One of the many Infantry regiments that were established in response to Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops on 3 May 1861, the 20th Infantry Regiment was organized about a month later on June 6 at Fort Independence, Missouri as the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry. The Regiment would see combat soon: Commanded by General George Sykes at the Second Battle of Bull Run, its troops would help form a defensive line that shielded retreating Union troops from General Longstreet’s powerful but long-delayed counterattack, earning it the nickname “Sykes’ Regulars.”

Reorganized and redesignated as the 20th Infantry in 1866, the Regiment or elements of it took part in the Little Big Horn and Pine Ridge campaigns of the Indian War, the War with Spain, and the Philippine Insurrection. During World War II, the Regiment was assigned to the 6th Infantry Division and fought in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, earning three Presidential Unit Citations and Arrowhead for its part in the amphibious assault during the Luzon campaign, as well as a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

As part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, the 20th was deployed to Vietnam and participated in 13 of the war’s 17 named campaigns, earning a Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1972. Since the start of the War on Terrorism, the Regiment has garnered three Meritorious Unit Commendations, a Valorous Unit Award, and an Army Superior Unit Award while taking part in three campaigns of Operation Iraqi Freedom and one of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 20th Infantry Regiment’s Regimental Distinctive insignia (unit crest), approved on 8 March 1922, features two pairs of crossed rifles forming the Roman numeral XX to reflect the unit’s numerical designation.

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