The 142nd Infantry came into existence officially October 15, 1917, when the First Oklahoma Infantry and the Seventh Texas Infantry were consolidated. The Oklahoma Infantry had been in existence since the Spanish-American War, and the Seventh Texas had been organized during the summer months of 1917. Their consolidation took place at Camp Bowie, and provided for authorized units of much larger strength than formerly.
The policy of merging regiments from different states, although vigorously opposed by the states, was probably demanded because of the exigency of the war. It meant the destroying of state and regimental pride, the separation of many officers from their command, and the consequent destruction of morale and discipline. All this happened in the 142nd, but under the able command of Colonel A. W. Bloor and his fine staff of officers from both states, the organization was speedily transformed into the greatest combat machine in the division. Incidentally, Colonel Bloor was the only infantry commander in the division who remained in command of his regiment throughout the war.
After training at Camp Bowie until July, 1918, the regiment embarked for France and was billeted in the 13th Training Area around Bar-sur-Aube. Moving to an area around Champignuel, southwest of Chalons-sur-Marne, the division assisted the French in their attack on Blanc Mont in the Champagne.
The 142nd Infantry went under fire for the first time on the night of October 6 and 7, 1918. That night the 71st Brigade, attached to the Second Division, took up its position on the northern slopes of Blanc Mont alongside the Second Division Troops. Blanc Mont had been easily captured but the enemy resistance had stiffened and halted any further advance on the northern slopes. To the left front of the sector was the village of St. Etienne, which had been taken and retaken by the Marines, French, and Germans, but which was now in the hands of the Germans. On this front at 5:15 on the morning of October 8, the 71st Brigade attacked, and was met with terrific resistance and heavy casualties, but took St. Etienne. The part taken in its capture by the Second Division and its repulsing of counter-attacks has been hardly recognized, and history does not do justice to a regiment which was attached to the Second Division and which suffered five-sxths of the division casualty list of 1,000 men.
The 142nd Infantry was in contact with the enemy for 20 days. Two engagements were fought by the regiment, one on October 8 and the other on October 27. During this time, every known relief was made. One relief was made by the Sixth Marines and one by the French.
After its relief, the 142nd Infantry marched to the Argonne, joining the First American Army until the signing of the Armistice. During its campaigns in France of about three weeks combat service, it lost 70 per cent of its officers, and 57 per cent of its enlisted personnel were killed or wounded.
The regiment began embarkation for the United States at Brest, May 19, and debarked at Hoboken, New Jersey, May 31, 1919. The regiment was demobilized at Camp Bowie, June 17, 1919.
In December, 1920, the 142nd Infantry was allotted to the National Guard of Texas. The reorganization of the regiment began early in 1921, and its companies were Federally recognized as follows: Headquarters Company, April 11, 1922; Service Company, November 14, 1921; Howitzer Company, December 31, 1921; Headquarters Company, First Battalion, February 9, 1922; Company A, November 15, 1921; Company B, December 2, 1921; Company C, February 8, 1922; Company D, December 1, 1921; Headquarters Company, Second Battalion, May 16, 1921; Company E, November 26, 1921; Company F, February 15 1922; Company G, October 27, 1921; Company H, November 28, 1921; Headquarters Company, Third Battalion, October 24, 1921; Company I, June 27, 1921; Company K, August 8, 1921; Company L, August 8, 1921; Company M, October 25, 1921, and the Medical Detachment, May 17, 1922.
The regiment was reorganized to perpetuate the history and records of the World War 142nd Infantry, 36th Division. The only Congressional Medals of Honor awarded in the 36th Division were to Sergeant Sampler and Corporal Turner of the 142nd Infantry, both of whom were Oklahomans. Thirty-three Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to officers and men of the regiment, and one Distinguished Service Medal awarded to the 142nd Infantry during the World War.
During the twenty-three years of existence, the 142nd Infantry has had but three Colonels: Colonel Bloor (now Colonel of Infantry, United States Army, Retired, Colonel Charles W. Nimon (now Brigadier General commanding the 71st Brigade), and Colonel John Watt Page (now the Adjutant General of Texas).