The 126th Infantry Regiment has been in active military service since 1855. The regiment began as militia companies in Grand Rapids. They provided the core of the Third Michigan Infantry Regiment, which served in the Civil War. After the war, the companies were reorganized as part of the Second Infantry, Michigan State Troops, the forerunner of the Michigan National Guard. When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, the 126th was organized and assigned to the Thirty-second "Red Arrow" Division,
which was honored by the French with the Croix de Guerre
for gallantry shown in the 1918 Oise-Aisne offensive. During World War II the 126th was part of the Thirty-second Division seeing action in New Guinea and the Philippines. During the war the regiment saw 654 days of combat, more than any other American unit.