Presidential Unit Citation


The Distinguished Unit Citation was established as a result of Executive Order No. 9075, dated 26 February 1942. The Executive Order directed the Secretary of War to issue citations in the name of the President of the United States to Army units for outstanding performance of duty after 7 December 1941. The Distinguished Unit Citation was redesignated the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) per DF, DCSPER, dated 3 November 1966. Listed below are the Presidential Unit Citations awarded to the 16th Infantry Regiment during World War II.

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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Mateur, Tunisia, 29-30 April 1943
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 60 (1944)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 29, Headquarters 1st Infantry Division, 6 July 1944, as approved by the Commanding General, First Army, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, is cited tor outstanding performance of duty in action. Under the cover of darkness the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, launched an attack against Hill 523, an enemy stronghold and the battalion’s objective in the vicinity of Mateur, Tunisia, on 29 April 1943. This strongly fortified enemy position, called the Rock of Chekak, had been successfully held against determined assaults of Allied troops. The battalion’s objective was located deep in enemy territory. Crowning 2,000 yards of steady, barren slope affording no cover or concealment was a sheer cliff 50 feet high dominating the surrounding terrain. Digging in was impossible. The enemy occupied the hill with a reinforced company. As the battalion attacked, enemy artillery, aircraft, and machine gun fire was directed on our troops. By dint of extreme courage and great fighting ability the 1st Battalion drove the enemy from this strategic position. On the following day, 30 April, the enemy, now powerfully reinforced counterattacked with ruthless savagery. This battalion, setting a commendable example of coolness and efficiency in the face of great danger, fought grimly, tenaciously maintaining its position despite a heavy concentration of enemy antitank, artillery, machine gun, and small arms fire. The enemy struck repeatedly, ultimately counterattacking with such strength as to prevent immediate capture of the designated objective. However, the enemy paid dearly for the savage thrust: 100 German dead were removed from the immediate area on the following day. The battalion’s losses in this action included 33 dead, 59 wounded, and 8 missing in action. Although eventually overpowered by numerically superior enemy forces, the 1st Battalion’s heroic stand immobilized sufficient troops to enable other Allied forces in the vicinity to capture nearby Hill 609, thereby insuring a subsequent break-through of enemy lines and the ultimate defeat of the enemy at Bizerte and Tunis. The courage, skill, and distinguished heroism of the personnel of this organization exemplify the noblest qualities and finest traditions of our armed forces.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Gela, Sicily, 10-14 July 1943
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 60 (1944)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 30, Headquarters 1st Infantry Division, 7 July 1944, as approved by the Commanding General, First Army, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action. At H-Hour on D-Day, 10 July 1943, the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, landed in the vicinity of Gela, Sicily, and immediately encountered fierce resistance. Enemy tanks and infantry attempted to thwart the battalion’s advance, but it bravely pressed inland despite concerted hostile fire. After reducing several enemy strongpoints by heavy fighting, the 1st Battalion, on the morning of 11 July 1943, was firmly lodged in position on the low rolling hills to the north. Despite this initial failure to halt our advance the enemy again charged ruthlessly, endeavoring to drive a deep wedge into our lines. The 1st Battalion swiftly retaliated with formidable counterstrokes that temporarily repelled the attacking forces. When the enemy once again attacked, with tanks and infantry overrunning the battalion’s positions, the men stood fast and fought back with one 57-mm gun, grenades, rocket guns, and small arms. Although outnumbered by enemy forces, this battalion courageously hurled back the hostile troops and secured the right flank of the division’s narrow beachhead. During the entire day of 12 July 1943, the 1st Battalion moved forward over rolling terrain in the face of determined enemy resistance from tanks and infantry, inflicting heavy losses upon the enemy. On the morning of 13 July 1943, when the enemy again counterattacked, the men tenaciously held their ground against tremendous odds and fought savagely and expertly for 30 hours, repulsing the attacking forces and seizing the town of Niscemi, the regimental objective. On 14 July 1943, this organization took up a position east of Niscemi and despite intense enemy shell-fire eliminated all threats to our security. During the initial period the 1st Battalion’s seasoned troops inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and captured approximately 250 prisoners. In this operation casualties included 36 dead, 73 wounded, and 9 missing in action. The heroic daring, outstanding fearlessness, and self-sacrificing devotion to duty of every man in this action are worthy of the highest praise.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Gela, Sicily, 10-13 July 1943
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 60 (1944)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 31, Headquarters 1st Infantry Division, 8 July 1944, as approved by the Commanding General, First Army, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action. The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, landed in the vicinity of Gela, Sicily, at H-Hour on D-Day, 10 July 1943, and pushed inland, encountering intense enemy artillery, tank, and machine gun fire. Lacking armored support, this battalion repulsed a savage enemy attack with three 37-mm guns, mortars, a few rocket guns, and small arms. When enemy tanks overran the battalion’s position on 11 July 1943, the men stood fast and fought gallantly and furiously at close range, destroying and routing enemy tanks with rocket gun fire. On the next day, 12 July 1943, the 2nd Battalion attacked the high ground south of Niscemi with renewed spirit, despite constant enemy artillery, mortar, and tank activity. The objective was gained, but again the battalion was severely counterattacked by an overwhelming enemy force. Distinguished bravery and Spartan efforts enabled this organization to repel the attacking forces. When its position was cut in two and the battalion commander was wounded and evacuated, the men fought heroically and made important advances despite threatened encirclement by enemy tanks. In the successive action of the morning of 13 July 1943, the battalion again resumed a full scale offensive and defensive and after bitter engagement meted out a decisive defeat to the enemy. This organization entered Niscemi, the regimental objective, at 1000, 13 July 1943. The 2nd Battalion losses were 56 dead, 133 wounded, and 57 missing. In these actions its personnel displayed the highest type of calmness, endurance, and fighting spirit. The individual acts of every man of this organization during the critical first few days of the Sicilian campaign facilitated the progress of the invasion and reflected the highest military traditions of the service.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, Cannon Company, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Gela, Sicily, 11-13 July 1943
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 60 (1944)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 20, Headquarters 1st Infantry Division, 13 May 1944, as approved by the Commanding General, First Army, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

Cannon Company, 16th Infantry, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action. On 11 July 1943 in the vicinity of Gela, Sicily, Cannon Company, 16th Infantry, was committed to break the powerful thrust of 30 or more enemy tanks advancing rapidly toward our newly established beachhead. With the entire invasion effort thus imperiled this company, lacking sufficient time for effective reconnaissance, fearlessly advanced against the attacking forces until the enemy was sighted, and deployed on a broad plain at a range 1,500 to 2,000 yards about 5 miles east of Gela on the Gela-Niscemi road. With heroic courage and perfect discipline the company engaged the numerically superior enemy force at point-blank range, concentrated 1,200 rounds on the enemy spearhead during a 45-minute period, and destroyed many enemy tanks. Again on the following days, 12 and 13 July 1943, this company repeated its magnificent feat, destroying 16 enemy tanks and severely damaging others. Despite heavy losses of equipment and the battle weariness of personnel from 3 days of incessant fighting, this company continued its superb effort and achieved further successes. Functioning as a well-trained team under heavy enemy artillery and tank fire, it distinguished itself by conspicuous bravery and afforded a great tactical advantage to advancing infantry troops. The individual calmness, endurance, superior efficiency, and devotion to duty exhibited by the men of this company were a major contribution to the successful invasion of Sicily and exemplified the highest traditions of the Service.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Colleville-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 73 (1944)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 33, First Army, 15 July 1944, as approved by the Commanding General, European Theater of Operation, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 16th Infantry Regiment is cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action in the initial assault on the northern coast of Normandy, France. On the morning of 6 June 1944, the 16th Infantry Regiment under the most adverse conditions assaulted the coast of France near Colleville-sur-Mer against a long prepared, determined, and powerfully emplaced enemy. While moving inshore in assault craft violent seas swamped the regiment’s supporting weapons and hurled men and boats into the intricate and almost impenetrable barriers of mine-capped underwater obstacles. From commanding and numerous reinforced concrete pill boxes, machine gun emplacements, and sniper’s nests imbedded in cliffsides impregnable to the violent air and naval bombardments preceding the assault came a withering hail of artillery and small arms fire that struck down hundreds as they struggled through shoulder-deep water toward the beach.

Within a few hours almost a third of the assault strength were casualties. Men dragged themselves shoreward leaderless and scattered by the loss of key personnel. Blocked from advancing by minefields, pinned down by annihilating fire, wave after wave piled up on a 7-yard wide beachhead until thousands of men lay huddled on the fire-swept shore.

Within a few hours almost a third of the assault strength were casualties. Men dragged themselves shoreward leaderless and scattered by the loss of key personnel. Blocked from advancing by minefields, pinned down by annihilating fire, wave after wave piled up on a 7-yard wide beachhead until thousands of men lay huddled on the fire-swept shore.

The beach opened by the 16th Infantry Regiment was the main personnel exit for the V Corps for 48 hours. Battered to a terrible degree the regiment continued in its advance toward its initial objective. They drove back a fanatically resisting enemy and repulsed five separate counterattacks by numerically superior forces until the 1st Division and V Corps beachhead was secured.

With complete devotion to duty and recognition of an obligation to its tradition, the 16th Infantry Regiment added a glowing page to military annals. Individually and collectively the members of the 16th Infantry Regiment turned threatened catastrophe into a glorious victory for the United States Army.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, Companies G and I, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Eilendorf, Germany, 15-17 October 1944
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 14 (1945)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 18, Headquarters 1st Infantry Division, 19 January 1945, as approved by the Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

Companies G and I, 16th Infantry, are cited for outstanding performance of duty in action. During the period 15-17 October 1944, Companies G and I, 16th Infantry, lodged in captured fortifications along the outskirts of Eilendorf, Germany, were charged with defending a ridge overlooking and commanding approaches to Aachen. Loss of the ridge would mean elimination of ability to exert pressure against Aachen by American artillery and would constitute a blow to Allied strategy. Further, it would result in isolation and almost certain annihilation of a friendly infantry regiment occupying an adjacent hill. Early in the morning of 15 October 1944 the enemy, taking full advantage of the rugged terrain, infiltrated the Company G sector and surrounded the mortar platoon positions. Coincidentally, three enemy infantry companies, augmented by tanks and supported by artillery and mortar concentrations, in an initial frontal assault on Companies G and I positions, threatened to overrun and eliminate the comparatively small defending body. Disregarding its losses in human life, the enemy pushed to the top of the ridge and after bitter hand-to-hand fighting occupied some of the American dug-in positions. German tanks penetrated the outer belt defenses and edged forward to clear a path for infantry and demolition squads. Employing grenades and bayonets and engaging in close combat, Companies G and I personnel fought valiantly to regain lost emplacements and to repel German armor. The enemy waged a spirited battle in his attempt to capture this strategic terrain feature, but these two companies refused to yield ground in the face of overwhelming odds. Rather than surrender the ridge, Companies G and I called for American artillery to saturate the sector with a sustained barrage. Then, grasping the offensive, Companies G and I moved forward, carried the battle to the enemy, and drove, the German forces from the ridge. Although defeated in the first attempt to recapture the ridge, the enemy granted defending companies little time to consolidate and prepare for the next attack. Quickly marshaling his still powerful infantry and armor, the reinforced enemy struck with renewed effort only to receive another major setback. Three times the enemy made desperate attempts to retake the vital ridge and each time preceded his drive with intense artillery and mortar bombardment. But again, despite cold, hunger, and fatigue and a numerically superior enemy, these gallant defenders held their ground, engaging in close fighting. The final assault was crushed decisively with heavy losses of men, weapons, and tanks, irreparably impairing the enemy’s striking power and firmly securing the ridge. For 3 days the strength, courage, and determination of two infantry companies stood between elements of the German Army and a serious break-through of the 1st Infantry Division’s foothold on German soil. In this 72-hour battle, the defenders faced at different times 3 battalions of enemy troops and approximately 25 tanks, sustaining 37 major casualties against an estimated 300 for the enemy. The magnificent heroism, combat proficiency, and brilliant achievement of Companies G and I, 16th Infantry, helped pave the way for the eventual capture of Aachen.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Hurtgen Forest, Germany, 16-19 November 1944
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 120 (1946)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 45, Headquarters First Army, 8 June 1946, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 16 to 19 November 1944, inclusive. Marking the opening of the American offensive through the Hurtgen Forest to the Roer River, the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, attacked northeast from Schevenhutte, Germany, on 16 November 1944, with the mission of seizing the strategic high ground around Hamich, Germany. The 1st Battalion immediately encountered extremely heavy enemy opposition of intense artillery and mortar fire, which, because of tree bursts in the dense forest, exacted and unusually high toll of casualties. Barbed wire entanglements and numerous antipersonnel mines protected enemy positions from which continuous machine-gun and other small-arms fire was directed. Despite the difficulty of advancing under these conditions, the 1st Battalion pressed forward, seized its objectives, and prepared defensive positions. The concentrated shelling made it impossible to bring forward reinforcements and supplies and seriously retarded evacuation of the battalion’s casualties. During the following 3 days, the Germans, reinforced in Hamich with tanks and self-propelled guns, made repeated attempts to dislodge the 1st Battalion from its hard-won positions, but failed each time. The constant shelling continued to exact heavy casualties, but the battalion repulsed each enemy assault, engaging in desperate hand-to-hand combat when the Germans launched a final and desperate full scale attack on 18 November. Enemy mortar and artillery fire continued throughout 19 November, when the battalion was relieved. During the 4-day battle, the 1st Battalion, despite heavy casualties, advanced, secured its objective, and then repulsed repeated and determined counterattacks by the numerically superior enemy. The superb courage, combat efficiency, and tenacity of purpose manifested by each officer and man of the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, reflect the highest credit on themselves and the armed forces.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Hurtgen Forest and Weisweiler, Germany, 18-26 November 1944
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 120 (1946)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 45, Headquarters First Army, 8 June 1946, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 18 to 26 November 1944, inclusive. During the November 1944, general offensive through the Hurtgen Forest to the Roer River, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, was assigned the initial mission of seizing a strategic position in the vicinity of Hamich, Germany. Although opposed by fresh enemy troops and constant concentrated artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire, the 2nd Battalion advanced and on 18 November 1944, captured their objective, after which, it repulsed a savage counterattack by means of bayonets and hand grenades in fierce hand-to-hand combat. The main body of the enemy attackers was turned back by the indomitable courage of the battalion’s machine-gun platoons, which suffered extreme casualties in the bitter fighting. Over 250 German dead were left on the battlefield after engagement. The 2nd Battalion then advanced and achieved a prominent terrain feature near Eschweiler, Germany, and on the following day, under relentless mortar and artillery fire, continued the drive to Heistern, Germany. Despite heavy losses, the 2nd Battalion drove forward until 25 November, when it captured and important rail line near Weisweiler, Germany, its final objective in the drive. During the 8-day period of sustained attack, 2nd Battalion attained its objective by driving overwhelming enemy forces from well-dug-in strongpoints and strategic positions, inflicting severe casualties and destroying or capturing valuable equipment. The offensive broke a general stalemate, forced the enemy to retreat along the entire line, and enabled friendly units to resume their drive to the Roer River. The combat skill, indomitable courage, and grim determination displayed by the officers and men of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, during this critical period reflect the highest credit on themselves and the armed forces.


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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Hamich, Germany, 16-26 November 1944
  • G.O. No.: War Department, General Orders No. 120 (1946)

As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD, 1943), superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec. III, Bull. 11, WD, 1942), citation of the following unit in General Orders, No. 45, Headquarters First Army, 8 June 1946, is confirmed under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

The 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 16 to 26 November 1944, inclusive. Originally assigned the mission of reinforcing the assaulting battalion on Hamich, Germany, the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, was committed prematurely when the attacking forces met stubborn resistance and suffered severe casualties. Moving to forward positions, 16 November 1944, under heavy mortar and artillery fire, the 3rd Battalion attacked the following day and reached the southern sector of Hamich. In fierce house-to-house fighting, the enemy was driven from Hamich and subsequently from a strategic knoll to the north. Repulsing a savage counterattack, the battalion called for artillery fire upon its own positions to destroy a large concentration of enemy tanks. After repulsing a second counterattack on 19 November, the 3rd Battalion advanced and occupied the ridgeline north of Hamich, which it held until 23 November. During this period, severe casualties were inflicted upon the enemy and over 100 prisoners captured. The 3rd Battalion then resumed its advance northward to Heistern and, despite murderous enemy fire, captured its objective and repulsed three full-scale counterattacks. In so doing, the 3rd Battalion skillfully accomplished its mission, thereby enabling friendly units, held back because of disadvantageous terrain and fanatical opposition, to resume the general offensive through the Hurtgen Forest to the Roer River. The fighting spirit, courage, and outstanding devotion to duty displayed by the officers and men of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, reflect the highest credit on themselves and the armed forces.

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