167th Theater Sustainment Command
The 167th Theater Sustainment Command is a unit of the Alabama National Guard, based at Fort McClellan in Anniston. The unit specializes in supporting active-duty military forces conducting defense support to civil authorities. Its training has also proved invaluable in responding to incidents at home such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the April 2011 tornado outbreak. The commander of the 167th is Major General Joe Harkey.
The 167th traces its lineage to the 4th Alabama Infantry which fought for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The unit was recreated as a militia by the Alabama legislature in 1911. It was stationed at Vandiver Park in Montgomery and commanded by Major William Preston Screws. The 4th Alabama was deployed for special duty on the Mexico/Arizona border under the 1916 National Defense Act. On its return to Alabama, the unit was used to guard railroad and industrial sites.
World War I
The 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment was activated as the 167th Infantry Regiment for service with the "Rainbow Division" in Europe during World War I. Expanded to 3,677 men, the unit left Montgomery on August 28, 1917 to join its Division at Camp Mills in New York. In November the unit boarded ships bound for Europe as part of an independent American Expeditionary Force. After last-minute training the unit was sent to support an entrenched French army unit in the Lunéville sector of Lorraine in February 1918. In June the Division was moved to the Champagne-Marne and successfully halted a German offensive bound for Paris. Supreme Commander Ferdinand Foch immediately deployed the Rainbow Division on an offensive maneuver to the northeast from Château-Thierry into battle at Croix Rouge Farm. The Alabama unit and the 168th Iowa Regiment mounted a famed bayonet charge into the massed enemy on July 26, forcing the Germans to retreat beyond the Ourcq River. Joined by the 83rd Bridgade the Division crossed the Ourcq on July 28. Regimental operations officer Mortimer Jordan of Jefferson County was wounded in that action. Colonel Douglas MacArthur assumed command of the Rainbow Division at that battle, which continued for four days before the Germans retreated toward the Rhine. MacArthur wrote that "the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history. It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”
Following their victory the Division was sent by night march to support an AEF attack on St Mihiel which commenced on September 11 above the Madine River. The surprise attack successfully repulsed the Germans and the Division began marching toward the Argonne for another mass attack. After a delay, the Alabama Regiment replaced the depleted 1st US Infantry Division in a renewed assault on the Hindenburg Line at Côte de Châtillon on October 14. The unit suffered for days in an exposed position at the base of the hill until the 168th Iowa Regiment gained the high ground, providing cover for the 167th to advance on the German position. Later, in Sedan, the Rainbow Division took part in a general attack that was sustained until the war ended on November 11. Following the armistice, the Division entered Germany as part of an army of occupation, stationed at Sinzig. Five months later the unit boarded trains for Brest and took to the Atlantic on April 25, 1919 for the return voyage to Camp Meritt, New Jersey. The 167th Alabama left there by train on May 7 and was honored by victory parades in Gadsden, Anniston, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile before reporting to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for their formal discharge.
World War II
Civil Rights era
The 167th was ordered into federal service by President John Kennedy in April 1963 and assigned to the 1st Brigade, 31st Infantry Division. The unit was assigned to active duty in Birmingham from June 11 to June 23 and from September 10 to September 12 of that year. In 1965 the unit was again federalized, serving from March 20 to March 29.
War on Terror
The 167th participated in Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Rainbow Viaduct in downtown Birmingham, completed in 1919, was dedicated in honor of the Rainbow Division. A memorial to the service of the Rainbow Division, a bronze by British sculptor James Butler, was installed at Croix Rouge Farm on November 12, 2011.
The Rainbow Viaduct, with restored memorials, was rededicated on May 28, 2012 with current members of the 167th present for a send-off, as they prepared to redeploy for additional service in Afghanistan.
- 167th Theater Sustainment Command at alguard.state.al.us
- 167th (Alabama) Infantry Regiment at croixrougefarm.org
- List of the 280 members of the 167th buried in French cemeteries at croixrougefarm.org