1st Battalion - 32nd Infantry Regiment
The 32nd Infantry Regiment was first organized on 7 August 1916, on the island of Oahu, HI, from the personnel of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments. At its activation, it was know as “The Queen’s Own” Regiment, a title bestowed by the last queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani.
During World War I, units of this Regiment were used to escort German Prisoners being transferred to the United States from Hawaii. On 20 July, 1918, the 32nd was transferred to Camp Kearny, California, where it became a part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade, 16th Infantry Division. A short time later, many of its men were transferred to the 82nd Infantry and remained with this organization until it was demobilized in 1919.
The 2nd Battalion was reactivated in October, 1939, by the transfer of men from the 7th Infantry Division, and on 1 July 1940, the remainder of the Regiment was reactivated as a part of the 7th Infantry Division, at Fort Ord, California. After the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 32nd was moved into defensive positions along the West Coast. For six months the men of the Regiment pulled patrol and outpost duty. With the attack on the Hawaiian harbor, the United States expected an even more daring attack on the mainland proper, and the 32nd’s troops continued the important job of protecting the coast. As the job became apparent, the troops began intensive training as a motorized unit at Camp San Luis Obispo, California. Vast maneuvers were held in the Mojave Desert to prepare the 32nd for participation in the defeat of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, in North Africa. A change in Allied strategy, however, turned the 32nd Infantry overnight toward its historic role as a powerful striking force, destined to establish the ultimate pattern of perfection in amphibious assaults from the frozen wastes of the Arctic through the lush, steaming maze of tropical jungle to the very doorstep of the Asiatic enemy.
Rushed to the Aleutians in the spring of 1943, after the Japanese had landed on Attu, the Regiment played a major role in retaking the first American territory lost during World War II. It was in this first engagement against the enemy that a member of the 32nd became the 7th Division’s first Medal of Honor winner. Private Joe P. Martinez, Company I, 32nd Infantry received our nation’s highest military award for outstanding bravery. Seeing his unit pinned down by enemy automatic fire, he single handedly charged the enemy emplacement and destroyed it. While rallying the men he was mortally wounded. For action on the Attu, three companies of the 32nd received Distinguished Unit Citations. These companies were “E,” “I,” and “K.” Twenty-two days after landing, on 30 May 1943, Attu was back in American hands.
After their victorious baptism of fire in the Aleutian campaign, the 32nd sailed to Hawaii for intensive training emphasizing amphibious landings and jungle fighting. The training required a complete change of pace for the men of the 32nd, who had become accustomed to the chilly northern climate. The transition was successfully made, and on 1 February 1944, the 32nd assaulted Kwajalein in a classic example of coordination and concentrated annihilation of enemy soldiers, never to be surpassed in the history of the war. During the five days, the 32nd, along with the 184th Regiment, eliminated all the enemy personnel on the island, with the exception of a few battle weary Japanese who surrendered. The 32nd had made a successful debut as a jungle fighting unit. <[p>The Regiment returned to Hawaii on 14 February where it went through additional intensified jungle training for an expected invasion of Yap. Arriving at Eniwetok on 25 September 1944, the orders were changed and the 32nd joined General Douglas MacArthur’s forces, spearheading the first United States landings on Leyte in the Philippines. Although the Mandate Islands Campaigns and the subjugation of the Marianas were almost complete when the action on Leyte began, the enemy’s determination to resist had not lessened. Fighting in the swamps, tropical jungles, and over rugged mountains, the 7th Division battled over 37 miles in 60 days of the bitterest fighting in the Pacific. While killing more than 15,000 enemy during the battle, the 7th’s ranks were depleted by 541.
The Regiment’s last campaign of World War II started 1 April 1945 with the landing at Okinawa. During this battle, which ended 21 June, the 32nd won the nickname Spearhead because of its continuous attacks against the enemy. For two months the battle of Okinawa raged, with the men of this Regiment stubbornly and effectively beating down the enemy. With the crushing force of the Allies growing ever near their homeland, the enemy fought with frightened and fierce determination, knowing full well that the failure to stop the champions of peace would result in their unconditional surrender. They failed.
V-J Day was a great day of rejoicing for the free world, but for the men of the 32nd, responsibility for preserving peace was the new job. After only three days of rest, the 32nd embarked for Korea to receive the surrender of the Japanese troops south of the 38th parallel. During its campaigns through the Pacific, the 32nd traveled 16,910 miles – more than any other regiment in any war, up to that time.
During the Regiment’s occupation stay in Korea, Infantrymen obtained a preview of their tour in the Korean War. Units of the 32nd Infantry rotated on outpost positions along the 38th Parallel. The troops formed a tight perimeter against south bound guerrilla bands and were assigned the mission of eliminating the wholesale movement of black market goods across the boundary.
In December 1948, the 7th Infantry Division loaded on ships and sailed to Japan where its zone of occupation responsibility included almost half of the total land area of its former enemy. The 32nd replaced the 11th Airborne Division. During its stay in Japan the strength of the Regiment was almost half of its TO&&E strength.
Then came June 1950. The Communists crossed the 38th Parallel taking Seoul and pushing all the way to the “Pusan Perimeter.” The 32nd began immediate preparation for the role it was to play. Intensive training for a proposed amphibious landing in Korea highlighted the program for all elements of the Regiment. A big problem faced the 32nd in the integration of several hundred ROK soldiers who were to fight at the side of American troops. Demonstrations, sign language and a smattering of the Japanese language were used during the intensive military training. The ROKs were integrated at the squad level and introduced to the American “buddy” system in combat. American soldiers, the other end of the “buddy” team, were responsible for the training and integration of the assigned ROKs. After six days of loading supplies and equipment, the “Buccaneers” loaded onto troopships and on 16 September 1950 set foot again on Korean soil, this time in the invasion of Inchon.
The enemy, employing small arms, mortar, and tank fire, could not stop the moving Buccaneers who advanced north toward the Han River, the last natural barrier to the capitol city, Seoul. The Buccaneers, in the cold morning hours of the 25th, crossed the Han River under intense enemy fire and captured their first objective at 1030, a dominating hill mass outside Seoul. Its capture provided the 32nd with sufficient momentum to gain all assigned objectives. With the capture of the surrounding heights overlooking and dominating the city, Marine elements were able to resume their advance. The Navy Distinguished Unit Citation went to the Buccaneers for relieving the pressure on the Marines.
The Division was relieved of the responsibility for the Seoul area on 30 September and moved 350 miles overland, arriving in Pusan to begin training for another proposed landing, this time at Wonson, North Korea. Departing from Pusan harbor on 28 October, the mission of the 7th was changed to land at Iwon and advance to the Korean-Manchurian border. Landing at Iwon in the 29th, the 32nd moved quickly northward with the 1st Battalion on the east coast of the Chosin Reservoir and the 2nd and 3rd in the Fusan Reservoir area.
At that point there were definite indications of Chinese Communist intervention. Information that three enemy divisions had arrived at Yudam-ni on 20 November reached intelligence personnel via prisoners of war. But on the ground no contact was made in the Chosin Reservoir area.
On 29 November 1950, when the full force of the Chinese Communists struck the UN forces, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions stood their ground until UN elements further north moved to join the battle. Together all these UN elements made an orderly withdrawal from the Fusan area.
The 1st Battalion on the east coast of the Chosin Reservoir was with elements of the 31st Infantry and the 1st Marines, who were cut off by the CCF. Only after long and bloody fighting did these forces work their way south to Koto-ri, and then to the Hungman perimeter. LTC Don C. Faith, 1st Battalion Commander, distinguished himself in this action. During the five day period from 27 November to 1 December 1950, he personally directed his troops across the ice-covered reservoir and continually placed himself with the forward elements of the Battalion. He was mortally wounded while attempting to destroy an enemy road block with hand grenades. For his heroic leadership, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
The 1-32 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, assumed the USBATT mission in January 1999 from Task Force (TF) 2-1, 172d Infantry Brigade, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The United States has provided an infantry battalion in support of the Multinational Forces and Observers mission since the inception of the MFO. The USBATT rotates as a battalion size task force every six months from among the Light Infantry Battalions throughout the US Army. USBATT is a 529-soldier force organized into a Headquarters and Headquarters Company and four infantry line companies. The USBATT executes its mission in the southern sector of Zone C by continually manning twelve remote sites comprised of five Checkpoints and seven Observation Points as well as day and night temporary observation points and mobile patrols. Additionally, the Battalion provides three liaison non-commissioned officers and three Military Police to the North Camp staff.
The mission of the USBATT is to occupy the Southern Sector of Zone C, and observe and report in accordance with the Treaty of Peace. The USBATT is also responsible for the operation of South Camp and for its security. Key events during a USBATT six-month rotation cycle are predeployment training, deployment and sustainment training, Expert Infantry Badge training and testing, operational readiness checks to ensure remote sites maintain the highest levels of tactical readiness, maintenance and quality of life sustainment, and the Force Skill at Arms competitions.
In May 2002 the battalion returned from a six-month rotation in Kosovo as part of Task Force Falcon. The deployment was part of Operation Joint Guardian.
In April 2003 companies from the Chosin Battalion participated in testing for the Expert Infantryman’s Badge (EIB). Soldiers had to accomplish several tasks in order to qualify for this award. Tasks included performing first aid, reacting to chemical and biological threats, reacting to indirect fire, operating a tactical radio, map reading, land navigation, and operating various weapon systems. There were specific standards and time limits associated with each task, which soldiers had to adhere to in order to qualify for the EIB. The battalion did very well during the tests, with more soldiers earning the award than from any other unit in the Division.
From May through August 2003 the Battalion prepared for missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There have been several live fire exercises, as well as various other types of training to get the soldiers ready for what they will be facing during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Countless pre-combat checks are being conducted daily to ensure that each soldier has their own equipment as well as their squad’s equipment completely operational. The Battalion also participated in a much deserved block leave period, returning and continuing to practice with their weapons and other equipment.
Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment deployed to Iraq to support the global war on terrorism. Throughout the year, operation tempo did not slow down. An infantry battalion from the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade has received orders to deploy to Iraq. The approximately 600 soldiers in 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment deployed to support the global war on terrorism and to prepare for future contingencies as may be directed. These soldiers were trained and ready for this mission. The 1-32 returned from a 6-month tour in Kosovo last spring, so they have experience with support and peace operations. They also just completed in December 2002 a very successful deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center, and had countless live fires and other training exercises since. They were fully capable of ensuring that humanitarian and post-conflict operations in Iraq continue as necessary. The soldiers from 1-32 joined the approximately 700 10th Mountain soldiers still in Iraq; those soldiers redeployed back to Fort Drum.
On November 19, 2003 soldiers from 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment captured 16 individuals in the act of preparing an improvised explosive device. The men were found preparing multiple mortar tubes, mortars, grenades, and rocket propelled grenades for an attack.
The soldiers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, were conducted a cordon and search mission Dec. 20 in a farming area south of Fallujah. As an essential part of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team in Iraq, the soldiers of “Attack” Company focus on rooting out anti-Coalition personnel, Ba’ath Party loyalists and extremists in the Fallujah area. Despite the risk of an attack by individuals such as these, the troops remained calm and poise during their operation. Military vehicles were used to cordon, block off, the roads in the area while a team of soldiers thoroughly searched two homes known for harboring anti-Coalition personnel. The troops targeted the homes of two individuals connected to Khamis Sirhan. He is number 54 on the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) most wanted list and is responsible for orchestrating and financing numerous attacks against Coalition Forces in the northwestern region of Iraq known as the Sunni Triangle. He’s (Sirhan) kind of like the Saddam Hussein of Fallujah. Even though they detained only one person and found very few weapons, the mission shows the soldiers’ determination to seek out and capture anti-Coalition personnel.
During the morning of 01 January 2004 in 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division’s area, soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment conducted a joint cordon and search mission with the Al Haswah police. The operation’s objective was to capture personnel responsible for the recent attack on the Al Haswah Police Station. The operation was based on information provided by the local police and resulted in the capture of six enemy personnel and the confiscation of various small arms.
The “Lava Dogs” of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, transferred its area of operations to the “Chosin Few” of the Army’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, in a historic transfer of authority ceremony May 13, 2006 at Jalalabad Airfield in eastern Afghanistan. Soldiers of 1-32 Infantry have been operating in the region since March as Task Force Chosin, and now assume the area previously held by a succession of Marine battalions from the 3rd Marine Regiment.
Submitted by: PV2 McGuire