164th Coat of Arms 164th Infantry Regiment-North Dakota National Guard 164th Coat of Arms

      The 164th Infantry Regiment began its history on December 8th, 1906 in the North Dakota Army National Guard as Company E, First Infantry Regiment. It was activated in federal service on June 18th, 1916 for service on the Mexican border. On February 14th, 1917, Company E was inactivated at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota. Company E was later re-activated on March 25th, 1917 and drafted into federal service on August 5th, 1917. The company was reorganized and redesignated October 4th, 1917 as Company E, 164th Infantry, an element of the 41st Infantry Division. The company was inactivated February 28th, 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey. The company was later reorganized and federally recognized January 22nd, 1921 as Company E, 1st Infantry. It was reorganized and redesignated October 21st, 1921 as Company E, 164th Infantry, an element of the 34th Infantry Division.

      The 164th Infantry, by 1940 a National Guard Regiment, was activated to federal service February 10th, 1941. Before deployment overseas, the 164th was relieved from assignment to the 34th Infantry Division on December 8th, 1941. The 164th transited the South Pacific ferry route in January, 1942 to New Caledonia. There they joined the 182nd Infantry Regiment and the 132nd Infantry Regiment, in addition to artillery, engineer and other support units to form a new division on May 24th, 1942, designated the Americal Division. The regiment spent nearly five months in combat training, arriving at Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942 ahead of the 132nd and 182nd Infantry Regiments. The 164th was to serve as emergency reinforcement for the 1st Marine Division and was the first U.S. Army unit to engage in offensive action during World War II in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Between October 24 and October 27, elements of the regiment withstood repeated assaults from Japanese battalions and inflicted some two thousand enemy casualties. The First Marine commander was so impressed by the soldiers' stand that he issued a unit commendation to the regiment for having demonstrated "an overwhelming superiority over the enemy." In addition, the marines took the unusual step of awarding Lt. Colonel Robert Hall, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 164th, with the Navy Cross for his role in these battles.

      Until the other units of the division arrived, the 164th fought alongside the Marines in a series of encounters with Japanese units in the Point Cruz area, where they successfully dislodged enemy troops from two hilltop strongpoints. The action earned them the nickname "The 164th Marines." Members of the 164th were also known as "jungle fighters" within the U.S. media because of the terrain on which they fought.

      Later, the 164th participated in extensive jungle patrols as well as organized offensive sweeps of the island to eliminate remaining Japanese resistance. This experience gained the regiment valuable combat experience in jungle travel and navigation, ambush and counter-ambush, and small-unit tactics using small arms and light support weapons. After the Battle of Guadalcanal, the regiment returned to Fiji with the rest of the Americal Division to refit and replenish losses. (See: Guadalcanal Order of Battle) At this point, many veteran officers and men of the 164th volunteered to join the 5307th Composite Unit, better known as Merrill's Marauders, for service in Burma. With the rest of the Americal, the regiment later participated in the Bougainville campaign, then fought to secure the islands of Leyte, Cebu, Negros, and Bohol, in the Philippines. The regiment was slated to be part of the invasion of Japan when the war ended in August.

      The 164th was inactivated November 24th, 1945 at Fort Lawton, Washington. On June 10th, 1946, the 164th Infantry was relieved from assignment to the Americal Division and assigned to the 47th Infantry Division. On May 1st, 1947, the 164th was reorganized and federally recognized May 1st, 1947 as Company E of the 164th Infantry. It was ordered to federal service January 16th, 1951. Company C of the 164th Infantry (North Dakota National Guard) was organized and federally recognized January 16th, 1953 while the company E, 164th Infantry was on federal service. The 164th was inactivated from active federal service December 2nd, 1954 and reverted to state control and redesignated as Company C, 164th Infantry; federal recognition was concurrently withdrawn from Company C, 164th Infantry.

Return to 23rd Infantry (Americal) Page Return to History Page Return to Home Page