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3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
"Thunder Squadron"

The 3rd 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 Squadron was the command of future General George S. Patton, Jr., who also served as the 29th commander of the Regiment. 3rd Squadron also had 7 Medal of Honor recipients throughout it's history.

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."

On 17 March 1917, the entire Regiment was transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In April 1917, the United States entered the Great War and in August the Regiment became one of the first units deployed overseas. Arriving in France in November 1917, the Regiment operated 3 major remount depots until the war's end. The only unit of the 3rd Cavalry that saw actual combat was Troop K, which was detached from the 3rd Squadron and participated in the last 3 engagements prior to the Armistice on 11 November 1918. Troop K was also was part of the Army of Occupation, remaining in Germany until it was shipped home with the rest of the Regiment in 1919.

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.

Following the Regiment's service in World War II, and in order to return the Regiment to a 3-squadron configuration, the 35th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, an all-Black unit, was reassigned to the Regiment on 15 January 1948. It was redesignated as the 3rd Squadron. Its incorporation into the 3d Armored Cavalry marked the first time that African-American Troopers were assigned to the Regiment.

In 2003, the entire 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The units redeployed to Fort Carson, Colorado in early 2004. Less than 11 months after returning from Iraq in 2004, the Regiment redeployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. The Regiment began arriving in Kuwait and Iraq in late February 2005. Initially, the Regiment moved into South Baghdad province to secure the Sunni farmlands populated by former Regime loyalists - heavily populated by former Republican guard and intelligence officers. On 6 April 2005 lead elements of the Regiment from 3rd Squadron assumed the critical mission of securing RTE Tampa, the main supply route in Iraq. The Rest of the Regiment flowed into South Baghdad and immediately began combat operations. As it arrived in South Baghdad, the Regiment received a fragmentary order to move again to Western Ninewa Province, some 300 miles Northwest of Baghdad. The area of operations had become a highway for foreign fighters entering Iraq and moving into Mosul and down the Sunni Triangle towards Baghdad.

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.

During the Operation, 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. 3rd Squadron remained in South Baghdad and secured the critical Main Security Route Tampa, while continuing to pursue the enemy along the Tigris River Valley. 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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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:25:48 ZULU