143rd U.S. Infantry Regiment
("Third Texas") 1917

 

MOTTO: "Arms secure peace" "secure", as in "making something safe and secure".

FORMATION: The 143d U. S. Infantry was officially formed at Camp Bowie, Texas, on October 15, 1917, from Texas troops drawn largely from the 3d and 5th Texas National Guard Infantry Regiments. The Third Texas had been mobilized prior to the beginning of the war, serving along the Mexican border with troops from Harlingen to Roma and later near Corpus Christi. The troops of the 143rd arrived in France in the early summer of 1918, training near Bar-sur-Aube.

MEUSE-ARGONNE: As part of the 72d Infantry Brigade, the 143rd entered the reserve of the French Armies of the Center on September 26, 1918, and later went into the line on October 3d, relieving a regiment of the U. S. 2d Division. They came under fire on October 10th, 1917, and fought through several days of bitter battle to gain the northern bank of the Aisne River by October 12. The regiment was relieved from front line duty on October 28, and all the regiments of the 36th Division were put in the reserve of the First American Army until the Armistice.

BETWEEN THE WARS, 1922-1940: The Regiment participated in disaster work when a great tidal wave struck Nueces, San Patricio and Aransas Counties. Units of the Regiment were called to activity duty due to the New London school disaster of 1937.

WORLD WAR II: Mobilized November 25, 1940. Trained at Camp Bowie, Brownwood, the second camp to be named for the hero of the Alamo. Although ready for overseas movement by July, 1942, it trained with the Division at Camp Blandings, Florida and Fort Edwards, Massachusetts. The 143rd was not shipped overseas until April 2, 1943, landing in Algeria.

Salerno/Liri Valley: In September, 1943, the Regiment went ashore near Salerno (Paestum), fighting one of the bloodiest battles of the unit's history. Later in December, 1943, the Regiment assaulted the "Winter Line" near San Pietro, with the First and Second Battalions receiving a 5th Army Commendation for their valor. The capture of San Pietro by 36th Division troops opened the Liri Valley, breaking the "Winter Line". The Regiment endured a bloody failure in the crossing of the Rapido River in January, 1944, suffering more casualties than it did in any like period during the entire war.

Anzio: The 143 reinforced Fifth Army in the Anzio beachhead on the 19th of May, 1944, and, as part of the breakout, moved rapidly around to the rear of Velletri on 1 Jun 44, and arrived at the outskirts of Rome where they were told to "hold until other units could catch up."

Southern France: In August, 1944, the Regiment was part of the 36th Division landing on Green Beach on the south coast of France. They marched 200 miles the first week, and soon - with the 141st - were part of the "Rhone River Bottleneck", virtually destroying the fleeing German 19th Army. Fighting northeastward the 36th served as the right flank division of the 7th Army.

Vosges and Germany, 1944-45: After the liberation of Lyon on 2 September, 1944, the regiment began the Vosges campaign near the German border. They fought a terrible battle near Weyerscheim with the Germans in January, 1945, with the 2d Battalion taking the brunt of the attack. The last great battle of the war for the regiment was the effort to breach the Seigfried Line and reach the Rhine River, missions which were accomplished.

With the rest of the 36th Division, they were turned southeast in the Danube Plain, following the 10th Armored Division, with the 141st capturing Bad Toelz 1 May 1945. The 143d Infantry suffered 9000 casualties, captured 75,000 German Army prisoners, 5 Congressional Medals of Honor were presented to members of the unit and five Presidential Unit Citations were awarded for units of the Regiment. 386 days in combat.

Deactivation: The Regiment returned to the United States on December 22, 1945 and was inactivated at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia on that date. They were "home for Christmas".

WORLD WAR II CAMPAIGNS: Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.

POST WORLD WAR II: The 143 Infantry Regiment was reactivated as a component of the 36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard, on 23 October 1946, with three battalions generally located in the eastern and southeastern regions of the State.

1959 - The Pentomic Infantry Division: On 16 March 1959, during the Pentomic Army restructuring of the national military forces, elements of the of the 143rd were organized as components of the First and Second Battle Groups, 143rd Combat Arms Regiment. During these years, the three separate infantry battalions of the 143rd were deactivated.

1 March 1963. Units of the 143rd Infantry were reorganized from the Pentomic concept to the traditional infantry division structure, with 2d and 3d Battalions of the 143rd assigned to the 3d Brigade, 36th Division. The 1st Battalion was not reactivated.

1 November, 1965: The 3/143rd was relieved of assignment to the 36th Infantry Division and assigned to the 36th Infantry Brigade (Sep) .

30 July 1968 : With the retirement of the 36th Infantry Division in 1968, the 1/143rd was reactivated, the 2/143rd was relieved of assignment to the 36th Infantry Division and 3/143rd was reassigned from the 36th Infantry Brigade (Sep). All were assigned to the 71st Infantry Brigade (Airborne). The Brigade also included 1/133 Artillery, 371st Spt Bn, 271st Engineer Company and Troop A, 124th Armored Cavalry.

1973: In 1973, the 71st Infantry Brigade (Airborne) was reorganized as the 36th Infantry Brigade (Airborne) at the same time as the reactivation of the 49th Armored Division. The 1/143rd and 2/143rd were retained as the troop units of the 36th Brigade. Redesignated as the 1st Squadron, 124th Armored Cavalry, the 3/143rd was retired from the Texas National Guard.

Current Unit Assignments: Company G/2/143rd remains as an airborne Long Range Recon and Patrol unit, with elements in Houston and Austin. No other active National Guard units wear the crest of the 143rd Infantry Regiment.

LINEAGE OF SUBORDINATE UNITS. Many units of the 143d have unit ties which trace back to the War Between the States, the post-war Volunteer Militia Companies, and the Spanish American War.

Company A of Rusk has a lineage which includes Company A, Seventh Confederate Cavalry (Civil War); a militia company at Rusk, 1883-1895, Company F, Third Texas, 1903-1914. It exchanged unit designation with a neighboring unit at Alto, Texas, in 1924, and retained the Company A designation through World War II and the post war reorganization. The unit is entitled to the "ALSACE" Distinguished Unit Streamer.

Company B has a lineage at Mexia, Texas, since 1928, but earlier units connected to its heritage included Company B, Third Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard, in 1879. It served as Company C, Second Texas, USV, in the Spanish American War. It did border service in 1916-1915. ALSACE STREAMER.

Company C of Beaumont was organized on November 24, 1926 and was mobilized for World War on November 25, 1940. It served as a unit of the 143rd in World War II and was stationed at Palestine after reorganization of the 143rd in 1947. ALSACE STREAMER.

Company D traces lineage to 1859, when Captain John Henry Brown organized a militia unit known as the "Independent Blues". The unit was used to ward off Indian raids of the time. It became Company K, First Texas Cavalry, serving in Louisiana and Arkansas during the War Between the States. It was Company A, First Texas Volunteers in the Spanish American War. ALSACE STREAMER.

Company E was originally organized at Caldwell in 1939 and was federalized on November 25, 1940. The company was an assault unit at Salerno and was decimated by a German armored counterattack. Almost all of the company was killed or captured. Reorganized, the unit was again in the assault at the Rapido River in 1944, holding their ground on the far shore of the river until they ran out of ammunition. After the southern France invasion of 1944, the unit fought northward and was involved in the bloody fighting at the Colmar Pocket in 1945. The unit paid a terrific toll of casualties in those actions. Reorganized in Baytown in 1947. COLMAR POCKET streamer.

Company F of Huntsville traces ancestry to volunteers in Hood's Brigade in the War between the States and the "Tom Hamilton Guards" of the 1870s. That unit was the only Texas unit which were 100% in volunteering for service in the Spanish American War. After the Spanish American war, the Third Texas National Guard regiment was formed from the returning 1st Texas U. S. Volunteers. COLMAR POCKET Distinguished Unit Streamer.

Company G of Houston descended from the "Houston Light Guard Company of 1873". Traditions of that unit still include the wearing of the 19th Century uniforms of the "Light Guard" on ceremonial occasions. COLMAR POCKET Distinguished Unit Streamer.

Company I traces lineage as the Tom Campbell Rifles, organized in 1893.

Company K was organized as the Waco Greys in 1876 and was later redesignated as Company K of the 2d Texas Infantry in 1898.

Company L was originally organized as Company M of the 2d Texas infantry in 1900.

 

redline.gif (912 bytes)

Copyright   2000
All Rights Reserved
Email comments to: Texas Military Forces Museum