FORT RILEY, Kan. – The Kansas Army National Guard’s 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment, “First Kansas,” redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 635th Armor Regiment during a virtual ceremony Oct. 17. The change was made in accordance with a 2012 Army Chief of Staff directive.
“Today marks the time in history when the 2nd CAB, 137th Inf. Regt. colors will be placed at the ready for future conflicts, wars or response to the needs of our great country,” said Col. Robert Stinson, 635th Regional Support Group commander.
The 2nd CAB, 137th Inf. Regt. bears the name “First Kansas” because it is one of Kansas’ oldest and most storied units, tracing its roots back to Kansas’ territorial days pre-Civil War. Its Soldiers fought in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam and across the Middle East in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Spartan Shield.
Prior to the redesignation, the 2nd CAB, 137th Inf. Regt. was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer, which was added to the regimental colors by Lt. Col. Rodney Seaba and Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Purdham, the 2nd CAB, 137th Inf. Regt. commander and command sergeant major, respectively.
“In its 156 years of service First Kansas and its Soldiers have remained steadfast in their loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage its colors represent,” Stinson said. “The Meritorious Unit streamer placed on the colors today is representative of First Kansas’ distinctive service.”
As the new 1st Bn., 635th Armor Regt., the unit will remain a combined arms battalion comprised of armor and infantry elements.
“I am confident that the 1st Battalion, 635th Armor Regiment will continue to sustain the leadership and values that have been so noteworthy in the 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment throughout its lineage,” Stinson said.
“The history and the lineage of the 2nd Battalion, 137th Regiment will live on,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Mohatt, commander of the Kansas Army National Guard. “Times change, units change. But it is a legacy – it is your legacy. And it will endure.”
Following the redesignation, a change of responsibility between the outgoing command sergeant major, Paul Purdham, and the incoming command sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Lee Girard, took place. Purdham was then awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his time serving in the 2nd CAB, 137th Inf. Regt.