The 175th Infantry has been part of the 29th Division since the Division’s formation in 1917.
One of the oldest regiments in the U.S. Army, the 175th Infantry was first organized in 1774 as the Baltimore Independent Cadets. The Cadets were absorbed into Smallwood’s Maryland Battalion in 1776, which fought heroically at Long Island in August of that year. Eventually Smallwood’s unit grew into seven different Maryland regiments, known collectively as “The Maryland Line.”
When the Maryland Militia was reorganized 11 years after the Revolution, several Baltimore volunteer militia companies – including many ex-members of the Maryland Line- established the 5th Regiment of Militia. The 5th Maryland, which found gallantly at the Battle of North Point in September 1814, eventually broke up at the start of the Civil War when many members went south to fight for the Confederacy in the 1st Maryland, C.S.A. The 5th was reborn two years after the close of the Civil War.
The “Dandy 5th,” as it became to be known, was federalized in 1917 and attached to the newly established 29th “Blue and Gray” Division. Prior to its overseas transfer, the 5th was consolidated with the 1st and 4th Maryland to form the 115th Infantry. Originally in defense positions in Haute, Alsace, the regiment fought in the great Meuse-Argonne offensive just before the close of World War One. After 22 days of continuous combat, over one third of the regiment was causalities. After the war, the 5th Maryland was reorganized in Baltimore.
Just prior to the 5th activation in February 1941, the War Department assigned it a new designation: the “175th Infantry.” The regiment landed on Omaha Beach on the morning of June 7th, delayed a day from landing because of the chaos of the beach. The regiment then captured Isigny, a key German position and an important objective in linking the Omaha and Utah beaches. Practical continuous combat in St. Lo, Vire, Brest, Fallaise Gap, Belgium, Holland, Aachen, Aldenhove, Borheim, Roer Valley and finally a juncture with the Red Army on the Elbe River on 3 May 1945.
Fighting with the 29th Infantry Division in France and Germany during World War Two, the 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry gained a Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation and the French Army’s Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star for its June 1944 stand on Hill 108, just outside St. Lo. The 2nd Battalion later gained a Croix de Guerre for its gallant performance during the siege of Brest in September 1944.
Upon the reactivation of the 29th Division in 1985, the 175th consisted of 2 battalions, the 1/175th based at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore, and the 2/175th based in Dundalk. Both belonged to the 3rd Brigade, 29th Division (Light).
Following 9/11 and the Global War on Terror, the 175th was mobilized to protect installations across Maryland. Portions of the battalion were deployed to aid in efforts following Hurricane Katrina and to help secure the border along Mexico in 2006.
In 2004, Company B, then part of the 1/115th Infantry, was deployed to Iraq and served with the 48th Infantry Brigade from the Georgia National Guard. Upon their return they had become part of the 175th Infantry.
In 2007, the entire battalion was mobilized and deployed to Iraq, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. The battalion was deployed to the former Iraqi Air Base West of Qayyarah, Iraq, known as Q-West. Company C was detached and deployed to the Forward Operating Base MAREZ and the Logistics Support Area Diamondback located in Mosul, Iraq. There, Company C was attached to the 87th Combat Service and Support Battalion, where they conducted base defense operations and convoy logistics patrols to and from the border crossing at Habur Gate, Turkey. Companies B and D were attached to the 17th Combat Service and Support Battalion to conduct convoy logistics patrols throughout Ninewah Provence also known as Multi-National Division – North (MND-N). The battalion headquarters retained command and control of HHC and Company A. The battalion suffered only 8 wounded while serving 250 days of continuous combat operations. Collectively, the battalion was credited for 310 convoy logistics patrols, 81 route clearance operations and 280 reaction force operations with 100% mission accomplishment, a brigade best IED pre-detonation find rate of 40% and a record of zero successful indirect fire attacks on the Q-West Base Complex during its defense. The battalion redeployed to Fort Dix in mid-April 2008.
In 2011, the battalion was deployed to the Sinai for a year as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission.
The 175th Battalion is now headquartered in Dundalk and part of the 28th Infantry Division.
1. Balkoski, Joseph. The Maryland National Guard: A History of Maryland’s Military Forces, 1634-1991. Baltimore, MD: Guard, 1991. Print.
2. Author Unknown. 29 Let’s Go!: 1917-1965. Date and Place Unknown.
3. “175th Infantry Regiment (United States).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 08 Mar. 2014.