26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts)
|26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts)|
Coat of arms
|Branch||United States Army|
|Motto(s)||Our strength is in loyalty|
|Engagements||World War II|
|Decorations||Presidential Unit Citation|
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
|BG Clinton A. Pierce|
|Left & right distinctive unit insignia|
U.S. Cavalry Regiments
|18th Cavalry Regiment||27th Cavalry Regiment|
The 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) (26th CAV (PS)) was part of U.S. Army Forces Far East's Philippine Department, during World War II. The 26th engaged in the last cavalry charge in the history of the U.S. cavalry. The American Battle Monuments Commission list 301 dead who were members of this regiment interred at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
The 26th Cavalry was formed in 1922, at Fort Stotsenburg, from elements of the 25th Field Artillery Regiment and the 43d Infantry Regiment (PS). The regiment was based there, with the exception of Troop F (which was based at Nichols Field). In addition to horse mounted troops, the regiment had a HQ Troop, machine gun troop, and a platoon of six Indiana White M1 scout cars, and trucks for transporting service elements. On 30 November 1941, the regiment had 787 enlisted men and 55 officers, and its commander was Col. (later BGen.) Clinton A. Pierce (USA).
World War II combat history
Northern and central Luzon
Following the 1941 Japanese invasion, the 26th participated in the Allied withdrawal to the Bataan Peninsula. In doing so, the unit conducted a classic delaying action that allowed other, less mobile, units to safely withdraw to the peninsula. During the delaying action the 26th provided the "stoutest" and only "serious opposition" to the Japanese; the majority of the units sent north towards the Lingayen Gulf were divisions (11th, 21st, 71st, & 91st Infantry Divisions) of the untrained and poorly equipped Philippine Army. For instance, during the initial landings the regiment alone delayed the advance of four enemy infantry regiments for six hours at Damortis, and on 24 December repulsed a tank assault at Binalonan. However, the resistance was not without cost, as by the end of 24 December the regiment had been reduced to 450 men. Following these events, the regiment was pulled off the line and brought back up to a strength of 657 men, who in January 1942 held open the roadways to the Bataan Peninsula allowing other units to prepare for their stand there.
The 26th Cavalry Regiment, consisting mostly of Philippine Scouts, was the last U.S. cavalry regiment to engage in horse-mounted warfare. When Troop G encountered Japanese forces at the village of Morong on 16 January 1942, Lieutenant Edwin P. Ramsey ordered the last cavalry charge in American history. It would not be until October 22, 2001, when American Soldiers would enter combat on horseback again, when members of the 12-man Operational Detachment Alpha 595 (Green Berets), accompanying members of the Afghanistan Northern Alliance, rode into battle at Cōbaki in Balkh Province.
During the retreat to Bataan, the 26th was heavily outnumbered by an infantry force supported by tanks. They drove off the surprised Japanese. Due to a shortage of food, they found it necessary to butcher their mounts and the regiment was converted to two squadrons, one a motorized rifle squadron, the other a mechanized squadron utilizing the remaining scout cars and Bren carriers.
Following the delaying action down the central Luzon plain, Troop C was cut off from the rest of the regiment, having been ordered into Northern Luzon in an attempt to defend Baguio by Major General Wainwright in late December 1941. In January 1942, the unit, with assistance from 71st Infantry and elements of the 11th Infantry, raided Tuguegarao Airfield, destroying several planes, and killing multiple Japanese soldiers. Eventually the unit was supplemented by other soldiers and guerrillas, and remained an effective fighting force well into 1943. The remnants of Troop C would later be integrated into the United States Army Forces in the Philippines – Northern Luzon, which due to deaths and captures would be led by Russell W. Volckmann. Other guerrilla organizations were led by officers of the regiment, who ignored the surrender orders, or by enlisted men who escaped from Bataan. However, those organizations did not have a direct connection to the regiment, as the Cagayan-Apayao Forces did.
The regiment was inactivated in 1946 and disbanded in 1951.
|Presidential Unit Citation, 3 awards |
|Philippine Presidential Unit Citation|
|World War II
||Philippine Islands||7 Dec 41 - 10 May 42|
|World War II
||World War II Victory||service between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946|
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- (North Luzon Force, United States Army Forces in the Far East. Cited; War Department General Order # 14, 1942).
- (Army Troops, United States Army Forces in the Far East. Cited; War Department General Order #32, 1942.)
- (Military and naval forces of the United States and Philippine Governments. Cited; War Department General Order #22, 1942, as amended by Department of the Army General Order #46, 1948).
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Institute of Heraldry document "26th Cavalry Regiment".