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Email 8th Infantry

HISTORY OF THE 178th INFANTRY

The Lineage and Honors of the 178th Infantry have a special place in military history. That history is the record and stories of the unitís birth, record of service and military honors.

The beginnings of the lineage of the 178th cm be traced back to the 16th Battalion, Illinois State Militia organized in 1873. Companies A and B of the 16th were organized 31 March and 1 April 1878 in Chicago. In addition, the Clark County Guards of Marshall and Cumberland County Guards of Greenup were also assigned to this battalion. Contemporary historical records do not make my reference to activities prior to this time. It is significant in the life of any organization to remember other stories and written histories even though they may not be in the official record in Washington, D.C.

There are stories and references that elements of the 178th can be traced back to the 1870's with the formation of a "colored " militia organization, Hannibal Guard (1871). These men were not federally recognized or supported by the state. Their recognition came from their neighborhoods in the city of Chicago.

In 1873 the Cadet organization was formed as other members from other states joined bringing new ideas. Where the previous organization had been local this one had a broader vision. It is from these groupings that men came to be a part of the 16th Battalion. And so the birthday of our unit dates to 1878 when it was formally recognized.

As a result of the growing membership and interest of the men in the Sixteenth, they were admitted into the Illinois State Militia. This recognized unit remained for a number of years, until the Legislature felt that they were no longer able to maintain a "colored unit,' thus dropping the Sixteenth from its military roster in 1882. In 1883 it was reorganized within the Illinois State Militia at Chicago as the Chicago Light Infantry. This group was commanded by Captain Alexander Brown of Chicago with 1st LT Charles L. Wells and 2 LT Enos Bond. Records for this unit in 1884 reflect attendance at Annual Training of 75 enlisted men. The Chicago Light Infantry was disbanded in 1887.

These courageous men refused to give up on themselves and their neighborhoods and to become discouraged. Their efforts and determination did not go in vain. Under the able leadership of john R. Marshall, J.C. Buckner, J. Bish and J. Jordan, yet another organization was formed in the Illinois State Militia at Chicago, known m the Ninth Infantry Battalion. On 5 May 1890 it gained recognition. This group of men would ultimately become the nucleus of the Eight Illinois Volunteer Regiment (Infantry).

As the ranks of the Ninth Battalion grew, they applied to Governor Joe Fifer for admission into the state guard, but he refused their request on the grounds that there was not enough money in the state treasury for an appropriation to be made for the Ninth Battalion.

The colored Illinoisans did not take "no" for an answer. In 1894 they placed Maj. J.C. Buckner in nomination as a state representative and in November of the same year elected him from the Sixth District of Illinois of the Legislature. Subsequently, Major and Representative Buckner framed a resolution which became a law, creating a vacancy in the state militia and making an appropriation for the same. The Ninth again made application for admission to the state guard to Gov. John P. Altgeld, then governor of the state, who was impressed with and friendly to the scheme. He endorsed the movement, giving it his earnest efforts and support and then by executive order the Ninth Battalion of Chicago became the Ninth Battalion of Illinois National Guard on 4 November 1895. 'Ihis battalion was commanded by Major John C. Buckner with Captain John R. Marshall, Adolf Thomas, Charles L. Hunt and Robert R. Jackson as letter company Commanders. Unit strength was 18 officers and 407 enlisted men.

On 28 June 1898 the 9th Battalion was expanded and redesignated as the 8th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. John C. Marshall with 12 letter companies drawing personnel from throughout the state. It was mustered into federal service at Camp Turner, IL (now the State Fairgrounds at Springfield) for the Spanish-American War. It mustered out of service on 3 April 1899.

Change of designation of this unit came rapidly. On 18 April 1899 the unit was redesignated the Ninth Infantry Battalion, and redesignated as the Eighth Infantry Battalion on 6 May 1899. In May and June of 1902 the Battalion was redesignated as the Eighth Infantry Regiment again Commanded by John R. Marshall.

Upon return from service in Cuba, the Regiment engaged in the normal routing peace time duties with regular annual training encampments. The Regiment also engaged in two large-scale maneuvers, one at Fort Benjamin Harrison in 1908 and the other at Peoria in 1910.

The Eighth Infantry Regiment was federalized on 30 June 1916 at Cap Dunne, Springfield and mustered in for brief service during the Mexican Border War. It was mustered our of service at Springfield on 27 October 1916.

The Eighth was again mustered into Federal service on 3 August 1917 under the command of Franklin A. Denison and drafted into the War on 5 August 1917 by Proclamation of the President of the United States. On 1 December 1917, while participating in the war campaign the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 370th Infantry and assigned to the 185th Infantry Brigade which was assigned to the 93 Division (Provisional) on 5 January 1918.

During World War 1, as the 370th Infantry, U.S., it served with distinction with the French 34th, 36th and 59th Infantry Divisions earning streamers for battles of Lorraine and Olse-Aisne. Sectors occupied and engagements participated in were Saint Mihiel with the French in 1918, Argonne Forest, St. Gobain Forest, Bosi de Mortier, Mont des Signes, Olse-Aisne Canal, Laon, Grandlup, Soissons, and Olse-Aisne and Lorraine offensives. One Battalion of the Regiment, under the command of Lt. Col. Otis B. Duncan, was engaged in pursuit of the retreating enemy far in advance, when halted by Armistice.

Company 'C,' under the command of Captain James C. Smith, was decorated with the French Croix de Guerre for conspicuous bravery and courage in battle. This is one of three instances where each officer and enlisted man of an infantry company were so decorated.

On 8 May 1918 the unit was relieved of assignment to the 185th Brigade and demobilized 11 March 1919 at Camp Grant, IL (near Rockford).

The Regiment was again reorganized in June 1919 in the Illinois National Guard as the Eighth Infantry Regiment and the Headquarters were again Federally recognized 25 August 1921 at Springfield. Headquarters were changed to Chicago on 23 July 1929.

Intensive peacetime training was again pursued. The Regiment attended all field training encampments including the significant Second Amy Maneuvers of 1936 and 1940.

On 6 October 1940, the Eighth Infantry Regient was converted and redesignated the 184th Field Artillery Regiment (155mm Howitzer) Illinois National Guard. On 6 January 1941, the 184th Field Artillery Regiment was inducted into active federal service at Chicago and departed for Fort Custer, Michigan. This was the beginning of intensive training for combat readiness. The Unit served in the European Theater adding campaign streamers Rhineland and Central Europe.

In February of 1942 the Regiment furnished the initial cadre of officers and enlisted men to activate and organize the 795th Tank Destroyer Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Theophilus M. Mann. On 16 January 1943 the 184th Field Artillery Regiment was broken up. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery were disbanded and the rest of its elements were reorganized and redefined. The 1st Battalion 184th became 930th and the Second Battalion 184th became 931st Field Artillery Battalions and departed for Camp Butner, North Carolina and Camp Forest, Tennessee under the command of Lt. Col. Wendell T. Derricks and Lt. Col. Marcus H. Ray.

These Battalions were converted and redesignated with the 930th Field Artillery becoming on 28 February 1944 the 1698th Engineer Combat Battalion and on 20 March 1944 the 931st Field Artillery became the 1699th Engineer Combat Battalion.

The officers reported for duty with the 92nd Infantry Division and were assigned to the 597th and 600th Field Artillery Battalions stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. In August 1944, the 597th and the 600th were committed to action with the 92nd Division in Italy under the command of Major General Edward M. Almond. Campaign decorations included the North Apennines and the Po Valley Foreign Italian Cross for Merit of War.

On 25 August 1945 Headquarter and Headquarters Battery of the 184th Field Artillery was reconstituted in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Elements of the former 184th Field Artillery were converted, reorganized and redesignated as the 178th Infantry Regimental Combat Team (organized and Federally recognized 31 March 1947, headquarters at Chicago); the 184th Field Artillery Battalion (organized and Federally recognized 4 April 1946, headquarters at Chicago). The regimental combat team also had the 1698th Engineer Company, the 184th Medical Collecting Company and the 154th Army Band (formerly the famous Eighth Infantry Band). The Regimental Commander was Colonel Richard L. Jones. Colonel Jones was able to call back many of the officers and enlisted men who had been members of the predecessor organizations.

The Combat Team commenced the normal peacetime training mission attending the annual field training encampment, including two missions of assistance in the Moline, Illinois and Calumet City areas when disaster threatened due to flooding and dangerously high river waters.

With the outbreak of the Korean War, the 184th Medical Collecting Company, under the command of Capt. William Cunningham, was called to active duty and returned four years later.

The 178th Infantry was again reorganized 1 March 1959 with many of the officers and men of the 184th Field Artillery Battalion and the 795th Tank Destroyer Battalion. This reorganization under the Combat Arms Regimental System made the 178th the parent regiment to consist of the 1st Battle Group, the 184th Field Artillery Battalion concurrently reorganized and redesignated and made the 184th Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System to consist of the 1st Automatic Weapons Battalion.

The 178th Infantry and the 184th Artillery were consolidated 1 April 1963 and the consolidated unit designated as the 1/178 Infantry consisting of the lst and 2nd Battalions. These unites were under the command of Lt. Colonel John T. Rose and Bertram R. Pratt. They were again reorganized on 1 December 1965 to consist of the 1st Battalion, and elements of the 33rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Battalion.

On 1 February 1968 the 178th Infantry was reorganized to consist of the 1st Battalion an element of the 33rd Infantry Brigade.

The 1st Battalion 178 was ordered into active Federal Service on 7 April 1968 for riot control during the Democratic National Convention and released from federal duty on 11 April 1968.

On 5 February 1987 the 178th was withdrawn from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the US Army Regimental System with Headquarters in Chicago.

With the change in the world order and the change in the USSR and Europe the United States Congress authorized an overall Army reorganization in 1992. The Illinois Army National Guard also was reorganized. The 1/178 Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company are continuing to be maintained at the General Jones Armory at 5200 S. Cottage Grove Avenue Chicago. Also stationed at the Jones Armory are reorganized Companies D and B (det). Added to the reorganized Battalion were three line companies from the former 1/131st Battalion that was redesignated: A Company, located in Woodstock, northwest of Chicago; B (-) Company, located in Waukegan, north of Chicago; and C Company is located in Aurora, west of Chicago.

On Monday July 26, 1993, while beginning Annual Training at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, the I/ 178 was ordered to State Active Duty for the Great Flood of 93. A Co. and part of B Co. were sent to Winchester and then to Bluffs for service along the Illinois River. These two companies provided security and sandbagging operations on the levees. The rest of the Battalion was sent to Granite City and staged from there. C Co. was then moved to Prairie du Rocher to provide security and sandbagging details. A segment of B Co. was sent to Alton to provide security and water distribution. HHC and D Cos. provided security support, levee patrols, sandbagging details for the Melvin Price Center, Granite City, East St. Louis, several manufacturing plants, and East Carondelet. The Battalion was released in sections from State Active Duty on Aug. 12 and 13, 1993. Some soldiers volunteered to stay on duty for an extended period.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF INSIGNIA OF THE 1/178th

The Block House at the top of the shield is "Old Fort Dearborn" and represent the "Illinois Troops.' The Blue Shield, symbolic of Infantry, represents Infantry Troops. The Roman Shield, partly obscured in the Blue Field on the left near the top, represents service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, 1898-99. The Prickly Pear Cactus partly obscured in the Blue Field on the Right near the top, represents service on the Mexican Border in 1916.

The Entire triangular device, called the Semi-de-lis is representative of World War service in France. The Roman Sword and cactus are partly obscured as the service of the Regiment during the World War far overshadowed those services in Cuba and on the Mexican Border.

The Three White squares represent the Hindenburg Line. Ordinarily these would be placed on a line but the sharp point of the Semi-de-lis represents the piercing of the Hindenburg line by the Regiment and hence one is shoved downward.

The three Fleur-de-lis surrounding the French Helmets, is the Coat-of-Arms of the Department of Mause, France, (a state in France) in which the Regiment happened to be when the Hindenburg Line was pierced by the "Old Eighth." The Motto: "One Country, One Flag" is the Official motto of the Regiment.

This insignia has been approved by the War Department for this regiment and represents its complete history to date.

178th Infantry (Eighth Illinois)

CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT

WorldWar I: Oise-Aisne,Lorraine l918

World War II: Rhineland, Central Europe

 

The Regiment is also authorized to display the honors of the 370th Armored Infantry Battalion as "A Challenge And A Trust.'

World War II: Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley

 

Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion is additionally entitled to:

World War II - EAME: Normandy, Northern France,

Ardennes-Alsace

 

 

DECORATIONS

Company C, 1st Battalion is entitled to-

French Croix de Guerre with Palm, streamer embroidered Oise-Aisne

Unit Address and Phone Numbers

Headquarters, 1/178 Infantry Battalion

5200 South Cottage Grove Avenue

Chicago, IL 60651-3603

312.288.7133

A Company, 1/178 Infantry Battalion

1301 Sunset Ridge Road

Woodstock, IL 60098

815.337.9210

B(-) Company, 1/178 Infantry Battalion

1600 Glen Flora Avenue

Waukegan, IL 60085-1721

708.623.4205

B(Det) Company, 1/178 Infantry Battalion

5200 South Cottage Grove Avenue

Chicago, IL 60651-3603

312.288.3274

C Company, 1/178 Infantry Battalion

102 North River Street

Aurora, IL 60506-8006

708.844.5038

D Company, 1/178 Infantry Battalion

5200 South Cottage Grove Avenue

Chicago, IL 60651-3603

312.288.3289

Headquarters Company, 1/178 Infantry Bat@on

5200 South Cottage Grove Avenue

Chicago, IL 60651-3603

312.288.7134

"178th Infantry (Eighth Illinois) History and Welcome." was written and prepared by CH (CPT) G. Edward 'Ted' Corcelius.

Major Portions of this presentation are adapted from the writings of SSG Joyce P. Smith's work, "Historical Lineage of the 1-178th Infantry.' Other information and dates are from 'The Lineage and Honors, 178th Infantry, (Eighth Illinois)" prepared by BG Harold W. Nelson, Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 25 Sept 1992.

A Special thank you is shared with CW4 C.W. Munie, Historian and Curator for the Illinois Guard who helped in the research.

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