1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment
The mission of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, "Iron Knights," is to, on order, deploy to anywhere in the world, conduct full spectrum operations in support of the combatant commander's objectives, and redeploy to Fort Carson, Colorado.
The 66th Armor Regiment is the oldest Armor unit in the United States Army, tracing it's lineage to the beginning of the Tank Service in February 1918. The 66th Armor Regiment was organized in August 1918 in the American Expeditionary Forces in France as Headquarters and Headquarters Companies, 1st and 2d Provisional Brigades, Tank Corps. It was redesignated on 6 November 1918 as Headquarters and Headquarters Companies, 304th and 305th Brigades, Tank Corps, respectively.
During the First World War, the Regiment as a whole participated in the battles of St. Mihiel, France, where it received it's baptism of fire in the Meuse-Argonne and the Somme Offensives. The casualties were heavy during the short period the Regiment participated in the Great War and their valor was recognized by General John J. Pershing in the following words: "The percentage of casualties among the officers and men tells the tale of splendid morale and gallantry in action and their unselfish devotion to duty".
The designation and organization of the Regiment was changed several times during the period of 1918 to 1928. The Headquarters Companies, 304th and 305th Brigades Tank Corps were consolidated and redesignated on 22 June 1921 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Tank Group. After a series of subsequent redesignations and reorganizations, on 15 July 1940, the unit was converted and redesignated from the 66th Infantry (Light Tanks) to the 66th Armor Regiment as part of the newly formed 2nd Armored Division, stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. At that time, the unit that 1st Battalion, 66th Armor traced its lineage to became Company A, 66th Armor.
In December 1942, the Regiment as a whole participated in the amphibious invasion of French Morocco in North Africa and led the 2nd Armored Division's triumphant entry into Casablanca. The Regiment participated in the invasion of Sicily and through fierce fighting earned the Regiment 6 battle streamers during the War.
In 1944, the Regiment went into action on the European Continent, landing on Normandy's beaches on D+3. A week later the Regiment decisively defeated the German 6th Parachute Regiment and the 37th SS Panzer Regiment near Carnetan, France. The 66th Armored Regiment rolled across France to the German border. It was diverted north to counter the German advance during the Battle of the Bulge, assisting in the destruction of the 2nd Panzer Division and capturing Hoffalize, Belgium.
As a result of it's exemplary conduct in the liberation of Belgium, the Regiment was twice cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgium Army. Elements of the 66th Armor, with other units of the 2nd Armored Division were selected to occupy Berlin and serve as the first American troops to enter the fallen German Capital. There the Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 66th Tank Battalion in 1946. Company A, 66th Armor Regiment was similarly rorganized and redesignated as Company A, 66th Tank Battalion. Other elements of the Regiment was broken off and similarly reorganized and redesignated. Most of these elements were consolidated back together in 1957 to reform the 66th Armor Regiment, which was subsequently designated as a a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Company A was subsequently reorganized and redesignated as 1st Battalion, 66th Armor, with its organic elements constituted and activated.
In 1991, elements of the 66th Armor Regiment assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, including 1-66th Armor, deployed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia first in support of operation Desert Shield. The units subsequently fought in Operation Desert Storm. During Desert Storm, 1-66th Armor again proved its worth by assisting in the liberation of Kuwait and the push towards Iraq.
In the Spring of 1995, 1-66th Armor was once more called to duty. The mission consisted of assisting over 5,000 Cuban and Haitian refugees interned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In March 2003, 1-66th Armor deployed to Tikrit, Iraq to take part in the intial stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom and participated in Operation Red Dawn, a mission consiting of 600 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division troops, along with special operations forces, responsible for locating and capturing Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president.
In 2004, as part of the transformation of the 4th Infantry Division to the US Army's modular force structure the Battalion was relieved on 16 December 2004 from assignment to the 4th Infantry Division and assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
As of January 2006, the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment was operating in Camp Taji, an Army base approximately 10 miles northwest of Baghdad, fulfilling their second rotation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were expected to be there until December of 2006.
Following its return from Iraq in late 2006, 1-66th Armor moved from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Carson, Colorado along with the rest of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. This was as part of larger realignment of US Army units.
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