By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)August 2, 2019
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- In a morning ceremony on Kanell Field, 3rd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, was activated July 31 at Sand Hill here to fulfill its mission of training new Infantry Soldiers.
The unit is the second of three units that are planned for activation within the 198th Infantry Brigade and will help the 198th fully implement 22-week One-Station Unit Training, which was piloted in 2018.
"With the activation of this new battalion," said Lt. Col. Patrick Flynn, the battalion's new commander, "it gives the brigade the capacity to put more Infantry men and women into the force with a strong foundation of the Soldier skills they need to execute their missions in the FORSCOM units we'll send them to."
The 3rd Bn., 54th Inf. Regt., has history dating back to 1917, when it was activated to bolster the U.S.'s efforts in World War I. Over the ensuing decade, it was activated in times of international crisis, including during World War II and the Vietnam War.
"The third battalion of the 54th was stood up principally because of World War I, principally because the United States Army needed to grow, needed the best Infantry to fight in the great war," said Col. William D. Voorheis, commander of the 198th Inf. Bde., of the 3rd Bn.'s lineage. "Coincidentally, we're also standing up the unit in order to grow the Infantry to prepare for large-scale ground combat."
Voorheis introduced the crowd to the 3rd Bn. command team, Flynn and Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Way. Voorheis commended Flynn's leadership in standing up newly activated units, including the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, at Fort Carson, Colorado. He also cited Flynn's four deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan as valuable to his new leadership position.
"Pat has the perfect balance of experiences and leadership preparation to lead this great battalion," Voorheis said of Flynn.
Way graduated from Infantry OSUT in 1996, deployed to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and most recently served with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas. Voorheis called him "an optimistic and energetic leader."
The history of 3rd Bn., 54th Inf. Regt., begins June 16, 1917, when it was organized at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, as Company C, 54th Infantry. It was assigned to the 6th Division in November of that year and took part in the Meuse-Argonne and Alsace campaigns in 1918 as part of World War I.
It was inactivated following the war and reactivated at Fort Benning in 1942, where it was assigned to the 10th Armored Division. During World War II, it took part in the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe campaigns.
After World War II, it was inactivated at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, and was redesignated several times before it was activated again at Fort Lewis, Washington, in 1966. The unit took part in Vietnam and received the Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) streamer. The unit was again inactivated in 1972.
To learn more about the 22-week Infantry OSUT, visit www.army.mil/article/210695.