Cold War I, 1945-1965

The “Cold War” began 8 May 1945, and the 16th Infantry was already deep in the in middle of it. The initial activities of the regiment in Czechoslovakia was to guard key facilities and conduct prisoner exchanges with the Soviets. Within a short time, the Soviets had rapidly become our new opponents. After about a month of POW exchanges, the regiment was moved to Bamburg, Germany in June 1945, where it remained until February 1946 when it transferred to Landshut, Germany. The regiment moved again in October 1946, when it became part of the occupation forces in Austria. The regimental headquarters was posted to Glasenbach, while the 1st Battalion moved to Vienna and the 2nd Battalion moved to Salzburg. The 3rd Battalion, however, transferred to Berlin, Germany, where it later became the only infantry unit to get credit for participation in the Berlin Airlift.

In July 1948, the regiment was reformed in Frankfurt, Germany, and then almost immediately railed to Grafenwöhr for a series of intensive training exercises designed to bring the 16th Infantry to wartime fighting proficiency. Unlike the previous three years during which the regiment was predominantly preoccupied with what were essentially Military Police duties, the regiment was now going to focus on staving off the Red threat to central Europe. To ensure they were ready, the regiment participated with the Big Red One in numerous European Command training events such as Exercises WINTERPRIME II, HARVEST, JUNIPER, COMBINE, and FERRYBOAT. The urgency of the mission increased in July 1950 when the Korean War erupted. Fear of a second communist front caused the disbandment of the U.S. Constabulary and the reinforcement of Germany with an armored division and three more infantry divisions in 1951.

The defense of the Fulda Gap became the 1st Infantry Division’s area of responsibility and also the 16th Infantry Regiment’s primary focus. Given the initial restrictions placed on U.S. Army soldiers regarding fraternization with German citizens (especially females) and the consumption of alcohol, the leaders of the 1st Infantry Division, as well as the European Command as a whole, looked for ways to keep soldiers busy and out of trouble when not on duty. One of the primary ways was a vigorous sports program and the Rangers partook in every competitive sport in an aggressive way. Indeed, in 1950, the Ranger football team fought its way to the top as the European Command champions. After the 1948 Grafenwöhr training exercises, the regiment had been posted to Monteith Barracks in Furth, Germany, and surrounding communities. It was during this period that the Security Platoon (also known as the Honor Guard) provided guards for the famous Nuremburg trials. In August 1952, the 16th’s headquarters was transferred to Conn Barracks in Schweinfurt, Germany, while the most of the regiment’s subordinate units were assigned to Ledworth Barracks in that city. Schweinfurt was to be the regiment’s last station in Germany before returning home. In 1955, the army tested a system of rotating units to Europe which became known as Operation GYROSCOPE.

In June 1955, the 16th Infantry Regiment became the first Big Red One unit to return to the United States via GYROSCOPE. The new duty station for the regiment, as well as for the rest of the Big Red One was Fort Riley, Kansas. In early 1957, the 1st Infantry Division began to reorganize under the Pentomic Tables of Organization and Equipment (TOE). An entirely new organization, the “battle group,” was to be organized. The 1st Battle Group at Fort Riley now remained the only element of the regiment assigned to the Big Red One,. After spending 2 years at Fort Riley, in March 1959, the 1st Battle Group was transferred to Baumholder, Germany, and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division. Over the next three years, the battle group functioned as part of the US Army Europe’s first line of defense against potential Soviet aggression against Europe. The next element of the regiment to actually organize under the Pentomic concept was the 3rd Battle Group, 16th Infantry.

In May 1959, the 3rd Battle Group was activated at Worcester, Massachusetts, and assigned to the 94th Infantry Division. On 7 January 1963, it was reorganized and redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry and reassigned to the 187th Infantry Brigade (Separate). It was the first unit of the regiment to reorganize under what was known as the Reorganization of Army Divisions (ROAD) that eliminated the Pentomic structure of five battle groups. The 1st Battle Group remained at Baumholder until 1 April 1963 when it was reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry and reassigned to the Big Red One at Fort Riley. Though the battalion was still active, only the colors and a few soldiers were sent back to Fort Riley. Six months later on 1 October 1963, the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry was reformed at Wildflecken, Germany, by reflagging the 2nd Battle Group, 8th Infantry. Therefore, though technically designated as a battalion, the unit was still configured as a battle group. The plan was to reorganze as a battalion when the unit returned to Fort Riley in February 1964 as part of Exercise LONG THRUST X.

At Fort Riley, on 2 March 1964, the 1st Battalion was more or less split in two and the 2nd Battle Group was reactivated with the 1st Battalion’s excess personnel and concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry. The two active battalions of the regiment received a warning order in the spring of 1965 for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam.

  • Soldiers of the 16th Infantry line up for hot chow near Falkenau, Czechoslovakia, 15 May 1945.

  • This regimental coat of arms was painted on the wall of the regimental enlisted men’s service club in Bamberg, Germany, circa 1945.

  • This soldier is standing outside the Adjutant’s office at the Regimental Headquarters in Bamberg about August 1945

  • 16th Infantry soldiers relax along the river walk at Bamberg, Germany

  • While the regiment pulled many important duties in the immediate post-war period, its leaders found time to allow the men to find ways to help get back to peacetime normalities. One way was to form an unauthorized, but very welcome, regimental band.

  • The band at Bamberg fall 1945

  • En Route to a parade, 1945.

  • The band troops the line at Bamberg, fall 1945

  • A 16th Infantry soldier stands in front of the barracks of the Regimental Headquarters Company at Bamberg, Germany, in 1945

  • The regiment was stationed at Landshut, Germany, from February to October 1946. This is the entrance to the regimental headquarters at Landshut.

  • Regimental Headquarters, Glasenbach, Austria, 1946. Note the wartime camouflage paint still on the building.

  • From 1946 to 1948, the regiment, less the 3rd Battalion, was stationed in Austria. The regimental headquarters was here at Glasenbach at a former army kaserne.

  • The 2nd Battalion and the regiment’s special companies were also at Glasenbach, but the 1st Battalion was posted to Vienna, while the 3rd Battalion was transferred to Berlin, Germany.

  • The front gate at the Landshut Kaserne where the regiment was stationed in Bavaria.

  • A strac first sergeant, circa 1946. Behind is the entrance to the 3rd Battalion headquarters in Berlin.

  • Pvt. Bernard LeGault and Pvt. Wilson Craddock man a .30 caliber machine gun during maneuvers in Berlin’s Gruenewald, 18 August 1948.

  • The first vehicle to depart West Berlin after the Russians lifted the blockade was a 16th Infantry courtesy patrol jeep on 12 May 1949.

  • A view of the barracks and parade field at Camp Glasenbach, Austria.

  • Guidon bearers of the 1st Battalion at “Officers Front” on parade in Vienna, 1947.

  • The 16th Infantry Honor Guard greets General Sir John Steele (partially hidden), High Commissioner of Austria, at the train station in Salzburg, 20 August 1947. Colonel Peter Salgado (in the service cap), regimental commander, salutes the colors.

  • General Mark Clark, CG of US Forces Austria, inspects the Regimental Honor Guard in Vienna, 1947

  • Clark troops the line in Vienna, 1947

  • Here the regiment parades for some foreign officers visiting Camp Glasenbach in 1947.

  • Pass in Review, Camp Glasenbach, 1947.

  • General Lucius D. Clay presents the colors to the regiment at Grafenwohr 7 July 1948 on its return from Austria.

  • Monteith Barracks, a former Luftwaffe airfield, was the regiment’s first home after reconsolidation in 1948.

  • The entrance to Pinder Barracks, Zirndorf, Germany home of the 2nd Battalion 1948-52.

  • A close up view of the entrance to Pinder Barracks.

  • The troops of B Company, 16th Infantry assemble for a company photo at Monteith Barracks circa 1950. The building behind the company is an old Luftwaffe airplane hanger.

  • The 16th Infantry formed an Honor Platoon from specially selected men to perform ceremonial duties. The unit, shown here with regimental commander Colonel John P. Evens, also performed duties as guards at the Nurnberg trials.

  • Two Rangers serving as guards during the Nurnberg trials in 1948.

  • In the late 1940s, the regiment played host to numerous visitors from NATO and Allied armies and governments.

  • The 16th Infantry Drum & Bugle Corps at Conn Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany circa 1952.

  • The Ranger football team battled their way to the top as the European Command champions in 1950.

  • The 1950 Ranger baseball team.

  • Two Ranger ballplayers from the 1950 team.

  • Charlie Silk was one of Ranger baseball stalwarts in the early 1950s.

  • The 1951 Ranger basketball team. The European Command instituted a vigorous competitive sports program to decrease soldier boredom and the disciplinary problems associated with it.

  • Ledward Barracks, Stuttgart, FRG. Most of the regiment was transferred to Ledward Barracks in 1952. The tank and mortar companies were transferred to Conn Barracks

  • Parades were a common event in the regiment in the 1950s. Here the band passes the reviewing stand at Ledward Barracks.

  • The I&R Platoon passes in review.

  • Drawing ammo for a field problem.

  • The I&R Platoon prepares to go on parade.

  • I&R Platoon in the field, circa 1953

  • I&R Platoon in the field, circa 1953

  • A new found buddy to pass the time. A soldier of the I&R Platoon relaxes on an exercise.

  • Corporal Champagne assembles a demolition charge as part of the 1952 Expert Infantryman’s Badge testing.

  • The USNS Upshur brought the regiment home from Germany in 1955 as part of Operation Gyroscope.

  • The 86th Infantry prepares to receive the 16th Infantry at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, KS, 14 May 1955. The two regiments traded places as part of Operation Gyroscope.

  • Major (R) Henry F. Schroeder visited the regiment at Fort Riley on 4 October 1957. He presented his Medal of Honor to the regiment and it is now held by the 1st Infantry Division Museum in Wheaton, IL.

  • Maj. Gen. Chaucey D. Merrill, CG 94th Infantry Division, presents the colors to Col. Irving Yeosock on activation of the 3rd Battle Group 3 May 1959 at Worcester, MA.

  • The USNS William O. Darby transported the 1st Battle Group to Bremerhaven, FRG, in March 1959 as part of Operation Gyroscope.

  • Troops of the 1st Battle Group wait to board the USNS Darby at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, 5 March 1959. The Rangers returned to Germany as part of the later Operation Gyroscope series and were assigned to the 8th Infantry Division at Baumholder, FRG.

  • An M-59 APC from the 1st Battle Group conducts a crossing of the Moselle River in July 1959. During that summer, the battle group participated in extensive river crossing training using pontoon bridges and squad assault boats as well.

  • A squad leader from C Company, 1st Battle Group, directs the loading of his men in an M59 APC. The training was conducted to prepare the unit for its Army Training Test in September 1959.

  • Band of the 1st Battle Group at Smith Barracks, Baumholder, about 1959.

  • The 1st Battle Group band leads an Easter parade through Ozweiler, FRG, 1960.

  • An M56 Scorpion 90 mm SP AT gun from the 1st Battle Group, crosses a stream at Adershaufen, FRG, during Operation Winter Shield II, 2 February 1961

  • Aggressors of D Company, 1st Battle Group, prepare to attack during Operation Winter Shield II, 8 February 1961.

  • SFC Luis Medina (center, standing), B Company, 1st Battle Group, directs his men in setting up an antitank defense position near Vilseck, FRG during Operation Winter Shield II in February 1961.

  • Troops of B Company, 1st Battle Group, advance through Rohrbach, FRG, 8 February 1961. The troops were acting as aggressors furing during Operation Winter Shield II.

  • BG Frederick Gibb (center), WWII commander of the 16th Infantry, visits Paddy Roughn (R) at Baumholder in 1962