The initial assignment of the '172nd' designation to a unit of the Vermont National Guard by the War Department can be traced to 1 October 1921, when the 1st Infantry of Vermont was redesignated the 172nd Infantry and assigned to the 43rd Division. The regiment served with the 86th Infantry Brigade of the 43rd Division from 1922 to 1941.
The regiment was inducted into federal service on 24 February 1941 and was organized as a Regimental Combat Team for service in the Pacific. The new RCT comprised the 172d Infantry Regiment, the 103d Field Artillery Battalion and elements of Ordnance, Engineer, Medical and Signal units. The 172nd RCT almost saw disaster at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on 26 October 1942, when its troop transport, the liner SS President Coolidge, struck two U.S. mines in the harbor. The captain, realizing that the ship was lost, attempted to run it aground so that the troops could disembark. The ship sank, but the regiment got ashore with few casualties, to fight in the New Georgia Campaign, including during the Drive on Munda Point.
It was released from federal service on 1 November 1945 at Camp Stoneman, California. It was reorganized and federally recognised in October 1946; called into federal service in September 1950 and released in June 1954.
On 1 June 1959 the regiment was reorganized (less elements) as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System to consist of the 1st Battle Group, an element of the 43rd Infantry Division. Meanwhile, the detached elements were consolidated with the 124th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion and converted and redesignated as the 172nd Armor, also a parent regiment under CARS. The 172nd Armor was to consist of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion and the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron, both part of the 43rd Infantry Division. The regiments were reorganized in 1963, 1964 (when the 172nd Infantry and 172nd Armor were merged) and 1968, when the 172nd Armor was reorganised in February to comprise the 1st and 2nd Battalions, elements of the 50th Armored Division.
The 172d Infantry (Regiment) (Mountain) was constituted 1 September 1982 in the Vermont Army National Guard as the 72d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, and organized to consist of Company A. Located in Vermont, Company A's mission was to conduct limited offensive and defensive operations and to provide support expertise to combat units engaged in mountain and winter operations. It was also tasked to provide special reconnaissance for combat units operating in these environments.
Redesignated 1 April 1983 as the 172d Infantry. Reorganized 1 December 1983 to consist of Company A and the 3d Battalion. Reorganized 1 October 1984 in the Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont Army National Guard to consist of the 3d Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain). Withdrawn 1 May 1989 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System with headquarters at Jericho, Vermont. Reorganized 1 September 1992 in the Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont National Guard.
The Mountain Battalion Headquarters, HHC, and Company A are located in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The Battalion is co-located with the Army's Mountain Warfare School. In addition to HHC and A.Co, B.Co and C.Co are located in Maine and New Hampshire respectively. D.Co and E.Co (FSC) are located in Vermont.
In 2000 the Mountain Battalion developed a training relationship with the 1-508 Airborne Battalion Combat Team of the US Army's Southern European Task Force in Vincenza, Italy. The Mountain Men of the 172nd have deployed numerous times to Europe and trained side by side with the Paratroopers of SETAF and the US Army's Combined Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany.
Following combat deployments to Afghanistan (Battalion HQ), Kuwait (HHC), and Iraq (A, B, C Companies) during the War on Terrorism, the Battalion was assigned to the newly formed 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), in October, 2006. The battalion was then deployed to Eastern Afghanistan in 2010 as Task Force Avalanche. After returning from Afghanistan in 2010 the battalion was awarded the Valorous Unit Award.
The battalion is the only organization in the US Army specifically organized, trained, equipped, and tasked to close with and destroy the enemy in a total mountain environment. Approximately 50% of the soldiers in the battalion are coded with the Special Qualification Identifier (SQI) "E" Military Mountaineer, which is awarded to soldiers who graduate the Military Mountaineer Basic Course at the Army Mountain Warfare School, located in Jericho, Vermont. No other unit has the capability to conduct combat operations in such extreme environments.
The Mountain Infantrymen of this battalion follow a long heritage of citizen soldiers and warriors, who have served the country for almost 400 years.
3-172 IN (MTN) currently wears the 86th IBCT shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI), however, the battalion has a somewhat unique SSI history.
From the unit's inception in 1982, until the formation of the 86th IBCT in 2007, the battalion wore the First Army insignia with "Mountain" tab as its SSI. This was originally only temporarily authorized, but as time passed no further provision of SSI for the organization was made. This is a debated and controversial unit insignia as it is almost completely unknown amongst the senior leadership of the United States Army. Many soldiers incorrectly believe that the 10th Mountain Division and the 86th IBCT are the only units ever authorized to wear a Mountain tab.
There are numerous veterans of OIF and OEF who are authorized to wear the First Army insignia with "Mountain" tab as a "combat patch" (SSI-FWTSI). The only known proof of authorization for wear of the First Army insignia with Mountain tab for members of 3-172 IN (MTN) hangs framed in the unit's home Armory in Jericho, VT.
Note: Department of the Army policy states that tabs such Mountain and Airborne are integral parts of the shoulder sleeve insignia, and all soldiers within a unit wear the same SSI. Subordinate units within a command are not authorized to add Mountain or Airborne tabs if their units happen to be Mountain or Airborne within larger non-Airborne or non-Mountain commands. This practice, however unauthorized, has gone on for decades, particularly with small Airborne units within non-Airborne commands. Additionally, although US Army units, such as the 4th Infantry Division, requested to be authorized to add the Mountain tab over their SSIs after returning from fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan, the Department of the Army has denied all such requests. The Mountain tab is part of a shoulder sleeve insignia, not an individual or unit qualification award or recognition for combat service in mountains.
Motivation, drive, determination and honor are the hallmark of the Mountain Soldier. My uniform's appearance and respect for those appointed over me shall set the standard for others to follow.
Ours is not an impossible mission. To meet the enemy on the field of battle requires that I be proficient in my job, Mountain skills, and the tactics required to operate in an alpine environment.
Ultimately mine is a mission of peace. However, if called upon, I will, without hesitation, respond to my country's call. Through personal sacrifice, I will galantly defend my country and its allies.
Never shall I quit until my objective is achieved. Failure to complete my mission, whether in peace or war will invariably cause the unit as a whole to fail.
Training is essential to my survival and to that of my brother Mountain Soldiers. Without the knowledge training provides I will surely fail. Whether training with allies or at the lowest level I will continuously challenge myself to attain the highest standards.
Always will I keep my equipment and myself ready for whatever task I may be given. The sheer nature of my unit's mission requires that I maintain my equipment and master its capabilities and employment. My brother Soldiers and Countrymen count on my ability to shoot better, climb higher, ski farther, and fight with more cunning and aggression than any enemy I may face.
Initiative is the force that will allow me to prevail on the field of battle. I will do more than is required of myself to further my unit's mission and ensure its total victory in combat.
Never will I leave a fallen Soldier on the field of battle. I will courageously continue to fight until the enemy is vanquished and the last round expended and all the members of my unit are accounted for. I will conduct myself with honor, pride, and an esprit de corps second to none, whether in peace or wartime whether at home or abroad, for my mission is to...ASCEND TO VICTORY!Description
A Silver color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height consisting of a shield blazoned as follows: Per fess dancetty of four Azure and Argent issuant in base a mount Vert and overall in bend a ski pole crossed by an ice axe in bend sinister, in pale overall a sword point up of the second. Attached below and to the sides a green motto scroll bearing the words "ASCEND TO VICTORY" in Silver letters.Symbolism
Blue and white are the colors associated with Infantry. The indented partition line denotes the four states represented in the regiment, and with the ice axe and ski pole, also refers to the (Mountain) designation of the regiment. The upright sword denotes the unit’s basic Infantry mission and the green mountain in base alludes to the headquarters, State of Vermont, which means "green mountain."Background
The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 16 March 1987.Shield
Per fess dancetty of four Azure and Argent issuant in base a mount Vert and overall in bend a ski pole crossed by an ice axe in bend sinister, in pale overall a sword point up of the second.Crest
That for the regiments and separate battalions of the New Hampshire Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Argent and Azure two pine branches saltirewise Proper crossed behind a bundle of five arrows palewise Argent bound together by a ribbon Gules the ends entwining the branches. That for the regiments and separate battalions of the New York Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Argent and Azure the full rigged ship "Half Moon" all Proper. That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Vermont Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Argent and Azure a buck’s head erased within a garland of pine branches, all Proper. That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Maine Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Argent and Azure a pine tree Proper. Motto ASCEND TO VICTORY.
Blue and white are the colors associated with Infantry. The indented partition line denotes the four states represented in the regiment, and with the ice axe and ski pole, also refers to the (Mountain) designation of the regiment. The upright sword denotes the unit’s basic Infantry mission and the green mountain in base alludes to the headquarters, State of Vermont, which means "green mountain."Crest
The crests are those of the New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine Army National Guard.Background
The coat of arms was approved on 16 March 1987.