72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States)

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File:36th Infantry Division SSI.svg
36th Infantry Division Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, worn by soldiers of 72nd Brigade.

The 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is a unit of the Texas Army National Guard and is subordinate to the 36th Infantry Division.

Early history

The 72nd Infantry Brigade was organized at Camp Bowie, Texas, in July, 1917. A unit of the 36th Infantry Division, the 72nd Brigade included the 3rd and 4th Texas Infantry Regiments. These regiments served on the Mexico-United States border during the Pancho Villa Expedition, and then were organized and federalized for World War I as the 133rd Machine Gun Battalion, and 143rd and 144th Infantry Regiments.[1]

World War I

The 72nd Brigade arrived in France in July, 1918, and took part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of September, October and November which led to the German surrender. In early 1919 the 72nd Brigade was mustered out at Camp Bowie.[2]

Post World War I

When the National Guard was reorganized following passage of the National Defense Act of 1920, the 36th Infantry Division was continued as a Texas National Guard organization, with the 72nd Brigade as a subordinate command. The Army discontinued machine gun battalions, and the 72nd Brigade consisted of the 143rd and 144th Infantry Regiments.[3]

World War II

The 36th Division, including the 72nd Brigade, was federalized in 1940 for service during World War II. A 1942 restructuring led to the Army discontinuing the use of brigade headquarters in favor of regiments reporting directly to the division headquarters, and Headquarters, 72nd Brigade was inactivated, though its regiments continued as part of the 36th Infantry Division, and saw combat in North Africa, Italy, and France, as well as in the Pacific Theater.[4][5][6][7]

Post World War II and Cold War

Following World War II the National Guard’s reorganization included the fielding of several armored divisions in anticipation of tank warfare against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to defend Western Europe. One of these armored divisions, the 49th, was allocated to Texas and formed around what had been the 72nd Infantry Brigade.[8]

The 49th Armored Division continued in service until 1968, and was activated during the 1961 Berlin crisis.[9]

A 1968 National Guard reorganization led to the inactivation of the 49th Armored Division and the reactivation of the 72nd Infantry Brigade. In 1973 another reorganization caused the reactivation of the 49th Armored Division and inactivation of the 72nd Infantry Brigade.

The 49th Armored Division was inactivated and reflagged as the 36th Infantry Division in 2004, and the 72nd Brigade was reactivated. In 2005 and 2006 the Army’s conversion to modular brigades included the 72nd Brigade’s reorganization as an Infantry Brigade Combat Team.[10]

Global War on Terror

72nd Infantry Brigade soldiers and units have carried out numerous active duty missions as part of the Global War on Terrorism, including activations and deployments for Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.[11][12][13]

3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry served in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2001 as part of the Stabilization Force.[14]

In 2005-2006, 800 Soldiers of 3d Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 72d Brigade, 36th Infantry Division deployed to Afghanistan for combat operations. The Battalion was attached to the 504th Infantry Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division.[15]

The 72nd Brigade served in Iraq in 2010, providing security details and mentoring members of the Iraqi Army and Police as they assumed full responsibility for security at Iraq’s borders and within the country.[16]

Task organization

As of 2013 the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s task organization includes:


  1. May Harper Baines, Houston's Part in the World War, 1919, page 80
  2. Albert Bushnell Hart, Harper's Pictorial Library of the World War, Volume 5, 1920, pages 361-362
  3. Texas Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1921, pages 8-9, 72
  4. New York Times, Army to put 310,000 Into Field in August: War Games Will Set Peacetime Record for This Country, May 14, 1940
  5. Associated Press, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, 10th Army Battles in Capital of Okinawa, May 18, 1945
  6. George Tucker, Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal, First Wounded to Return From Italian Drive Quiet and Cheerful, May 12, 1944
  7. United Press International, Newburgh News, Redeployment Schedule, December 14, 1945
  8. Associated Press, Lawrence Journal-World, Larger Armed Force, July 11, 1946
  9. James E. Warner, New York Herald Tribune, reprinted in Ottawa Citizen, US prepares: Four Divisions Placed on Call, September 7, 1961
  10. Texas Military Forces Museum, A Brief History of the Texas National Guard after World War II, accessed July 9, 2013
  11. Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers, South Bend Tribune, Seven Combat Brigades Being Sent to Iraq Before End of Year, May 20, 2008
  12. KWTX, Texas National Guard Troops Return From Afghanistan, May 7, 2006
  13. Oklahoma City Journal Record, Music Retailer Sends CDs to Soldiers in Arkansas, December 26, 2001
  14. Ed Timms, Dallas Morning News, Snow Daze: S. Texas Soldiers Get Taste of Winter in Training for Bosnia], February 25, 2001
  15. Texas Army National Guard, History of the 36th Infantry Division: Global War on Terror, accessed July 9, 2013
  16. Lindsay Wise, Houston Chronicle, Texas Brigade Keeps Low Profile Beyond Base, 20 January 2010

External resources