About Us

The Maine Infantry Foundation, Est. 2009

The purpose of the Maine Infantry Foundation is two fold: preserve Maine's rich Infantry history and recognize and reward the sacrifices of today's modern Maine Infantryman.

Maine's contribution to our country's military is rich with history, heritage and heroism. Maine's military history crosses all branches of the United States Army, but the Infantry holds a special place at those crossroads. Maine's Infantry contribution dates from the very beginnings of our great country and continues through to the current Global War on Terrorism.

The Maine Infantry Foundation remembers Maine's Infantry contributions and teaches future generations the importance of the role of Maine's Infantrymen. By reaching out to the community and more specifically Maine's children, the Maine Infantry Foundation will teach the lessons of history through the experiences, artifacts and writings of Maine's Infantrymen.
   
The second purpose is to recognize and reward those Infantrymen and their families who are currently serving during the current conflict. While all branches contribute to the effort, it is the Infantry that takes and holds ground. This mission is hard and essential to the ultimate success of any campaign. This level of commitment takes its toll in time away from families and friends. Many of Maine's Infantrymen have made the ultimate sacrifice.  The Maine Infantry Foundation will recognize this sacrifice and reward those families for their strength, perseverance and support.

The Maine Infantry Foundation will support the construction of a special room inside the Maine Army National Guard's Armory in Brewer, Maine. The armory in Brewer is the home of Maine's only Infantry Company (B/3-172nd IN (MTN)). In conjunction with the Maine Military Museum, the room will house special historical artifacts relevant to the Infantry in Maine.  The room will also serve as a working memorial to those Maine Infantryman who have paid the ultimate price for freedom. This room will be made available to the public twice a year during special open houses hosted by the Maine Infantry Foundation, the Company leadership and the Colonel Lewis Millett Chapter of the National Infantry Association.

During these open houses, the public will be encouraged to visit the Armory and the room for special tours and presentations regarding the significant contributions of Maine's Infantry. The Armory and the room will also be open to the public upon request.

The Maine Infantry Foundation will also annually award a scholarship(s) to a family or families of deserving Maine Infantrymen.  These scholarships will be used to defray the impact of the high cost of today's college experience.

A Brief History of the Infantry in Maine


The history of Maine’s infantry goes back to the colonial period, when Maine was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Maine provided local militia units as part of the Massachusetts militia, and these units participated in operations during all of the wars of the Colonial period (especially the Seven Years War or French and Indian War).  At the time, the militia was comprised almost entirely of infantry, with mounted or artillery units being raised only sporadically and not generally in New England.  These militia unit contributions continued during the Revolutionary War as well.  Following the separation of Maine from Massachusetts in 1820, the State of Maine organized its own militia forces, again, almost exclusively infantry.


With the start of the Civil War, Maine’s military contribution to the country’s history really became noteworthy.  Maine raised over 25 volunteer Infantry regiments during the war; no other state had a higher proportion of its population serve between 1861 and 1865.  These Maine Infantry regiments served in all theaters of the war, in virtually all of the major engagements.  These regiments were highly decorated; one of them (the 25th Maine) became notorious for an incident at the end of the war when the Secretary of War authorized every single soldier in the unit the award of the Medal of Honor (later rescinded). Most people have heard of the 20th Maine Infantry and their fight at Gettysburg, but many don’t know that the 20th had already distinguished itself at Fredericksburg and went on to gain notoriety for its contributions throughout the rest of the war at places like the 2nd Battle of the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Five Forks.  The unit was one of those chosen to be part of the Honor Guard receiving the formal surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.

 

After the Civil War there were several major reorganizations of the militia in the US, which in Maine resulted in there being 2 Infantry regiments in the state – the 2nd Maine and the 3rd Maine.  The 3rd was located in the Portland area and southern Maine generally, and the 2nd was in central Maine (roughly Lewiston-Waterville—Bangor-Dexter).  Both of these units provided volunteers who, with other Maine volunteers served in the Spanish American War (prior to 1916 there was no legal mechanism for state militia to be federally mobilized for overseas service, so during that war many militia units volunteered en mass and joined federally raised units).  With the National Defense Act of 1916, the various state militias across the country were reorganized again and re-named the “National Guard.” Also in the legislation there was a new provision for federal mobilization for overseas service.  Following the passage of this Act the 2nd and 3rd Maine Infantry were amalgamated into one regiment of three battalions (roughly 2000 men) and re-designated the 103rd US Infantry Regiment.

 

In 1917 when the US entered WWI, the 103rd was mobilized as part of New England’s famous 26th (Yankee) Division, which due to its high state of readiness and discipline was the second US unit sent to France (after the only full Regular Army division, the 1st ID).  The 103rd participated in all the major combat of the US involvement in the war, and returned to Maine upon demobilization in 1919.  The 103rd remained in the state doing its normal monthly and yearly training during the interwar period, and with the 152nd Field Artillery from Aroostook County made up the bulk of the Maine National Guard.

 

The 103rd was again mobilized in 1940 when the entire National Guard was federalized, and went on to serve in the Southern Pacific theater as part of the 43rd (“Winged Victory”)  Division, made up of units from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont (including the 172nd Infantry Regiment) and Rhode Island.  Prior to the mobilization of 1940, the 103rd had been a part of the 86th Brigade, headquartered in Vermont – which is mostly why the Mountain Battalion and the 86th IBCT are organized the way they are now.

After demobilization in 1945-6, the 103rd returned to Maine.  During the major Cold War reorganizations of the Army and the National Guard, in the late 1950s (not sure of the date), the 103rd was re-organized as an engineer battalion and re-designated as the 133rd Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Gardiner.  Thus ended an era of excellence for our state… Incidentally, the unit crest was never changed when the 103rd was re-designated – the 133rd crest is the same as the 103rd’s; a distinctly Infantry unit crest, with the colors being blue and white (the Infantry colors) and the motto of “To the Last Man” coming from the 103rd’s lineage back through the 2nd Maine to the 20th Maine.   The 133rd might be the only Army engineer unit with no red color or castle in their crest, and they carry on their battalion colors all the battle streamers won by Maine’s Infantry units from the Revolution to WWII.

 

In 1983 after lobbying from Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, the Army authorized the re-creation of an National Guard Infantry battalion in northern New England, designed to be the US military’s sole specially organized alpine unit (the 10th Mountain Division is that in name only).  The battalion was designated 3-172 Infantry and headquartered in Vermont, with rifle companies in Vermont (A Company), New Hampshire (C Company) and Maine (B Company).  1983 marks the first time the Maine National Guard had had an Infantry unit since the late 1950’s.  B Company was initially located in Rumford, in order to be closer to the other units in New Hampshire and Vermont, and also because of the proximity to training areas in the White Mountains.  The company was later moved to Brewer.


Contact Information & Updates

    CONTACT US
    Email: darryl.lyon@gmail.com

    Maine Infantry Foundation
    PO Box 8302
    Bangor, Maine 04402-8302

    *The Maine Infantry Foundation is not affiliated with the Maine National Guard.

    Upcoming Events:


    1. The
     Joshua Chamberlain Classic (Golf Tournament) - July 15, 2016
    (http://birdeasepro.com/chamberlainclassic)

    2. The Wounded Warrior Machine Gun Shoot - August 2016



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