ORIGINS

 

The 143d Infantry, Texas National Guard, was organized 21 February 1879 as the 3d Regiment of Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard, from existing companies as follows (Local designation and date of organization follow original Third Regiment designation): Company A, Waco Grays, 1876; Company B, Belton Light Guards, 1880; Company C, Mills' Rifles, 1879; Company D, Coke Guards, 1879; Company F, Mills' Sharpshooter, 1878; Company F, Kosse Light Guard, 1880; Company G, Houston Light Guard, 1873.

During the Spanish-American War, five of the Companies of the Regiment were in Federal Service, as follows:

OLD DESIGNATIONS Company A, Company B, Company G, Company H, Company I.

FEDERAL DESIGNATIONS Company B, Second Texas Infantry, USV; Company C, Second Texas Infantry, USV; Company A, Third Texas Infantry, USV; Company B, Fourth Texas Infantry, USV; Company I, First Texas Infantry, USV.

Company I, First Texas Infantry, USV (Company I, Third Regiment, Texas National Guard) served in the Army of Occupation in Cuba from December 25, 1898 to March 25, 1899.

The above companies were mustered into Federal Service at Austin and Houston during the period 10 May - 30 July 1898. They were mustered out of Service at Galveston, Dallas and San Antonio during the period 9 November 1898 17 April 1899.

After being mustered out of Federal Service after the Spanish-American War, the Third Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard, reverted of its former status in the state service.

It is of note that on the first call of the United States Army for Texas Volunteer Troops, the only unit which readied itself in time to enlist in the United States Volunteers was the Tom Hamilton Guards of Huntsville (later Company F, 143d Infantry). Also, one of the Majors in the First Infantry, USV, was Major John A. Hulen, who later became Adjutant General of Texas; who commanded the 72d Infantry Brigade of the 36th Infantry Division during its training and during all of its fighting in France during World War I and until its final muster-out, and who, after World War I, reorganized the 36th Infantry Division and served as its Commanding General for fifteen years until his retirement on September 9, 1935. Lt Gen Hulen died 14 September 1957 at his home near Palacios, Texas. He had served his State and Nation over 46 years in an active status.

During the period of 1898 to 1914, the then elements of the 143d Infantry went through a period of transformation typical of later period after World Wars I and II. The highlight of this period was the passage of the Dick Bill which placed the state militias on an equal footing and organization. During this time, only three units owned their armories in Texas. One of them was Company A, (Houston Light Guard) First Infantry, which later became Company G, 143d Infantry.

The status of the Texas National Guard from 1898 to 1914 varied in extreme. Several units were mustered out and many more were organized. The Texas Legislature was showing more interest in supporting the Texas National Guard and in 1908 appropriated the unheard of sum of $5,000 for support of the Guard. This amounted to $8 per month per infantry company, $12 per cavalry troop and $16 per artillery battery. The 3d Infantry Regiment, TVG, was redesignatod as the 3d Infantry Regiment, Texas National Guard on 1 July 1903.

During this period the colored battalion of Texas National Guard troops were mustered out and the size of the Texas National Guard was reduced to a Brigade. In 1914, a 55-acre tract was added to the Camp Mabry reservation near Austin and was added to the already state-owned 425 acres, plus 200 acres owned by the Federal government. Camp Mabry was officially designated as the mobilization point of the Texas National Guard. Such was the status of the Texas National Guard in the period preceding the call to arms for service on the Mexican Border.

On Thursday, May 11, 1916, the Texas National Guard was mobilized and the 3d Infantry Regiment mobilized at Camp Wilson in San Antonio, on the site of now Fort Sam Houston. Soon thereafter the Reginent was positioned along the Mexican Border with other troops from Harlingen to Roma. Later elements of the 3d Infantry was moved to the vicinity of Corpus Christi. The Regiment was mustered out of Federal Service 26 March 1917.

 
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