1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment
The mission of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, "Garryowen," is to, on order, deploy and conduct reconnaissance operations to enable the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division to conduct decisive full spectrum operations.
The 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment was first constituted on 28 July 1866 in the Regular Army as Company A, 7th Cavalry and organized on 10 September 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas. From 1866 until 1891, the 7th Cavalry Regiment as a whole fought the Western Frontier, protected pioneer settlements, and escorted scientific expeditions into uncharted territory. Under Lieutenant George A. Custer's command, the Regiment built the enviable reputation as the best horse soldiers on the plains. As controversial as he was colorful, Lieutenant Custer was responsible for the adoption of "Garryowen" as the Regimental song. Cavalry companies had been officially designated as troops in 1883, with Company A, 7th Cavalry becoming Troop A, 7th Cavalry.
From 1892 until 1917, the 7th Cavalry as a whole fought in Cuba, the Philippines, and in Mexico. In September 1916, the 7th Cavalry participated in the last true "Cavalry Charge" during the Battle of Guerrero.
From 1917-1943, the regiment was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, where it patrolled the Mexican border. There the 7th Cavalry was assigned in December 1917 to the 15th Cavalry Division. It was relieved in May 1918 from assignment to the 15th Cavalry Division and assigned on 13 September 1921 to the 1st Cavalry Division, which was later reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Cavalry Division, Special. During this period the unit also participated in numerous training exercises which helped prepare for World War II.
On 28 February 1943, the Regiment turned in their horses and began retraining as foot soldiers for action in the Pacific. The unit was reorganized on 4 December 1943, partly under cavalry and partly under infantry tables of organization and equipment. Moved to Australia in July 1943, the 7th Cavalry conducted extensive amphibious and jungle training. From July 1943 until June 1945, the troopers of Garryowen saw heavy fighting from the Admiralties Islands to Luzon. The unit was reorganized wholly as infantry on 20 July 1945, though it retained its cavalry designations. On 2 September 1945, the 7th Cavalry landed on the Japanese mainland with General MacArthur.
The unit was redesignated on 25 March 1949 as Company A, 7th Cavalry, while the 1st Cavalry Division, Special was concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Cavalry Division. Serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea, the 7th Cavalry fought in the war's bloodiest battles. These included Hwanggan, Yong-dong, Kwanni, and Naktong River Defense. When the 1st Cavalry Division attacked north, the 7th Cavalry was in front, smashing 116 miles behind enemy lines in a historic 24 hours.
The 7th Cavalry was relieved on 15 October 1957 from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division. Company A, 7th Cavalry was reorganized and redesignated on 1 November 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 7th Cavalry, and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated.
It was again redesignated on 1 September 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry. On 1 July 1965, it was transferred, less personnel and equipment from Korea to Fort Benning, Georgia as part of the reflagging of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) as the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry was subsequently reorganized as a airmobile unit. On 18 September 1965, 1-7th Cavalry arrived in Quinhon Harbor, Republic of Vietnam. In the famous battles of the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965, the Garryowen Regiment virtually annihilated the 66th North Vietnamese Regiment. The Vietnam remembrance "We Were Soldiers Once ...and Young" was coauthored by Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore, USA ( Retired), and Joseph L. Galloway. It recounts the 4 days of incredibly intense and desperate combat between elements of the US Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and 3 regiments of North Vietnamese infantry in the Ia Drang Valley of Pleiku Province in November 1965. Then-Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, whose saga is recalled in the first part of the book and was subsequently made into a major motion picture. Elements of several other cavalry regiments were also involved. All told, during a four-day period, 234 young Americans lost their lives in the action, but together, the 2 battalions involved killed perhaps 10 times as many of the enemy.
Later, in the Bong Son area, 1-7th Cavalry mauled 3 different enemy battalions into combat ineffectiveness. For its actions in Vietnam, 1-7th Cavalry was awarded 5 Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with Palm and a Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal. All told, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry participated in 16 campaigns in Vietnam: Defense, Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, Consolidation II, and Cease-Fire.
Following its return from Vietnam, the Squadron was inactivated on 22 August 1972 at Fort Hood, Texas. On 20 June 1974, the 1st Battalion (Armor), 7th Cavalry was activated as a unit of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. On 16 October 1986, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was reorganized as an Armored Cavalry Squadron and redesignated as the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry and assigned as the divisional cavalry squadron for the 1st Cavalry Division.
On 11 August 1990, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry was placed on alert and in September 1990, received orders to deploy to Southwest Asia. Two ground troops from the 2nd Armored Division were attached to the Squadron, thus making 1-7th Cavalry the largest divisional cavalry squadron in the Army. The unit began deploying on 17 September 1990. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Squadron was the first unit to screen along the Saudi Arabian-Iraqi border, first to conduct reconnaissance missions into Iraq, and the first to engage the enemy with direct fire in the Wadi-Al-Batin area. The 1-7th Cavalry, with 3 ground troops and 2 air troops, maintained a 50 kilometer, 43 day screen line along the Iraqi border.
On 16 February 1991, 1-7th Cavalry, with its 3 ground and 2 air troops, led the division by charging into Iraq on a 250 kilometer move into southern Iraq in 24 hours. When the cease-fire came into effect on 27 February 1991, the Squadron had over-run numerous dismounted defensive positions, captured equipment and over 500 prisoners and destroyed a number of enemy vehicles. On 14 April 1991, the entire Squadron redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas having accomplished its mission without the loss of life.
During the mid-1990s, the Squadron became the first and only division cavalry squadron to draw and outfit with the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and subsequently with the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The Squadron also set history as the first and only squadron to conduct an Intrinsic Action deployment, covering over 300,000 miles in a 3 month period during Intrinsic Action 97-01, and setting the record for the fastest draw of the AWR-5 prepositioned floating fleet in Kuwait.
As part of the transformation of the 1st Cavalry Division to the US Army's modular force structure, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry was inactivated, reassigned to the reorganized and redesignated 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and reactivated as the organic cavalry squadron assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team.
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