197th Infantry Brigade (United States)

The 197th Infantry Brigade ("Sledgehammer" / "FOLLOW ME") is an inactive Infantry brigade of the United States Army. The brigade was active as an Organized Reserve unit from 1921–1942, in the Regular Army from 1962–1991, and as a TRADOC training unit from 2007–2013. The brigade saw service in Operation Desert Storm with the 24th Infantry Division.

197th Infantry Brigade
Shoulder sleeve insignia
CountryUnited States
BranchU.S. Army
Nickname(s)Sledgehammer / (special designation) "FOLLOW ME"[1]
LTG Carmen J. Cavezza, 1981–1983
LTG Michael Spigelmire, late 1970s
MG William B. Steele, 1972–1974
COL Jack L. Treadwell, 1966–1968
Distinctive unit insignia


For the new Reorganization Objective Army Division (ROAD) brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, the adjutant general on 1 August 1962 restored elements of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, which thirty years earlier had been organized by consolidating infantry brigade headquarters and headquarters companies of the 99th Infantry Division, as Headquarters and Headquarters Companies, 197th and 198th Infantry Brigades.[2] The following month the 197th Infantry Brigade was activated at Fort Benning. When the Third U.S. Army activated the brigade to support training at the Infantry Center, it consisted of a composite artillery battalion (105-mm. and 155-mm. howitzers and Honest Johns), an armor battalion, a mechanized infantry battalion, two infantry battalions, an engineer company, and a chemical platoon, but no support battalion. At some point, a support battalion was organized. The support battalion was composed of A company, the brigade administration company, B company was a medical company providing medics for training event, C company which was the brigade supply company, and D company which was a transportation company. The battalion was composed mostly of soldiers returning from Viet Nam having only several months to serve on active duty. Colonel Dorchek was the Support Battalion Commander. A company consisted of the Brigade Chaplains, Brigade Adjutant General section, and the Brigade Judge Advocate General Section. A company also contained the battalion consolidated mess hall. A company was commanded 1969-1970 By Captain Terrence Rudes and the First Sergeant was John A. Hoyt. In 1969, Colonel Willard Latham assumed command of the 197th Brigade, he later became the Post Commander at Ft. Benning. COL Edwin L. Kennedy succeeded COL Latham in command in an unusual coincidence. LTC Kennedy had succeeded LTC Latham in battalion command in Berlin, Germany in 1968. This was COL Kennedy's second brigade command having commanded the 196th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam previously. The strength of the brigade was approximately 3,500 men.

In late 1965 an infantry battalion of the 197th Infantry Brigade was inactivated at Fort Benning to provide personnel for expanding the Army in Vietnam.[3] In early 1973, to provide personnel needed for the Infantry School, Continental Army Command directed that the school support troops be reorganized and the 197th be restructured as a unit in the Strategic Army Force. On 21 March 1973 the brigade officially joined the strategic force, fielding one battalion each of infantry, mechanized infantry, and armor.

Located on Kelley Hill at Fort Benning, the unit mission was not only support to the Infantry School but also to specialize in desert, jungle and urban warfare. The 197th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate) was a stand-alone heavy brigade, which during the Gulf War (Desert Storm) was attached to the 24th Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia as their third brigade. Soldiers in the 197th who are veterans of the Gulf War wear as their combat patch the patch of the 197th, not the 24th. However, The Institute of Heraldry has not yet minted a combat service identification badge (CSIB) for the 197th.

The 197th was inactivated within months of returning from the war, and its units reflagged as the 3rd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division. The motto of the 197th is "Sledgehammer" and the unit is unofficially known as the "$1.97" (the "dollar ninety-seven"), the "Buck and Change", and the "Bite the Bullet" brigade.

Reactivated in 2007 at Fort Benning, GA as part of TRADOC, the brigade "access(ed) and train(ed) Soldiers and Infantry leaders, demonstrate(ed) Infantry tactics, provide(ed) subject matter expertise, develop(ed) doctrine and support(ed) the USAIS in order to provide the army with soldiers and leaders prepared to fight and win."[4]

The 197th Infantry Brigade was inactivated on December 13, 2013 in order that the U.S. Army would reach manning goals through reductions in the force.



  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC)
  • 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry
  • 1st Battalion, 58th Infantry (Mechanized)
  • 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor
  • Troop A, 15th Cavalry
  • 72nd Engineer Company (Combat)[5]
  • 2nd Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment (2-10th FAR)
  • 298th Signal Platoon (Detachment)
  • 179th Military Intelligence Detachment
  • 197th Military Police Platoon
  • 197th Support Battalion
  • 197th Aviation Platoon (Detachment)
  • 197th Infantry Brigade Replacement Detachment


1987-Gulf War

During Operation Desert Storm, the brigade was composed of:

TRADOC 2007-2013

When activated under TRADOC in 2007, the brigade consisted of:

Lineage & Honors


  • Constituted 24 June 1921 in the Organized Reserves as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 197th Infantry Brigade, and assigned to the 99th Division
  • Organized in November 1921 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Redesignated 23 March 1924 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 197th Brigade
  • Redesignated 24 August 1936 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 197th Infantry Brigade
  • Converted and redesignated 12 February 1942 as the 99th Reconnaissance Troop (less 3d Platoon), 99th Division (Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 198th Infantry Brigade, concurrently converted and redesignated as the 3d Platoon, 99th Reconnaissance Troop, 99th Division)
  • Troop ordered into active military service 15 November 1942 and reorganized at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi, as the 99th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, an element of the 99th Infantry Division
  • Reorganized and redesignated 2 August 1943 as the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized
  • Inactivated 29 September 1945 at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts

(Organized Reserves redesignated 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps; redesignated 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve)

  • Converted and redesignated (less 3d Platoon) 1 August 1962 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 197th Infantry Brigade, and relieved from assignment to the 99th Infantry Division concurrently withdrawn from the Army Reserve and allotted to the Regular Army (3d Platoon, 99th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized, concurrently redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 198th Infantry Brigade - hereafter separate lineage)
  • Activated 24 September 1962 at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Inactivated 16 August 1991 at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Transferred 9 November 2006 to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • Headquarters activated 18 July 2007 at Fort Benning, Georgia[7]
  • Inactivated 12 December 2013 at Fort Benning, Georgia[8]

Campaign Participation Credit

  • World War II: Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
  • Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait[7]


  • Belgian Fourragere 1940
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at the SIEGFRIED LINE
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at ELSENBORN RIDGE
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the ARDENNES[7]


  1. "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  2. Wilson, John B. (1998). "Chapter XI: A New Direction — Flexible Response". Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. United States Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010.
  3. Wilson, John B. (1998). "Chapter XII: Flexible Response". Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. United States Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010.
  4. "197th Infantry Brigade". United States Army. 4 November 2010. Archived from the original on 7 March 2011.
  5. David Isby and Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front, 1985, 381.
  6. David Isby and Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front, 1985, 381.
  7. "Lineage and Honors Information: Headquarters, 197th Infantry Brigade (Follow Me)". United States Army Center for Military History. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2015.. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. Wright, Ben (12 December 2013). "197th Infantry Brigade officially deactivated at Fort Benning". Ledger-Enquirer. Columbus, Ga. Retrieved 12 November 2016.

See also

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