1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment
The mission of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, "Buffalo Soldiers," is to, on order, deploy, prepare for combat operations, and on order conduct ground reconnaissance and security operations. To this end, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry would perform reconnaissance and security missions in support of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, perform rear operations, facilitate command and control, and conduct other operations as designated by the Brigade Commander.
Following the end of the American Civil War, the United States began its great expansion westward. To protect the settlers and to aid in the opening of the west, the Regular Army Cavalry was increased by 4 regiments. One of those 4 regiments was the 10th Cavalry, activated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on 28 July 1866, under the command of Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson. The 10th Cavalry was formed as a regiment of Negro Volunteers, composed of freed slaves from the southern states and some veterans of the Civil War. The 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment was first constituted on 28 July 1866 in the Regular Army as Company A, 10th Cavalry. It organized on 18 February 1867 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
In July 1867, the 10th Cavalry reached full strength and as a whole moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, to take up its first duty assignment patrolling the Kansas and Pacific Railroad. Before the year ended, the Regiment joined General Phil Sheridan to ride against Black Kettle's Band of Cheyenne, the most respected tribe of the Plains Indians. The 10th Cavalry as a unit was cited for gallantry by General Sheridan.
As the Indian threat in Kansas diminished, the 10th Cavalry moved south to the Oklahoma Territory, building the post that became known as Fort Sill. During their stay in Oklahoma, the troopers of the Regiment fought the Commanche and earned from them the name of "Buffalo Soldiers." The term lived on as the main symbol of the regiment. In 1874, the Commanche were beaten and the 10th Cavalry rode west to Texas to fight the Apaches. In July 1880, Chief Victorio and his band broke from their New Mexico reservation and began a reign of murder and pillage throughout Texas. The 10th Cavalry chased Victorio into Mexico and defeated him. In 1883, across the US Army, cavalry companies became cavalry troops. A Company, 10th Cavalry subsequently became A Troop, 10th Cavalry.
As order was being restored in Texas, Geronimo rose as a threat in Arizona and the 10th Cavalry was called upon to counter him in 1885. For 2 years the unit fought Geronimo and his renegade band. During one pitched battle, Lieutenant Powhatten Clark rushed through a hail of bullets to the side of a wounded comrade and carried him to safety. The lieutenant won the second Medal of Honor in the 10th Cavalry history. The Apaches were finally subdued and the Regiment was returned to garrison duty, patrolling the Apache Reservation.
In 1898, the Spanish-American War began and the 10th Cavalry was among the vanguard of American troops that were sent ashore in Cuba. They fought at Las Guasimas, Santiago, and charged San Juan Hill alongside the "Rough Riders" of Teddy Roosevelt. Sergeant Major Edward Baker Jr. and 4 troopers also received the Medal of Honor. In the years following the Spanish-American War, the 10th Cavalry served in Cuba on occupation duty, in the Philippines riding against the insurgents of Aguinseldo , and finally at garrison at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont.
In 1913, the 10th Cavalry Regiment returned to the southwest for duty at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, patrolling the Mexican Border. Pancho Villa, the infamous Mexican bandit, raided Columbus, New Mexico in 1916. The 10th Cavalry joined the expedition sent into Mexico to subdue him. The declaration of was against Germany in 1917 caused many members of the Regiment to tune their ears for an assignment overseas, but the 10th Cavalry was destined to remain on the border and fight in the last recorded Indian fight in the United States, a fire fight with a small band of Yaqui Indians just west of Nogales, Arizona.
The 10th Cavalry as a whole was assigned to 1st Cavalry Division from 13 September 1921 through 18 December 1922. It was reassigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division from 24 March 1923 through 15 August 1927, then to the 3d Cavalry Division from 15 August 1927 through 10 October 1940. The 10th Cavalry left Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1931 and was assigned to various posts around the country including Fort Meyers, Fort Leavenworth, and West Point.
The 10th Cavalry was assigned to the to the 2nd Cavalry Division in 10 October 1940. In 1941, with World War II on the horizons, the Regiment was brought back together at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After training for deployment, the Regiment was sent overseas. However, it was inactivated shipboard off of the coast of Africa on 10 March 1944, and the personnel transferred to other units (other accounts state that it inactivated on 20 March 1944 at Algiers, North Africa having actually arrived in theater).
Troop A, 10th Cavalry was redesignated on 20 October 1950 as Company A, 510th Tank Battalion with the 10th Cavalry concurrently being relieved from assignment to 2nd Cavalry Division. The unit was activated on 17 November 1950 at Camp Polk, Louisiana. The 510th Tank Battalion was sent to Germany as a member of the US Army Europe. It was inactivated on 1 May 1958 in Germany.
The adoption of the Combat Arms Regiment System (CARS) in 1957 led to the rebirth of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. The 510th Tank Battalion was inactivated and the 10th Cavalry Regiment, a parent Regiment under CARS, was reborn on 25 June 1958. Company A, 510th Tank Battalion was redesignated on 10 June 1958 as Troop A (Reconnaissance), 10th Cavalry. The Troop was reactivated on 25 June 1958 at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Troop A, 10th Cavalry was reorganized and redesignated on 1 September 1963 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry. It was concurrently transferred (less personnel and equipment) from Fort Knox, Kentucky to Fort Lewis, Washington. There it was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. At Fort Lewis, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry trained and maintained its readiness to serve as the eyes and ears of the 4th Infantry Division.
Early in 1966, when the 4th Infantry Division was alerted for deployment to the Republic of South Vietnam, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry also started its preparation. On 6 August 1966, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry became the first unit in the Squadron to deploy to Vietnam. The remainder of the Squadron followed soon after, with C Troop being the last to arrive on 11 October 1966. It was a member of D Troop that received the first Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to a member of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietmam. Warrant Officer Ernest V. Hansel was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and as a result the Army Airfield at Camp Enari, Republic of Vietnam, was dedicated to his memory, bearing his name.
The 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry was awarded its first unit citation for action at LZ Oasis in May 1969. The Valorous Unit Award was presented to the Squadron for the heroic defense of the landing zone against the determined attack of a battalion sized enemy force. During its deployment to Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division, the Squadron earned 12 campaign streamers.
After returning from Vietnam, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry moved to Fort Carson, Colorado with the 4th Infantry Division on 8 November 1971. There it remained until 16 January 1987, when it moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky. There it was redesignated as Task Force 1-10th Armor.
On 4 June 1993, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry returned to its old home and mission, once again becoming the vanguard of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson Colorado. The 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas on 15 December 1995.
In March 2003, the 1st Squadron, 10th United States Cavalry deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the divisional cavalry squadron for 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). The Squadron crossed the border into Iraq in the early dawn hours of 14 April 2004, leading the 4th Infantry Division north from Kuwait, its first combat operations since the Vietnam War. The Squadron led the 4th Infantry Division up Highway 1 through Baghdad, Taji, and on to Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, destroying resistance from Iraqi forces. The Squadron secured and held multiple airfields, and military complexes for later use by follow-on forces, including going as far north as K2 Airfield near Bayji.
In June 2003, the Squadron conducted a grueling forced march of nearly 200 kilometers from K2 airfield to the Iran-Iraq border to stop Iranian infiltration into Iraq, demonstrating remarkable endurance. Cavalry troopers occupied the border cities, destroyed enemy resistance and conducted civil military operations, assuming responsibility for 336.5 kilometers of border (A brigade-sized area, with a third of the equipment and personnel). Over the next 4 months the Squadron stood up, trained, and equipped Iraq Border Police and other security forces. In all 1,600 Iraqis were trained and equipped by the Squadron, operating first under 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and then under 4th Brigade (Aviation), 4th Infantry Division. The 1-10th Cavalry troopers screened the inhospitable border region, providing medical care, food, and water to over 27,000 pilgrims in a massive humanitarian undertaking.
In October 2003, the Squadron conducted air combat operations across the 4th Infantry Division's area, launching Scout/Attack helicopter teams in support of divisional units during Operation Ivy Typhoon. In this operation, 1-10th Cavalry helicopters patrolled Highway 1 from Taji to outside Tikrit dramatically reducing IED emplacement along this major highway. The helicopters of Squadron flew more combat hours than any other unit in the Iraqi Theater of Operations.
In November 2003, the Commanding General of 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) ordered the Squadron to conduct strike force operations and moved the Squadron to the Tikrit area to stop guerilla activity. The Squadron quickly captured the terrorist ring that had shot down 2 Blackhawk helicopters prior to the Squadron's arrival. In less than a month, the Squadron stopped all guerilla activity in Eastern Tikrit. On the night of 13 December 2003, the Squadron along with the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, participated in a short-notice operation south of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Saber, near the town of Ad Dawr named Operation Red Dawn, the mission that captured Saddam Hussein.
In January 2004, the Commanding General of 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) ordered the Squadron to move to the Balad area to conduct further strike force operations securing the largest concentration of soldiers in Iraq: the Logistics Support Area. In operations throughout northern Iraq the Squadron conducted thousands of raids and patrols, and captured or killed nearly a thousand enemy combatants. No other unit in the 4th Infantry Division moved or fought in more locations than the 1st Squadron, 10th United States Cavalry.
After returning from Iraq in 2004, the 4th Infantry Division began a reorganization as part of the transformtion to the US Army's modular force structure. 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry was inactivated and reactivated as the organic cavalry squadron for the reorganized and redesignated 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Under the previous Force XXI force structure, each brigade had a reconnaissance troop.
Before the 2004 restructuring process, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry troopers, acting as the divisional cavalry squadron, were equipped with OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters and M1A2 Abrams tanks as their primary weapons platforms. These had been used to complete their missions of conducting reconnaissance, which provided the division freedom to maneuver. With the reorganization of the unit as the cavalry squadron of a modular brigade c ombat team, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry was composed of mostly cavalry scouts. It had 23 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, was slated to have 30 HMMWVs, and would work with 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation for air reconnaissance support.
The Squadron began transforming in early summer 2004 in accordance to the Army's modular transformation plans. By fall 2004, it had moved the OH-58Ds to other divisions, with most of the helicopters going to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The M1A2s went back to the plant in Lima, Ohio and the armor crewmen were transferred to combined arms battalions within 4th Infantry Division. In all, the Squadron became a lighter, stealthier organization.
Instead of being the "eyes and ears" of the 4th Infantry Division, the mission shifted to work as scout teams for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The Squadron consisted of 6 platoons, each with 5 HMMWVs and 3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles. In late 2004, the unit had started training on the Bradleys and with 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation. After more internal reorganization, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry, was slated to begin building unit cohesion by training on platoon lanes with other units in the brigade.
As of 1 January 2006, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, an element of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was been operating out of Forward Operating base Kalsu, located in Iskanderyah, Iraq. The units mission, along with that of the rest of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, was to train Iraqi Security Forces to conduct operations independent of coalition assistance.
Following its return from Iraq in late 2006, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry moved from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Carson, Colorado along with the rest of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. This was as part of larger realignment of US Army units.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|