The 144th Infantry Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Army, Texas Army National Guard. It was formed in 1880 and served in several American wars including the present War on Terror. Currently, only the 3rd Battalion remains, and it is a part of the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 36th Infantry Division.
The 144th Infantry Regiment was created in April 1880, when six volunteer militia companies of the Texas State Guard consolidated into the 4th Texas Infantry. The six companies were the Lamar Rifles from Dallas, the Fannin Light Guards from Bonham, the Frontier Rifles from Henrietta, the Gate City Guard from Denison, the Johnson County Guard from Cleburne, and the Queen City Guards from Dallas. In 1898, the 4th Texas Volunteers were mustered for federal service in the Spanish-American War, and they were redesignated as the Second Infantry, Texas Volunteers, but they never deployed or saw combat. In 1903, the regiment regained its 4th Texas moniker after a state military force reorganization.
In 1916, the 4th Texas mobilized for service along the Mexico–United States border during the Border War, and they were responsible for the Big Bend region of Texas. The regiment was distributed over approximately 600 miles of patrol territory, its detachments at one time covered 22 different stations. The 4th was recognized for their meritorious performance of this patrolling duty and was commended highly for its work by Major General Frederick Funston, who was at that time in command of the Southern Department. Some of the 4th Texas' stations were 90 miles from a railhead, meaning they had to travel by foot to reach their destinations. It was mustered out of Federal service in February 1917.
The regiment was recalled to federal service soon after, in March 1917, and was combined with elements of the 6th Texas Infantry at Camp Bowie to form the new 144th Infantry Regiment. They were going to fight in World War I. They were assigned to the 72nd Brigade of the 36th Infantry Division, alongside the 143rd Infantry Regiment. Arriving in France in July 1918, it trained in Bar-sur-Aube until September where they served as a reserve for the French Army.
On 9 October 1918, the 144th relieved elements of the 2nd Infantry Division during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. By the time the Texans had reached the front, the Germans were engaging in a fighting retreat all along the front line. Enemy artillery, gas, and machine-gun, small arms fire hit the men of the regiment during their continuous advance, but they closed in on the Aisne River by 12 October. The next day, they swept south to clear out any stalwart defenders, and were moved off the line. They spent the rest of the war acting as a divisional reserve. They had lost 369 men in the Great War, the second largest toll of the infantry regiments in the division. The 144th was mustered out in July 1919 back at Camp Bowie.
During the Interwar period, elements of the 144th performed state duty including storm relief in Dallas and Frost, Texas. They contained riots in Dallas and Sherman, and a strike in Texarkana. The regiment also assisted in the recovery efforts for the New London School explosion in 1937.
While Germany and Fascist Italy were in the process of conquering most of Europe in 1939 and 1940, and the Empire of Japan grabbing territory in the Pacific and China in the beginning of the Second World War, the United States felt unprepared in the event war was necessary to combat the Axis Powers and began mobilizing its army in response. The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 which allowed the government to draft US citizens, was passed, all available National Guard Divisions were inducted into Federal Service within a year. The 144th Infantry Regiment was mobilized on 25 November 1940, and trained at Camp Bowie. The day after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, 8 December 1941, the regiment moved to Fort Lewis, Washington to guard the West Coast against possible Japanese attack. Due to the restructuring of the US Army, the 144th was removed from the 36th Infantry Division command in February 1942 and was organized as a separate regiment. The regiment served as training personnel and as a replacement unit, and men from the 144th served as replacements in 48 different Army divisions. It was deactivated on 19 September 1945.
When the 49th Armored Division was being created, the 144th Infantry was reactivated by battalion from April to November 1947. The 1st-4th Battalions were redesignated as Mechanized infantry in 1959. The 144th was later mobilized in response to the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and deployed to Fort Polk, Louisiana before returning home in May 1962. It was returned to state service in June. The regiment was briefly deactivated from 1968-1973, where it remained a component of the Texas National Guard.
Today, the 3rd Battalion is all that remains of the regiment, and it is headquartered in Terrell, Texas. In 2006, as part of the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Company B of the 3d Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment deployed to Iraq after pre-deployment training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and were actively engaged in combat operations. They returned in late 2007. 5 Army Commendation Medals with Valor Devices were awarded to soldiers of 1st Platoon, Second Squad in recognition of the defeat of an ambush on a State Department convoy in central Baghdad. On 7 May 2007, 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment mobilized as "Task Force Panther" in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "Task Force Panther" trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and, after validation, deployed to Kuwait, and then into Iraq. The 3rd Battalion-144th Infantry deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012. In the spring of 2013 B Company 3-144th IN deployed in support of TF 3-10 to Afghanistan and served in Kunduz, Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Camp Bastion, and Bagram Air Force Base.