Infantry Branch (United States)

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Infantry branch
USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png
Branch insignia, worn on the left collar of some U.S. Army uniforms.
Founded14 June 1775
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
BranchFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Home station Fort Benning, Georgia
Nickname(s)"Queen of Battle"
Motto(s)"Follow me!"
Branch color  Saxony blue [1]
Engagements Revolutionary War
Indian Wars
War of 1812
Mexican–American War
Utah War
American Civil War
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
Banana Wars
Boxer Rebellion
Border War
World War I
Russian Civil War
World War II
Korean War
Operation Power Pack
Vietnam War
Operation Eagle Claw
Invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Panama
Persian Gulf War
Somali Civil War
Kosovo War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Operation Inherent Resolve
Chief of Infantry BG Larry Q. Burris Jr.
Infantry blue cord
U.S. Army infantry blue cord.png

The Infantry Branch (also known as the "Queen of Battle") is a branch of the United States Army first established in 1775.



Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress on 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, was constituted on 3 June 1784, as the First American Regiment.

18th century

On 3 March 1791, Congress added to the Army "The Second Regiment of Infantry"

19th century

The Army organized into seven infantry regiments, 1821;

Ten one-year regiments were authorized by an Act of Congress on 11 February 1847 because of the Mexican–American War, but only the 9th through 16th Infantry Regiments were activated; they did not re-form permanently until the 1850s and 1860s.

Civil War expansion to 19 regiments;

In a major expansion under General Order 92, War Department, 23 November 1866, pursuant to an act of Congress of 28 July 1866 (14 Stat. 332), the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the existing 11th through 19th Infantry Regiments were expanded and designated as the 20th through 37th Infantry Regiments. Four new regiments (the 38th through 41st) were to be composed of black enlisted men, and the new 42nd through 45th Infantry Regiments for wounded veterans of the Civil War.

This was reduced by consolidation to 25 regiments under General Order 17, War Department, 15 March 1869, with the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments constituting the black enlisted force. On 2 February 1901, Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act, which authorized five additional regiments, the 26th through 30th;

20th century

The Militia Act of 1903 standardized the regulations, organization, equipage, and training of state militia force, forming the genesis of the modern National Guard (see Militia (United States)).

In 1916, Congress enacted the National Defense Act and under War Department General Orders Number 22 dated 30 June 1916 that ordered seven new regiments to be organized; four in the Continental United States, one in the Philippine Islands (32nd Infantry Regiment), one in Hawaii (32nd Infantry Regiment), and one, the 33rd Infantry Regiment, in the Canal Zone.

In 1917, a new numbering system was set up. Infantry regimental numbers 1 through 100 were allotted to the Regular Army, 101 through 300 to the National Guard, and 301 and up to the National Army. 167 National Guard units were re-organized and re-numbered from the previously used state system to the new federal system; the 71st New York Infantry Regiment was able to lobby to keep their old 19th century number which violated this numbering rule while serving on the Mexican border in 1916; however, the unit was broken up and most of its troops assigned to the 27th Division after re-federalization in 1917. [2] The 71st was re-formed in 1919 and served in World War II as the 71st Infantry Regiment. In the 1990s the 165th Infantry Regiment (formerly the 69th New York Infantry Regiment) reverted to its old number as the 69th Infantry Regiment.

A new system, the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, or CARS, was adopted in 1957 to replace the old regimental system. CARS uses the Army's traditional regiments as parent organizations for historical purposes, but the primary building blocks are divisions, and brigades composed of battalions. Each battalion of a brigade carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization (i.e., an organized headquarters) generally no longer exists. In some brigades, several numbered battalions carrying the same regimental association may still serve together, and tend to consider themselves part of their traditional regiment when in fact they are independent battalions serving a brigade, rather than a regimental, headquarters. The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981, which requires soldiers to "affiliate" with a regiment of their choice, increasing esprit de corps and the possibility of soldiers serving multiple assignments with the same regiment.

21st century

There are exceptions to USARS regimental titles, including the Armored Cavalry Regiments and the 75th Ranger Regiment created in 1986. On 1 October 2005, the word "regiment" was formally appended to the name of all active and inactive CARS and USARS regiments. So, for example, the 1st Cavalry officially became titled the 1st Cavalry Regiment. There are approximately 19,000 U.S. military personnel in and around Afghanistan. Troops currently in Afghanistan represent the sixth major troop rotation in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) since the United States became involved in the fall of 2001. At present, the majority of U.S. ground forces come from the Army’s Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 1st Brigade of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 82nd Airborne Division and Marine elements from the Second (II) MEF from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. U.S. Special Forces are also operating in Afghanistan and are primarily concerned with capturing or killing Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. In addition, Army units from the Florida National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade have been deployed to train the Afghan National Army. [3]

Chief of Infantry

From 1920 to 1942, the Infantry branch was led by the Chief of Infantry, who held the temporary rank of major general. This individual had responsibility for doctrine, training, equipment fielding, and other matters. During World War II, the duties of the branch chiefs, including Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery, were taken over by the commander of Army Ground Forces. Individuals who served as Chief of Field Artillery included: [4]

Branch insignia

Two gold color crossed muskets, vintage 1795 Springfield musket (Model 1795 Musket), 3/4 inch in height.

Crossed muskets were first introduced into the U.S. Army as the insignia of officers and enlisted men of the Infantry on 19 November 1875 (War Department General Order No. 96 dtd 19 Nov 1875) to take effect on or before 1 June 1876. Numerous attempts in the earlier years were made to keep the insignia current with the ever-changing styles of rifles being introduced into the Army. However, in 1924 the branch insignia was standardized by the adoption of crossed muskets and the 1795 model Springfield Arsenal musket was adopted as the standard musket to be used. This was the first official United States shoulder arm, made in a government arsenal, caliber .69, flint lock, smooth bore, muzzle loader. The standardized musket now in use was first suggested by Major General Charles S. Farnsworth, U.S. Army, while he was the first Chief of Infantry, in July 1921, and approved by General Pershing, Chief of Staff, in 1922. The device adopted in 1922 has been in continual use since 1924. There have been slight modifications in the size of the insignia over the years; however, the basic design has remained unchanged.

Branch plaque

The plaque design has the branch insignia, letters and border in gold. The background is Saxony blue.

Regimental insignia

Personnel assigned to the Infantry branch affiliate with a specific regiment and wear the insignia of the affiliated regiment.

Regimental coat of arms

There is no standard infantry regimental flag to represent all of the infantry regiments. Each regiment of infantry has its own coat of arms which appears on the breast of a displayed eagle. The background of all the infantry regimental flags is flag blue with yellow fringe.

Branch colors

Saxony Blue – 65014 cloth; 67120 yarn; PMS 5415.

The Infantry has made two complete cycles between white and light blue. During the Revolutionary War, white facings were prescribed for the Infantry. White was the color used for Infantry until 1851 at which time light or Saxony blue was prescribed for the pompon and for the trimming on Infantry horse furniture. In 1857, the color was prescribed as sky blue. In 1886, the linings of capes and trouser stripes were prescribed to be white. However, in 1902, the light blue was prescribed again. In 1917, the cape was still lined with light blue but the Infantry trouser stripes were of white as were the chevrons for enlisted men. The infantry color is light blue; however, infantry regimental flags and guidons have been National Flag blue since 1835. White is used as a secondary color on the guidons for letters, numbers, and insignia.


14 June 1775. The Infantry is the oldest branch in the Army. Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by the Continental Congress Resolve of 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army Infantry Regiment, the 3rd Infantry, was constituted on 3 June 1784 as the First American Regiment.

Current active units

The United States Army Infantry School is currently at Fort Benning, Georgia.

(*)Note: Combined arms battalions contain two mechanized infantry companies, along with two armor (tank) companies and a headquarters and headquarters company.

Current types of U.S. Army Infantry

(Comparison with U.S. Marine Corps Infantry)

The US Army currently employs three types of infantry: light infantry (consisting of four sub-types), Stryker infantry , and mechanized infantry. The infantrymen themselves are essentially trained, organized, armed, and equipped the same, save for some having airborne, air assault, and/or Ranger qualification(s), the primary difference being in the organic vehicles (or lack thereof) assigned to the infantry unit, or the notional delivery method (e.g., parachute drop or heliborne) employed to place the infantryman on the battlefield. All modern US Army rifle platoons contain three nine-man rifle squads, except for mechanized infantry, which only has two rifle squads per rifle platoon due to troop carrying limitations of the four Infantry Fighting Vehicles organic to each rifle platoon. Each type of infantry has a discrete TO&E.

Light and Ranger infantry have similar battalion organizations (i.e., an Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) and three infantry companies), however there are significant differences in the composition of each of the two types of companies between the battalions. Airborne and Air Assault infantry battalions (sharing essentially the same battalion, company, and platoon organization), are significantly larger than the light and Ranger infantry battalions, because they contain an anti-armor company and have a larger HHC. Stryker and mechanized infantry units' TO&Es are markedly different from each other as well as from the several sub-types of light infantry. An obvious difference is the requirement to allow for additional manpower and equipment to man, maintain, and service their respective vehicles.

Light Infantry

Primarily foot-mobile, usually transported by motorized assets, capable of air assault operations.

Stryker Infantry

Equipped with M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles, "Stryker" infantry is essentially a new form of "medium infantry." While technically a form of mechanized infantry, because of their namesake wheeled mounts Stryker infantry is more heavily armored and weapon-equipped than light infantry, but not as robust in either category as mechanized infantry. Organized into battalions consisting of a headquarters and headquarters company and three Stryker infantry companies. Three infantry battalions form the primary maneuver component of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The SBCT combines the tactical mobility aspect of mechanized units while emphasizing and exploiting the infantry fight where decisive action occurs.” Similarly, it asserts that “the organic vehicles in the platoons are for moving infantry to the fight swiftly. The rifle platoon consisted of four ICVs with three dismounted squads. The dismounted squads were two rifle squads and one weapons squad (at the time manning was insufficient to fill the third authorized rifle squad). The rifle platoon retained the ability to simultaneously employ three command launch units. [5]

Mechanized Infantry

Equipped with M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, they are trained, organized, and equipped to operate in conjunction with tanks, therefore, essentially forming the modern equivalent of "heavy" or "armored" infantry. (Both terms, historically eschewed by the U.S. Army Infantry Branch due to supposed pejorative or "Armor Branch," viz., "tank unit" biases.) Mechanized infantry is organized into "Combined Arms" battalions consisting of an HHC, and either two tank companies, and one mechanized infantry company, or two mechanized infantry companies and one tank company. Three Combined Arms Battalions form the primary maneuver component of an Armored Brigade Combat Team.

The U.S. Army Infantryman's Creed

Infantryman's Creed [6]

I am the Infantry.

I am my country's strength in war.
Her deterrent in peace.
I am the heart of the fight...
wherever, whenever.
I carry America's faith and honor
against her enemies.
I am the Queen of Battle.
I am what my country expects me to be...
the best trained soldier in the world.
In the race for victory
I am swift, determined, and courageous,
armed with a fierce will to win.
Never will I fail my country's trust.
Always I fight on...
through the foe,
to the objective,
to triumph over all,
If necessary, I will fight to my death.
By my steadfast courage,
I have won more than 200 years of freedom.
I yield not to weakness,
to hunger,
to cowardice,
to fatigue,
to superior odds,
for I am mentally tough, physically strong,
and morally straight.
I forsake not...
my country,
my mission,
my comrades,
my sacred duty.
I am relentless.
I am always there,
now and forever.

See also

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  1. The Institute of Heraldry Color List and Color Conversion Chart. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. Sutliffe, Robert Stewart (22 March 2018). "Seventy-first New York in the world war". New York, Printed by J. J. Little & Ives co. via Internet Archive., pp. 34-39
  3. "U.S. Military Operations in the Global War on Terrorism: Afghanistan, Africa, the Philippines, and Colombia". Congressional Research Service. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2023.PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain .
  4. Hewes, James E., Center of Militart History, U.S. Army (1975). From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration, 1900-1963. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 392 via Google Books.
  5. Kertis, Ryan; Ibarra, Ron (April–July 2016). "The STryker-Tank Company Team" (PDF). Infantry Magazine. US Army. Retrieved 18 March 2023.PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain .
  6. The Infantryman’s Creed PDF. Retrieved February 9, 2021.