to line status and rotated to Germany as part of Operation Gyroscope. In 1956 the Division returned to the United States and was stationed at Fort Lewis WA.
In 1957 the Army decided that in the era of battlefield atomic weapons, tactical infantry regiments were obsolete. To preserve the historic infantry regiments the Army set up the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) whereby the line companies of a regiment would form new elements of the regiment. The 12th Infantry was selected as one of the historic regiments to be preserved. On 1 August 1957 Company A was redesignated and activated as Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 12th Infantry (with organic companies of the battle group constituted and activated) and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. Company B formed the 2nd Battle Group, 12th Infantry assigned in Germany to the 8th Infantry Division until 1959 when it was reassigned to the 1st Infantry Division also in Germany. Company C was allocated to the Army Reserves and formed the 3rd Battle Group, 12th Infantry assigned to the 79th Infantry Division.
By the time the Berlin Wall went up in August, 1961 the 2nd Battle Group,12th Infantry along with the rest of the 1st Infantry Division had been transferred back to Fort Riley, Kansas. To reinforce NATO the 1st Division was directed to began Operation Long Trust whereby the individual battle groups were rotated on temporary duty to West Germany. In July 1962, the 2nd Battle Group,12th Infantry was airlifted to West Germany where it undertook several months of tactical training and testing at Wildflecken, West Germany. It was then ordered to proceed to Berlin overland through East Germany using the Helmstedt-Berlin autobahn to test the Warsaw Pact’s willingness to allow NATO forces to continue to use it. Arriving without incident in Berlin to reinforce the U.S. Army’s Berlin Brigade, the 2nd Battle Group was quartered at McNair Barracks and Andrews Barracks. Because of the ongoing Cuban missile crisis, the battle group was almost on constant alert in October 1962. The 2nd Battle Group conducted parades to show the flag, practiced riot control and in case of a Soviet attack,had the mission of defending Templehof Airfield. The 2nd Battle Group, 12th Infantry’s tour of duty in Berlin contributed significantly to NATO’s ability to resist the aggressive stance of the Warsaw Pact and in keeping the Cold War from becoming World War III.
In 1963 the Army concluded that the battle group was not the answer and reorganized the infantry and airborne divisions into a quasi-regimental structure of three brigades of three infantry battalions each. Consequently on 1 October 1963, the 2nd Battle Group, 12th Infantry was reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Battalion,12th Infantry and reassigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado where it joined the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 12th Infantry.
The three 12th Infantry battalions deployed to Vietnam with the 4th Division from August through October 1966. The 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, to which the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry was assigned, set up base camp at Dau Tieng in III Corps while the rest of the 4th Division was assigned to the Vietnamese Highlands in II Corps alongside the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Division which had arrived in December, 1965. On 1 August 1967 the two divisions swapped 3rd Brigades. Subsequently, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry served with the 25th through 10 of the Battalion’s 11 Vietnam campaigns and received the Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action at Suoi Tre. As part of the U.S. drawdown, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry was returned to For Lewis, WA, and inactivated on 17 April 1971.
The 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry was activated and assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in June 1966 and went with the Brigade to Vietnam where it was based at Long Binh near Saigon. In November, 1967 the 5th Battalion, 12th Infantry was activated at Fort Lewis, WA and sent to Vietnam to join the 199th Brigade. This made the 12th Infantry unique in that the Regiment had more battalions deployed in Viet Nam than any other infantry regiment. In October 1970 the 4th and 5th Battalions returned to Fort Benning, GA and were inactivated. The 1st and 3rd Battalions returned in December 1970 with the 4th Division to Fort Carson, CO.
The CARS system was replaced by the US Army Regimental System in 1985 when the army contemplated shifting to a unit replacement system. Under the new system four battalions of the 12th Infantry were activated. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson and the 3rd and 4th Battalions were assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. The concept was for members of the regiment to spend the majority of their army careers rotating between assignments with regimental battalions at Fort Carson and in Germany.
By the early 90’s the Army drawdown and its expanding worldwide peace- keeping commitments led to a decision to scrap the unit replacement concept before it was fully implemented. The 3rd and 4th Battalions were transferred to the 1st Armored Division and served in Bosnia before being inactivated in Germany in 1997. The 2nd Battalion was inactivated at Fort Carson in September 1995.
The 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry is assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. The 1st Battalion has served two tours of duty in Iraq. The 2nd Battalion was reactivated on 29 September 2005 and was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and served in Iraq from October 2006 to January 2008. The 2nd Battalion is now assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson.
Symbolism: The field is blue for infantry. This regiment took part in the Civil War; its great achievement was its first engagement at Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, on 27 and 28 June 1862, where its losses were almost 50 percent. This is shown by the moline crosses which represent the iron fastening of a millstone and recall the crushing losses sustained. The wigwam stands for the Indian campaigns in which the regiment took part. The chief is for the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurrection, yellow and red being the Spanish colors, red and blue the Katipunan colors; the embattled partition line is for the capture of the blockhouse at El Caney, Cuba, and the sea lion is from the arms of the Philippine Islands.
The crest in the Spanish colors commemorates the capture of the Spanish flag at El Caney.
DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA The distinctive insignia is a modified version of the shield of the coat of arms.
1861 Constituted 3 May as Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, Regular Army; organized 20 October 1861 at Fort Hamilton, NY
1866 Reorganized and redesignated 7 December as Company B, 12th Infantry
1917 Assigned to 8th Division 17 December
1927 Relieved 15 August from the 8th Division and assigned to 4th Division
1933 Relieved 1 October from the 4th Division and assigned to 8th Division
1941 Relieved 10 October from assignment to the 8th Division and assigned to 4th Division (later redesignated as the 4th Infantry Division)
1946 Inactivated 27 February at Camp Butner, NC
1947 Activated 15 July at Fort Ord, CA
1957 Inactivated 1 April at Fort Lewis, WA, and relieved from assignment to 4th Infantry Division; redesignated 1 August as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battle Group, 12th Infantry; assigned to the 8th Infantry Division and activated in Germany (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated)
1959 Relieved 24 March from assignment to the 8th Infantry Division and assigned to 1st Infantry Division
1963 Reorganized and redesignated 1 October as the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry; concurrently relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division
1967 Relieved 1 August from assignment to the 4th Infantry Division and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division
1971 Inactivated 17 April at Fort Lewis, WA
1976 Relieved 1 April from the 25th Infantry Division, assigned to 4th Infantry Division and activated at Fort Carson CO
1976 Inactivated 21 September at Fort Carson, CO
1989 Activated 16 June at Fort Carson, CO
1995 Inactivated 15 September at Fort Carson and relieved from assignment to the 4th Infantry Division
2005 Activated 29 September at Fort Carson, Colorado as an element of the 2nd Infantry Division.
2005 Assigned 16 November to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Carson Colorado
War With Spain
World War II
Normandy (with arrowhead)
Counteroffensive, Phase II
Counteroffensive, Phase III
Counteroffensive, Phase IV
Counteroffensive, Phase V
Counteroffensive, Phase VI
Counteroffensive, Phase VII
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered LUXEMBOURG (12th Infantry cited)
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered SUOI TRE, VIETNAM (2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry cited)
Belgian Fourragere, 1940 (12th Infantry cited)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in BELGIUM (12th Infantry cited)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the ARDENNES (12th Infantry cited)
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966-1967 (2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry cited)
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1967-1968 (2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry cited)
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968-1970 (2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry cited)
Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1967-1970 (2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry cited)