By Franklin FisherMarch 4, 2019
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- A new training battalion that will help the Maneuver Center of Excellence prepare trainees for service in the Infantry under the Army's new, longer training period, was established March 1 with a formal ceremony at Fort Benning.
The unit, the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, becomes the newest battalion to become part of the MCoE's 198th Infantry Brigade. The brigade builds the Infantry force for the entire U.S. Army by training recruits slated to become Infantry Soldiers. The training is called "Infantry One Station Unit Training," or "Infantry OSUT."
In brief remarks at the ceremony, Col. Dave Voorhies, commander of the 198th Infantry Brigade, noted that the 3rd Battalion, from 1999 until its inactivation in 2013, "has been a mainstay for building infantrymen for the Army." The battalion is known as the "Raiders."
The "esteemed battalion," said Voorhies, "is back in business."
Voorhies said the newly re-activated 3rd Battalion's leadership teams "are all handpicked" by himself and Command Sergeant Maj. Ronnie Blount Jr., the brigade's senior enlisted leader.
"Gentlemen, welcome to your new positions and duties," said Voorhies. "And welcome to a new chapter in the history of the Raider Battalion."
The battalion's new commander is Lt. Col. Tony Massari. Massari was commissioned as an Infantry officer after graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2002 and later served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first assignment after West Point was with the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry platoon leader. He also served as a company commander at the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, among other assignments he has held. Before assuming command of the 3rd Battalion, he served as executive officer of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning.
In brief remarks, Massari said he was "absolutely honored and humbled for this opportunity" to activate the battalion. "I appreciate the trust and confidence that you have in me and the leaders in 3-47."
The remarks by Voorhies and Massari followed the ceremonial uncasing of the battalion's colors, which were borne by a color guard of four of the battalion's drill sergeants.
Just before the uncasing of the colors, the audience of about 100 -- mostly Soldiers and many in the distinctive headgear of the Army drill sergeant -- stood for the playing of the National Anthem. That and other music was played by the "Benning Quintet," part of the MCoE band, and consisting of a French horn, trombone, tuba, and two trumpets.
Bringing 3rd Battalion back to its training role is part of an effort to increase the ability of the MCoE to train new Soldiers for the Infantry as the Army moves to lengthen entry-level Infantry training from 14 weeks to 22. The Army's aim is to more thoroughly train Soldiers for the infantry.
Although the next few cycles of Infantry OSUT will continue at the 14-week duration, it will change later this year to the 22-week cycle.
Under the new, longer Infantry OSUT, trainees will get more time using Infantry weapons, including the M4 rifle, M240 machine gun and M249 squad automatic weapon, as well as more experience with the rigor of field conditions, including operating as squads both during the day and at night.
To maintain the longer training period and at the same time turn out the number of new infantrymen the Army needs each year, the 198th Infantry Brigade is expanding from five battalions to eight.
The 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry is the first of those additions.
Those who will now serve with the battalion will be members of a unit whose parent regiment, the 47th Infantry, has served with distinction in three wars.
The 47th Infantry Regiment was organized during World War I in Syracuse, New York and has earned official regimental honors for taking part in major campaigns during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War. As part of the regiment, 3rd Battalion is credited with those same honors.
The World War I honors are for the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Champagne 1918, and Lorraine 1918 campaigns.
The regiment was inactivated in 1921, and re-activated in 1940 as part of the 9th Infantry Division, which saw combat service during World War II and Vietnam.
During World War II the 47th Regiment's Soldiers fought in North Africa and Sicily, and, as part of the Normandy invasion, landed on Utah Beach on June 11, 1944, also known as D-plus 5.
It fought across France in the post-invasion breakout through Normandy in pursuit of German forces, fought in the fiercely contested Battle of Hurtgen Forest, again in the Battle of the Bulge, and in the fighting to cross the Rhine River into Germany. It crossed the Rhine over the Ludendorff Bridge, also known to history as "The Bridge at Remagen." It ended the war with a historic meet-up with Soviet forces at the Mulde River, and then took control of the infamous Dachau concentration camp in Germany.
During the Vietnam War the regiment developed riverine warfare tactics as part of the 9th Infantry Division among the muddy waterways and rice fields of the Mekong Delta.
In 1999, the 3rd Battalion became a Basic Combat Training unit at Fort Benning, training entry-level Soldiers until its inactivation in April 2013.