144th U.S. Infantry Regiment
("Fourth Texas") 1917

 

MOTTO: "Par Onerl" - "Equal to the task"

ORIGINS: The 144th traces its lineage to six volunteer militia companies of the Texas Volunteer Guard in northeast Texas organized as the Fourth Regiment of Infantry, April, 1880. All of the component units were federalized during the Spanish American War as the Second Infantry, Texas Volunteers. The unit did not serve overseas, and was mustered out in November 1898.

In May, 1916, Texas National Guard Regiments were ordered to mobilize for service on the Mexican border. As the Fourth Texas, the unit served in the Big Bend area, receiving acclaim from Major General Funston, then in command of the U. S. Southern Department. They were demobilized from border service in February 1917.

FORMATION: The Fourth Texas was called back into Federal service in March, 1917, The Sixth Texas was created in the period after the call to duty for the Fourth Texas. The Fourth and Sixth were combined at Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas, to form the 144th on October 15, 1917. The unit went overseas with the 36th Division, arriving in France in July, 1918. After training near Bar-sur-Aube with the other infantry regiments, the 144th served as a reserve of the French Army Group of the Center in late September.

WORLD WAR I SERVICE: In October, 1918, the regiment became a part of the Fourth French Army and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive (Champagne). On October 9th, as part of the 72d Brigade, the 144th relieved the left brigade of the U. S. 2d Division. As the battle along the Aisne (Ayn) River developed, the 144th "sideslipped" and moved through the 71st brigade with the 143rd . By the time the 144th advanced into enemy lines, the Germans were in a general withdrawal all along the Champagne front. German artillery, war gas and machine gun fire took a large toll on the advancing Texas unit, but the unit closed toward positions along the Aisne by the 12th.

The 144th "swept the southern edge of the Aisne" on October 13th to clean out the remaining Germans, and the regiment lost 207 officers and men killed or wounded while advancing toward Givry. It later was in reserve for the assault by the 141st and 142nd at "Forest Farm" on October 27. The unit went into reserve, having suffered 369 casualties in the war, the second largest toll of the infantry regiments in the division. It was mustered out at Camp Bowie, in July, 1919.

BETWEEN THE WARS: The 144th Infantry was reorganized in 1921 and all units were federally recognized by 1922. Components of the regiment performed state duty including storm relief at Dallas and Frost, Texas; riot duty at Dallas and Sherman; strike duty at Texarkana; and service at New London, 1937, after the high school catastrophe.

WORLD WAR II: Mobilized November 25, 1940. Trained at Camp Bowie, near Brownwood, Texas. Although a well-kept secret for several months, the regiment became the "odd man out" for the pre-war 36th Division. The old "square division" of two brigades, each with two infantry regiments, was replaced by the "triangular division" with three regiments. The 141st, 142nd and 143rd became the component regiments of the 36th. On the day after Pearl Harbor, the Regiment was alerted for movement and was then shipped to Fort Lewis, Washington, arriving on December 15, 1941. The unit assumed defensive positions extending from the northern part of the Washington Coast to the California state line.

A SEPARATE REGIMENT: While serving in the northwest, the 144th was officially relieved from assignment to the 36th in February, 1942. "Many an old timer shed some tears when told to rip off their old T-patches". The 144th was organized as a "separate regiment" in the General Headquarters Reserve. Gaps formed by transfers of soldiers to officer candidate, aviation cadet and paratroop schools were filled by thousands of new inductees. In January, 1943, 144th soldiers were assigned beach patrol duty along the southeastern coast, later assigned as a basic training command in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Florida, training 9,000 recruits for overseas service. Another 1,700 men were selected to move to Fort Meade, Maryland, and Fort Ord, California, after the Regiment set up headquarters at Fort Van Dorn, Mississippi in April, 1944.

A TRAINING AND REPLACEMENT POOL: Many of the non-commissioned officers from the 144th were assigned as replacements as the battle reached a peak in Europe, serving in 48 of the 89 divisions in the Army. By the end of 1944, there remained only 500 men who had departed from California with the Regiment. But the 144th never left the United States in World War II. After a tour of four months at Camp Swift, Texas, the unit only had 12 officers and 117 enlisted men left who had left California in 1942. It was last stationed at Camp Rucker, Alabama, before deactivation on September 19, 1945.

POSTWAR SERVICE: 49th Armored Division.

1st Armored Rifle Battalion, 144th was organized with HQ at Fort Worth, Texas, in April 1947 as the 145th Armored Rifle Battalion, perpetuating (less Company C) the heritage and lineage of 1st Battalion, 144th Infantry and was given the designation as the 1/144th Infantry (Mechanized) in November 1959.

2d Armored Rifle Battalion , 144th was organized with HQ at Marshall, Texas, on 12 August 1947 as the 146th Armored Rifle Battalion and was redesignated as 2/144th Infantry (Mechanized) in November, 1959. Several of the units of the battalion as constituted in 1959 had been assigned as units of the 148th ARB and the 143d Inf before redesignation.

3d Armored Rifle Battalion, 144th was organized with HQ at Terrell, Texas in March, 1947, as the 147th Armored Rifle Battalion, and was redesignated as the 3/144th Infantry (Mechanized) in November, 1959. The 1959 reorganization moved Company C (Tyler) from the 146th to the battalion. Company D of the 147th and Company A of the 148th were merged to form Company D of the 3/144.

4th Armored Rifle Battalion, 144th was organized with HQ at Harlingen, Texas, in November, 1947, as units of the 112th Mechanized Cavalry Recon Squadron. Later reorganization with other units of the 112th was effected in 1959 and the entire 112th Squadron was resdesignated as the 4th Battalion, 144th Infantry (Mechanized) with units at Brownsville, Raymondville, Edinburg and Mercedes, Texas.

MOBILIZATION, 1961: On September 19, 1961, the battalions of the 144th were the only infantry units from Texas to be mobilized with the rest of the 49th Armored Division as part of national defense activities relating to the "Berlin Crisis". The unit was deployed to Fort Polk, Louisiana, on 24 October, 1961, after training at home stations. After completing extensive maneuvers entitled "Iron Dragoon" in May, 1962, the unit was demobilized in June, 1962, and returned to state service.

RETIREMENT OF THE 49TH ARMORED DIVISION, 1968: Many component infantry units of the 49th Armored Division were deactivated at the time of the deactivation of the 49th Armored Divsion. However, 3/144th was reassigned as the 3rd Rifle Battalion (Mechanized), 144th Infantry in the 72d Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) in 1968. The 3/144 absorbed some of the units of the 2/144 at that time. Serving with the 3/144 in the Brigade were the 2/142d Infantry (Mechanized) , 2/112 Armored, 372d Spt Bn, 272 Engineer Company and 2d of the 131st Artillery.

REACTIVATION OF THE 49TH ARMORED DIVISION, 1973: As military needs changed, the 49th Armored Division was reactivated on 1 November, 1973, retaining the 3/144th as a component of the 3d Brigade, 49th AD. The 3d Battalion, 144th Mechanized Infantry remained a component of the 49th Armored Division.

CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: 49th Armored Division

SPECIAL REFERENCE FOR THE 144TH: Melvin C. Walthall, "We Can't All Be Heroes," 1975. (World War II account of separate regiments).

 

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