4th Cavalry Regiment (United States)

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4th Cavalry
4th Cavalry Regiment coat of arms
Active 1855- present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army
Type Armored cavalry
Motto(s) "Prepared and Loyal"
Engagements American Civil War
Indian Wars
Philippine Insurrection
World War II
Vietnam War
War in Southwest Asia
Global War on Terrorism
Iraq Campaign
Edwin V. Sumner (1855-58)
Joseph E. Johnston (1855-60)
Robert E. Lee (1861)
Ranald S. Mackenzie (1871-81)
H. R. McMaster (1999-2002; 1st Squadron)
Distinctive unit insignia 4CavalryRegtDUI.jpg
U.S. Cavalry Regiments
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The 4th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage is traced back to the mid-19th century. It was one of the most effective units of the Army against American Indians on the Texas frontier. Today, the regiment exists as separate squadrons within the U.S. Army. The 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry's official nickname is "Quarterhorse", which alludes to its 1/4 Cav designation. The 3rd Squadron of the 4th Cavalry's official nickname is "Raiders". Today, the "1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry", "2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry", "4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry", and "6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" are parts of the 1st Infantry Division, while the "3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry" serves as part of the 25th Infantry Division. On 23 September 2009, the "4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" officially stood up at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of the 1st "Devil" Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. On 28 March 2008, the "5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" officially stood up at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of the 2nd "Dagger" Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. The 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry served as part of the recently inactivated 1st Infantry Division, 3rd "Duke" Brigade, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Origin and early service[edit]

In 1855, the United States Congress recognized the need for mounted regiments in the U.S. Army in addition to the First and Second Regiments of Dragoons and the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.[1] The 1st Cavalry Regiment—later re-designated as the 4th Cavalry Regiment—was organized under the act of 3 March 1855.[2] On 26 March 1855, the regiment was organized at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.[1] The regiment's first commander was Colonel Edwin V. Sumner, who served from 3 March 1855 to 16 March 1861.[2] In August 1855, the regiment was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[1] Colonel Sumner had two missions. The first was to keep the peace between the pro-slavery and free state factions in Kansas; the second was to protect settlers from attacks by Cheyenne warriors.[1]

The 1st Cavalry Regiment:[3] along with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was authorized in 1855 and formed at Jefferson Barracks, MO. All field grade officers (majors or above) and one half of the company grade officers (captains and lieutenants) were to come from existing army units. The other half of the company grade officers and most of the enlisted men came from civilian life. Each company sent out one lieutenant and one sergeant to city after city to recruit men to fill the ranks. Posters, displayed in each city promised good clothing, rations and medical attention. The pay rate was $12.00 a month for privates, $14.00 for corporals, $17.00 for Duty Sergeants, and $22.00 for First Sergeants.

The regiment had four field-grade officers, one full colonel in command, one lieutenant colonel as second in command and two majors. Each of the ten companies had a captain, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, four sergeants, four corporals and eighty-four privates. Also attached to each company was a one farrier and blacksmith and two buglers.

Each company had horses of a distinctive color. This served two purposes. In addition to the dramatic effect on parade, the distinctive color made it easy for members of the regiment to locate their company in the heat of battle. The assigned colors were Company A had sorrels, B, grays; C, sorrels; D, bays; E, roans; F, sorrels; G, blacks; H, bays; I, sorrels; and, K, bays. The buglers had white horses. The officers each had two horses. They could select the color of their choice. Officers were required to provide their uniforms, equipment and horses.

The new recruits after a physical exam, were trained in horsemanship and as cavalrymen at Fort Leavenworth and Jefferson Barracks.

In the fall of 1855 the regiment was ordered to participate in an expedition against the Sioux. As it turned out, the regiment were not directly involved in the major engagement with the Sioux.

In 1856 the regiment was engaged in maintaining the peace in the Kansas Territory between the pro-slavery group who fought to make the territory a slave state, and the free-state faction, who bitterly opposed them. This conflict had given rise to the term "Bleeding Kansas".

Its first colonel, Sumner, and lieuternant colonel, Joseph E. Johnston, were both future Civil War generals. During the summer of 1856, Cheyenne war parties attacked four wagon trains, killing twelve people and kidnapping two. The commander of the Department of the West recommended that the Cheyenne be punished for their attacks on emigrant trains. He recommended that any action be put off until spring of 1857.

Campaign against the Cheyenne of 1857[3][edit]

In May 1857 preparation began for the expedition with the organizing of the 1st Cavalry under Colonel Edwin Vose Sumner at Fort Leavenworth. Sumner divided the regiment into two columns in order to circle the Cheyenne hunting grounds in central Kansas Territory. One column, under Major John Sedgwick, departed on May 18 with four companies, five Delaware scouts and forty wagons, heading west along the Arkansas River past Bent's Fort north up to the South Fork of the Platte River. There they were to meet Sumner's column, which had left Fort Leavenworth on May 20, with four cavalry companies, 300 cattle and 51 wagons. Sumner's column went north and then west up to Fort Kearny, where three companies of the 6th Infantry Regiment and two companies of the 2nd Dragoons, five Pawnee scouts and ten more wagons were added. After considerable difficulty in crossing the South Platte River, Sumner's column and Sedgwick's columns met at the South Platte as planned on July 4. The whole regiment then traveled east through central Kansas to their rendezvous with the Cheyenne on the Solomon river. The map in the inset shows the routes taken by both columns.[4]

Meanwhile, the Cheyenne, about three hundred strong, were midway between the two columns, probably around the Republican River, where they had spent the previous winter. The Cheyenne consisted of both Northern Cheyenne and Southern Cheyenne. They knew the U.S. Cavalry were searching for them, so they remained banded together longer than they normally did.

On July 29, 1857, the Regiment caught up with the Cheyenne on the bank of the Solomon River. As the two groups paused within about a mile of each other, the cavalry commander, Col. E.V. Sumner, gave the command "Gallop march." Both groups approached each other at full speed. Col. Sumner then commanded "Sling carbines! Draw Sabers! Charge." It was the first time sabres had been used in the West.[4] The astonished Indians, whose medicine, administered by holy men before the battle, protected them from carbines but not from sabers, became terrified when they saw the sabers. They pivoted and ran as fast as their horses would carry them away from the troopers. The chase lasted for about seven miles before the Indians, having faster horses, pulled ahead too far for the cavalry to follow. During the brief fighting that took place during the chase, two troopers were killed and nine, including Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart (the future Confederates' most famous cavalry general during the Civil War, were wounded. An estimated nine Indians were killed on the field and an unknown number were wounded. The cavalry wounded and a detachment of infantry were left behind in a makeshift fort while the rest of the 1st Cavalry followed the Indians as best they could.

This engagement was the climax of The Cheyenne Expedition, which began two and a half months earlier at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. After the battle the regiment left the wounded, including J.E.B. Stuart and one company of infantry, and followed the trail of the Cheyenne south towards the Arkansas river. They found and destroyed a large abandoned village that had recently been occupied but were not able to catch the rapidly dispersing Indians. The regiment received orders to split up and send four companies under Major Sedgewick to join Col. Albert Sidney Johnston at Fort Kearney to become part of the Utah Expedition, while the other two companies were to proceed to Fort Leavenworth under Col. Sumner. However, before reaching Fort Kearney Major Sedgewick received further orders to return to Fort Leavenworth to rejoin the rest of the regiment.

The regiment was Col. Robert E. Lee's last command in the U.S. Army before the American Civil War. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the 1st Cavalry Regiment was dissolved and reorganized. Many of its commissioned officers rose to prominence during the war, including Lee as well as George B. McClellan and J.E.B. Stuart.

Civil War[edit]

As early as 1854, the War Department had been wanting to redesignate all mounted regiments as cavalry and to renumber them in order of seniority. As the 1st Cavalry Regiment was the fourth oldest mounted regiment in terms of active service, it was redesignated as the 4th United States Cavalry Regiment on 3 August 1861.

Most of the regiment was assigned to the Western Theater and fought against Confederates in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory. In 1861–62, two companies served with distinction in Virginia in the Army of the Potomac before being reunited with the rest of the regiment in Tennessee. Those companies fought in the major battles of First Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, Fredericksburg and Antietam.

The bulk of the regiment fought gallantly and continuously in the western theater from Shiloh to Macon, participating in the fights at Chickamauga, Stones River, and Battle of Nashville.

Civil War service[edit]

With so many regiments being sent east for the war effort, the 1st U.S. Cavalry was initially kept on the frontier until militia-type units were raised to protect against Indian raids. On 22 June 1861, former 1st Cavalry officer George McClellan, now a major general, requested Company A and Company E to serve as his personal escort. These two companies saw action in the Bull Run, Peninsula, Antietam and Fredericksburg campaigns, not rejoining the regiment until 1864. The rest of the 1st Cavalry was committed to action in Mississippi and Missouri.

Since 1854 it had been advocated to redesignate all mounted regiments as cavalry and to renumber them in order of seniority. This was done on 3 August 1861. As the 1st Cavalry was the fourth oldest mounted regiment, it was redesignated as the 4th Cavalry Regiment.

During the early years of the Civil War, Union commanders scattered their cavalry regiments, conducting company, squadron (two company) and battalion (four company) operations. The 4th Cavalry was no exception, with its companies scattered from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast carrying out the traditional cavalry missions of reconnaissance, screening and raiding.

In the first phases of the war in the West, companies of 4th Cavalry saw action in various Missouri, Mississippi and Kentucky campaigns, as well as the seizure of Forts Henry and Donelson and the Battle of Shiloh. On 31 December 1862, a two-company squadron of the 4th Cavalry attacked and routed a Confederate cavalry brigade near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In 1863–64, companies of the 4th saw further action in Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi. On 30 June 1863, another squadron charged a six-gun battery of Confederate artillery near Shelbyville, Tennessee, capturing the entire battery and three hundred prisoners.

By the spring of 1864, the success of the large Confederate cavalry corps of J.E.B. Stuart had convinced the Union leadership to form their own Cavalry Corps in the East under General Philip Sheridan. The 4th Cavalry was ordered to reunite as a regiment and, on 14 December 1864, it joined in the attack on Nashville, Tennessee, as part of the Western Cavalry Corps commanded by General James Wilson. In the hard-fought battle, the 4th help turn the Confederate flank, sending them in retreat. As the Confederate forces attempted a delaying action at West Harpeth, Tennessee, an element of the 4th Cavalry led by Lt. Joseph Hedges charged and captured a Confederate artillery battery. For his bravery, Hedges received the Medal of Honor, the first one to be bestowed on a member of the 4th Cavalry.

In March 1865, General Wilson was ordered to take his cavalry on a drive through Alabama to capture the Confederate supply depot at Selma. Wilson had devoted considerable effort in preparing his cavalry for the mission, and it was a superbly trained and disciplined force that left Tennessee, led by the 4th Cavalry. As the column moved south into Alabama, it encountered Confederate cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. With superior numbers and firepower, Wilson's force defeated the Confederates, allowing the Union troopers to arrive in Selma the next day. On 2 April 1865, the attack on Selma commenced, led by the 4th Cavalry in a mounted charge. A railroad cut and fence line soon halted the mounted attack. Dismounting, the regiment pressed the attack and stormed the town. Selma's rich store of munitions and supplies were destroyed, along with the foundries and arsenals.

Wilson next turned east to link up with General Sherman. His force took Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, before arriving in Macon, Georgia, where word came of the surrender of Lee's and Johnston's armies. The regiment remained in Macon as occupation troops. After participating in the Battle of Columbus—the last battle of the war—the regiment assisted in capturing fugitive Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Indian Wars[edit]

In August 1865, the 4th Cavalry was sent to Texas. At various times during the next thirteen years, units from its twelve companies occupied military posts between the Rio Grande and Jacksboro, and between San Antonio and San Angelo. {See Fifth Military District for reports of the 4th Cavalry in Texas between 1867-1869}. Before 1871, the operations of the regiment were limited to guarding the mail and settlements against Indians and to desultory attempts to overtake bands of Indian raiders. The regiment's commander during this period, Col. Lawrence Pike Graham, never had to lead a major campaign, and none of the regiment's fourteen skirmishes with Indians was of major significance.

However, in December 1870, Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie was assigned command of the 4th Cavalry, with orders to put a stop to Comanche and Kiowa raids along the Texas frontier. On 25 February 1871, Mackenzie took command of the 4th Cavalry at Fort Concho. A month later, he moved the headquarters of the regiment to Fort Richardson, near Jacksboro; some companies of the 4th remained at Fort Griffin and Fort Concho. In May, while General William T. Sherman, then the commanding general of the army, was at Fort Richardson, the Kiowas brutally mutilated some teamsters from a wagon train on nearby Salt Creek Prairie (see Warren Wagon Train Raid). A few days later at Fort Sill, Sherman had three leaders of the raid, Satanta (White Bear), Satank (Sitting Bear), and Addo-etta (Big Tree), arrested and had Mackenzie return them to Jacksboro to stand trial for murder. On the way, an enlisted trooper killed Satank when he tried to escape; White Bear and Big Tree were later sentenced to life imprisonment.

In August 1871, Mackenzie led an expedition into Indian Territory against the Comanches and Kiowas who had left the agency, but he was later ordered to return to Texas. He then led eight companies of the 4th Cavalry and two companies of the 11th U.S Infantry, about 600 men, in search of Quahadi Comanches, who had refused to go onto the reservation and were plundering the Texas frontier. On 10 October, he skirmished with a group of them in Blanco Canyon, near the site of present Crosbyton, but the entire band escaped across the plains.

The following summer, Mackenzie, with six companies of the 4th Cavalry, renewed his search for the Quahadis. After establishing his supply camp on the Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River (now the White River) southeast of present Crosbyton, Mackenzie with five companies of cavalry followed a cattle trail across the unexplored High Plains into the New Mexico Territory and returned by another well-watered Comanchero road from Fort Bascom, near the site of present Tucumcari, New Mexico, to the site of present Canyon. At the head of 222 cavalrymen on 29 September, he surprised and destroyed Chief Mow-way's village of Quahadi and Kotsoteka Comanches on the North Fork of the Red River about six miles (10 km) east of the site of present-day Lefors, Texas. An estimated 52 Indians were killed and 124 captured, with a loss of 3 cavalrymen killed and 3 wounded. For almost a year, both the Kiowas and Comanches remained at peace.

In March 1873, Mackenzie and five companies (A, B, C, E, and K) of the 4th Cavalry were transferred to Fort Clark with orders to put an end to the Mexican-based Kickapoo and Apache depredations in Texas, which had cost an alleged $48 million. On 18 May 1873, Mackenzie, with five companies of the 4th Cavalry, crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico; they then surprised and burned three villages of the raiders near Remolino, Coahuila; the cavalrymen killed nineteen Indians and captured forty-one, with a loss of one trooper killed and two wounded. The soldiers recrossed the Rio Grande into Texas at daybreak the next morning, with some of the men having ridden an estimated 160 miles (260 km) in 49 hours. The raid and an effective system of border patrols brought temporary peace to the area. The John Wayne movie Rio Grande (part of John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy) is loosely based on this incident.

When the Southern Plains Indians opened the Red River War in June 1874, the Grant administration discarded its Quaker peace policy and authorized the military to take control of the reservations and subdue all hostile Indians. General Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Division of the Missouri, ordered five military expeditions to converge on their hideouts along the upper Red River country. In the ensuing campaign, the 4th Cavalry was the most successful. On 26–27 September, it staved off a Comanche attack at the head of Tule Canyon, and, on the morning of 28 September, descended by a narrow trail to the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon. There it completely destroyed five Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne villages, including large quantities of provisions, and captured 1,424 horses and mules, of which 1,048 were slaughtered at the head of Tule Canyon. Afterward, Mackenzie, with detachments of the regiment, made two other expeditions onto the High Plains. On 3 November, near the site of Tahoka, in their last fight with the Comanches, the cavalrymen killed two and captured nineteen Indians. In the spring of 1875, Mackenzie and elements of the 4th Cavalry from various posts in Texas were sent to Fort Sill to take control of the Southern Plains Indians.

Meanwhile, the Indians in Mexico had renewed their marauding in Texas. In 1878 General Sherman, at the insistence of the Texans, transferred Mackenzie and six companies of the 4th Cavalry to Fort Clark. This time Mackenzie led a larger and more extensive expedition into Mexico, restored a system of patrols, and reestablished peace in the devastated region of South Texas.

Outside Texas, Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry administered and controlled the Kiowa-Comanche and the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservations for several years, and, after the defeat of George Armstrong Custer's command at the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876, forced Red Cloud and his band of Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes to surrender. In the autumn of 1879, Mackenzie with six companies of the 4th Cavalry subdued the hostile Utes in Southern Colorado without firing a shot and in August 1880 forced them to move to a reservation in Utah Territory.

Immediately thereafter, the 4th Cavalry was transferred to Arizona Territory, where Mackenzie was to assume full command of all military forces in the department and subdue the hostile Apaches. Within less than a month, the Apaches had surrendered or fled to Mexico, and on 30 October, Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry were transferred to the new District of New Mexico. By 1 November 1882, when W. B. Royall replaced Mackenzie as colonel, the 4th Cavalry had forced the White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros to remain peacefully on their respective reservations.

From 1884 to 1886 the 4th Cavalry again operated against the Apaches in Arizona and helped capture Geronimo. Particularly noteworthy was B troop's pursuit of Geronimo into Northern Mexico led by Capt. Lawton and Surgeon Leonard Wood. Thus ended the regiment's participation in the Indian Wars.

In 1890 the regimental headquarters was moved to Fort Walla Walla, Washington. The regiment split, with half going to the Department of the Columbia, and half to the Department of California at the Presidio of San Francisco. The California contingent provided the first superintendent and park guardians for the General Grant, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks in 1891.

Philippine Insurrection[edit]

Once the Spanish-American War had ended in 1898, Admiral Dewey called for reinforcements to defend the Philippines from insurgents and dissident elements of the Philippine Revolutionary Army. Six troops of the 4th Cavalry were sent out in August 1898 and began to garrison Manila. After Filipino forces fired on American soldiers on the San Juan Bridge, the Battle of Manila began. American troops drove out the Filipino forces and the 4th Cavalry began marching on Malolos, the enemy capital.[5] Because of a mix-up regarding supply and shipping, the regiment's mounts were unloaded in Hawaii and the Troops E, I, and K were forced to ride Philippine ponies, and Troops C, G, and L acted dismounted during the Battle of Santa Cruz under General Henry Ware Lawton, who had served with B Troop of the 4th Cavalry in 1888 during the Geronimo campaign. By August 1899, the remainder of the regiment arrived, and in the fall, the troopers engaged in the Battle of Paye in an attempt to capture the Philippine General, Emilio Aguinaldo, and Gen. Lawton was killed in action leading the troops. In January 1901, the 4th Cavalry was assigned pacification duties in the southern region of Luzon and finally shipped home on 31 September 1901. During the Philippine Insurrection, the 4th Cavalry Regiment had fought in 119 skirmishes and battles.[5]

Upon returning home from the Philippines, the three squadrons were sent to Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, and Jefferson Barracks respectively. In 1905, the troopers returned to the Philippines, when the Moro Rebellion began.[5] This time, the troopers would operate in the southern Philippines on the islands of Mindanao and Jolo. Between 5-8 March 1906, the 4th Cavalry fought in the First Battle of Bud Dajo, where rebellious forces of the Islamic Sultanate of Sulu had fortified the Bud Dajo volcano. 211 dismounted troopers advanced up the sides of the steep volcano alongside other elements of the US Army and Philippine Constabulary. The going was tough and they had to slash through the jungle with machetes up a 60% slope. After reaching the enemy defensive positions, the troopers engaged in a gun battle, then charged, and the American bayonet clashed with the Filipino Kris. The enemy force of nearly 1,000 was killed, including civilians not engaged in the battle, and 21 Americans were killed and 70 were wounded. This was the bloodiest battle of the Moro Rebellion and it is depicted today at the top of the 4th Cavalry's Coat of Arms.

Early 20th century[edit]

4th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Meade, South Dakota, 17 July 1909

In 1907, the balance of the regiment was reassigned to Fort Meade, South Dakota, while the 3rd Squadron was assigned to Fort Snelling, Minnesota. The 4th Cavalry served on the Mexican border in Texas from 1911 to 1913. For the next six years, the regiment served at Schofield Barracks in the Territory of Hawaii and did not participate in World War I. In 1919, the 4th returned to the Mexican border and patrolled the area near Brownsville, Texas. In 1921, they were transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and in 1922, the regimental Coat of Arms and Distinctive Unit Insignia were approved by the War Department.[5] In 1925, the regiment returned to Fort Meade, SD, and conducted normal peacetime training and field operations in Wyoming. In 1926, John Phillip Sousa, impressed with the 4th Cavalry's reputation, wrote a march for the unit; "Riders for the Flag."[5]

World War II[edit]

In 1939, World War II erupted in Europe, and by 1940, the US Army realized that its armored warfare capabilities were inadequate should war come to America. The 4th Cavalry Regiment was redesignated as a Horse-Mechanized Corps Reconnaissance Regiment. 2nd Squadron was mechanized but 1st Squadron retained its horses until the spring of 1942 when it was mechanized as well. In January 1943, the 4th Cavalry left for the Mojave Desert to begin training for desert warfare in preparation for the fighting in the North African Campaign.[6] Orders were changed, however, and the unit was sent to England to serve as the reconnaissance element for the VII Corps. Arriving on 15 December 1943, they camped at Singleton, West Sussex. The 4th Cavalry's designation was then changed to the 4th Cavalry Group, Mechanized (later called the 4th Mechanized Cavalry Group, or MCG. During WWII, the term MCG is synonymous with regiment in regards to cavalry formations). 1st Squadron was renamed the 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized, and 2nd Squadron was renamed the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized.[7]

In preparation for the Invasion of Normandy, the 4th MCG was assigned the task of capturing the Îles Saint-Marcouf, 6,000 yards out from Utah Beach in order to neutralize the formidable fortifications the Wehrmacht had erected there. Along with this mission, the 4th was also to land two troops ashore in order to link up with elements of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division behind German lines to give the paratroopers armored support.[8]

At 0430 on 6 June 1944, elements of A Troop 4th Squadron, and B Troop 24th Squadron landed on the Saint-Marcouf islands. CPL Harvey S. Olsen and PVT Thomas C. Killeran of Troop A (4th), and SGT John S. Zanders and CPL Melvin F. Kinzie of Troop B (24th) swam ashore armed only with knives to mark the beaches for the landing craft. They became the first seaborne American soldiers to land in France on D-Day.[9] When the invasion began, the troops rapidly captured the islands with no resistance; the Germans had evacuated, but 19 men were killed or wounded due to enemy mines. On 7 June, just south of Utah Beach, a platoon of Troop B, 4th Squadron, linked up with elements of the 82nd Airborne and managed to ambush a German convoy in a mechanized cavalry charge, causing the enemy to retreat and leave behind 200 casualties. Rough seas prevented C Troop from landing, but they linked up with elements of the 101st on 8 June.[10]

As US forces attacked toward the Cotentin Peninsula, the 4th MCG's two squadrons provided flank security for the 4th Infantry Division and the 9th Infantry Division. Near Cape de la Hague, 4th Squadron fought dismounted in a bloody five-day engagement and captured over 600 prisoners.[11] Both Squadrons were awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star for their gallantry in the Battle of Cherbourg. After the Battle of Saint-Lô in July 1944, VII Corps began its drive towards Paris, and the 4th MCG assumed responsibility of covering the Corps' flanks. Paris was liberated on 24 August 1944, and the 4th crossed the Seine River the next day, and the Marne River by 31 August. As the men prepared to enter German-occupied Belgium, the 759th Light Tank Battalion, the 635th Tank-Destroyer Battalion (Self-Propelled), and the 87th Armored Field Artillery Battalion were attached to the 4th MCG, giving it the firepower of a light armored brigade. The Group penetrated the Siegfried Line and crossed into Germany on 14 September, but met stiff German resistance in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.[12]

On 16 December 1944, the Wehrmacht launched a major surprise attack on the Allied lines in the Ardennes in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. The attack landed on elements of VII Corps as well, and some of the fiercest fighting of the war for the 4th MCG occurred on 19th-21st of December on the edges of the Hürtgen Forest along the Roer River.[13] Here, the troopers of the 4th MCG were ordered to seize the heavily defended town of Bogheim and the high-ground from the southeast. On the 19th, under a blanket of heavy fog, two troops from the 4th Squadron infiltrated Bogheim undetected and engaged the Germans, but the two other troops coming to support were spotted and engaged in the open as the fog lifted, and took heavy casualties. Despite this, the Germans were driven out of town by the afternoon. All four troop commanders were casualties, as well as a quarter of all the enlisted men. Nevertheless, the 4th Squadron charged, dismounted, across 200 yards of open field the next morning to capture the nearby high ground. In the Battle of Bogheim, 4th Squadron had defeated two battle groups of the 947th German Infantry and company of the 6th Parachute Regiment. For its bravery in action despite heavy casualties, the 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.[14]

As the German offensive resumed, VII Corps was sent south into Belgium to block the enemy's advance. By 23 December, the 4th MCG was once again in contact, and screened the movement of VII Corps units. On 24 December, the 4th was attached to the 2nd Armored Division and was tasked with defending the key road junction at Humain to prevent the Germans separating the 2nd Armored Division and the 84th Infantry Division defensive lines. 4th Squadron left to screen the flanks of CCA and CCB of the 2nd Armored Division, leaving 24th Squadron to defend Humain.[15] By midnight of 24-25 December 1944, Troop A, 24th Squadron, had taken Humain, but was repulsed by a German panzer attack on Christmas morning. The 24th attempted to retake the town, but its light armor was no match for the heavy German panzers, and the troopers made little progress. On 26 December, reinforced by tanks from the 2nd Armored Division, the 24th drove out the Germans from Humain and halted their advance in that sector.[16]

After retaking the ground lost in the Battle of the bulge, Allied forces resumed their drive into Germany. The 4th MCG conducted more screening operations for the VII Corps advance during the closing of the Ruhr Pocket. As the war in Europe began winding down, the 4th MCG participated in the operation to eliminate a force of 85,000 Germans holding out in the Harz Mountains, and this mission was accomplished on 21 April 1945 with most of the enemy surrendering. The 4th continued advancing and mopped up along the Elbe River, and was in Leipzig on VE Day, 8 May 1945.[17]

Occupation of Germany and Austria[edit]

After the Allied victory in World War II, the US Army organized the US Constabulary to perform occupation duties in Allied-occupied Germany, West Berlin, and Austria. The 4th Mechanized Cavalry Group was redesignated the 4th Constabulary Regiment with the 4th and 24th Constabulary Squadrons. The regimental HQ was located at Camp McCauley in Hörsching, Austria.[18] The 4th Constabulary Squadron was stationed in Wels and the 24th was stationed in Ebelsberg. Several troops were separated and posted to other areas within the American zone of occupation in Austria maintaining law and order and security. The 4th Constabulary Regiment was inactivated on 1 May 1949, but its subordinate units remained active.[19] The same day, the 24th Constabulary Squadron was sent to Bad Hersfeld, West Germany, and conducted surveillance along the iron curtain until 15 December 1952, when it was deactivated. However, on 21 April 1953, the squadron was redesignated in an inactive status and renamed the 524th Reconnaissance Squadron. The 4th Constabulary Squadron was redesignated as the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 April 1949, and then on 1 December 1951 as the 4th Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. After several reorganizations and renamings, it was registered in an inactive status as the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 14th Squadron, 4th Cavalry on 1 April 1963.[20]

Vietnam War[edit]

M551 Sheridan and crew members of the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, Vietnam, 1969.

In 1965, the First Squadron of the 4th Cavalry ("1st of the 4th Cavalry" or 1-4 Cavalry - popularly called "Quarterhorse") deployed to the Republic of Vietnam with the First Infantry Division, spending eight years fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The Squadron's firepower, mobility, and shock effect led to their use as "Fire Brigades" at the scenes of the hottest action. They were followed by the Third Squadron, Fourth Cavalry (which was part of the Twenty-Fifth Infantry Division and commonly called "Three-Quarter Horse" or "Mackenzie's Raiders"). Both divisions were posted near Saigon and participated in some of the largest operations of the Vietnam War.

Gulf War[edit]

In 1990, the First Squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia, as part of Operation Desert Shield. This led to the Squadron's spearhead of the division assault into Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. First Squadron was assigned to 1-41 Infantry to breach Iraq's initial defensive network on the Saudi Arabian-Iraqi border. This joint effort would be known as Task Force Iron.[21]

On 4 May 1991, the 1-4 Cavalry received the Valorous Unit Award for service in the Gulf. Excerpt from orders: "The 1st squadron, 4th cavalry led the 1st infantry divisions attack across Iraq and Kuwait cutting the Iraqi army's escape route, the Kuwait city/Basra highway. The squadron continued its rapid advance, culminating with the capture of the Safwan airfield. During this drive the squadron destroyed 65 tanks, 66 armored personnel carriers, 66 trucks, 91 bunkers, and captured 3,000 enemy soldiers."[22]

2nd Squadron served with the 24th Infantry Division' aviation brigade.[23]

Balkans conflict[edit]

In 1995, 1-4 Cavalry was the second cavalry unit deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, (the first being 1-1 cav from Buedingen, Germany) supporting the peacekeeping mission set forth by the Dayton Peace Accord, for a period of eleven months at Camp Molly, Camp Alicia called the "Dog Pound" near Kalesija and Eagle Camp at Tuzla Main. 1999 and 2000 saw the air cav elements of the Quarterhorse returning to the Balkans, this time Kosovo, as members of Operation Joint Guardian II.

"K4B" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom"[edit]

The Schweinfurt-based "Quarterhorse" was tasked to be part of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade task force due to rotate into Kosovo, in late 2002. The squadron was to lead the U.S. contingent's aviation task force of OH-58D Kiowa and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, as well as provide force protection personnel for the U.S. headquarters at Camp Bondsteel. In late-October 2002, soldiers with 1st Infantry Division's, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment were abruptly told they would not deploy to Kosovo for peacekeeping duties, after working for several months to ready equipment they had received for their peacekeeping mission. 1st Infantry Division officials in Kosovo said they could not comment on the change, while a spokesman for V Corps, the division's Corps headquarters, referred all questions to EUCOM, the overall combatant command for V Corps. An EUCOM spokesman said he could not comment on the change, referring all questions back to V Corps. The first trainloads of the squadron's equipment bound for the Balkans from Germany was called back after departing Schweinfurt, en route to the Balkans.[24]

On 6 November 2002, the 1st Infantry Division published a warning order establishing ARFOR-T (Army Forces Turkey). This mission was enormous, encompassing the subordinate units of 2 heavy mechanized divisions, 4th ID and 1st ID. Normally these missions are assigned to corps headquarters. The following months involved extensive planning, command post exercises, and a joint warfighter with 1st ID key personnel traveling to Ft. Hood, TX, to conduct planning with the 4th ID staff. During this time the 1st Squadron's commander, Lt. Col. James H. Chevallier, designated about 40 personnel to comprise an ADVON,[jargon] and they deployed to Turkey in early February. Their mission was to conduct a detailed route reconnaissance from the seaport of debarkation (SPOD) at İskenderun, on the Mediterranean Sea coast, in south-central Turkey, to the border crossing near the tactical assembly areas located near the towns of Silopi, Dicle, and Cizre, near the Turkish-Iraqi border. The route reconnaissance conducted by less than 30 officers and non-commissioned officers is believed[by whom?] to the longest route recon conducted in modern times;[citation needed] the men assigned the task cataloged every bridge, route constriction and obstruction, hill grade, and curve radius for nearly 500 miles (800 km). The goal of ARFOR-T was to open a second front, to crush Iraqi armed resistance from the North. The Quarterhorse, mounted on the hastily drawn, and refurbished, HMMWVs they had prepared initially for their Kosovo rotation, would conduct a screen along one of the 4th IDs flanks as it charged south out of Turkey. While the Quarterhorse was conducting the route reconnaissance, the Turkish government debated at length whether they should to allow Coalition forces to invade from their territory, finally signaling in early March 2003 that the invasion would not be permitted from their soil. By early April, all of the Quarterhorse troopers returned to Schweinfurt, unsure what the future held, as the Iraqi regime was toppled by forces assaulting north from Kuwait. The main body of the squadron never deployed out of Germany, despite being on standby and prepared to move for nearly two weeks in early March.

While the invasion from the north that never materialized, the Quarterhorse participated in an accidental, yet convincing and important, deception that caused Saddam Hussein to order 13 armored divisions to the north to meet the invasion force.[citation needed] Because of this, the enemy force strength, or Order of Battle, was significantly reduced in the South, enabling the rapid assault from Kuwait in the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1-4 Cav deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II (OIF II) from January 2004 to March 2005. The squadron was deployed to two Base camps; Fob McKenzie near Ad-Duluiya and FOB Wilson just outside Ad-Dawr south of Tikirt in Salah-ad-Din Province. The squadron relieved elements of two battalions from the 4th Infantry Division. In September 2004 the squadron led the way for 1ID's retaking of the city of Samara from insurgent control and passed control of the city back to 2nd BDE, 1 ID. In January 2005 the squadron oversaw the conduct of the first Iraqi parliamentary elections after the 2003 invasion within their sector and passed over control of their sector to elements of the 3rd Infantry division before redeploying to Schweinfurt, Germany in February and March 2005.

Current status[edit]


Campaign participation credit[edit]

  • Indian Wars:
  1. Comanches;
  2. Solomon River, Kansas; July 1857
  3. Little Big Horn;
  4. Red River;
  5. Ramonlina;
  6. Pale Duro Canyon;
  7. Geronimo's Apaches Expedition; 1886
  • Civil War:
  1. First Bull Run;
  2. Peninsula Campaign;
  3. Antietam;
  4. Fredericksburg;
  5. Chickamauga;
  6. Murfreesboro;
  7. Nashville;
  8. Columbus, Georgia;
  9. Capture of Jefferson Davis;
  • World War II:
  1. D-Day - hedgerows of Normandy; 1944
  2. Huertgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge; 1944
  • Korean War:
  • Vietnam:
  1. Defense;
  2. Counteroffensive;
  3. Counteroffensive, Phase II;
  4. Counteroffensive, Phase III;
  5. Tet Counteroffensive;
  6. Counteroffensive, Phase IV;
  7. Counteroffensive, Phase V;
  8. Counteroffensive, Phase VI;
  9. Tet 69/Counteroffensive;
  10. Summer-Fall 1969;
  11. Winter-Spring 1970;
  12. Sanctuary Counteroffensive;
  13. Counteroffensive, Phase VII;
  14. Consolidation I;
  15. Consolidation II;
  16. Cease-Fire
  1. Defense of Saudi Arabia;
  2. Liberation and Defense of Kuwait;
  3. Cease-Fire
  • Bosnia
  • Kosovo
  • Iraqi Campaign
  1. Transition of Iraq
  2. National Resolution
  3. Iraqi Surge
  • Afghanistan Campaign
  1. Consolidation II


The Below Decorations have been awarded to the regiment as a whole:

  1. Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BOGHEIM GERMANY
  2. Presidential Unit Citation (US) (Army) for BINH THUAN PROVINCE
  3. French Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star, World War II, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY, 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron [less "B" Troop]
  4. Valorous Unit Award for QUANG TIN PROVINCE
  5. Valorous Unit Award for FISH HOOK
  6. Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SOUTHWEST ASIA
  7. Valorous Unit Award for Desert Storm - 1st Squadron
  8. Valorous Unit Award for Operation Iraqi Freedom, 1 Oct - 1 Nov 2004 - 1st Squadron[25]
  9. Valorous Unit Award For Operation Iraqi Freedom, 12 Mar - 30 Sep 2004 - 1st Squadron[26]
  10. Valorous Unit Award For Operation Iraqi Freedom, 14 Mar 2007 – 3 Apr 200 - 1st Squadron[27]
  11. Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for 30 Aug 2009 to 21 Jul 2010 - 1st Squadron[28]
  12. Superior Unit Award for Operation Joint Endeavour - 1st Squadron


  1. ^ a b c d "History of the Fourth Cavalry". quarterhorsecav.org. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Heitman, Francis B. (1903). Historical register and dictionary of the United States Army : from its organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903. 1 (1 ed.). p. 70. Retrieved 17 December 2015. This is the unofficial work of a private compiler, purchased and published by direction of Congress 
  3. ^ a b Chalfant, William Y., Cheyenne and Horse Soldiers:The 1857 Expedition and the Battle of Solomon's Fork by William Y. Chalfant. Copyright @1989 by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
  4. ^ a b Wild West Magazine, Feb, 2002
  5. ^ a b c d e https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#today
  6. ^ http://quarterhorsecav.org/pg9.htm
  7. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  8. ^ http://www.first-team.us/legacies/subunits/4th_cr/4crndx02.html
  9. ^ pp. 173-175 Balkoski, Joseph Utah Beach: The Amphibious Landing and Airborne Operations on D-Day, 6 June 1944 Stackpole Books, 2006
  10. ^ http://quarterhorsecav.org/pg9.htm
  11. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  12. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  13. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  14. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  15. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  16. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  17. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#WWII
  18. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#Occupation
  19. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#Occupation
  20. ^ https://www.25thida.org/units/cavalry/4th-cavalry-regiment/#Occupation
  21. ^ Bourque and Burdan p.95
  22. ^ VUA Citation
  23. ^ Thomas D. Dinackus, Order of Battle: Allied Ground Forces of Operation Desert Storm
  24. ^ "Officials silent on Quarter Cav deployment" URL accessed 1 February 2007
  25. ^ http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/HRC/2007/304-03_20071031_HRCMD.pdf
  26. ^ http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/HRC/2008/232-014_20080819_HRCMD.pdf
  27. ^ http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/HRC/2010/202-10_20100721_HRCMD.pdf
  28. ^ http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/HRC/2011/171-16_20110620_HRCMD.pdf


External links[edit]

(Archived 2009-10-22)