The 185th Infantry Regiment is a unit of the United States Army made up of soldiers from the California Army National Guard. Only the 1st Battalion of the regiment remains active. The 185th's higher headquarters is the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in San Diego. Its higher headquarters, in turn, is the 40th Infantry Division
The 1st Battalion, 185th Infantry Regiment was originally constituted on 22 July 1885 as the 6th Infantry Battalion, California National Guard. The unit was expanded, reorganized, and redesignated on 21 February 1888 as the 6th Infantry Regiment. It was mustered into federal service on 11 May 1898 at San Francisco as the 6th California Volunteer Infantry; and mustered out on 15 December 1898 at Fort Point, CA. It was reduced and consolidated on 11 May 1907 with the 2nd Infantry Regiment, California National Guard (organized in 1864 as the Sacramento Light Artillery) to form the 2nd Infantry Regiment, California National Guard, with headquarters at Sacramento.
The unit was called into federal service on 15 June 1916 for Mexican border service; mustered into federal service on 27 June 1916 at Sacramento; and mustered out on 15 November 1916. It was called into federal service on 26 March 1917; and drafted into federal service on 5 August 1917.
The 2nd Infantry Regiment (less 2nd Battalion, Companies L and M, and Sanitary Detachment) consolidated on 24 September – 1 November 1917 with the 5th Infantry Regiment, California National Guard, and the consolidated unit was designated as the 159th Infantry, an element of the 40th Division; demobilized on 1 May 1919 at the Presidio of San Francisco, CA. The 2nd Battalion, Companies L and M, and Sanitary Detachment, 2nd Infantry Regiment consolidated on 25 September – 1 November 1917 with the 7th Infantry Regiment, California National Guard, and the consolidated unit was designated as the 160th Infantry, an element of the 40th Division; it demobilized on 7 May 1919 at Camp Kearny in San Diego.
The former central and northern California elements (less San Francisco area) reconstituted and reorganized on 20 October 1924 in the California National Guard as the 184th Infantry, an element of the 40th Division, with headquarters at Sacramento.
The central California elements (less San Francisco area) was withdrawn, expanded, reorganized, and redesignated on 18 February – 1 April 1929 as the 185th Infantry, an element of the 40th Division (later redesignated as the 40th Infantry Division) with headquarters at Fresno (northern California elements concurrently expanded and reorganized as the 184th; separate lineage). In 1930, the unit's coat of arms were approved.
As part of the United States mobilization during World War II, the 185th Infantry Regiment was federalized at Fresno, California, on 3 March 1941 and moved to Camp San Luis Obispo, California, within two weeks. The regiment trained there for over a year as part of the 40th Division before relocating to Fort Lewis, Washington, on 29 April 1942. From there, the regiment went to San Francisco, California, in August and was shipped to Hawaii the following month. The regiment stayed in Hawaii where it trained in jungle warfare for over a year before being moved forward during January 1944 to the Solomon Islands. From April through December the regiment was employed in combat on New Britain island during the New Britain campaign. Then the regiment landed on Manus Island in December 1944 and invaded the Japanese-held Philippine Islands on 9 January 1945. The regiment participated in various actions of the Philippines Campaign of 1944–45 during the rest of the war, and arrived back at San Francisco, California on 5 April 1946, being inactivated the next day.
The regiment was relieved on 25 June 1946 from assignment to the 40th Infantry Division, it was assigned on 5 August 1946 to the 49th Infantry Division. The unit was reorganized and federally recognized on 18 November 1946, with headquarters at Fresno (former 2nd and 3rd Battalions reorganized as the 223rd and 224th Infantry, respectively (separate lineage); and a new 2nd Battalion, 185th Infantry was organized from existing units; 980th Field Artillery Battalion was reorganized, redesignated and federally recognized on 24 August 1947 as the new 3rd Battalion, 185th Infantry).
The unit was reorganized on 1 May 1959 as the 185th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, to consist of the 1st Battle Group, an element of the 49th Infantry Division; on 1 March 1963 to consist of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, elements of the 49th Infantry Division (the 2nd Battalion was relieved on 4 December 1963 from assignment to the 49th Infantry Division and assigned to the 49th Infantry Brigade); and on 29 January 1968 to consist of the 2nd Battalion, an element of the 49th Infantry Brigade.
Following the events of 11 September multiple national guard units were activated for various reasons. The 185th was no different with the regiment activated for Operation Noble Eagle, when it was assigned to guard military bases, airports, and other possible targets of opportunity. In late 2003 the 185th was activated again, this time in the wake of the Invasion of Iraq. This is not to be confused with the activation of the 185th Armor Regiment, which was activated at the same time. In 2005, the unit returned from active duty. In 2006, Headquarters Company was activated, and was deployed to Camp Bucca, Iraq for a year.
During the 2006–07 deployment when the regiment's only death, as of June 2009, occurred. Specialist Sellen, posthumously promoted to sergeant, was killed while attached to 16th MP Brigade due to an accidental discharge of a firearm by a fellow soldier.
In early 2007, the first battalion's Charlie company was mobilized for a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom under the command of 1st Battalion, 143rd Field Artillery of the California Army National Guard. After completing training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the company moved to Camp Slayer in Baghdad, Iraq and conducted force protection, convoy security, and military police missions throughout the country. During their six months in Iraq, they completed over 250 successful combat missions, including the care and custody of over 2,000 detainees and escorting numerous high-profile detainees to Iraqi courts in Baghdad. On 22 February 2008, the company transferred responsibility to Charlie company, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. On 6 March 2008, the company returned to Los Alamitos. The company received a Meritorious Unit Commendation for their service pursuant to Department of the Army Permanent Orders 272-43 dated 29 September 2009.