News: Black Lions reunited after 40-year separation
Story by Staff Sgt. Charles Crail
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – From the steaming jungles of the Iron Triangle in Vietnam to the remote mountain outposts of eastern Afghanistan, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 28th Infantry Regiment have not served side-by-side in more than four decades.
At Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, formally transferred authority of eastern Paktika province to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, June 5.
“Today is a unique day in for the regiment,” said Lt. Col. John Meyer, commander of the 2nd Battalion. “The colors of both battalions have not been flown in front of the regimental colors in over 40 years.”
Known as the “Black Lions,” the 28th Infantry Regiment has a long and distinguished combat history dating back to 1901 during the Philippine Insurrection, through both World Wars and Vietnam to the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the past 11 months, the 2nd Battalion has been stationed in eastern Paktika province along a 100-mile stretch of border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Comprised of five rifle companies and a headquarters company, the battalion has been responsible for eight combat outposts, eight districts, and 2,600 square miles of territory.
Through the Black Lion’s deployment, the soldiers of the battalion earned more than 20 Purple Hearts and 10 valor awards in combat against a tenacious and determined enemy.
“Many remark that the regiment has not fought together since Vietnam,” said Lt. Col. Peter Shull, commander of the 1st Battalion. “This is not so.”
“Just last week,” Shull continued, “The soldiers of Company C, 2-28 and the soldiers of Company C, 1-28 fought side-by-side at COP Margah with their Afghan army brothers to repel an attack on the outpost.”
Combat Outpost Margah, which has been called the most attacked base in Afghanistan by the BBC, has been the location of numerous large-scale coordinated ground assaults over the last year.
“The 1st Battalion is ready to carry the torch and press forward with our Afghan partners for the security of Paktika,” said Shull. “Shona ba shona; Shoulder by shoulder.”