7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment
G Troop, 10th Cavalry Regiment
The 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1866. 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment traces its lineage and honors to what eventually became Troop G, 10th Cavalry Regiment. Very high standards of recruitment were set by the Regiment's commander and Civil War hero Benjamin Grierson. As a result, recruitment and organization of the unit required slightly over one year. By the end of July 1867, 8 companies of enlisted men had been recruited from the Departments of Missouri, Arkansas, and the Platte.
Life at Leavenworth was not pleasant for the 10th Cavalry. The Fort's commander, who was admittedly opposed to African-Americans serving in the regular army, made life as difficult as he could on the new troopers. Grierson sought to have his Regiment transferred, and subsequently received orders moving the Regiment to Fort Riley, Kansas later in the summer 1867. Within 2 months of the transfer, the final 4 companies were in place.
For the next 8 years, the 10th Cavalry was stationed at numerous forts throughout Kansas and Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). They provided guards for workers of the Kansas and Pacific Railroad, strung miles of new telegraph lines, and to a large extent built Fort Sill. Throughout this period, they were constantly patrolling the reservations in an attempt to prevent Indian raids into Texas. In 1867 and 1868, the 10th Cavalry participated in General Sherman's winter campaigns against the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Comanche. Units of the 10th Cavalry prevented the Cheyenne from fleeing to the northwest, thus allowing Custer and the 7th Cavalry to defeat them at the decisive battle near Fort Cobb, Indian Territory.
In 1875, the 10th Cavalry moved its headquarters to Fort Concho in west Texas. Other companies were assigned to various forts throughout the area. The Regiment's mission in Texas was to protect mail and travel routes, control Indian movements, provide protection from Mexican revolutionaries and outlaws, and to gain a knowledge of the areas terrain. The Regiment proved highly successful in completing their mission. The 10th Cavalry scouted 34,420 miles of uncharted terrain, opened more than 300 miles of new roads, and laid over 200 miles of telegraph lines. The scouting activities took the troops through some of the harshest and most desolate terrain in the nation. These excursions allowed the preparation of excellent maps detailing scarce water holes, mountain passes, and grazing areas that would later allow for settlement of the area. These feats were accomplished while having to be constantly on the alert for hit-and-run raids from the Apaches. The stay in west Texas produced tough soldiers, who became accustomed to surviving in an area that offered few comforts and no luxuries.
The 10th Cavalry played an important role in the 1879-80 campaign against Chief Victorio and his renegade band of Apaches. Victorio and his followers escaped from their New Mexico reservation and wreaked havoc throughout the southwest on their way to Mexico. Colonel Grierson and the 10th Cavalry attempted to prevent Victorio's return to the US and particularly his reaching New Mexico, where he could cause additional problems with the Apaches still on the reservations. Grierson, realizing the importance of water in the harsh region, decided the best way to intercept Victorio was to take control of potential water holes along his route.
The campaign called for the biggest military concentration ever assembled in the Trans-Pecos area. Six troops of the 10th Cavalry were assigned to patrol the area from the Van Horn Mountains west to the Quitman Mountains, and north to the Sierra Diablo and Delaware Mountains. Encounters with the Indians usually resulted in skirmishes. However, the 10th Cavalry engaged in major confrontations at Tinaja de las Palmas (a water hole south of Sierra Blanca) and at Rattlesnake Springs (north of Van Horn). These 2 engagements halted Victorio and forced him to retreat to Mexico. Although Victorio and his band were not captured, the campaign conducted by the 10th Cavalry was successful in preventing them from reaching New Mexico. The 10th Cavalry's efforts at containment exhausted the Apaches. Soon after they crossed the border, Victorio and many of his warriors were killed by Mexican troops on 14 October 1880. In 1883, across the US Army cavalry companies were redesignated as cavalry troops.
In 1885, the Regiment was transferred to the Department of Arizona. Once again the 10th Cavalry was involved in the arduous pursuit of renegade Apaches under the leadership of Geronimo, Mangus, and the Apache Kid.
After 20 years of service in some of the most undesirable posts in the southwest, the Regiment, then under the command of Colonel John K. Mizner, was transferred to the Department of Dakota in 1891. The Regiment served at various posts in Montana and Dakotas until 1898.
Without debate, African American Regiments served with distinction in the West, especially in combat. The nickname "Buffalo Soldiers," bestowed upon the black cavalrymen by the Native Americans, attests to their valor in battle. The most common explanation given for the origin of this sobriquet was that the Indians saw a similarity between the hair of the African American soldier and the buffalo. Since the buffalo was a sacred animal to the Native Americans, they would not bestow its name on the soldiers unless they were worthy adversaries. The proud acceptance of the appellation "Buffalo Soldiers" by the black troops supports this explanation.
Some historians contend that the nickname was a result of a specific encounter between black cavalrymen and Cheyenne Indians in Kansas. In September 1867, Private John Randall of Troop G, 10th Cavalry was assigned to escort 2 civilians on a hunting trip. Soon after losing sight of the camp, the hunters suddenly became the hunted when a band of 70 Cheyenne warriors swept down on them. The 2 civilians quickly fell in the initial attack and Randall's horse was shot out from beneath him. Randall managed to scramble to safety behind a washout under the railroad tracks, where he fended off the attack with only his pistol until help from the nearby camp arrived. The Indians beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind 13 fallen warriors. Private Randall suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and 11 lance wounds, but recovered. The Cheyenne quickly spread word of this new type of soldier, "who had fought like a cornered buffalo; who like a buffalo had suffered wound after wound, yet had not died; and who like a buffalo had a thick and shaggy mane of hair" (Starr 1981:46). Over time, the nickname came to apply to all black soldiers and the 10th Cavalry later incorporated the buffalo into its regimental crest.
During the Spanish-American, 4 cavalry regiments, including the 10th Cavalry, served in Cuba and fought along side Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders" and other units. While Teddy Roosevelt and his highly political volunteers got more press attention, the 10th Cavalry commanded by Colonel John J. Pershing was instrumental in taking San Juan Hill. Many white officers refused to command black units thinking it would hurt their careers. Colonel Pershing was given the nickname "Black Jack" because of his loyalty to the 10th Cavalry and its troopers.
In 1916, Black Jack Pershing was given the assignment of leading a campaign into Mexio to capture Pancho Villa. Pershing requested that the 10th Cavalry accompany him. The year spent chasing Villa proved to be the 10th Cavalry's toughest assignment. Finding Pancho Villa was like trying to catch a rat in a cornfield. Villa always seemed to stay ahead of the Army and avoid capture.
America's leaders soon lost interest in the campaign and focused their attention on World War I, which was raging in Europe. However the Europeans had been unable to find a use for the cavalry troops that were already in the theater. The 10th Cavalry spent the war in the United States. In World War II, the 10th Cavalry was relegated to caretaker duties at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1944 the 10th Cavalry was inactivated.
In 1958, the 10th Regiment was reactivated, reorganized and redesignated as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Its subordinate troops became separate entities.
In the 1990s, as part of the Force XXI restructuring, Troop G, 10th Cavalry became the brigade reconnaissance troop for the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
G Troop, 10th Cavalry was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment and was activated on 16 December 2004 as part of the 4th Infantry Division's new modular design. 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor was reflagged as the new unit, which was assigned to the reorganized and redesignated 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. There it became the organic cavalry squadron for the brigade combat team.
The 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry was deployed to Iraq as of January 2006 and was operating out of Camp Taji, located 10 miles northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Following its return from Iraq in late 2006, 7-10th Cavalry 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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