2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment History
Two regiments have held the designation 22nd Infantry since 1812. The original 22nd Infantry Regiment was officially constituted on June 26, 1812. General Winfield Scott was responsible for outfitting these new troops, but due to a shortage of blue cloth he was forced to substitute a rough, gray material for his rifleman.
On July 5, 1814, the Regiment entered into battle with a superior British force near the town of Chippewa, Canada. The British General, Sir Jonathan Rialls saw the gray clad regiment in the center and the right of the American battle line. Rialls is said to have remarked, "Today should be an easy day. Those men are nothing but the Buffalo militia." Rialls' tone soon changed as the gray line began to advance in a disciplined manner. The Regiment started its final charge only 50 meters from the British when the British broke and left the battlefield. Rialls' adjutant asked the general if he was sure that the gray clad soldiers were militia, General Rialls replied, "Those are Regulars by God." General Rialls' statement of praise has become the official motto of the 22nd Infantry Regiment.
In honor of the first regular formation to defeat a superior British force, the United States Military Academy at West Point adopted a gray uniform based on the design worn by the 22nd Infantry at the Battle of Chippewa. This uniform is still the official dress uniform of the West Point cadets.
The re-birth of the 22nd Infantry Regiment occurred when the Regiment was reconstituted on September 21, 1866. For the next 32 years, the Regiment served on the frontier where it was committed to campaigns against Native American Indians. The unit saw action at the Little Big Horn Campaign, Pine Ridge, and the North Dakota and Montana Campaigns. In addition, the Regiment fought the Indians in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Idaho. During its service on the frontier, two members of the Regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor while the Regiment earned five campaign streamers.
The sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, Cuba in 1898 gave the 22nd Infantry a new mission. The 22nd had the distinction of being the first American unit to land on Cuban soil. During the attack on Seboney, the Regiment captured the first Spanish colors in the war. Those colors are presently encased in the United States Military Academy Museum. Losses to the Regiment were heavy; approximately 65 percent of the men and 85 percent of the officers, to include the Regimental Commander, did not return.
In 1899, the 22nd Infantry Regiment was ordered to the Philippines to quell the insurrection. Within seven days of its arrival, the Regiment made decisive gains toward the defeat of the insurgent Aguinado. The Regiment was given the task of following Aguinado and finishing him. With limited supplies, the Regiment made one of the most arduous and famous foot marches ever undertaken by the United States Army. Their mission was carried out successfully and for their gallant actions in the Cuban and Philippine Campaigns, two members of the Regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor and the 22nd Regiment was awarded four battle streamers.
In 1906 the Regiment returned to the United States where it took part in several humanitarian relief efforts prior to deployment to the Mexican border. The Regiment spent five years "under the canvas" the longest period of continuous field time by any regiment in American history.
The 22nd Infantry was one of the first units to hit the Normandy coast in the Second World War, landing at the beach at 0745 hours on D-Day. Fighting its way inland, the 22nd pierced through enemy opposition to the outskirts of Cherbourg, then played a major part in clearing a sector of the Cotenin Peninsula. German resistance in this sector ceased with the surrender of 990 German officers and men to the 22nd Infantry. The Regiment was then issued tanks to form Combat Team 22. During World War II, the 22nd Infantry earned five campaign streamers, three Presidential Unit Citations, and one member of the Regiment was awarded the Medal of Honor.
During the Vietnam War, the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry was initially assigned to the 4th Infantry Division until August 1967 when it was transferred to the 25th Infantry Division. The Battalion took part in "Operation Attleboro" and went on to take part in one of the most fiercely contested engagements of the Vietnam conflict. The Battalion received the Presidential Unit Citation for the Battle Of Soui Tre, one of the largest single day engagements of the war with more than 620 Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) dead on the battlefield. The Regiment's last mission in Vietnam was an attack on enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia to root out NVA insurgents. During the Vietnam War, the 22nd Infantry earned 11 campaign streamers, one Presidential Unit Citation, and one member of the regiment earned the Medal of Honor.
The 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry was reactivated on September 25, 1986 as a part of the 10th Mountain Division (Light). In October 1993, the battalion was alerted to deploy to Somalia following the deaths of 18 American soldiers in a raid against warlord Mohammed Farrah Aideed. During the five month deployment, the battalion conducted security mission in every major United Nations compound and supply route. The battalion's increased presence in Mogadishu dropped the frequency of hostile encounters aimed at U.S. forces to zero.
The battalion was again called to action in September 1994 when the 10th Mountain Division deployed to Haiti during Operation Restore Democracy. The 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry led the 10th Mountain Division into Haiti with an air-assault off of the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower. The Battalion conducted the first major mission on Haitian soil securing the Port-a-Prince airport. During the 3 month tour in Haiti, the battalion secured the Presidential Place and provided a personal escort to President Arastide on numerous occasions. Solders of 2-22 Infantry were awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal.
In support of the NATO effort to rebuild the war-torn region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the battalion deployed two separate companies. The 2-22 Infantry provided units to the Multi-National Division North sector of Bosnia to fill the role as the Quick Reaction Force and to provide security to a very destabilized region. Operations included the protection of mass grave sites as well as inspection and monitoring of military weapons storage sites to ensure compliance with cease-fire agreements.
In support of the Global war on Terrorism, 2-22 Infantry deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From August 2003 through May 2004, the battalion distinguished itself participating in a variety of missions throughout the entire country, including vehicle checkpoints, cordon and searches, air assaults, and search and attacks. In the shadows and around walls, the men of 2-22 Infantry killed and captured the enemy while providing a stable government for the people of Afghanistan.
The battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2005 through July 2006. 2-22 Infantry was responsible for maintaining stability in the contentious Abu Ghraib District of Western Baghdad. The battalion conducted numerous air assault operations, cache search/ exploitations, raids, tactical checkpoints, trained the Iraqi Security Forces, and conducted numerous humanitarian relief operations which effectively disrupted Anti-Iraq Forces in Baghdad.
From 2007 to 2008 the battalion deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq for a 15 month tour. 2-22 returned to Fort Drum in the fall of 2008 and by January of 2010 the unit was deploying overseas again. For 12 months, the Soldiers of 2-22 Infantry trained Afghan National Army Soldiers at various locations throughout Afghanistan.
The history of the 22nd Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry is a long and honorable one. Those of us who continue to carry the colors forward into the future rely on our proud past to maintain the warrior spirit to fight and win. As we remember the actions which created the Regiment's first motto, "Regulars, By God!" we use their memory and courage to inspire the will to succeed, "Deeds not Words!"