In August 1919, the 16th returned to the U.S., serving at Fort Jay, Governor’s Island, New York. In the 20 years that followed, the regiment remained at Fort Jay where it became known as “New York’s own” and adopted the popular “Sidewalks of New York” as its regimental song.
The 16th moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, from New York on 19 November 1939. As war clouds gathered once again in Europe, the 16th moved back to its state of origin, joining the rest of the 1st Inf. Div. at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
In August 1942, the 16th Inf. Reg. sailed from New York City abroad the Queen Mary for Gourok, Scotland. By 9 August 1942 the regiment had moved into Tidworth Barracks in southern England. The 16th Inf. combat record in World War II is exceeded by no other U.S. unit. It was among the first American units to engage Hitler’s “Africa Corps” in Northern Africa, during Operation Torch, the first combat operation of the 16th Inf. in World War II. During the bitter fighting in the Kasserine Pass the 16th earned its third French ‘Croix de Guerre’ for its role in stopping the German counterattack which nearly destroyed the U.S. II Corps. At Matuer, Tunisia, the 16th again distinguished itself, earning its first Presidential Unit Citation. On 10 July 1943, at Gela, Sicily, the regiment earned its second Presidential Unit Citation by stopping a German Panzer Division and spearheading a subsequent assault deep into the Sicilian heartland during Operation Husky. On Omaha Beach, Normandy, 6 June 1944, the 16th earned its third Presidential Unit Citation during Operation Overlord.
That same day, Technician Fifth Grade John Pinder and 1st Lt. Jimmie Montieth each earned and received the Medal of Honor at Colleville-sur-Mer for their roles in getting American troops across the fire swept beaches. For its exceptional valor in the Normandy Campaign, the 16th was awarded its forth French Croix de Guerre Fourragere, thus being awarded the French Medaille Militaire Fourragere, the highest honor ever bestowed on a foreign unit by the government of France.
In September 1944, the 16th entered Belgium, earning the Belgium Fourragere and two citations of the Belgium Army for exceptional gallantry at Mons and Malmedy. The following month the 16th entered Germany, taking part in the capture of Aachen, the first German city to be captured by American forces during World War II.
In the Hurtgen Forest of Hamich, T.Sgt. Jake Lindsey earned the regiment’s seventh Medal of Honor and the 16th was awarded its forth Presidential Unit Citation.
Only two weeks later, during the “Battle of the Bulge” Pvt. Robert Henry gave his life to earn the Medal of Honor as his regiment was awarded its fifth Presidential Unit Citation. ‘Never before or since has a U.S. unit been more decorated for valor