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Coat of Arms



Party per fess Azure and Argent, in chief a sun in splendor Or charged with five-bastioned fort of the first, in base a cedar tree eradicated Proper.


On a wreath of the colors Argent and Azure four arrows Sable armed and feathered Gules, tied with a rattlesnake skin Proper.




Blue and white are the colors used for the Infantry. Organized in 1862 as the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, the Regiment was in the Army of the Potomac and served in numerous engagements. The cedar tree commemorates the Regiment's baptism of fire at Cedar Mountain, 9 August 1862, where it performed its mission with such success as to receive special mention from General Prince, the brigade commander. The arrows of the crest and the rattlesnake skin, an Indian emblem of war, allude to eight campaigns during the Indian Wars. The five-bastioned fort, the badge of the 5th Corps at Santiago during the war with Spain. The Katipunan sun refers to campaign participation during the Philippine Insurrection.


The coat of arms was approved on 17 Jan 1921.

21st Infantry Regiment History

The 21st Infantry Regiment, "Gimlet," was first constituted on 3 May 1861 as the 12th Infantry Regiment at Fort Hamilton, New York, as part of the expansion of the Army at the beginning of the American Civil War. 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment was first constituted on 3 May 1861 in the Regular Army as Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry. The unit was organized on 28 May 1862 at Fort Hamilton, New York.

A year later, on 24 May 1862, the unit was ordered to Washington. Still without arms, the unit was used to help the artillery in the defense of the Capital. However, this type of duty did not last long, for, on 14 July 1862, the unit was ordered to Cedar Mountain.

On 9 August 1862, the Regiment was ordered to deploy as skirmishers and cover the front of the 2nd Division. Less than 9,000 Union troops faced 20,000 Confederates. The order came to advance. A thousand yards across a creek and into the cornfield advanced the young unit. The Southerners soon found they were facing regulars and their left flank collapsed. The Regiment moved forward, but a Federal Battery mistakenly directed a barrage of murderous fire upon the new unit. A young private sent to report the incident was wounded. Crawling, stumbling, and bleeding, he delivered a report of the mistake, thus becoming the first member of the Regiment to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. With the battle over, the young unit had received its baptism of fire.

In May of 1869 the 21st Infantry began its first campaign against the Indians. For the next 26 years the numerous Indian tribes throughout the West learned to respect the 21st Infantry.

In Arizona they fought the Apache for nearly 7 years and covered over 1,000 miles in their pursuit of the Nez Perces Indians. The 21st next defeated the Bannocks Indians in the year 1878. The 21st Infantry coat of arms bears 4 arrows in testimony of these campaigns against the Indians. The Rattlesnake encircling the arrows is the Indian emblem of war. In 1895 with the end of the fighting in the Indian Campaigns, the 21st Infantry moved to New York's Plattsburg Barracks

During the Spanish-American War, the 21st again mobilized. The entire Regiment left for Tampa, Florida and soon found itself aboard ships with the V Corps, destined for Cuba. The 5-bastion fort, the symbol of the V Corps, appeared on the 21st Infantry crest to indicate the valor shown by the 21st during the Spanish-American War.

Rested and ready after the conflict in Cuba, the 21st Infantry was once more called on to fight for their country. This time they were called to the Philippines. Twenty-four hours after they landed they were in the trenches facing guerrillas. The Regiment sent 3 different expeditions to the islands: one in 1899, one in 1905, and another in 1909. Each of these groups was successful in suppressing the guerillas that continued to fight them. The Katipunan Sun on the 21st Infantry coat of arms symbolizes the part the Gimlets played in the Philippine Insurrection.

In 1909, the Regiment was reassigned to Vancouver Barracks, Washington, and remained there until World War I. During the World War I, the Regiment was assigned the task of patrolling the Mexican border and training troops.

On 22 October 1921 the Regiment was assigned to the Hawaiian Division (later re-designated as the 24th Infantry Division) and moved to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where it remained until World War II. It was there that the 21st Infantry acquired the nickname "Gimlet" as a result of the efforts of the athletes led by Private First Class Eugene Riley. They set the Regiment's tradition in maintaining superiority of the athletic field and were noted chiefly for their fighting spirit. Their motto "Bore Brother Bore" exemplified there strong will to win.

The 21st Infantry participated in World War II from the opening battle, and was among the last of the Allied units to cease firing. After extensive training in Hawaii and later in Australia, on 22 April 1944, the 21st Infantry spearheaded the assault at Tanahmerah Bay in New Guinea. In October 1944, at the focal point of the US invasion of the Philippines on Leyte, the 21st Infantry was instrumental in the capture of the Island of Panoan off the southern tip of Leyte. The capture of this island was strategically important because it enabled the Panoan Straits to be kept open for use by PT boats operating against enemy shipping.

In early November 1944, the 21st Infantry rejoined the 24th Division and took part in the action against strong enemy forces at Pinamopoan on Leyte. It fought the terrible battle of Breakneck Ridge. This battle was costly for the 21st Infantry. It resulted in the loss of 630 men killed, wounded and missing. In addition 135 were lost for other causes. At Breakneck Ridge the 21st Infantry accounted for 1,779 Japanese dead. For it's part in the operation it received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Following Breakneck Ridge the 21st was attached to the West Visayan Task force on Mindoro, another island in the Philippines. Throughout the months of 1945 and until the Japanese surrender the unit was engaged in continuous combat. In October 1945 the 21st Infantry arrived in Japan for occupation duties where it remained until the Korean conflict.

The Korean chapter of Gimlet history began on 25 June 1950, when North Korean Communist forces launched an overwhelming attack across the 38th parallel aimed at the occupation of Seoul and subjugation of South Korea. President Truman's historic decision to use American forces placed the responsibility on the 24th Infantry Division in Japan. The 24th Infantry Division in turn called on the Gimlets to become the first American unit to face the Korean Communists.

The 21st Infantry Regiment was relieved on 5 June 1958 from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division and reorganized as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Company C, 21st Infantry was re-designated on 31 March 1959 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battle Group, 21st Infantry, withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and assigned to the 63rd Infantry Division with its organic elements concurrently constituted. The Battle Group was activated on 1 May 1959 with Headquarters at Santa Barbara, California. It was inactivated on 1 April 1963 at Santa Barbara, California, and relieved from assignment to the 63rd Infantry Division.

In 1966 and again in 1968, both the 3rd and 4th Battalions, 21st Infantry went to Vietnam, where they served with the 196th Infantry Brigade (Light), respectfully. On 15 February 1969, both battalions became part of the 23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL). As one their missions, the Gimlets helped in conducting offensive operations to assure the security of the Chu Lai base complex. 3-21st Infantry was relieved on 1 November 1971 from assignment to the 23rd Infantry Division and reassigned to the 196th Infantry Brigade (Light). On 11 August 1972, with the de-escalation of the Vietnam War, the Gimlets became the last ground combat unit in the Republic of Vietnam to stand down. When it left Vietnam, in August 1972, the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry (Separate) was the last ground combat unit to leave the country. It was inactivated on 23 August 1972 at Oakland, California.

The 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry was reactivated at Fort Lewis, WA, on 16 March 2002 and was concurrently assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. The unit deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, as part of the OIF 3 rotation. The unit was re-designated on 1 October 2005 as the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. It was inactivated on 1 June 2006 at Fort Lewis, Washington, and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. It was assigned on 16 December 2006 to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The Gimlets deployed to Iraq in 2006 and to Afghanistan in 2011.

Campaign Participation Credit

Civil War: Peninsula; Manassas; Antietam; Fredericksburg; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Wilderness; Spotsylvania; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Virginia 1862; Virginia 1863

Indian Wars: Modocs; Nez Perces; Bannocks; Arizona 1866; Arizona 1867; Arizona 1868; Arizona 1869; Arizona 1870

War with Spain: Santiago

Philippine--American War: Zapote River; Luzon 1899; Luzon 1901; Luzon 1902

World War II: Central Pacific; New Guinea (with arrowhead); Leyte; Luzon; Southern Philippines (with arrowhead)

Korean War: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953

Vietnam: Counteroffensive, Phase II; Counteroffensive, Phase III; Tet Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase VII; Consolidation I; Consolidation II; Cease-Fire

Armed Forces Expeditions: Panama

Operation Uphold Democracy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1995

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Global War on Terrorism


Valorous Unit Award for OIF 3 August -- October 2004 -- 2005

Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for OIF II

Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for DEFENSE OF KOREA

Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for SANGHONGJONG-NI

Valorous Unit Award for TAM KY - TIEN PHUOC

Navy Unit Commendation for CAM LO

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for PYONGTAEK

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for KOREA

Gimlet History

A Gimlet is a hand tool constructed of hardened steel with a grooved shank and screw point used by miners and stone masons to bore holes into rock. These holes were filled with explosives to blast the rock apart; thus cutting away sides of entire mountains to make room for railroad tracks or roadways.

The Gimlet nickname traces its lineage back to inter-service athletic teams of the early 1920's. Led by PFC Eugene Riley, the 21st Infantry Regimental teams dominated every opponent they faced in every sport. Because of their tenacity on the athletic fields, these men became known as Gimlets- teams tougher than rock, which bored holes through their opponents. The Gimlet Stick, carried by members of the regiment is a visual reminder of the all around toughness presented by Soldiers of the Gimlet Regiment. The 21st Infantry Regiment is the only regiment authorized to incorporate its nickname into its official title and the Gimlet Stick is recognized by the Department of Heraldry as part of the uniform for those who have successfully earned the right to wear it.

The Battalion Gimlet being presented today is 76 and a half pounds of solid U.S. steel; conceived in the iron ore deposits of Michigan and Minnesota, moved by barge through the Great Lakes, and then by rail across Northern Appalachia into the steel mills of Eastern Pennsylvania, it was born through the extreme heat and pressure of the forging process in smelters and ovens fired by coal from the hills of West Virginia. Impurities and weaker deposits were identified and separated and once complete it was represented the best of what America has to offer.

In the hands of a craftsman, the raw product was transformed from its basic shape into a tool fit to represent the current and former members of our Battalion, who in turn represent and protect the men and women of the United States that brought it forth.

The Gimlet is 3 inches in diameter, 4 and a half feel long with a handle length of 28 and � inches. Along the front shaft is our Regimental Battle Cry, "BORE", a not so subtle reminder of our unit's history and a nod to the former members of the Regiment and this Battalion who built our reputation for preparation, determination, professionalism, commitment and desire to win. Like the individual Gimlets worn by those currently assigned to 3rd Battalion, the Battalion Gimlet is hand forged and has no permanent protective finish to shield it from the elements. It is an item subject to inspection, at any time, by any current or former member of the Regiment to ensure it is maintained to standard as a visual representation of our professionalism, pride, and readiness. And as such, only those members of the Battalion in good standing will be authorized to attend to its maintenance and requirements.

The Gimlet is displayed in front of the Battalion Headquarters mounted atop a boulder weighing nearly 5 tons. The Gimlet will be secured to the boulder but not permanently fixed. Like the Battalion, the Gimlet is deployable and will accompany the unit to wherever we are called in support of the Nations defense.