3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
The mission of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is to, on order, deploy to a designated theater of operations to conduct full spectrum operations in support of a designated headquarters.
The Regimental Coat of Arms for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was originally approved for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment on 7 May 1921. The Coat of Arms was redesignated for the 3rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized on 28 February 1945. On 18 December 1951, the Coat of Arms was once again redesignated, this time for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Coat of Arms was amended to revise its symbolism on 27 June 1960. On 21 February 1974 the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was issued a formal Grant of Arms by the US Army Institute of Heraldry.
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.
The Regiment was organized "for establishing military stations on route to Oregon," and it was under orders to proceed on its mission at the earliest practical date. However, the Mexican War intervened and the troopers found themselves diverted to participate in the invasion of Mexico. As soon as horses and equipment were obtained, the Regiment began moving to New Orleans in detachments of one or 2 companies. The Mounted Rifles lost most of their horses in a terrible storm during the voyage across the Gulf of Mexico, causing them to fight as infantry during most of the Mexican War. This kept the Regiment from being left behind to escort wagon trains and chase guerrillas, allowing it to distinguished itself in 6 campaigns. Its participation there was climaxed by the bloody battle of Chapultepec. At the end of the Mexican War, the Regiment returned to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and began the grueling 2,000 mile march to the Oregon Territory to accomplish the mission for which it had originally been organized, the establishment of military outposts on the route to Oregon.
In December 1851, the Regiment was ordered to Texas, and for the next 4 years, it operated against the Indian tribes living in that area. In 1856, Indian troubles in the New Mexico Territory required additional troops, and the Regiment moved further west, marching through and also garrisoning in Fort Bliss, Texas.
In August 1861, after the outbreak of the War Between the States, the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was redesignated the 3rd United States Cavalry Regiment. The Confederate troops started this campaign at Fort Bliss, Texas to seize the territories of New Mexico and Colorado. At Glorieta Pass, near Sante Fe, the Union force defeated the Confederates, causing them to return to Texas. In December 1862, the Regiment moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where it remained until October 1863. In December 1862, the Regiment moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where it remained until October 1863. During the period from October to December 1863, the Regiment participated in operations on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and fought in skirmishes at various locations such as Barton Station, Cane Creek, and Dickinson's Station, Alabama. Between October 1863 and March 1864, the Regiment fought in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina, participating in the Chattanooga Campaign as part of the advance guard of Sherman's Army. The 3rd US Cavalry Regiment's losses during the Civil war were 2 officers and thirty enlisted men who were either killed in action or died of wounds and 3 officers and 105 enlisted men who died of disease or other non-combat causes.
In April 1866, the 3rd Cavalry was once again ordered to New Mexico to campaign against the Indians. In Aril 1866, the Regiment was again moved to the Southwest, this time to subdue an uprising of the Chiracahua Apaches led by Geronimo. In April 1870, the Regiment was ordered to Arizona for operations against the Apaches and, in late 1871, was transferred north to the department of the Platte, which included what subsequently became the states of Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska. During the summer of 1876, the Regiment participated in the Little Big Horn Campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne. On 17 June 1876, 10 companies of the 3rd Cavalry fought in the battle of Rosebud Creek. This was the largest battle between the Army and the Indians in the history of the American West, with 1,400 friendly Indians and soldiers opposing more than 1,500 hostiles. The final surrender of Geronimo to elements of the 3rd Cavalry signified the end of the Regiment's participation in the Indian Wars. In 1883, in a decision that affected Cavalry units throughout the US Army, Cavalry Companies were redesignated as Cavalry Troops.
In 1885, the 3rd US Cavalry was ordered back to Texas, where it remained until 1893. Between 1893 and 1897, the Regiment was engaged in garrison, training and ceremonial activities throughout the East and Mid-West. By July 1897, the Regimental Headquarters and 4 troops were stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, while the remainder of the Regiment returned to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
In April 1898, the Regiment was assembled at Camp Thomas, Georgia in Chickamauga National Park, and was assigned to a brigade in a provisional cavalry division. On 13 May 1898, the Regiment arrived in Tampa, Florida. On 8 June 1898, the Regiment, minus 4 troops, embarked for Cuba with the rest of the invasion force. During the Spanish-American War, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment participated in the attacks on San Juan and Kettle Hills, placing the first American flag at the points of victory. After the war, the Regiment was ordered to the Philippines, this time for garrison duty. At the outbreak of World War I, the Regiment was transferred to Europe. Arriving in France in November 1917, the Regiment was scattered, and its squadrons operated remount depots for the duration of the war. In 1919, the Regiment returned from Europe and was stationed throughout the Eastern United States.
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.
During the Second World War, the Regiment was redesignated the 3rd Cavalry Group Mechanized. The Cavalry Group landed in France in August 1944 and became the spearhead of the XX Corps. The Regiment was the first unit of the Third US Army to reach the Meuse and Moselle Rivers. Troopers of the 3rd Cavalry Group were also the first elements of the Third Army to enter Germany. The 3rd Cavalry Group was the first military unit to cross the Alps since Hannibal, in 215 BC. The 3rd Cavalry also accounted for over 43,000 enemy troops killed, wounded or captured. Upon returning to the United States at the end of the war, the Cavalry Group was redesignated the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
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 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 1972, the Regiment relocated to Fort Bliss, Texas, where it trained and prepared for its REFORGER mission in the defense of Western Europe. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment became a major REFORGER unit, capable of rapidly deploying to Germany in case of an international crisis. After returning to Fort Bliss, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment participated in a number of major exercises. In late 1973, the Regiment took part in Brave Shield VI, followed by Brave Rifles VII in February 1974, Gobi Express V in September 1974, Brave Rifles IX in January 1975, and JTX Gallant Shield in the spring of 1975.
On 7 August 1990, the Regiment was alerted to move overseas in defense of Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. In September 1990, the Regiment arrived in country as part of the XVIII Airborne Corps and moved into defensive positions south of the Kuwaiti border. On 22 January 1991, elements of I Troop led by the 63rd Colonel, Colonel Starr, engaged in the first ground combat of the XVIII Airborne Corps in Operation Desert Storm. On 22 February, F Troop led the Regiment across the berm into Iraq. In 100 hours, the Regiment moved over 300 kilometers, and left remnants of 3 Iraqi Republican Guard Divisions in its wake. As quickly as they deployed, the Regiment deployed back to the US arriving 5 April 1991.
In April of 1996, the Regiment completed its move to its new home at Fort Carson, Colorado. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment became the newest unit to join the Fort Carson family. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was the largest tactical unit assigned to Fort Carson. It was a combined arms unit composed at the time of 3 cavalry squadrons, an aviation squadron, and a support squadron. The Regiment was designed to operate independently over wide areas and is a highly mobile force that can conduct reconnaissance, security, offensive, and defensive operations. It had over 320 armored vehicles including M1A1 Abrams tanks and M3A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, along with over 80 aircraft, including the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. The Regiment had a total strength of over 4,700 soldiers. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was part of the US Army's contingency force and could rapidly deploy in emergency situations.
In August 1998, the Regiment was notified that it would participate in the Bosnian peace-keeping mission as part of Stabilization Force 7 (SFOR 7). This would be a unique deployment because the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (less 1st Squadron), would be under the operational control of the Texas National Guard's 49th Armored Division. SFOR 7 was the first time that a National Guard organization would have command authority over active component units, as well as a multinational force, known as Task Force Eagle. When the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed, beginning in February of 2000, it represented 75 percent of the American contribution to the Multinational Division North (MND-N) and constituted the bulk of the American maneuver element. The Troopers of 2nd Squadron helped facilitate the elections that began a new era of democracy for the Bosnian state. There were no major incidents or violent demonstrations in their area of responsibility during the six month deployment. Before the troopers of Task Force Eagle could return to Fort Carson, they had to train their replacements to assume the peacekeeping mission. Once this was accomplished, the various units began returning to Fort Carson and the last unit closed on 7 October 2000.
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.
As the US invasion of Iraq began in March 2002, the Troopers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment readied themselves for deployment in support of the campaign to remove the regime of Sadam Hussein. Beginning in August 2002, the Regiment began to prepare for operations in the Central Command Area of Operations (CENTCOM AOR). The preparations included a National Training Center rotation, Warfighter exercises with both III Corps and V Corps, intensive individual and collective training, weapons qualification, and lane training at Fort Carson. In addition to the intense training, the Regiment fielded many pieces of new equipment, and reactivated its second AH-64A Apache attack helicopter troop. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment received a deployment order for movement to the CENTCOM AOR on 14 February 2003. Equipment was prepared and moved by rail from Fort Carson to the port of Beaumont, Texas. The first Troopers arrived in Kuwait on 2 April 2003 and the remainder of the Regiment was in theater by the middle of the month.
The Regiment missed the high profile assault into Iraq, but upon it's arrival, it was immediately tasked to perform an economy of force mission to secure and stabilize the western part of the country. This area had been by-passed during the advance to Baghdad, and the Regiment had little intelligence on what would be found there. They found that they had been given responsibility for Al Anbar Province, the largest province in Iraq, which covered fully one third of the country, or about 140,000 square kilometers. This was the largest single operational area of any unit, including divisions, in the theater and it included the "Sunni Triangle," the part of Iraq that Saddam Hussein, his family, and the senior leaders of the Ba'ath Party called home. Al Anbar was home to 48 primary and 14 sub-tribes and it shared a 900 kilometer western border with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment became the nucleus of a Regimental Combat Team named Task Force Rifles with the attachment of numerous units.
While the Regiment's strength grew to include 5 squadrons, 4 battalions, and 8 separate companies totaling more than 8,300 troops, Task Force Rifles, was the smallest major subordinate command in Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7). The various elements of Task Force Rifles successfully performed many missions across the entire spectrum of military operations from offensive actions to civil affairs operations. Offensive operations mounted by Task Force Rifles included Operations Rifles Scorpion, Rifles Go West, Rifles Blitz, and Rifles Fury. Task Force Rifles initiated operations by conducting reconnaissance missions in the Euphrates River Crescent to identify targets, remove hostile Ba'ath Party members from power, and eliminate anti-coalition media sources. The Regimental Combat Team continued combat operations focusing on finding and destroying regime loyalist camps and weapons caches between Lake Tar Tar and the Euphrates River. This operation resulted in the apprehension of several individuals from the Defense Intelligence Agency's Top 55 Black List of High Value Targets (HVTs). The Task Force found an Iranian terrorist organization called the Mujahideen e-Khalq (MEK) occupying a compound in Fallujah. While the MEK appeared to have taken no action against Coalition forces, it was forced to turn over its weapons and evacuate the compound. Hand in hand with combat operations, Task Force Rifles spent an enormous amount time and energy performing civil-military operations (CMO).
In an effort to re-energize local government agencies and get people back to work, the GST was able to channel over 60 million US dollars to some 40,000 civil servants in Fallujah, Habbaniyah, Ramadi, Hit, Hadithah, Al Qaim, and Ar Rutbah and about 30,000 former soldiers living in the province who had been sent home during CJTF-7's consolidation prior to Task Force Rifles' arrival in the province. Various units of the Task Force found themselves managing a large number of projects, many aimed at rebuilding the infrastructure and restoring basic services. The United Nations World Food Program facility, operating from Ar Ramadi, was initially secured by elements of the Task Force. This facility received and distributed over 1,400 truck loads of food to the local citizens. Task Force Rifles also distributed over 49,000 Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDRs) to various hospitals, clinics, and other facilities in the area. Another security mission performed by Task Force Rifles was taking control of the border crossing points of Husayba (Syria), Tenaf (Syria), and Trebil (Jordan). In addition, a crossing control point was established at Ar Ar (Saudi Arabia), where only an open border had existed before. Another Task Force project to increase security was the establishment of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) training facility north of the city of Hit. More that 3000 troops were trained allowing 2 ICDC battalions to be raised.
The various Forward Operation Bases (FOBs) established by the Task Force became nodes in a massive logistical network. The various support organizations in the Task Force ran more than 800 convoys, driving over 3.8 million miles to keep Task Force units supplied with everything needed to continue operations. On 18 January 2004 initial contact was made with the US Marine Corps' 7th Regimental Combat Team when representatives of that unit arrived at Rifles Base for briefings in order to begin the planning necessary to accomplish the Marines' relief of Task Force Rifles. The Marines began arriving in numbers by the middle of February 2004, and beginning on 4 March 2004, joint missions were conducted with Marine units. Task Force Rifles continued to conduct combat operations until 14 March 2004 when authority for the Al Anbar Province Area of Operations was officially transferred to the US Marine Corps. The Regimental Combat Team's last flight from Al Asad occurred on 18 March 2004. The last flight from Kuwait departed on 31 March 2004. 31 3rd Armored Cavalry Troopers died during OIF-1. 18 attached Troopers of the Task Force also died. Over 200 Task Force Rifles Troopers were wounded.
Less than 11 months after returning from Iraq, 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.
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. 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.
Upon returning from deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06 in March of 2006 to Fort Carson, Colorado, the Regiment underwent dramatic changes to its organization. Before the changes would take place, the Regiment would be recognized by President George W. Bush, in a 90 minute speech in March 2006. The President lauded the Regiment for its body of work in Tall Afar, Iraq, as an example of executing the clear, hold and build concept as a success. In May 2006, the Regiment officially celebrated its return home from OIF III at Fort Carson. Joining the Regiment in its celebration was Mayor Najiim Abdullah Al-Jibouri's of Tall Afar, Iraq, whose letter to President Bush and General George Casey, Commander of Troops in Iraq, praised the troopers for their courage and bravery in freeing his city from the fear of insurgents. Mayor Najiim's visit was highlighted by his moving speech during the dedication of the Regiment's Memorial monument to its fallen troopers from OIF III. The Regiment with its place in history intact for their efforts during OIF III began its transformation. Predator Battery was deactivated and 4th Squadron was reflagged as another unit. As the Regiment prepared for a BRAC move to Fort Hood, many Troopers remained behind to form the nucleus of a new brigade belonging to the 4th Infantry Division. On 13 July 2006, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment uncased its colors at Fort Hood, Texas opening a new chapter in the Regimental history.
When the Regiment moved from Fort Carson to Fort Hood, the foremost concern was personnel. The Regiment brought only 550 Troopers down from Colorado. After the uncasing ceremony, the Regiment began receiving new Troopers in bulk. 2nd Squadron received initial priority for 19K and 19D MOS Troopers, as they were slotted to undergo NET first. In conjunction with the uncasing ceremony, 1-1st Aviation was reflagged as 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the new Longknife Squadron. The inflow of personnel remained constant enough to where the Regiment met 99 percent of its authorized strength and was ready to conduct the extensive collective training of the 3rd Quarter, 2006.
The Regiment arrived at Fort Hood with almost no equipment. The primary combat systems, the M1 Abrams and M3 Bradleys, had been left in Kuwait when the Regiment was redeploying. Thus began an intensive effort to outfit 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment with all of the newest gear the Army had to offer. Starting in September, 2nd Squadron fielded the first M1A2 SEP Version 2 tanks. In October 2006, Sabre Squadron also received the Regiment's first M3A3 Block 2 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles.
In March 2007, the Regiment was fully equipped with its 123 tanks and 125 Bradleys. In addition to these critical platforms, 4th Squadron had been completely outfitted with the latest AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, with its 3 troops replacing the previous 3 Troops of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors. The Regiment subsequently completed the fielding and certification of its indirect fire assets, both M109A6 Paladin and M1064A3 120mm mortar systems. The Regiment was as lethal as ever before, ready to tackle the missions ahead.
Beyond the obvious equipment improvements, inside the vehicles were the latest Command and Control systems and communications devices, bringing the Regiment on-line with other 'digitized' units. The Future Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system was hard-wired into the fleet of tactical vehicles, providing the commanders with extraordinary situational awareness with regards to both friendly and enemy forces. Combined with the extensive fielding of Army Battle Command Systems, from Maneuver Control Stations to monitor and control the ground squadrons, to the All-Source Analysis System, an intelligence data base structure designed to facilitate pattern and link analysis of enemy actions, the Regimental Commander now has unprecedented resources at his disposal to plan and execute missions.
Once the Regiment had the personnel and equipment it needed, extensive training became possible. While waiting on equipment fielding, the Troopers were able to refine their skills with their individual and crew served weapons, as well as Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills Training. Beginning with Gunnery exercises in November 2006 and culminating in platoon and troop situational training exercises starting in the 2nd Quarter, the Regiment was intent on building the small level units. The lethal and agile teams, squads and platoons would be crucial to success if called upon to deploy. The capstone event of the 3rd Quarter collective training period was 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's Cavalry Table XIII Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) that provided Troop and Company Commanders the opportunity to maneuver their units in a permissive range environment while simultaneously coordinating Artillery, Mortars, AH-64D Attack Helicopters and USAF Fixed wing CAS. The exercise brought all the assets of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to bear against a simulated enemy armored attack across a notional international border.
The Department of Defense announced in May 2007, that the Regiment would be deploying to Iraq in the fall of 2007. Starting at the higher levels, the Regiment conducted a COMMEX during the first week of May 2007 to exercise the new Command and Control systems, and construct the framework of information flow and control of maneuver formations prior to deployment to the National Training Center. The Regiment, already poised for their National Training Center rotation in June 2007, took the news of an impending deployment as a sense of motivation to ensure it would be ready by distinguishing itself at NTC. The Regiments movement to the National Training Center was the first time the Regiment deployed with all of its equipment and personal to a combat training center in preparation for their eventual deployment to Iraq. During the Regiments 07-09 rotation, officials at NTC noted that it was the best rotation they had witnessed versus 23 previous rotations. The Regiment set a new record at NTC for miles installment of all its combat vehicles.
The Regiment's move to NTC in June 2007 served as an exciting opportunity to exercise all of the new equipment in a multi-echelon, full-spectrum environment. Based on past experiences in Iraq and anticipated future missions, the rotation would prove to be challenging, but extremely constructive to the fighting capabilities of the Regiment.
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