Infantry Branch (United States)

The Infantry Branch (also known as the "Queen of the Battle") is a branch of the United States Army first established in 1775.

Infantry branch
USA - Army Infantry Insignia
Branch insignia, worn on the left collar of some U.S. Army uniforms.
Founded14 June 1775
Country United States
Branch United States Army
Home stationFort Benning, Georgia
Nickname(s)"Queen of Battle"
Motto(s)"Follow me!"
Branch color     Saxony blue[1]
EngagementsRevolutionary War
Indian Wars
War of 1812
Mexican–American War
Utah War
American Civil War
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
Banana Wars
Boxer Rebellion
Border War
World War I
Russian Civil War
World War II
Korean War
Operation Power Pack
Vietnam War
Operation Eagle Claw
Invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Panama
Persian Gulf War
Somali Civil War
Kosovo War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War


Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress on 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, was constituted on 3 June 1784, as the First American Regiment

18th century

On 3 March 1791, Congress added to the Army "The Second Regiment of Infantry"

  • The Act of 16 July 1798, authorized twelve additional regiments of infantry
  • an Act of Congress on 11 January 1812, increased the regular army to 46 infantry and 4 rifle regiments
  • an Act of Congress on 3 March 1815, which reduced the Regular Army from the 46 infantry and 4 rifle regiments it fielded in the War of 1812 to a peacetime establishment of 8 infantry regiments (reduced to 7 in 1821). The Army's current regimental numbering system dates from this act.

19th century

Army organized into seven infantry regiments, 1815;

Ten one-year regiments were authorized by the Act of 11 February 1847, due to the Mexican–American War, but only the 9th–16th Infantry Regiments were activated; they did not re-form permanently until the 1850s and 1860s.

Civil War expansion to 19 regiments;

In a major expansion under General Order 92, War Department, 23 November 1866, pursuant to an act of 28 July 1866 (14 Stat. 332), the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the existing 11th-19th Infantry Regiments were expanded and designated the 20th–37th Infantry Regiments, with four new regiments (the 38th–41st) to be composed of black enlisted men, and the new 42nd-45th Infantry Regiments for wounded veterans of the Civil War.

This was reduced by consolidation to 25 regiments under General Order 17, War Department, 15 March 1869, with the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments constituting the black enlisted force. On 2 February 1901, Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act, which authorized five additional regiments, the 26th-30th;

20th century

The Militia Act of 1903 consolidated most state militia forces into the National Guard.

In 1916 Congress enacted the National Defense Act and under War Department General Orders Number 22 dated 30 June 1916 that ordered seven new regiments to be organised; four in the Continental United States, one in the Philippine Islands (31st Infantry Regiment (United States), one in Hawaii (32nd Infantry Regiment (United States), and one, the 33rd Infantry, in the Canal Zone.

In 1917 a new numbering system was set up. Infantry regiments 1–100 were to be assigned to the Regular Army, 101–300 to the National Guard, and 301 and up to the National Army. 167 National Guard units were re-numbered from the previously-used state system to the new federal system; the 71st New York infantry regiment was able to lobby to keep their old 19th century number which violated this numbering rule while serving on the Mexican border in 1916; however, the unit was broken up and most of its troops assigned to the 27th Division after re-federalization in 1917.[2] The 71st was re-formed in 1919 and served in World War II as the 71st Infantry Regiment. In the 1990s the 165th Infantry Regiment (formerly the 69th New York Infantry Regiment) reverted to its old number as the 69th Infantry Regiment.

A new system, the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, or CARS, was adopted in 1957 to replace the old regimental system. CARS uses the Army's traditional regiments as parent organizations for historical purposes, but the primary building blocks are divisions, and brigades composed of battalions. Each battalion carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization no longer exists. In some brigades several numbered battalions carrying the same regimental association may still serve together, and tend to consider themselves part of the traditional regiment when in fact they are independent battalions serving a brigade, rather than a regimental, headquarters. The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981.

21st century

There are exceptions to USARS regimental titles, including the Armored Cavalry Regiments and the 75th Ranger Regiment created in 1986. On 1 October 2005, the word "regiment" was formally appended to the name of all active and inactive CARS and USARS regiments. So, for example, the 1st Cavalry officially became titled the 1st Cavalry Regiment

Branch insignia

Two gold color crossed muskets, vintage 1795 Springfield musket (Model 1795 Musket), 3/4 inch in height.

Crossed muskets were first introduced into the U.S. Army as the insignia of officers and enlisted men of the Infantry on 19 November 1875 (War Department General Order No. 96 dtd 19 Nov 1875) to take effect on or before 1 June 1876. Numerous attempts in the earlier years were made to keep the insignia current with the ever-changing styles of rifles being introduced into the Army. However, in 1924 the branch insignia was standardized by the adoption of crossed muskets and the 1795 model Springfield Arsenal musket was adopted as the standard musket to be used. This was the first official United States shoulder arm, made in a government arsenal, caliber .69, flint lock, smooth bore, muzzle loader. The standardized musket now in use was first suggested by Major General Charles S. Farnsworth, U.S. Army, while he was the first Chief of Infantry, in July 1921, and approved by General Pershing, Chief of Staff, in 1922. The device adopted in 1922 has been in continual use since 1924. There have been slight modifications in the size of the insignia over the years; however, the basic design has remained unchanged.

Branch plaque

The plaque design has the branch insignia, letters and border in gold. The background is Saxony blue.

Regimental insignia

Personnel assigned to the Infantry branch affiliate with a specific regiment and wear the insignia of the affiliated regiment.

Regimental coat of arms

There is no standard infantry regimental flag to represent all of the infantry regiments. Each regiment of infantry has its own coat of arms which appears on the breast of a displayed eagle. The background of all the infantry regimental flags is flag blue with yellow fringe.

Branch colors

Saxony Blue – 65014 cloth; 67120 yarn; PMS 5415.

The Infantry has made two complete cycles between white and light blue. During the Revolutionary War, white facings were prescribed for the Infantry. White was the color used for Infantry until 1851 at which time light or Saxony blue was prescribed for the pompon and for the trimming on Infantry horse furniture. In 1857, the color was prescribed as sky blue. In 1886, the linings of capes and trouser stripes were prescribed to be white. However, in 1902, the light blue was prescribed again. In 1917, the cape was still lined with light blue but the Infantry trouser stripes were of white as were the chevrons for enlisted men. The infantry color is light blue; however, infantry regimental flags and guidons have been National Flag blue since 1835. White is used as a secondary color on the guidons for letters, numbers, and insignia.


14 June 1775. The Infantry is the oldest branch in the Army. Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by the Continental Congress Resolve of 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army Infantry Regiment, the 3rd Infantry, was constituted on 3 June 1784 as the First American Regiment.

Current active units

The United States Army Infantry School is currently at Fort Benning, GA

(*)Note: Combined arms battalions contain two mechanized infantry companies, along with two armor (tank) companies and a headquarters and headquarters company.

Current types of U.S. Army Infantry

(Comparison with U.S. Marine Corps Infantry)

The US Army currently employs three types of infantry: light infantry (consisting of four sub-types), Stryker infantry, and mechanized infantry. The infantrymen themselves are essentially trained, organized, armed, and equipped the same, save for some having airborne, air assault, and/or Ranger qualification(s), the primary difference being in the organic vehicles (or lack thereof) assigned to the infantry unit, or the notional delivery method (i.e., parachute drop or heliborne) employed to place the infantryman on the battlefield. All modern US Army rifle platoons contain three nine-man rifle squads, except for mechanized infantry, which only has two rifle squads per rifle platoon due to troop carrying limitations of the four Infantry Fighting Vehicles organic to each rifle platoon. Each type of infantry has a discrete TO&E.

Light and Ranger infantry have similar battalion organizations (i.e., an HHC and three infantry companies), however there are significant differences in the composition of each of the two types of companies between the battalions. Airborne and Air Assault infantry battalions (sharing essentially the same battalion, company, and platoon organization), are significantly larger than the light and Ranger infantry battalions, because they contain an anti-armor company and have a larger HHC. Stryker and mechanized infantry units' TO&Es are markedly different from each other as well as from the several sub-types of light infantry. An obvious difference is the requirement to allow for additional manpower and equipment to man, maintain, and service their respective vehicles.

Light Infantry

Primarily foot-mobile, usually transported by motorized assets, capable of air assault operations.

  • Light Infantry: Standard light infantry not otherwise designated or qualified as one of the other three subtypes. Organized into battalions consisting of an Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) and three rifle companies. Three light infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Light).
  • Airborne Infantry: Parachute qualified and capable of night, low-level parachute insertion when deployed by U.S. Air Force fixed-wing strategic or tactical transport aircraft or Army Aviation assets. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC, three rifle companies, and an antiarmor company. Three airborne infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne).
  • Air Assault Infantry: Assigned to units with associated Army Aviation elements, with both the infantry and aviation elements specifically trained and organized to perform the air assault mission, however all light infantry are capable of performing the air assault mission when transported by appropriate aviation assets. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC, three rifle companies, and an antiarmor company. Three air assault infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Air Assault).
  • Ranger Infantry: Parachute qualified and specifically trained and designated for special operations missions as well as conventional light infantry tasks. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC and three Ranger companies. The three Ranger infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Stryker Infantry

Equipped with M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles, "Stryker" infantry is essentially a new form of "medium infantry." While technically a form of mechanized infantry, because of their namesake wheeled mounts, they are more heavily armored and weapon equipped than light infantry but not as robust in either as mechanized infantry. Organized into battalions consisting of an HHC and three Stryker infantry companies. Three infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Mechanized Infantry

Equipped with M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, they are trained, organized, and equipped to operate in conjunction with tanks, therefore, essentially forming the modern equivalent of "heavy" or "armored" infantry. (Both terms, historically eschewed by the U.S. Army Infantry Branch due to supposed pejorative or "Armor Branch," viz., "tank unit" biases.) Mechanized infantry is organized into "Combined Arms" battalions consisting of an HHC, and either two tank companies, and one mechanized infantry company, or two mechanized infantry companies and one tank company. Three Combined Arms Battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Armored Brigade Combat Team.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Sutliffe, Robert Stewart (22 March 2018). "Seventy-first New York in the world war". New York, Printed by J. J. Little & Ives co. – via Internet Archive., pp. 34-39
  • Historical register and dictionary of the United States Army, from ..., Volume 1 By Francis Bernard Heitman [1]
  • Official U. S. bulletin, Volume 1 By United States (1917). Committee on Public Information [2]
  • Encyclopedia of United States Army insignia and uniforms By William K. Emerson (page 51).[3]
  • Infantry Division Components of the US Army By Timothy Aumiller [4]
  • Rinaldi, Richard A. (2004). The U. S. Army in World War I: Orders of Battle. General Data LLC. ISBN 0-9720296-4-8.

External links

518th Infantry Regiment (United States)

The 518th Infantry Regiment is an Infantry regiment in the Army Reserve.

The regiment was constituted 15 July 1946 in the Organized Reserves as the 518th Parachute Infantry and assigned to the 108th Airborne Division.

Activated 6 August 1946 with headquarters at Charlotte, North Carolina

(Organized Reserves redesignated 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps; redesignated 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve)

Reorganized and redesignated 28 February 1951 as the 518th Airborne Infantry

Reorganized and redesignated 1 March 1952 as the 518th Infantry, an element of the 108th Infantry Division

Reorganized and redesignated 30 April 1959 as the 518th Regiment, an element of the 108th Division (Training), with headquarters at Charlotte, North Carolina

Reorganized 31 January 1968 to consist of the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, elements of the 108th Division (Training)

Reorganized 1 October 1994 to consist of the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, elements of the 108th Division (Institutional Training)

Reorganized 13 January 1995 to consist of the 1st and 3d Battalions, elements of the 108th Division (Institutional Training)

Reorganized 16 November 1996 to consist of the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, elements of the 108th Division (Institutional Training)

69th Infantry Regiment (United States)

Not to be confused with the New York National Guard unit: 69th Infantry Regiment (New York)The 69th Infantry Regiment was twice a Regular Army (United States) infantry regiment that never saw combat.

71st Infantry Regiment (United States)

The 71st Infantry Regiment was a Regular infantry regiment in the United States Army active briefly during 1918-1919.

The regiment was constituted 9 July 1918 in the Regular Army as the 71st Infantry and assigned to the 11th Infantry Division. Organized August 1918 at Camp Meade, Maryland from personnel of the 17th Infantry, it was relieved from the 11th Division and demobilized on 3 February 1919 at Camp Meade.

This regiment should not be confused with the 71st Infantry Regiment of the New York State Guard.

Frank Helmick

Frank Helmick is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General. He is the former Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps. From February to December 2011, he additionally served as the Deputy Commanding General for Operations, United States Forces - Iraq. Prior to assuming command of the XVIII Airborne Corps, LTG Helmick commanded the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq along with the NATO Training Mission-Iraq from July 3, 2008 to October 7, 2009.

Helmick has held numerous command and senior staff positions. He has commanded and served in many units in both operational and training Commands: Commander 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Commander Ranger Training Brigade, Fort Benning, Georgia; Assistant Division Commander 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Commander of the Southern European Task Force (Airborne), Vicenza, Italy.

His staff assignments include service in the 82nd Airborne Division, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he served as the Senior Military Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Guidon (United States)

In the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force, a guidon is a military standard that company or platoon-sized elements carry to signify their unit designation and corps affiliation or the title of the individual who carries it. A basic guidon can be rectangular, but sometimes has a triangular portion removed from the fly (known as "swallow-tailed").


Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

The first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to primarily firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry, cavalry, and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry usually remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, and airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.

Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield ("boots on the ground"); this is vital for taking or holding ground (any military objectives), securing battlefield victories, maintaining military area control and security both at and behind the front lines, for capturing ordnance or materiel, taking prisoners, and military occupation. Infantry can more easily recognise, adapt and respond to local conditions, weather, and changing enemy weapons or tactics. They can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, and can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are most easily deliverable forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport; they can also be inserted directly into combat by amphibious landing, or for air assault by parachute or helicopter ("airmobile" or "airborne" infantry). They can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons and armoured personnel carriers.

Infantry Branch

Infantry Branch may refer to:

Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, the organisation to which all Canadian infantry regiments belong

Infantry Branch (United States), a branch of the United States Army first established in 1775.

Steven P. Schook

Steven P. Schook (born 1953 in Mount Clemens, Michigan) is a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and former United Nations diplomat.

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