A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 28TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
THE BLACK LIONS
Three US Army Regiments have held the designation "28th Infantry".
The first was constituted on January 29th, 1813 and served during the War of 1812 against England. In 1815, it was consolidated with other regiments to form the 3rd Infantry.
In 1866, the second 28th Infantry Regiment was formed, but in 1869 it was merged with the 19th Infantry under the designation of that organization.
The present 28th Infantry Regiment was constituted in February 1901 and organized in March of that year at Vancouver Barracks, Vancouver, Washington.
The Regiment first saw combat service from December 1901 to January 1904 during the Philippine Insurrection, where the Regiment was heavily involved in counter guerilla operations. Elements of the Regiment were first deployed into the rebellious provinces on Luzon Island, but most of the 28th Infantry's action was seen later, on the island of Mindanao. The Regiment subdued the Moro guerrillas at Pantar, then at the walled city of Jolo, most notably leading the American assault during the savage battle of Suliman Mountain.
During the years 1906-1908, the Regiment, minus one Battalion, performed guard and police duty as part of the American forces of Cuban Occupation.
In 1913, the 28th Infantry was ordered to Texas to assist in guarding the Mexican border against raids by Pancho Villa. In April 1914, the Regiment was part of the expedition which occupied the captured Mexican city of Vera Cruz, and served there until November of that year.
Following the US entry into World War I, the Regiment was assigned on June 8, 1917 to the First Expeditionary Division, which later became the First Infantry Division. On June 29, at St. Nazaire, France, the men of Company K became the first American combat unit to set foot on European soil.
The Regiment distinguished itself by conducting the first offensive operation by U.S. troops in World War I at the town of Cantigny (CAN-tin-NEE) where, in a viciously fought three-day battle, the 28th Infantry captured Cantigny and then withstood five determined German counterattacks. Here were born the "Lions of Cantigny", and here the prestige of the American fighting man was upheld before the world.
The Black Lions also fought in the battles of Soissons, the Argonne and Sedan, and suffered more than 5,000 casualties in the war. Three Black Lions were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism: Sergeant Michael B. Ellis of Company B, Private Sterling Morelock of Company M and 2nd Lieutenant Samuel I. Parker of Company K.
The years between the world wars found the regiment headquartered at Ft. Niagara, New York. Detached from the First division on October 16, 1939, the Regiment was assigned to the Eighth Division on June 22, 1940.
In World War II, The Black Lions again distinguished themselves in combat. After landing on Utah Beach on July 4, 1944, their first action was an attack to the South to establish a critical bridgehead over the Ay River so that armored divisions could launch a breakout and attack into Brittany and Northern France. The Regiment then advanced South through Avrances and Rennes and turned West into Brittany. The Black Lions participated in the savage battle for Brest and then fought on the Crozon Peninsula.
In late September, the 28th was moved to Luxembourg and assumed its sector of the 8th Inf Div front which stretched along the Our River. In mid-November, the Black Lions relieved elements of the 109th Infantry in the area southeast of Aachen. The next several weeks were spent attacking through the dense, forbidding Hurtgen Forest, where deep mud, bitter cold, snow, enemy artillery and mines and fierce enemy resistance caused numerous casualties in the worst fighting the Black Lions were to experience.
The Black Lions successfully conducted an assault crossing of the flood-swollen Roer in late February, then seized the town of Stockheim and continued the attack, seizing dozens of strongly defended enemy towns, until they reached the Rhine River.
In mid-April the 28th Infantry drove North as part of the campaign to destroy or capture all enemy forces trapped in the Ruhr-Sieg pocket. After a brief period of occupation duty in the Ruhr-Rhine area, the Black Lions were ordered to cross the Elbe and advance toward the Baltic Sea. The final days of the war for the Regiment were spent managing huge numbers of Wehrmacht POWs, refugees and former prisoners of the Germans.
During their eleven months of combat, the Black Lions played a major part in four allied campaigns - winning three Presidential Unit Citations, embroidered Normandy, Bergstein and Stockheim. They suffered over 4,300 total casualties and captured over 115,000 prisoners of war and vast stores of enemy material.
The 28th Infantry Regiment was inactive from 1945 until 1950, but was reactivated in August 1950 as part of the 8th Division, and served as a training regiment at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, then moved to Ft. Carson, Colorado in 1954 and to Germany in 1956.
In 1965, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were deployed to Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion was inactivated that year.
The 1st Battalion was nominally assigned to the 1st Brigade with its main base at Phouc Vinh, and later at Quan Loi, and Lai Khe while the 2nd Battalion was usually assigned to the 3rd Brigade and was based at Lai Khe. Both Battalions were frequently assigned to other than their parent Brigades, however.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions fought in many of the 1st Infantry Division's major engagements. The 1st Battalion was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for its gallant actions during the battle of Ap Cha Do Operation Attleboro in November 1966. The 2nd Battalion was awarded a Valorous Unit Award for the battle of Lo Ke during Operation Cocoa Beach in March of 1966. Both battalions participated in Operations Cedar Falls, Tucson, Junction City and Shenandoah.
On October 1967, in
the Battle of Ong Thanh, an ambush of elements of the 2nd
Battalion by a reinforced VC Battalion resulted in 58 Black
Lions Killed in Action, two Missing in Action, and 75
Wounded in Action. Among those killed in
the Battle of Ong Thanh were former West Point All-American
football player Don Holleder, whose inspirational story led
to the establishment in 2001 of the Black Lion Award for
young American football players. In "They Marched Into
Sunlight", Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss
tells the gripping story of the Black Lions and the events
surrounding the Battle of Ong Thanh.
On October 1967, in the Battle of Ong Thanh, an ambush of elements of the 2nd Battalion by a reinforced VC Battalion resulted in 58 Black Lions Killed in Action, two Missing in Action, and 75 Wounded in Action.
Among those killed in the Battle of Ong Thanh were former West Point All-American football player Don Holleder, whose inspirational story led to the establishment in 2001 of the Black Lion Award for young American football players.
In "They Marched Into Sunlight", Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss tells the gripping story of the Black Lions and the events surrounding the Battle of Ong Thanh.
The 1st Battalion participated in the savage, day-long battle of An My in February 1968 until ordered to break contact. Both Battalions were used to seal enemy movement toward Saigon during the enemy's May 5th offensive in 1968.
The 2nd Battalion repelled the suicide attack of an estimated 4 Battalions of NVA regulars during the battle of FSB Julie in October 68. In November, it had two major clashes with the NVA in the Trapezoid.
During much of 1969 both Battalions were involved in the Dong Tien (Progress Together) program, training ARVN units through combined operations, and other forms of mutual support to be able to successfully fight on their own.
The 1st Battalion, using helicopter and artillery support, defeated a major enemy force at FSB Gela in May of 1969. In August and again in November, elements of the 2nd Battalion had major engagements in the Trapezoid.
At the close of the war, SGT Shark of Co A, 1st Bn, and SGT Paul L. Fitzgerald, Jr. and PFC Olin Hargrove both of Co A, 2nd Bn, were officially listed as Missing In Action. Subsequently the Army has issued a presumptive finding of death, in all three cases.
Two members of the 1st Bn, 1LT Gary L. Miller of Co A and CPT Euripides Rubio of HHC; and one from the 2nd Bn, 2LT Robert J. Hibbs of Co B were awarded the Medal of Honor, all posthumously, for their heroism during the war in Vietnam.
Early 1970 saw the end of the participation of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 28th Infantry in Vietnam. After almost 5 years of combat in South Vietnam, the colors of both Battalions were redeployed to Ft. Riley, Kansas.
On January 12, 2006, the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry,was reestablished on active duty, joining the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) at Fort Riley as part of the newly activated 4th Brigade Combat Team(BCT)
28th Infantry Regiment
Clark Welch, Black Lion
Clark Welch, Medal of Honor Recommendation
Ray Neal Gribble, Black Lion