Major Russell Smith
160th Infantry Regiment (Seventh California)

Originally designated the 7th California, the 160th Infantry Regiment traces their lineage back to the early days of California statehood when the call went out and 17,000 men volunteered for service in the Civil War. During the Spanish American War, California citizen soldiers again responded to the call. In 1898, they were mustered into federal service and trained at the Presidio of San Francisco. In 1916, California National Guard Infantry served with General "Black Jack" Pershing during the Mexican Border Campaign.

When the United States entered World War I, California citizens were again ready to serve and became the first units actually organized into the 160th Regiment, as the first regiment of the 40th Division. As replacements for other U.S. Army divisions, soldiers of the 160th fought in the battles of St. Michael and the Meuse-Argonne. During the Battle of the Argonne Forest, over one hundred men of the 160th Infantry served with the 307th Infantry, later famous as "The Lost Battalion", including Captain Nelson Holderman, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


 160th Infantry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington, 1942

On March 3, 1941 elements of what was the 160th Infantry (numerical redesignation occurred periodically throughout its history) were federalized at home stations. Soldiers trained at Fort. Lewis, Washington and were deployed to fight in the central Pacific and the liberation of the Philippine Islands. Company H, 160th deployed 143 men alongside 944 men from the 78th Coast Artillery Brigade into the San Pedro Harbor for assembly area, beach and local defense. Company I, 160th Infantry Regiment received the Presidential Unit Citation for heroism in action against the enemy on Luzon on 14 February 1945. Staff Sergeant John Sojgren received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism near San Jose Hacienda, Negros, Philippine Islands on 23 May 1945. The 160th Infantry and the 40th Infantry Division were preparing to spearhead the invasion of Japan when the war ended.

During the Korean War, the 40th Division and elements of the 160th Infantry Regiment deployed to Japan and the Korean Peninsula where they fought through two bitter cold winters in the "Land of the Morning Calm." By the end of the Korean War, the regiment had earned 2 distinguished Service Crosses, 16 Silver Stars, 25 Bronze Stars for Valor, 5,908 Combat Infantry badges, and 328 Combat Medic badges. Figures never speak louder than reputation and efficiency, and this quality which the regiment now maintains has seen the setting of the golden sun and the rising of a new and fiery pride symbolized in the entire 40th Infantry Division as the ball of fire.

In the turbulent sixties, 160th Infantry soldiers were among the first National Guard units mobilized for the Watts riots. Members of the 160th Infantry have also served with distinction in the more recent actions in Grenada, Panama and in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. We have been "Los Angeles's Own" since our creation.

In response to the massive civil disturbance that resulted in April 1992, the 2nd, 3nd and 4th Battalions were mobilized to State and Federal Active Duty. Many soldiers lived and worked in the neighborhoods they were patrolling. Many drove around looters and burning buildings en route to their armory. Serving in its home city of Los Angeles, the 160th Infantry Regiment aided local law enforcement and order was quickly restored. The 3rd Battalion was the first tactical battalion on the street and the last to be demobilized. For its service during the those disturbances, the 3rd Battalion was awarded the Army Superior Unit Award.

For heroic combat service, the 160th Infantry Regiment won the Presidential Unit Citations of both the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, and the Combat Infantry Regiment Battle Streamer.

The history of the 160th Infantry Regiment is long and distinguished. Its citizen soldiers have always been trained and ready to serve their community, state and nation. We share a noble and proud history which we endeavor to uphold.


The 1992 Los Angeles Riots: Battalion Commander's Perspective

Lineage and Honors

The Fighting Fortieth in War and Peace
by Major General James Delk
History of California's 40th Infantry Division by a former Division Commander.



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Updated 19 July 2017