1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
The 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment maintains its combat-ready posture through frequent field training exercises and semi-annual gunnery training, emphasizing proficiency at troop, platoon, section, and squad/crew levels. Command post exercises test the ability of the Squadron to react to situations which arise in combat. Although the Squadron's training might take place in the local training area and environment, it was still expected to be able to move, shoot, and communicate in any climate and terrain throughout the world.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was first constituted in the US Army as the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, organized by Act of Congress in 1846. With its activation the unit brought into existence a new organization in the American Army: a regiment of riflemen, mounted and equipped with hunting rifles to provide longer range and more firepower than the smoothbore muskets of the infantry and cavalry.
Through 6 campaigns of the Mexican War, 3rd Squadron distinguished itself. On 20 August 1847, General Winfield Scott, Commander of American Forces in Mexico, made the speech from which the first 16 words have become so important to the Regiment. The Regiment laid 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, became so choked with emotion over the valor of these men, that he removed his hat, bowed low, and proclaimed: "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel!" This accolade became emblazoned on the Regimental Coat of Arms, and it was the source of the Regimental Motto, "Blood and Steel."
During the 1920's and 1930's the Regiment underwent a series of organizational changes. 2nd Squadron, plus troops C and D Troops of 1st Squadron, were inactivated. 3rd Squadron was redesignated as 2nd Squadron, which was stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia, becoming known as the 'President's Own." With its proximity to Washington and Arlington National Cemetery, the 2nd Squadron was frequently called upon to furnish honor guards and escorts for distinguished visitors and funeral escorts for distinguished civilian officials and military personnel. On 11 November 1921, the Regiment furnished the cavalry escort for the burial of the Unknown Soldier from World War I in Arlington National Cemetery. Until 1941, the Regiment provided the guard detail at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.In 1961, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed to Germany in response to the Soviet threat during the Berlin Crisis. During 1962 and 1963, the lst and 2nd Squadrons relieved elements of the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment for 2 one-month periods along the East German border. From November 1962 through November 1964, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment had a troop attached to the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment for border surveillance operations on a monthly rotational basis. In February 1964, the Regiment came under the direct control of the Seventh US Army. On 10 June 1964, the 2nd Squadron was reflagged as the 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and returned to the United States with that Regiment. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment remained in Germany until July 1968, when the Regiment redeployed to Fort Lewis, Washington.
In the 1970s, the Regiment relocated to Fort Bliss, Texas, assuming the REFORGER mission in the defense of Western Europe. It participated in numerous exercises before finally being committed to first the defense of Saudi Arabia in 1990 as part of Operation Desert Shield and then the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Storm. In April 1996, the Regiment as a whole completed a move to Fort Carson, Colorado.
Beginning in September 2001, 1st Squadron with elements of the Regimental Headquarters, 4th Squadron, and the Regimental Support Squadrons, deployed to Egypt to participate in the Bright Star 01/02 exercise, as part of a Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) coalition. The coalition included Elements from the US Marine Corps, Egypt, France, Kuwait, Greece, Italy, and the British Army. The soldiers took part in field training and live fire exercises while in Egypt. They also conducted training on nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare, mine warfare, and the use of smoke on the battlefield. In addition, members of 1st Squadron and the Regimental Staff were tasked to conduct 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 center of this enemy support base was the city of Tall Afar, where the Regimental headquarters would be established. During April 2005 and the first half May 2005, the Regiment operated in South Baghdad while it sent advanced elements North to begin securing the city of Tall Afar. 2nd Squadron entered combat operations in Tall Afar on 27 April 2005, immediately upon its arrival. The Regimental, split between 2 locations, continued to operate at an intense pace. In South Baghdad, 1st Squadron, 3rd Squadron, and 2-70th Armor conducted detailed offensive reconnaissance operations in the area and severely disrupted a previously unchallenged enemy safe-haven. The Regimental headquarters, 1st Squadron, Support Squadron, and 4th Squadron moved to Tall Afar in mid-may. 3rd Squadron remained in South Baghdad attached to the 3rd Infantry Division to provide much-needed combat power and experience while the Rest of the Regiment moved North. The Regiment immediately expanded its control in Western Ninewa province, covering over 10,000 square kilometers of land. It moved 1st Squadron to a series of remote locations along a 270 kilometer Syrian-Iraq Border to interdict the flow of foreign fighters. 2nd Squadron continued to battle a stubborn enemy in the city of Tall Afar. It soon became clear after a number of intense engagements with the enemy in Tall Afar that the Regiment needed to attack this enemy safe haven. Between June and August 2005, the Regiment set conditions for a major offensive against the enemy safe haven in Tall Afar. This operation was called Operation Restoring Rights.
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 commandoes. 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 Tall 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, and the enemy put out the word to their forces: "Leave and hide, we are getting slaughtered." 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. At the end of Operation Restoring Rights, the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, the White Falcons, joined the fight and occupied the Sarai District. Along with 2nd Squadron, they began the critical part of the Operation: restoring security and providing the safety needed for the residents of the city to be able to shed their passive support for the insurgency.
The Regiment, reinforced with the critical light infantry capability, continued to pursue the remnant enemy in the city, rebuild the city, and reestablish the Iraqi Army and the Tall Afar Police force in the Area. 1st Squadron subsequently moved back in force to the border, where it effectively reduced enemy infiltration to a fraction of what it was before they arrived. Its Armor, mobility, and expertise on counterinsurgency operations was critical to stabilizing this troubled region South of the Capital. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment lost 44 troopers during its deployment that ended in late February 2006.
In 2006, the entire 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment began transformation to the US Army's new modular force structure. As part of the transformation, the Regiment as a whole made a permenant change of station to Fort Hood, Texas.
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