WORLD WAR I

 

The Texas National Guard was again called to the defense of the Nation April 1, 1917. The elements of the Guard were assembled at Camp Bowie (near Fort Worth), Texas, during the period 11 April - 9 May 1917. The Texas National Guard and The Oklahoma National Guard were combined to form the 36th Infantry Division. The insignia, later adopted for the Division, contains the letter "T" to identify Texas members of the Division, and the arrowhead background to recognize the Oklahoma members.

The significant date during World War I was October 15, 1917, when the 143d Infantry Regiment was formed from the 3d Infantry (less M.G. Company) Texas National Guard and the Fifth Infantry, Texas National Guard. Thus, October 15th is the official "birthday" of the 143d Infantry.

The 143d Infantry Regiment, as a part of the 36th Infantry Division, arrived in France during the early summer of 1918. The Regiment was first stationed at Bar-sur-Aube in a training assignment. On September 26, 1917, it was shipped by rail to an area between Epernay and Chalons-sur-Marne, where it was the reserve of the French group of Armies of the Center.

The Division was transferred on October 3d to the Fourth French Army where the Second Infantry Division (American) was already serving. The 143d Infantry was first placed in the line on October 10th, by relieving an infantry regiment of the Second Infantry Division. With the Second Division Artillery supporting, the 143d Infantry received its baptism of fire in an attack about 6 p.m. on October 10th, when they attacked near St. Etienne. The Regiment attacked in the direction of Machault and Cauray with success. The next day the enemy begun his retreat to the north in the direction of Dricourt and Attigny. The Regiment, as part of the 72d Infantry Brigade, took up the pursuit and lively rear guard actions followed between St. Etienne and Machault, which resulted in the encircling of the latter town and the establishment of a new firm Allied Line. The following day, October 12th, the Regiment continued its relentless attack and gained control of the northern bank of the Aisne. The Regiment maintained strong contct with the enemy until it was relieved by other Allied forces about October 28th. The Regiment was assembled as a part of the 36th Infantry Division in the Suippes-Somme-Suippes area and from this point moved to the Triaucourt areas. It remained here as a unit of the First American Army until the signing of the Armistice.

Shortly after conclusion of hostilities, the Regiment moved to Tonnerre and remained here until April 26, 1919, when it started embarking at Brest for return to the United States. The Regiment had spent 23 days in action, none of them in quiet sectors. The Regiment, as part of the Division, is credited with the freeing of Rheims. The total advance of the Division was 13.8 miles; total prisoners captured, 813; total material captured; 3 pieces heavy artillery, 6 pieces light artillery, 17 trench mortars and 277 machine guns. The value of enemy ammunition captured was $10 millions.

The Division had 331 officers and 469 man killed in action; 4 officers and 70 men died of wounds; 177 officers and 329 men gassed; 42 officers and 89 men slightly wounded; 39 officers and 474 men severely wounded; total casualties, 2,601 officers and men.

Awards for valor to members of the Division were 30 Distinguished Service Crosses; 128 Croix de Guerres and 2 Congressional Medals of Honor.

The 36th Infantry Division had three different Commanding Generals, as follows: Major General E. St John Grobble, Aug 23 - September 17, 1917, and December 6, 1917 - August 2, 1918; Brigadier General George Blakeley, September 18 - December 5, 1917; and Major General William Smith, august 3, 1918, to date of demobilization in June of 1919. The 143d Infantry Regiment was demobilized at Camp Bowie, Texas, on the 13th and 14th of June 1919.

During World War I, the 143d Infantry was commanded by Colonel John S Hoover and Colonel Irving J Phillipson. Prior to the consolidation of the 3d Infantry and the 5th Infantry to make up the 143d Infantry, the 3d Infantry was commanded by Colonel George P. Rains and the 5th Infantry by Colonel John S Hoover.

 

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