3rd Cavalry Regiment (United States)
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|3rd Cavalry Regiment|
3rd Cavalry Regiment coat of arms
|Branch||United States Army|
|Part of||1st Cavalry Division|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Hood, Texas|
|Motto(s)||Blood and Steel|
War with Mexico
American Civil War
War with Spain
World War I
World War II
|Colonel Kevin Admiral|
|Guy Henry, Jr
George S. Patton, Jr
James H. Polk
Martin E. Dempsey
H. R. McMaster
John B. Richardson IV
|Distinctive unit insignia|
|3rd CR Shoulder sleeve insignia|
|U.S. Cavalry Regiments|
|2nd Cavalry Regiment||4th Cavalry Regiment|
The regiment has a history in the United States Army that dates back to 19 May 1846, when it was constituted in the Regular Army as the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. This unit was reorganized at the start of the American Civil War as the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment on 3 August 1861. In January 1943, the regiment was re-designated as the 3rd Cavalry Group (Mechanized). Today they are equipped with Stryker vehicles. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was the last heavy armored cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army until it officially became a Stryker regiment on 16 November 2011. It will retain its lineage as the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
Under various names it has seen action during eleven major conflicts: the Indian Wars, the Mexican–American War, the American Civil War, the Spanish–American War, the Philippine–American War, World War I, World War II, the Persian Gulf War, SFOR in Bosnia, Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Twenty-three of the regiment's troopers received the Medal of Honor, all awarded for gallantry in action between 1871 and 1898. The list includes William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, whose award was rescinded in 1916 for not being a member of the military. Cody's medal was reinstated in 1989.
- 1 Structure
- 2 Origins
- 3 Mexican–American War
- 4 Post–Mexican War
- 5 American Civil War
- 6 Indian Wars
- 7 Spanish–American War
- 8 Philippine–American War
- 9 World War I and II
- 10 Cold War
- 11 Gulf War
- 12 Bosnia peacekeeping
- 13 Exercise Bright Star
- 14 Occupation of Iraq
- 14.1 First Tour (OIF)
- 14.2 Second tour – OIF 04-06 (February 2005 – March 2006)
- 14.3 Third Tour (OIF 07-09)
- 14.4 Fourth tour (Operation New Dawn (August 2010 – August 2011))
- 15 Honors
- 16 Lineage
- 17 Notes
- 18 References
- 19 External links
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment's structure consists of seven cavalry squadrons. Each cavalry squadron is divided into four cavalry Troops/Batteries/Companies. The regiment also controls four independent companies/troops:
- Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop "Remington"
- 1st Squadron "Tiger"
- 2nd Squadron "Sabre"
- 3rd Squadron "Thunder"
- 4th Squadron "Longknife" (authorized)
- Field Artillery Squadron "Steel"
- Engineer Squadron "Pioneer"
- Support Squadron "Muleskinner"
- P Anti-Tank Company
- 43rd Combat Engineer Company
- O Signal Troop
- 66th Military Intelligence Company
- 293rd MP Company
- ADA Battery "Predator"
The Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was authorized by an Act of Congress on 1 December 1845 and the president signed the bill in law 19 May 1846. Thus came into existence a new organization in the United States Army: a regiment of riflemen, mounted to provide greater mobility than the infantry and equipped with percussion rifles to provide greater range and more accurate firepower than the infantry’s muskets or the dragoon’s carbines.
1st Squadron ("Tiger")
Tiger Squadron is currently organized as follows:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop ("Roughrider")
- A Troop ("Apache") Infantry
- B Troop ("Bandit") Infantry
- C Troop ("Crazyhorse") Infantry
- ADA Battery ("Predator") Air Defense
When the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was organized pursuant to the act of Congress in 1846, the first companies filled were A, B, C, and D They would not be designated as troops until 1883 and would later make up the core of Tiger Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
"Bandit Troop" (then B Company) is the regiment's senior troop. It was organized 1 August 1846, and consisted of 1-Captain, 1-1st Lieutenant, 1-2nd Lieutenant, 1-Brevet 2Lt, and 75 enlisted men. "Crazyhorse Troop" (then C Company) was organized next on 1 September 1846, with Captain Samuel H. Walker as its commander. He is listed as being "on detached service at Washington, obtaining equipment and recruits for Company" until 21 May 1847. No doubt the "equipment" he was obtaining was the shipment of 1000 Colt-Walker revolvers he had co-designed with Samuel Colt. "Apache Troop" (then A Company) completed its organization 1 October 1846. Captain William Wing Loring was the first Commander of A Company, and would later become the Regiment's 2nd Colonel, before resigning his commission to serve the Confederacy. "Dragon Company" (then D Company) was organized 4 October 1846 with 3 officers and 61 enlisted. Captain Henry Pope was the first commander of D Company.
The regiment's first combat came in the United States' first international expeditionary war – The Mexican–American War of 1846–1848. Crazyhorse Troop lead General Scott's investment of the City of Vera Cruz. In so doing their first "victory" was the capture of a Mexican supply train of oxen laden with casks of wine. Cadet Dabney Maury of C Company:
When our work for that day was done…We were very hungry and thirsty. So our Texas guide lassoed a fat beef, a keg of sherry was broached, and we bivouacked upon the northern beach of Vera Cruz, just beyond the cannon range of the city, and remained there until, after two or three weeks bombardment, Vera Cruz surrendered.
Apache Troop suffered the regiment's first enlisted and officer combat casualties. Private Timothy Cunningham was killed by a cannonball during the siege of Vera Cruz on 11 March 1847. One month later on 18 April 1847, 1LT Thomas Ewell was killed in action at Cerro Gordo. As he died, General Scott knelt by him and "soothed his expiring moments" saying afterwards "Ewell fell sword in hand within the works."
On 9 June 1847, frontiersman Christopher "Kit" Carson was appointed as a Lieutenant of Rifles in Company C. However, Congress refused to confirm his appointment.
2nd Squadron ("Sabre")
Sabre Squadron is organized as follows:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop ("Rattler")
- D Troop (Dragon) Infantry
- E Troop (Eagle) Infantry
- F Troop (Fox) Infantry
- 43rd Combat Engineer Company ("Sapper") (no longer with the 3rd CR as of 16NOV2011) (Regimental asset which falls under the administrative control of Sabre Squadron.) The 43rd CEC is organized as follows: Headquarters Platoon, 1st Platoon, 2nd Platoon, 3rd Platoon, Assault and Obstacle Platoon, Maintenance Platoon. During conventional combat operations, one sapper platoon plus a portion of the A&O platoon would be attached to each maneuver squadron. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sapper has been placed under the operational control of all three maneuver squadrons both at company and platoon levels.
3rd Squadron ("Thunder")
Thunder Squadron is organized as follows:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop ("Havoc Hounds")
- G Troop (Grim) Infantry
- H Troop (Heavy) Infantry
- I Troop (Ironhawk) Infantry
- 66th Military Intelligence Company ("Ghostrider") (Regimental asset which falls under the administrative control of Thunder Squadron.)
The 3rd Squadron was the command of future GEN George S. Patton, Jr., who also served as the 28th Colonel of the Regiment. 3rd Squadron also has seven Medal of Honor recipients throughout its history.
The 3rd Squadron deployed as "Task Force Thunder" and operated in southern Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn.
The 3rd Squadron is currently deployed to Afghanistan.
4th Squadron ("Longknife")
Longknife Squadron was organized as follows:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop ("Headhunters")
- K Troop (Killer) – Recon
- L Troop (Lighting) – Recon
- M Troop (Mad Dog) – Recon
- P Anti-Tank Company (Predator) – Infantry (regimental asset which fall under the control of Longknife for administrative reasons)
The 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, originated from the Aviation Section assigned to the regiment while stationed in Germany in 1961. In July 1968, the 3rd ACR, with the aviation section, redeployed to the United States and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.
The regiment, along with the aviation section and a recently formed air cavalry troop, relocated from Fort Lewis, Washington to Fort Bliss, Texas in 1972. In 1982, the aviation section was consolidated and re-designated as the Regimental Support Aviation Troop (RSAT) which, along with the Air Cavalry Troop (ACT), provided the regiment with airborne command and control, troop lift, aerial resupply, and medical evacuation capabilities.
The ACT and RSAT were combined in December 1985 to form the 3rd Combat Aviation Squadron (Provisional). This provisional squadron first demonstrated its contribution to the Regimental Combined Arms Team during a rotation to the National Training Center in 1987. The following year, the squadron deployed to REFORGER to participate in the last REFORGER exercise prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The squadron was officially activated as the 4th Squadron, 3rd ACR in October 1988. It consisted of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT), three air cavalry troops (N, O, P), two attack troops (Q and R), an assault troop (S), and an aviation maintenance troop (T). Within these organizations, the squadron was equipped with the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter, the OH-58A/C Kiowa helicopter, and the UH-1 Iroquois "Huey", followed in 1989 by the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
In September 1990, the squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield and established Longknife Base Camp in north central Saudi Arabia. On the morning of 24 February 1991, the squadron crossed the border into Iraq and commenced offensive operations in support of the regiment, attacking deep into Iraqi territory, moving more than 350 kilometers in less than 72 hours. Upon the Coalition Forces' victory, the squadron redeployed to Fort Bliss, Texas in March 1991.
In late 1995, the squadron initiated its relocation from Fort Bliss to Fort Carson, Colorado. In December 1995, the two attack troops (Q and R) were inactivated and their OH-58A/C and AH-1 aircraft were turned in. On 15 January 1996, the two attack troops were reactivated and equipped with AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. The relocation to Fort Carson, Colorado was completed in March 1996.
The 571st Medical Company (Air Ambulance) was assigned to the squadron in August 1996 with 15 additional UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft. With the addition of the 571st, the squadron grew to a total of 83 combat aircraft and 700 troopers, the largest aviation squadron/battalion in the United States Army. As of 2006, 571st Medical Company is no longer with Longknife Squadron.
The squadron continued its attack, air cavalry, assault, electronic warfare and medevac missions in support of the regiment and the post not only at home station, but also during recent deployments to the National Training Center, Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Operation Green Flag (Nellis, AFB), Operation Northern Edge (Alaska), Operation Intrinsic Action (Kuwait), medevac support to Joint Task Force Sic, Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Riley, Kansas and to wildland firefighting contingencies throughout the Western United States.
In October 1998, the squadron transferred all remaining OH-58A/C and AH-1 aircraft and was modernized with 24 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. This reorganization under the Army Restructuring Initiative will again leave the squadron as the only squadron or battalion in the active force equipped with AH-64, UH-60A/L, and OH-58D aircraft.
In 2005, during OIF III, Quicksilver Troop was re-designated "Quickstrike" and served as the regiment's light reconnaissance troop with air-mobile capability. Additionally, Troop Q partnered with an Iraqi Army brigade and helped start the 3rd IA Division's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) company.
In 2006, Longknife Squadron was inactivated during the regiment's move to Fort Hood, Texas in the summer of 2006, leaving portions of Longknife Squadron at Fort Carson, Colorado. The three OH-58D air cavalry troops, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, the FST and portions of the AVIM and AVUM (specific to OH58 maintenance) remained at Fort Carson and were reflagged as the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry. Upon the regiment's arrival at Fort Hood, the 1st Squadron, 1st Aviation Regiment (located at Fort Hood, fielding the AH-64D Longbow) was reflagged as 4th Squadron, 3rd ACR, changing the makeup and capabilities of 4th Squadron. Troops N, O and P no longer possess the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and are now outfitted with AH-64D Apache Longbows. Troop R is no longer the attack troop and is now the Forward Support Troop. Troop S remains the UH-60L Black Hawk Troop. Troop T is still the Aviation Unit level Maintenance (AVUM) Troop. Upon the reflag, Longknife gained an aviation intermediate maintenance (AVIM) troop which was previously organized under the Regimental Support Squadron (RSS).
On 16 November 2011, Longknife Squadron was reconstituted as the regiment's reconnaissance squadron. Under LTC David Foley, the Squadron made the transition from a combination of tank companies, to a Stryker-based reconnaissance squadron. Unlike other Stryker brigade combat teams (SBCT), Longknife has the anti-tank company (Predator Company) attached.
Longknife Squadron deployed to the Sinai Peninsula in support of the Multinational Forces & Observers Mission in May 2014 - February 2015.
Field Artillery Squadron ("Steel")
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Steel Squadron is organized as follows:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (Brimstone)
- Alpha Battery (King)
- Bravo Battery (Lion)
- Charlie Battery (Regulator)
Field Artillery Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment was formed on 16 November 2011 with the transition from an armored cavalry regiment to the Stryker cavalry regiment. The three firing batteries shoot the M777A2 medium towed 155 mm howitzer weapon system. These batteries also existed before the transition and were assigned to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Squadrons, respectively. HHB was stood up on 16 November 2011. The first commander of the Field Artillery Squadron was LTC Lynn E. Downie and the first Command Sergeant Major was CSM Kenneth Oliver; the second commander was LTC Alric Francis. The current command team is LTC Robert Jenkins and CSM Valentin.
Engineer Squadron ("Pioneer")
Engineer Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment was formed on 16 June 2015.
Support Squadron ("Muleskinner")
Muleskinner Squadron is organized as follows:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop ("Bullwhip")
- Supply and Transportation Troop ("Packhorse")
- Maintenance Troop ("Blacksmith")
- Medical Troop ("Scalpel")
- O Signal Troop ("Outlaw") (Regimental asset which falls under the administrative control of Muleskinner Squadron.)
Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment was formed on 11 November 1977, on the order of the 57th Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel C. Lutz, and given the mission of executing logistical operations for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Support Squadron promptly adopted the nickname "Muleskinner" from the original teamsters who conducted logistical operations by wagon trains for the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen during its early years.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom Three (OIF III) the 89th Chemical Company, led by Captain Fennel for the first ten months of the deployment and First Sergeant Michael Shirley, oversaw detention operations at the Regimental Internment Facility (RIF), safeguarding and segregating over 2000 detainees. Further the unit's reconnaissance platoon traveled over 20,000 miles (32,000 km) as they conducted escort operations for the Muleskinner Logistical Convoys. The final two months of the deployment, Captain Brian Caplin took command of 89th and redeployed the company back to the states after a successful OIF deployment. The 89th Chemical Company was officially reorganized into O Troop on 16 November 2011. Outlaw Troop is the regiment's first signal troop.
Medical Troop was commanded by Captain Dan Liedl (Dan Liedl never deployed with muleskinner squadron. He was relieved of his post and, was dismissed from the military for alledgedly having relations with one of his privates.)missions encompassed several mass casualty events and medical evacuations, along with medical coverage at the regiment's displaced civilian facility during Operation Restoring Rights and on-site medical coverage at the Regimental Internment Facility. Maintenance Troop, commanded by Captain Jon Reeves conducted a multitude of tasks including Forward Operating Base gate security, continued maintenance operations, enabling the success of the regiment during Operation Restoring Rights and conducted Iraqi Police training and partnership operations. Supply and Transportation Troop led by James Outland moved thousands of pounds of ammunition, fuel and food to the maneuver units allowing sustained operations.
The regiment served in six campaigns of the Mexican War. On 20 August 1847, General Winfield Scott, Commander of American Forces in Mexico, made a speech from which the first sixteen words have become important to the regiment. The regiment was bloodied and exhausted from the fierce fighting at Contreras. But even so, each man stood at attention as the general approached.
General Scott, who had arrived to order the regiment to Churubsco for an even more difficult battle, removed his hat, bowed low, and said: "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel!" This accolade is emblazoned on the regimental coat of arms, and is the source of the regimental motto, "Blood and Steel".
All enlisted personnel are required to loudly challenge all officers in 3rd ACR with the portion of the regimental accolade given to 3rd ACR during the Mexican–American War. When an enlisted trooper is preparing to render military courtesy upon contact with an officer he will yell out "Brave Rifles" whereupon the officer will reply "Veterans".
The climax to the regiment's participation in the Mexican War came on 13 September 1847 when the brigade the regiment belonged to was ordered to support the assault on the fortress of Chapultepec, the site of the Mexican National Military Academy. Leading the American forces, the regiment stormed into Mexico City at 1:20 pm At 7:00 am on 14 September 1847, Sergeant James Manly of F Company and Captain Benjamin Roberts of C Company raised the National Colors over the National Palace while Captain Porter, commander of F Company, unfurled the regimental standard from the balcony.
During the Mexican War, eleven troopers were commissioned from the ranks and nineteen officers received brevet promotions for gallantry in action. Regimental losses in Mexico were approximately four officers and 40 men killed, 13 officers and 180 wounded (many of whom would eventually die), and one officer and 180 men who died of other causes.
The regiment returned to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, on 24 July 1848, where its veteran troopers were permitted to muster out, and recruited a new regiment. On 10 May 1849, it began the grueling 2,000-mile (3,200 km) march to the Oregon Territory to accomplish the mission for which it was originally organized. In May 1851, The Mounted Riflemen were ordered to return to Jefferson Barracks. All the horses and Troopers were transferred to the 1st Dragoons in California, and the officers and NCOs traveled by ship to Panama. After crossing the Isthmus, they boarded another ship and returned to the Regiment's birthplace, arriving on 16 July 1851. For the next six months, the regiment recruited, re-equipped, and re-trained.
In December 1851, the regiment was ordered to Texas. By January 1852, the regiment arrived at Fort Merrill, where for the next four years it operated against the Indian tribes living in the area. Patrols, skirmishes, guard, and escort duty were all part of the daily routine. In 1853, the regiment was redesignated as the First Regiment of Mounted Riflemen because the Army was considering raising another mounted rifle regiment. This did not happen, but the "First" designation remained.
In 1856, Indian troubles in the New Mexico Territory required additional troops and the regiment moved further West, replaced by the newly created 2nd Cavalry. Fort Union, New Mexico became the new home base for the Mounted Riflemen. Service in New Mexico was constant and most exacting. The companies of the 1st Mounted Rifles were widely scattered and the number of troops available was wholly inadequate for the task of patrolling an area that extended from Denver, Colorado to the Mexican border, and from West Texas to Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
American Civil War
In April 1861, the American Civil War broke out and 13 officers left the regiment to join the cause of the Confederacy, including future generals Joseph "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, William W. Loring, Dabney H. Maury, William H. Jackson, George B. Crittenden, and John G. Walker. Not a single enlisted man left the regiment.
On 3 August 1861, all mounted regiments of the U.S. Army were classified as "cavalry", and the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was re-numbered the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment, headquartered at Fort Thomas, third in precedence in the Regular Army. At the outbreak of the war, a Confederate force of about 3000 Texans began a campaign at Fort Bliss, Texas to seize the territories of New Mexico and Colorado. The 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment was one of the few Regular Army units in the region available to oppose them. On 25 July detachments of Companies B and F were involved in a hard fight at Mesilla and joined Company I when it surrendered with Fort Fillmore on 26 July.
The regiment remained in New Mexico fighting hostile Indians as well as Confederate Troops until 1862. In September 1862, the regiment re-deployed to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. In December it relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, where it spent 1863 performing duties for XV Corps, Army of the Tennessee. Between October and December 1863, the 3rd Cavalry participated in operations on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and fought in skirmishes at various locations such as Barton Station, Cane Creek, and Dickinson's Station, Alabama. The 3rd Cavalry was tasked by General Sherman to perform various reconnaissance missions as part of his advance guard, including marching to the relief of Knoxville, Tennessee. Elements of the regiment also were engaged at Murphy, North Carolina and Loudon, Tennessee. In 1864 the regiment relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas, where it remained for the remainder of the war fighting guerrilla forces, and after the war ended, on occupation duty until April 1866, when it was ordered back to New Mexico.
The 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment's losses during the Civil War were two officers and thirty enlisted men who were either killed in action or died of wounds and three officers and 105 enlisted men who died of disease or other non-combat causes.
In April 1866, the 3rd Cavalry was once again ordered to the New Mexico territory to campaign against the Indians. In 1868-1869 many fightings against Mescalero Apache, and also Jicarilla Apache, Navaho and Ute Indians involved detachements of the regiment between the Rio Grande and the Pecos. Beginning in February 1870, most of the companies of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment began moving individually to the Arizona Territory, but the Regimental Headquarters and Company I moved to Camp Halleck, and Company D to Camp McDermitt, both in northern Nevada. Late in 1871, the regiment was transferred north to the Department of the Platte, which included what are now the states of Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska. The 3rd Cavalry became the main cavalry force for department operations in the Black Hills region.
During the summer of 1876, the regiment participated in the Little Big Horn Campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne. On 17 June 1876, ten companies of the 3rd Cavalry fought in the Battle of Rosebud Creek. This was the largest battle between the Army and the Indians in the history of the American West, with 1,400 friendly Indians and troopers opposing more than 1,500 hostile Indians.
Four 3rd Cavalry Troopers received the Medal of Honor for bravery in this battle. Their names were: Trumpeter Elmer A. Snow of Company M and First Sergeants Joseph Robinson of Company D, Michael A. McGann of Company F, and John H. Shingle of Company I. With the Apache uprising in the spring of 1882, the Regiment was ordered to return to Arizona, and on 17 July, the 3rd and 6th Cavalry Regiments defeated renegade Apaches in the Battle of Big Dry Wash. This battle quelled the last Apache uprising in Arizona and also marked the end of the regiment‘s participation in the Indian Wars. This action resulted in the award of two more Medals of Honor, to First Sergeant Charles Taylor of Company D and Lieutenant George H. Morgan of Company K.
The year 1883 would see the term company changed to troop in the mounted service and in 1885 the red and white guidon replaced the 1863 stars and stripes pattern adopted at the beginning of the Civil War.
In 1885, the 3rd U.S. Cavalry was ordered back to Texas, where it remained until 1893. Between 1893 and 1897, the Regiment was engaged in garrison, training and ceremonial activities throughout the East and Mid-West. By July 1897, the Regimental Headquarters and four troops were stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, while the remainder of the regiment returned to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
- Fort Sumner New Mexico-Companies G & I of 3rd Cavalry-battle with Navajos; five privates killed and four wounded.
- See Battle of Powder River
- See Battle of the Rosebud
- See Battle of Slim Buttes
- See Dull Knife Fight
In April 1898, the regiment was assembled at Camp Thomas, Georgia in Chickamauga National Park and assigned to a brigade in a provisional cavalry division.
On 13 May 1898, the Regiment arrived in Tampa, Florida. On 8 June, the regiment, minus four troops, embarked, dismounted, on the transport Rio Grande for Cuba. The four troops that were left in camp in Tampa took care of the animals and regimental property and instructed recruits. The Regiment landed at Daiquiri, Cuba.
One of the Army‘s objectives was to seize the Cuban positions on the high ground around the landward side of the city of Santiago, a Cuban seaport. This would force the Spanish warships in the harbor to sail out to face the U.S. Navy. The cavalry division, of which the Regiment was a part, was one of three divisions assigned the mission of assaulting these hills, known as the San Juan Heights. The 3rd Cavalry was one of five regular U.S. cavalry regiments engaged there.
Three troops of 3rd Squadron crossed over Kettle Hill and on to the Spanish positions around what was known as the San Juan House. Troop B advanced to the enemy‘s line at the San Juan Blockhouse (different from the San Juan House) where the Regiment‘s U.S. Flag, carried by Sergeant Bartholomew Mulhern of Troop E, was the first to be raised at the point of victory. 2nd Squadron, held in reserve on Kettle Hill, joined the 3rd Squadron on San Juan Hill that evening. The regiment stayed in Cuba until 6 and 7 August when they sailed for Montauk Point, New York.
The 3rd Cavalry‘s casualties were three Troopers killed, six officers and forty-six Troopers wounded. 1LT John W. Heard, Regimental Quartermaster, was awarded a Medal of Honor for most distinguished gallantry in action and Certificates of Merit were awarded to five Troopers. These certificates were the forerunner of the Silver Star Medal. The 3rd Cavalry did not remain together for very long. In February and March 1899, two troops were assigned to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, two troops to Jefferson Barracks, four troops and the band to Fort Myer, Virginia, while the remainder of the regiment stayed at Fort Ethan Allen.
In 1898, The American artist Frederick Remington was visiting the camp of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry in Tampa, Florida, where the regiment was preparing for the invasion of Cuba during the Spanish–American War. During his visit, Remington's attention was drawn to one of the troop's NCOs. Sergeant John Lannen struck the artist as the epitome of the cavalryman and he made several rough sketches of Lannen. From those rough sketches Remington later executed the now famous drawing portraying a trooper astride his mount with a carbine cradled in his arm, depicted in the reference. At some point in the past this drawing became known as Old Bill. This drawing represents a trooper, a unit, and a branch of service.
When the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish–American War, 400 years of Spanish rule in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands came to an end. The United States, as a new world power, saw the Philippines as the perfect location for a naval facility to support a new Pacific fleet. 3rd Cavalry units had barely arrived at their new duty stations in the U.S. when, on 22 July 1899, the headquarters and Troops A, C, D, E, F, K, L, and M were ordered to Seattle, Washington. From Seattle, this force embarked for the Philippine Islands to operate against the insurgents who were trying to prevent the United States from taking control. Meanwhile, Troops B, G, H, and I were ordered to assemble at Fort Myer.
The deploying troops landed in Manila in October 1899, with the remaining four troops following from Fort Myer in 1900. The 3rd Cavalry remained on the island of Luzon until 1902, fighting sixty-two engagements during that time. The fighting was often fierce with no quarter asked and none given. This would be the first time the U.S. Army would fight in a jungle environment, and the first time it would fight a counterinsurgency. The regiment returned to the United States in detachments between April and November 1902. The headquarters, band, and Troops A, D, I, K, L, and M were stationed in Montana, Troops B and C in Wyoming, Troops G and H in Arizona, Troop E in Idaho and Troop F in North Dakota.
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment remained in the United States until December 1905, when it was again ordered to the Philippines for peacetime occupation duty. It remained there until 1908, when it was ordered home and stationed in Texas. The following nine years were spent in garrison and patrolling the Mexican border.
World War I and II
In August 1917, the regiment was alerted for overseas duty. Arriving in France in November, the Regiment was broken up and operated three major remount depots until the war’s end. The only actual 3rd Cavalry unit to see action in World War I was K Troop, which was detached from the 3rd Squadron and participated in the last three engagements prior to the Armistice of 11 November 1918. After World War I, the Regiment deployed back to the United States and executed a garrison mission until the beginning of World War II. In July 1932 Major George S. Patton-under order of Douglas MacArthur-led the 3rd against the Bonus Army in Washington D.C.
In January 1943, the regiment was re-designated as the 3rd Cavalry Group (Mechanized). The 3rd Cavalry Group arrived in France in 1944 and was attached to XX Corps. On 17 November 1944, after numerous fierce battles, the 3rd Cavalry Group troopers became the first to cross into Germany.
First Into Germany
On 31 August 1944, the 1st platoon of B Troop, 3rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, with 30 men, 6 Jeeps armed with .50 cal MG, and three M-8 armored cars with 37 mm guns made a raid behind enemy lines to Thionville, France in a desperate attempt to prevent the bridge across the Moselle from being destroyed by the Germans.
The platoon conducted the raid 75 miles (121 km) behind enemy lines as US Forces advanced slowly towards the Moselle River to effect a crossing on its push toward the German "West Wall". Troop commander Captain James D. Jackson succeeded in crossing the river to the eastern approach to the bridge and cut the wires leading to the demolition charges, and was wounded in the attempt. An enemy sniper then killed Sgt. T Baker when he assumed command, at that time Pvt. Lawrence Webb manned the .50 cal machine gun atop one of the Jeeps and fired upon the sniper until he was wounded himself. Sgt. Baker was the only fatality among the raiders.
Their mission accomplished, the platoon crossed the dynamite-laden bridge to rescue Jackson before falling back, fighting their way out. In so doing, they were no doubt the first American troops to cross the Moselle in WW-II. The platoon suffered 6 casualties and 2 Jeeps lost. Captain Jackson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and the bridge over the Moselle was temporarily saved from destruction. The remainder of the Army did not reach and cross the Moselle until 12 September at Arnaville, France.
Discovering Germany's Final Solution
On 5 May 1945, the 3rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron entered the small village of Ebensee, Austria and came face to face with the Nazi's "Final Solution". KZ Ebensee on the edge of the town contained about 16,000 prisoners, who hadn't been fed for about 3 days and who were dying at the rate of 400 per day. First on the scene, the squadron's first priority shifted from combat to care for the prisoners. The town's bakeries were put on round-the clock baking status. Bakers, who at first refused, found an M-8 or Sherman gun muzzle pointed into their shop.
The squadron remained in the area caring for the prisoners until medical units relieved them. With the end of hostilities in Europe, the 3rd Squadron returned stateside to a 30-day furlough before reporting to Fort Bragg to begin training for "Operation Downfall" – the invasion of the Japanese home islands. Their training was canceled when Japan surrendered on 14 August. After World War II, the regiment returned to the United States and resumed its garrison activities.
After the war the regiment was posted to Fort George G. Meade. During this time troopers of the regiment were filmed at Ft. Meade for sequences in the science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1950. The first time the 3rd Cavalry served on the Iron Curtain was in August 1955, when it replaced the 2nd Cavalry as part of the Army's Gyroscope plan that rotated entire units between Germany and the U.S. In February,1958, the cycle repeated and the troopers of the 3rd Cavalry returned to the States as the 2nd Cavalry resumed their former mission. The 3rd Cavalry, though, would not remain stateside for long.
When 3rd Cavalry returned to the United States from Germany in February 1958, and was once again stationed at Fort Meade. The regiment became part of the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and, from 1958–1961, it was the recipient of four STRAC streamers, awarded for superior readiness and training.
In November 1961, the regiment was deployed to Germany once again in response to the Soviet threat during the Berlin Crisis. The troopers were stationed in Baumholder but the unit soon found itself once again patrolling the border. Cavalry Troops within the regiment were soon attached on a monthly, rotating basis to the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment to assist with patrols in the 3/14 ACR sector. Additionally, the 1st and 2nd Squadrons relieved units of the 14th Cavalry for two one-month periods during 1962 and 1963. During 1964, though, the regiment played a larger role in border operations.
Since the 11th Cavalry was scheduled to return to the U.S. in the summer of 1964, a unit was needed to fill the gap along the Iron Curtain in southeastern Bavaria. To meet this requirement, the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry, was re-designated as the 1st Squadron, 11 ACR, and rotated back to the states with the 11th Cavalry. At the same time, the 11th Cavalry's 1st Squadron stationed in Straubing was re-designated as 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry, and conducted border operations under the regimental colors of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The unit conducted border operations from its two border camps until March 1965 when it was relieved by 2/9th Cavalry of the 24th Infantry Division. The regiment remained in Germany until July 1968 when it moved to Fort Lewis,Washington. The 3rd Armored Cavalry regiment participated in Exercise Reforger 1 in 1968 and Reforger 2 in July and August 1971.
In July 1972, the 3rd Cavalry received orders to move to Fort Bliss, Texas.
The Lucky 16
During this time, in Nuremberg, Germany. The 2nd and 11th Cavalry began a close working relationship resulting in a tradition called the "Lucky 13. " These two cavalry units trained together and often confronted one another in exercises. Lucky 13 conferences were about war and war fighting and included seminars on fielding new systems, maneuver techniques, and training. When the 3rd Cavalry joined the 2nd and 11th in the General Defense Plan of Europe, the regiments became known as the "Lucky 16." Whenever two of the Lucky 16 regiments are in the same location the Lucky 16 convenes. The Lucky 16 recently convened on 20 September 2008 under the 1st Armored Division at Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. Both the 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Regiments along with a company from the 11th Cavalry Regiment were serving in Multi-National Division North under the 1st Armored Division in Northern Iraq.
On 7 August 1990, the regiment was alerted to move overseas in defense of Saudi Arabia. In September 1990, the regiment arrived in country as part of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and moved into defensive positions south of the Kuwaiti border in the area known as the Neutral Zone. On 22 January 1991, elements of I Troop led by the 63rd Colonel, Colonel Starr, engaged in the first ground combat of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The regiment's attack was successful in destroying an Iraqi Army outpost. On 24 February, F Troop led the regiment across the berm into Iraq. In 100 hours, the regiment moved over 300 kilometers, and left remnants of three Iraqi Republican Guard divisions in its wake. The regiment was over task organized with over 7,000 soldiers for Desert Storm. The former regimental deputy commander, 2007–2009 LTC(R) Nathan E. Hines III, was the regimental scout platoon leader during the assault into Iraq. At the time of OIF 07-09 he was one of only three soldiers in the 5,000 soldier regiment who served with them in Operation Desert Storm.
The regiment deployed back to the U.S., arriving 5 April 1991. The regiment fielded new combat systems and conducted the first National Training Center rotation for a combat proven unit. The regiment deployed to NTC 11–91 and defeated the OPFOR during regimental force on force operations; the culmination battle for the rotation. In the fall of 1995, the 3rd ACR began its relocation to Fort Carson with the regiment fully standing up in the Spring of 1996. [The 4th Infantry Division was relocated from Fort Carson to Fort Hood, Texas] Four years after the return from Operation Desert Storm in April 1996, the regiment completed its move to its new home at Fort Carson, Colorado. During this historic period the regiment was led by COL(R) Douglas Starr, 63rd Colonel of the Regiment, LTG(R) Robert Ivany, 64th Colonel of the Regiment, COL(R) Robert Young, 65th Colonel of the Regiment, and LTG(R) Robert Wilson, 66th Colonel of the Regiment.
In August 1998, the regiment was notified that it would participate in the Bosnian peace-keeping mission as part of Stabilization Force 7 (SFOR 7). This would be a unique deployment because the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (less 1st Squadron), would be under the operational control of the Texas National Guard's 49th Armored Division. SFOR 7 was the first time that a National Guard organization would have command authority over active component units as well as a multinational force, known as Task Force Eagle. 3rd ACR troopers had to stand down from a more aggressive war fighting posture to act as neutral observers. They trained at Brcko, a simulated Bosnian village built by Fort Carson to provide a realistic training environment. After taking part in sustained training exercises conducted by other units stationed at Ft. Carson, those members of the regiment slated for the deployment completed a rigorous exercise at Ft. Polk, Louisiana designed to test their readiness for the SFOR mission. While the SFOR units were to be involved in the peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Task Force Rifles (TFR) was activated back at Fort Carson. Composed of Tiger Squadron and all regimental units remaining at Fort Carson, TFR was tasked with post red cycle duties as well as maintaining the many vehicles that were not taken to Bosnia.
When the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed, beginning in February 2000, it represented 75 percent of the American contribution to the Multinational Division North (MND-N) and constituted the bulk of the American maneuver element. The Troopers of Saber Squadron helped facilitate the elections that began a new era of democracy for the Bosnian state. There were no major incidents or violent demonstrations in their area of responsibility during the six-month deployment. Thunder Squadron occupied Camp Dobol and its area of responsibility on 27 March 2000. Thunder Squadron Troopers provided security for more than 3000 Bosnian widows and mourners who returned to the Serb-dominated town of Potacari.
For the first time, a U.S. Army artillery unit conducted patrols as part of the peacekeeping operations for MND-N when the troopers of Regulator Battery assumed peacekeeping responsibility for Banovici and Zivinici. Other activities included weapons storage site inspections, removal of roadblocks, and confiscation of illegally cached weapons. Thunder Squadron also conducted joint patrols with Turkish, Russian, Estonian, Polish, Swedish, and Danish troops.
Long Knife Squadron was paired with the 49th Aviation Brigade of the Texas National Guard to form the Joint Aviation Brigade for the SFOR 7 rotation. Long Knife aviators supported reconnaissance, security, and air movement missions with both American and international units flying missions not only for MND-N, but also for Multi-National Divisions Southwest and Southeast. The aircrews of 4th Squadron flew almost 5,000 sorties for over 2,000 missions, logging more than 12,000 hours.
Members of TFR were tasked to perform the Wild Land Fire Fighting mission, by preparing to deploy to any fires east of the Mississippi River. Tiger Squadron conducted a Level I gunnery and a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise before preparing to receive regimental units returning from Bosnia.
TFR also represented the regiment at Fort Hood during CPX Ulchi Focus Lens. This exercise simulated the deployment of the regiment to Korea. Before the troopers of Task Force Eagle could return to Fort Carson, they had to train their replacements to assume the peacekeeping mission. Once this was accomplished, the various units began returning to Fort Carson and the last unit closed on 7 October 2000.
Exercise Bright Star
Beginning in September 2001, Tiger Squadron, with elements of the Regimental Headquarters, Longknife and Muleskinner Squadrons, deployed to Egypt to participate in exercise Bright Star 01/02 as part of a Combined Forces Land Component command (CFLCC) coalition. The coalition included elements from the U.S. Marine Corps, Egypt, France, Kuwait, Greece, Italy, and the British Army.
The 3rd ACR Troopers took part in field training and live fire exercises while in Egypt. They also conducted training on nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare, night warfare, and the use of smoke on the battlefield. Static displays and briefings on air defense artillery capabilities were also provided. Aviation support was provided for the exercise by Longknife Troopers in the form of medical evacuation and personnel transport, while the Muleskinners of Support Squadron established and operated a logistics support system.
In addition, members of Tiger Squadron and the regimental staff conducted affiliation training with their Egyptian counterparts to teach them to function as observer/controllers (OC) for the forces involved in ground tactical operations, as well as establishing and maintaining communications and command and control between the various multinational OC forces. The terrorist attacks against the U.S. on 11 September was ironically the pre-selected day they were briefed on terrorism as they prepared for the mission. They were in country on 9 October 2001. The Pentagon considered sending these troops and assets directly to Afghanistan upon the completion of the historical mission. It was later revealed that a treaty prohibited this action.
Occupation of Iraq
The 3rd ACR has served five deployments to Iraq during the U.S. Military Occupation of Iraq. The 5,200 member regiment lost over 125 soldiers during nearly four years of combat now well into its fourth tour in Iraq.
First Tour (OIF)
The 3rd ACR received a deployment order for movement to the CENTCOM AOR on 14 February 2003. Equipment was prepared and moved by rail from Fort Carson to the port at Beaumont, Texas. The advance party consisting of Fox troop and other key leaders from Regimental HQ arrived in Kuwait on 2 April and the remainder of the regiment arrived in Theater by the middle of the month. The first elements of the regiment crossed the border into Iraq on 25 April 2003 and were immediately tasked to perform an economy of force mission to secure and stabilize the western part of the country.
A brigade of the 82nd Airborne was deployed to relieve 3rd Cavalry in place in Ramadi and Fallujah. This left the 3rd Cavalry to handle the troubled towns leading to Iraq’s Syrian border, as well as the more peaceful towns along Iraq's borders with Jordan and Saudi Arabia. In March 2004, the Marines took control of the entire Al Anbar province, and the 3rd ACR as well as the 82nd Airborne Division rotated home.
The 3rd ACR and its attached units were known in Iraq collectively as Task Force Rifles. It included 8,300 soldiers, making it the smallest major subordinate command in the Coalition (CJTF-7). Of those 8,300, 31 cavalry troopers and 18 soldiers of units attached to Task Force Rifles died in Iraq.
Significant operations conducted by the 3rd Cavalry included Operation Rifles Blitz on the volatile Syrian border town of Al Qaim and Operation Rifles Fury (a.k.a. Operation Santa's Claws) on the insurgent strongholds of Rawah and Anah. The 3rd Cavalry also was responsible for Iraq's border with Saudi Arabia during the Hajj of 2003 and 2004, when thousands of Iraqis had to be searched and processed before they could leave for and return from Mecca.
By the end of August, the Task Force had confiscated 1,080 122 mm artillery rounds, 928 mortar rounds, 8,991 23 mm rounds, 2,828 AK-47s, two pistols, ten anti-tank missiles, forty-five anti-tank mines, eight surface-to-air missiles, four kegs of gunpowder, 300 130 mm high explosive rounds, three boxes of hand grenades, twenty high explosive anti-tank rounds, 125 100 mm tank gun rounds, 134 rocket-propelled grenades, two sniper rifles, thirty 37 mm anti-aircraft rounds, one improvised explosive device, and one SA-7 surface to air guided missile system.
Various units of the Task Force found themselves managing a large number of projects to rebuild the infrastructure and restore basic services, efforts aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Many schools in Iraq were found to have been turned into munitions storage facilities, because the regime knew Coalition forces would not attack schools. These schools were cleared, renovated and returned to use.
Longknife Squadron established aerial border qualification standards and became the first aviation unit in theater to operate well inside the five kilometer buffer zone established by U.S. Central Command. The success of the program resulted in its adoption by CJTF-7 as the theater standard.
Over twenty forward operating bases (FOB) were established in order to provide the best possible living conditions for Task Force personnel, and from which combat, security, and sup-port operations could be conducted throughout a 140,000 square kilometer area. The various FOBs established by the task force became nodes in a massive logistical network.
For their actions in Iraq, the 3rd Cavalry was awarded a Valorous Unit Award from 25 April 2003 to 18 September 2003.
CPT David M. Rozelle
Capt. David M. Rozelle is the first amputee to return to U.S. military duty in a combat zone. Capt. Rozelle deployed to the town of Hit, Iraq as the commander of the 3rd ACR's K Troop ("Killer"). During operations in Hit, Rozelle's Humvee ran over an anti-tank mine which destroyed both the Humvee and Rozelle's right lower leg. This resulted in the amputation of Rozelle's foot and ankle.
After being given an artificial leg, Capt. Rozelle returned to duty as commander of the 3rd Cavalry's Headquarters Troop. He then redeployed to Iraq with the 3rd ACR on their third tour in Iraq. Since his injury, Rozelle has completed the New York Marathon and written the book, Back In Action: An American Soldier’s Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude.
Known as "Steve-O" to protect his identity, this 13-year-old boy was one of the 3rd Cavalry's most helpful informants.
Steve-O's father was once an army captain in the Republican Guard, and led a 40-man insurgent group after the Coalition invasion. Forced to fight alongside his father against the Americans and severely beaten by his father, Steve-O walked to a 3rd Cavalry check-point to turn in his father.
After turning in his father, Steve-O turned in a number of other insurgents. Often riding in the back of a Humvee, Steve-O would simply point out people he saw at the meetings of insurgents his father used to take him to. However, with Steve-O's father arrested and his mother killed by insurgents in retribution, Steve-O had nowhere left but to live on Forward Operating Base "Tiger" with the troopers of the 3rd Cavalry.
After the 3rd Cavalry returned from their year-long deployment to Iraq, Steve-O continued to live on post with the Marines that replaced the cavalry. Eventually, First Sgt. Daniel Hendrex was able to arrange for Steve-O to leave Iraq and come to the United States.
Steve-O's story came to public attention when he and the troopers responsible for his successful move to the United States appeared on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Shortly after entering Iraq, the 2nd Squadron of the 3rd ACR was tasked with protecting several abandoned enemy ammunition supply points (ASP) and the Air force base located in Al Habbaniyah. On 1 May 2003, after days of responding to reports of arson fires and the looting of ammunition, an M1 Abrams tank crew from H(Heavy) Company patrolling near the Euphrates River, discovered a group of Iraqis deliberately setting fires. This group was seen fanning the flames with a powder that was later discovered to be the propellant from artillery powder bags. These Iraqis attempted to direct the fire toward the troops to get the troops to displace from the area making it possible for them to steal ammunition buried in caches placed along the river and around the abandoned buildings near the Company's make shift compound. While in pursuit of the Iraqis, the fire intensified with high flames surrounding the M1 Abrams. In an attempt to evade the fire, the Tank climbed a berm that quickly gave way forcing the heavy M1 Abrams to plunge nose first into a canal. The Tank quickly took on water and as a result, PFC Jesse Givens, the driver, drowned and became the first 3rd ACR soldier lost in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Second tour – OIF 04-06 (February 2005 – March 2006)
The 3rd Cavalry only remained stateside for less than a year, before returning to Iraq for a second tour. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06 in February 2005. The regiment served from South Baghdad province to Western Ninewa Province in Northwestern Iraq until March 2006. The 2nd Battalion of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment (of the 82nd Airborne Division) served with the regiment in Iraq from September – December 2005. In September 2005, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment conducted 'Operation Restoring Rights' to defeat a terrorist stronghold in the city of Tal Afar.
In July 2005, the Army announced that the regiment would re-station to Fort Hood within months of returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment officially departed Fort Carson, Colorado in July 2006.
Two elements of the regiment stayed behind at Fort Carson and were subsequently re-flagged. The regiment's aviation element was re-flagged as 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry, part of the 1st Infantry Division, while the other element was re-flagged as part of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team rear detachment.
Operation Restoring Rights
By the time 3rd Cavalry returned to Iraq in 2005, the northern city of Tal Afar had fallen entirely under the control of insurgents. Led by Colonel H.R. McMaster, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment focused first on pacifying the smaller surrounding cities and closing down the nearby Syrian border to prevent supplies and routes of escape to the insurgents occupying the city. The next stage was to build a massive earthen berm that enclosed Tal Afar, the berm was constructed by Alpha Company 113 Engineer Battalion stationed out of Indiana, as law-abiding residents were ordered out to evacuation camps. Operation Restoring Rights included forces from 1st Squadron, 2nd Squadron, Support Squadron, the Air Squadron (4th Squadron), and various US Special Forces formations. Additionally, Iraqi Army formations moved into the city en masse, consisting of 5,000 soldiers from the Iraqi Army 3rd Division (partnered with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment), 1,000 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division (from Irbil and partnered with the US Special Forces), and Iraqi Special Forces commandos.
Additionally, an Iraqi police brigade and Mosul Police units moved in to provide perimeter security. Operation Restoring Rights began in late August 2005 as 1st Squadron and its Iraqi Army Brigade moved into Tal Afar and began conducting focused raids on the Western part of Tall Afar, while 2nd Squadron and its Iraqi Army Brigade moved to isolate the enemy strongpoint in the Sarai District. Meanwhile, as the regiment moved to isolate the eastern portion of the city, the enemy put up an intense fight against 1st Squadron as they pursued them relentlessly through the western part of the city. Apaches attack and Kiowa scout helicopters from 4th Squadron tracked the enemy while ground forces pursued them into their safe haven, destroying them with direct fire from ground platforms and hellfire missiles from the air. Air Force munitions were used against especially hardened defensive positions.
As 2nd Squadron and an Iraqi Army battalion from the 2nd Iraqi Army Division moved into place, they received critical intelligence on the enemy battle positions and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that allowed them to destroy the enemy in detail with precision fires from the Apache and Kiowa helicopters and with USAF support. Over half of the enemy leadership was killed or captured in the days leading up to the assault on the Sarai. 2nd Squadron, 1st Squadron, and elements of Support Squadron manning checkpoints, captured over 1,200 enemy fighters as they tried to flee the city, some even hiding behind children and dressed as women. The regiment attacked into the Sarai and cleared it of the remaining enemy, finding a complex enemy training base within the ancient structures.
After the regiment returned from Iraq, Tal Afar Mayor Mayor Najim Abdullah al Jubori sent a letter to Gen. George Casey, the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, thanking the 3rd Cavalry for liberating his town. The Mayor's letter became the subject of widespread media attention after U.S. President George W. Bush mentioned it during a speech in March 2006.
Post OIF 04-06
Following OIF 04-06, the regiment relocated from Fort Carson, Colorado to Fort Hood, Texas. The regiment officially completed its move in July 2006. On 29 June 2006, COL H.R. McMaster completed his command and officially gave the guidon to COL Michael Bills. The 3rd ACR began training for another tour in OIF right away, fielding new weapons systems (including new M1A2 Abrams tanks and M3A3 Bradley fighting vehicles) and re-build the organization following the move from Fort Carson. In July the regiment completed a successful NTC rotation 07-09.
Third Tour (OIF 07-09)
On 25 October 2007, the regiment began its third tour in Iraq. 1st and 3rd Squadrons are deployed in the Ninawa Province, 2nd Squadron was deployed to eastern Diyala province until OCT when it rejoined the regiment in Mosul. 1st Squadron in Qayarrah, and 3rd Squadron in Mosul. Because Mosul is the most violent major city in Iraq, Heavy Company, Eagle Troop and 43rd Combat Engineer Company (2/3 ACR) were attached to 3rd Squadron to help with increased insurgent activity. A platoon from 43rd Combat Engineer Company 3rd PLT (heavy blue) was attached to Heavy Company also 3rd Platoon Heavy Company attached to Lightning Troop, becoming Lightning 5th Platoon, "Gold Platoon" in order to help bear the largest, and most dangerous area of the city. 4th Squadron is served in Baghdad. Thunder Squadron was part of several major operations in order to clear the city of insurgents, including Operations Lions Roar, which was praised as one of the turning points in the war on terror.[by whom?]
1st Squadron's King Battery (currently attached to 1/25th SBCT) firing artillery and is split between three FOBs, which allows the Battery to cover the entire Diyala Province. Firing over 7,700 rounds in eleven months, King Battery has destroyed the previous record which was set by a battalion size element.
2nd Squadron minus, composed of Grim Troop, Fox Troop, Lion Battery and the Squadron Headquarters and Headquarters Troop spent the bulk of the deployment at FOB Caldwell in Eastern Diyala Province, where it was responsible for 62% of the battle space of 4/2 ID. During the deployment 2nd Squadron passed from the operational control of 4/2 ID to 2nd SCR where they remained until they rejoined 3rd ACR in OCT 2008. 2nd Squadron conducted several major operations during its time in Diyala including Operation Raider Harvest, which removed the most of the last pockets of organized resistance in Diyala in the vicinity of Muqdadiyah. 2nd Squadron also spearheaded Operation Sabre Tempest, the largest combined Iraqi Army–U.S. Army air assault mission of OIF. This operation and several follow-on operations cleared and secured Diyala Province from Baqubah to the Iranian border. Having completed its mission in Diyala, 2nd Squadron rejoined the rest of 3rd ACR in Mosul in OCT 2008 where it assumed an area of responsibility between 1st and 3rd Squadrons. On rejoining the regiment, Grim Troop, from 2nd Squadron was awarded the Draper Award for Leadership Excellence. 2nd Squadron held this area and in combined operations with Iraqi security forces destroyed numerous caches and detained more than 50 insurgents before the squadron's redeployment to Fort Hood in January 2009.
Post OIF 07-09
On 3 April 2009, Reginald E. Allen became the 73rd Colonel of the Regiment, the first African-American to command a United States cavalry regiment, and Jonathan J. Hunt, the XVIIIth Regimental Command Sergeant Major. The new command team immediately focused on the reception of equipment from the post-deployment reset program, the integration of newly arrived personnel, and the continuation of individual training. The Squadrons concentrated on weapons qualification, combat life saver training, and mandatory classes and schools through the summer until they began to receive their combat vehicles back from reset. As each unit's tanks and Bradleys arrived, the crews conducted communications and live fire tests as well as driver's training to certify new operators on their equipment. Soldiers also attended refresher training on new equipment and upgrades made during the reset process. With all of their vehicles and weapons finally back from reset, the squadrons accelerated their training pace to prepare for the next deployment to Iraq.
In the fall of 2009 the regiment received orders to deploy to Iraq again the following summer. This time period also marked the beginning of a series of field training exercises that gradually increased in intensity as the squadrons moved into the collective phase of training. Platoon and troop-level situational training exercises (STX) challenged junior leaders to assess their surrounding and decide on a course of action when faced with various tactical scenarios. These exercises also offered the first opportunity to test the new company intelligence support teams (COISTs) that had been selected and trained throughout the summer. The COISTs emphasized the bottom-up development and refinement of intelligence that is fundamental part of counterinsurgency operations in the contemporary operating environment. COIST members practiced debriefing patrols after simulated combat missions and developing an intelligence pictures for the company-level commander to drive future operations. This new capability will provide units with an increased understanding of the environment in their areas of responsibility in their next deployment.
On 5 November 2009, the regiment was called upon again, not to face an overseas threat, but to help protect the members of its own community when a lone attacker opened fire on Soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood‘s Soldier Readiness Center. Sabre Squadron, the installation‘s designated crisis reaction battalion at the time of the incident, was alerted to deploy back from training in the field and assist Fort Hood Emergency Services with cordoning the crime scene while the police searched for additional suspects. Joined by Soldiers from Tiger, Thunder, and Muleskinner, Sabre Squadron manned entry control points around the post to systematically search vehicles leaving the installation later that evening and the continued to secure the gates for several days after the attack. When President Obama visited Fort Hood on 10 November to help memorialize the twelve soldiers and one civilian who died in the attack, the regiment teamed with the Directorate of Emergency Services again to secure the route for the official convoy from the airfield to the III Corps headquarters.
In December, the squadrons took to the field for two more weeks of collective training to prepare for the National Training Center rotation scheduled for the following spring. Troops occupied patrol bases outside simulated Iraqi villages across Fort Hood and spent several days developing intelligence, training Iraqi security forces, and conducting reconnaissance operations. These Squadron-level exercises tested the units on the techniques and procedures they had developed throughout the fall and simulated the types of operations they would conduct at the National Training Center the following spring. After a short block leave for the winter holidays, the regiment's troopers began to prepare in earnest for what would likely be the 3rd ACR's last heavy stabilized gunnery beginning at the end of January. The Chief of Staff of the Army directed the regiment to convert to a Stryker regiment after the next deployment to Iraq. The announcement came out in the fall but the decision was not final until early 2010. This last stabilized gunnery helped train a new generation of tankers and scouts, many of whom had never fired a formal gunnery due to the high tempo of operational deployments.
As part of the planned Stryker transformation, the regiment also received word that Longknife Squadron would be deactivated in 2010 and reflagged as part of a new combat aviation brigade (CAB) that would be formed at Fort Lewis, but the squadron will remain at Fort Hood until 2012 as part of the new split-based CAB. The aviation squadron continued its training and crew certification program throughout this time period, including two deployments to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk supporting other deploying brigades and then supporting the regiment with attack and lift capabilities at a mission readiness exercise at the NTC in May/June 2010.
The regiment's NTC rotation 10-07 at Fort Irwin set the conditions for the regiment's pending deployment. Because of the extensive training and extended dwell, the regiment entered the rotation at higher training level than most units and as such was able to ramp up the training faster using less situational training exercise (STX) days and spending more days fully exercising all systems in the regiment.
Fourth tour (Operation New Dawn (August 2010 – August 2011))
The regiment's fourth deployment in seven years would be very different from the previous three but no less challenging or dangerous as an advise and assist regiment/brigade (AAB) in support of Operation New Dawn. On 30 Sep 2010 the regiment conducted a transition of authority with 3rd BDE, 3rd ID and assumed responsibility for the five northern provinces of United States Division-South under MG Vincent Brooks and the 1st Infantry Division. Later in the deployment the regiment was under the operational control of the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division.
The regiment’s area of operations included the Iraqi provinces of Babil, Karbala, Najaf, Diwaniyah (Qadisiyah), and Wasit; an area roughly the size of South Carolina. After assuming operational authority as the first AAB deployed during Operation New Dawn, 3rd ACR’s mission was to conduct stability operations in support of the United States Department of State provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) and to advise, train, and assist Iraqi security forces (ISF) of the 8th Iraqi Army (IA) Division and the 3rd and 5th Directorates of Border Enforcement (DBE) Regions. 3rd ACR's geographical terrain was the largest operational environment (OE) in the United States Forces-Iraq OE, encompassing approximately 64,700 square kilometers of desert, agricultural fields and urban terrain. Within this diverse area, the human terrain of OE Rifles included the cultural fault line between the Shi’a population in southern Iraq and the Sunni population in central Iraq.
Executing more than 12,000 dismounted and mounted patrols, 76 named operations, 3,500 operations in partnership with various Iraqi security force counterparts, more than 1300 key leader engagements (KLEs), and training more than 14,000 ISF personnel, 3rd ACR Troopers maintained a consistently high tempo of operations, intelligence gathering and analysis, and stability support and development during the year long deployment. In conjunction with Department of State personnel, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment also completed more than 200 civil projects with a value of $49.7M..
|Ribbon||Award||Action||Period of Award||Orders||Date of Award|
|Presidential Unit Citation||For service at Bastogne in World War II (3rd and 21st Tank Battalions)||18 – 27 Dec 44||kk||6 Jun 62|
|Valorous Unit Award||For service in Operation Iraqi Freedom I||25 Apr – 18 Sep 03||232-02||31 Jun 06|
|Valorous Unit Award||For service in Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06 (Regimental HQ, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and Support Squadrons)||18 May – 23 Sep 05||049-10||18 Feb 10|
|Valorous Unit Award||For service in Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06 (3rd Squadron)||15 Jan 05 – 14 Jan 06||070-17||10 Mar 08|
|Valorous Unit Award||For service in Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09 (2nd Squadron)||11 Dec 07 – 28 Dec 08||174-06||23 Jun 09|
|Valorous Unit Award||For service in Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09 (3rd Squadron)||5 Dec 07 – 1 Apr 08||163-04||12 Jun 09|
|Valorous Unit Award||For service in Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09 (4th Squadron)||23 Mar 08 – 5 Jun 08||GO 2014-55||25 Aug 14|
The United States Army Center of Military History summarizes the regiment's lineage as follows:
- Constituted 19 May 1846 in the Regular Army as the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.
- Organized 12 October 1846 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Redesignated 3 August 1861 as 3rd United States Cavalry.
- Inactivated 15 July 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia; personnel and equipment transferred to 3rd Armored Regiment.
- Redesignated 18 January 1943 as 3rd Cavalry, Mechanized.
- Activated 15 March 1943 at Camp Gordon, Georgia.
- Regiment broken up 3 November 1943 and its elements reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Cavalry Group, Mechanized and the 3rd and 43rd Reconnaissance Squadrons, Mechanized.
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Cavalry Group, Mechanized, inactivated 22 December 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.
- Activated 26 February 1946 at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.
- Redesignated 5 November 1948 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Armored Cavalry; organization of the remainder of 3rd Armored Cavalry completed 3 November 1948 by redefinition of elements of 3rd and 43rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons, Mechanized and by reconstruction, redefinition, and activation of certain other elements of the 3rd Cavalry which had been inactivated or demobilized 1921–1928.
- 3rd, 777th, and 21st Tank Battalions consolidated with 3rd Armored Cavalry 8 January 1951. (Battalions and Companies redesignated Squadrons and Troops, 1 June 1960).
More on the regiment's lineage as follows:
- Relocated in 1972 from Ft. Lewis, Washington to Ft. Bliss, Texas
- Relocated to Ft. Carson, Colorado in 1996
- Relocated to Ft. Hood, Texas on 13 July 2006 
- "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Addison D. Davis, IV. "Record of Decision (ROD) for Conversion of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) at Fort Hood, TX". Federal Register. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- JC Jones (24 June 2015). "3rd Cavalry Regiment adds engineer squadron". Fort Hood Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 5.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 6.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 7.
- Morton, Capt. Charles. "Third Regiment of Cavalry". United States Army Center of Military History (CMH). Retrieved 4 May 2009.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 10.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 11.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 12.
- Otis, George Alexander (1871), A Report of surgical cases treated in the Army of the United States from 1865 to 1871, Govt. Print. Off., p. 160, OCLC 68251575, retrieved 6 May 2011
- Blood and Steel!, p. 14.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 15.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 16.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 17.
- "The Day the Earth Stood Still – Page 1". Ftmeade.army.mil. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 23.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 30.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 31.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 32.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 33.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 34.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 36.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 38.
- Blood and Steel!, p. 40.
- "Amputee Soldier to Return to Iraq Duty". ABC News. 20 February 2005.
- Rozelle, David (2012). Back In Action: An American Soldier's Story Of Courage, Faith And Fortitude. Regnery. ISBN 978-1-59698-184-3.
- "President Discusses War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom". Georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- Blood and Steel. Page 26. Ft Hood, TX: Third Cavalry Museum, 2008. PDF. http://www.braverifles.org/BloodSteel.pdf
- Blood and Steel. Page 29. Ft Hood, TX: Third Cavalry Museum, 2008. PDF. http://www.braverifles.org/BloodSteel.pdf
- Blood and Steel. Page 53. Ft Hood, TX: Third Cavalry Museum, 2008. PDF. http://www.braverifles.org/BloodSteel.pdf
- Blood and Steel! The History, Customs, and Traditions of The 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (PDF) (2010–2011 ed.), Fort Hood, Texas: Third Cavalry Museum
- Back to the Front Lines:Amputees keep fighting, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- Global Security.org: 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.|
- Official website, including regimental history
- Official Facebook site, Follow the Regiments Journey in Operation New Dawn in Iraq]
- The Mounted Rifleman, an official publication of the 3rd ACR
- From Iraq, troops see parallels in Katrina, a September 2005 Associated Press article about 3rd ACR activities in Ninawa