Military


4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment
4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light)
4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
"Winged Dragoons"
"Redcatchers"

The 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment's mission is to deploy rapidly to a designated contingency area and conducts RSTA operations to support regimental operations. On order, the Squadron would then redeploy and trains for future operation. As part of the transformation of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment into a modular Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the 4th Squadron was inactivated and reflagged in 2004 as the 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry, which was then assigned to the 18th Aviation Brigade, XVIII Corps. With the reactivation of reorganized 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in 2006, the 4th Squadron was similar reactivated as the Regiment's RSTA Cavalry Squadron.

The 4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment prior to the transformation and redeployment to Germany was part of V Corps, was located at Fort Polk, Louisiana. At that time, the unit's mission was to deploy on order a Regimental Aviation Squadron (RAS) to conduct reconnaissance, screen and air movement anywhere in the world and be prepared to fight on arrival. It would, on order, conduct joint armed reconnaissance in support of operations, such as Prime Chance. At that time, the Squadron consisted of a Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4 troops equipped with the OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior, one with the UH-60A Blackhawk, a maintenance troop, and an attached Chemical Company.

The Headquarters and Headquarters Troop provided the field trains (combat service support) to the Squadron. The unit supplied the Squadron with all Classes of Supply, including: food, clothing, fuel, barrier materials, ammunition, comfort gear, major components, medical supplies, building materials, and locally manufactured goods.

The mission of N troop was to rapidly deploy to a designated area of operations and occupy a tactical assembly area, conduct reconnaissance, security, and attack helicopter operations anywhere in the world, be prepared to fight on arrival, and win. N Troop, the Nomads, was an armed reconnaissance air cavalry troop with the focus of being the eyes and ears of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment. As a combined arms team, the Nomads conducted reconnaissance and security operations day or night, anytime, and anywhere in the world. This was accomplished with 7 armed OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance helicopters. Troop training included working closely with the Regimental Ground Cavalry assets to include air defense units, field artillery, and ground cavalry scouts.

The mission of O Troop was to rapidly deploy to a designated area of operations and occupy a tactical assembly area, conduct reconnaissance, security, and attack helicopter operations anywhere in the world, be prepared to fight on arrival, and win. O Troop provided reconnaissance, target acquisition, and attack helicopter capability to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light). It was equipped with the armed OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior. The Air Cavalry Troop in a Light Regimental Aviation Squadron consisted of 3 platoons. These were the Headquarters, 1st, and 2nd Platoons. The 1st and 2nd platoon had 8 OH-58D Kiowa Warriors each and were responsible for maintaining them and conducting missions in support of the Squadron and Regiment. The Headquarters platoon supported the line platoons with food, water, mail and anything else the members of the unit might need to perform their mission.

P Troop, Palehorse Troop, had the primary mission of being the eyes and ears for the Regimental Commander, through reconnaissance and security operations. The unit did this with 8 OH-58(I) armed reconnaissance helicopters. The unit's weapons of choice were the .50 caliber machine gun, and 2.75 inch rockets.

The mission of Q Troop was to, on order, rapidly deploy to conduct reconnaissance, security, and attack operations anywhere in the world, be prepared to fight upon arrival, and win.

The mission of R Troop was to rapidly deploy to conduct air movement operations and airborne C2 anywhere in the world, be prepared to fight upon arrival, and win. Renegade Troop, was a dynamic force multiplier in the 4th Squadron. With its UH-60A Blackhawks, the R Troop provided the Regiment with the capability to rapidly resupply, conduct airborne Command and Control, emplace minefields, and swiftly displace soldiers across the depth of the battlefield.

S Troop was the Aviation Unit Maintenance (AVUM) Troop. The unit provided maintenance and repair parts support to the Squadron's 32 OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior and 15 UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters. S Troop consisted of 120 soldiers in 16 separate Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) ranging from turbine engine mechanics to test pilots.

4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, the "Sabre" Squadron, had a shared lineage. The Squadron traces its history along 2 distinguished paths. The first is the heritage of the Squadron as traced from what was then called Aviation Company of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, activated on 23 May 1960 at Nuremberg, Germany. Aviation Company consisted then of O-1 Bird Dog fixed wing aircraft, OH-13 Light Observation Helicopters, and a few radio-controlled drones. The second path was that traced from October 1991 and belongs to the then 4th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, then located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In December 1966, the 52nd Colonel of the Regiment, James P. Cahill, officially redesignated the Regiment's Aviation Company as Air Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and the following year moved the unit to Feucht Army Airfield. From Feucht, the Air Troop supported the Regiment's border surveillance mission. In July 1971, Air Troop again changed its designation to Air Cavalry Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

In January 1976, Air Cavalry Troop fielded the new AH-1Q TOW Cobra armed helicopter, adding a third dimension to the Regiment's ability to engage threat armored vehicles. It was also noteworthy that in May 1976, the first border surveillance mission was conducted by an Air Cavalry Troop aircraft using Night Vision Goggles. A flight of 2 successfully flew the border trace using AN/PVS-5 goggles.

Throughout the late 1970's and early 1980's the Regiment's Air Cavalry Troop continued to grow and modernize. With this growth the Troop was divided in 2 in late 1976, forming Support Troop, and Air Cavalry Troop. Both Troops were responsible for surveillance along the Czechoslovakian border. On 16 October 1984, the Aviation Troops were again reorganized, this time as a Combat Aviation Squadron consisting of 7 troops, including 3 Air Cavalry, 2 Attack, one Combat Aviation (Utility Helicopter), and the Squadron Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. The eighth troop, the Aviation Unit Maintenance Troop (AVUM), was added on 11 July 1985.

In June 1987, the Combat Aviation Squadron was redesignated as the 4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the "Redcatchers." The Squadron's troops were officially designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, N, O, P, Q, R, S, and AVUM troops, and in 1988 fielded UH-60A Blackhawks in S Troop. By November 1989, the 4th Squadron was no longer guarding against invading armies from the East, but was observing thousands who fled daily across the former Warsaw Pact border in search of freedom in the West.

In December 1990, the Squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia with the rest of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Squadron led the Regiment across the Iraqi border on 23 February 1991 and conducted operations there screening along the Euphrates River until withdrawal in the second week of April 1991. The Squadron redeployed to Nuremberg with the Regiment and began preparations for deployment back to CONUS with the rest of the Regiment. However, as part of the post-Cold War drawdown Army wide and especially in Europe, the 4th Squadron was inactivated in 1992. The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment was moved for a brief period to Fort Lewis, Washington, and then on to Fort Polk, Louisiana.

During and after the 1990-91 Gulf War, the National Command Authorities identified a requirement to protect United States Naval and other maritime vital interests against "unconventional" naval threats. Task Force 118, later designated as 4th Squadron, 17th Cavalry, was formed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina to accomplish the "Prime Chance" mission.

The unit was the first to have armed OH-58D aircraft, later officially accepted into the Army inventory as the Kiowa Warrior, and was specially trained to conduct over-water reconnaissance and attack missions in support of vital National Interests. The then experimental aircraft were armed with "strap on" rocket pods, machine guns, and the deadly Hellfire missile system. The aircraft and the crews who flew them eventually logged over 6,500 night vision goggle hours, escorted 500 ships, and operated from the decks of 47 naval combatants in the North Arabian Gulf. Upon redeployment of 4-17th Cavalry to Fort Bragg, the Squadron continued to train and stand ready to perform it's Prime Chance mission. The Squadron received the first OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aircraft produced from the Bell Helicopter factory as replacements for it's makeshift Prime Chance aircraft, and was then organized with 3 "Little Bird" Troops, one Assault Troop, and an HHT.

The unit was reflagged as the 4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment on 16 January 1994, which was subsequently reactivated. The unit was promptly deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. The Squadron conducted the first reconnaissance in country and supported JTF 180 operations. Three years later, in May 1997, the Squadron moved to Fort Polk, finally reuniting with the Regiment of Dragoons, and once again deploying, this time for Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. The Squadron returned to Fort Polk in June of 1998.

After the 4th Squadron's return they deployed to the NTC for Rotation 99-10 and again for rotation 02-04. Both rotations proved 4th Squadron to be a highly trained and lethal combat unit. Between these 2 rotations the Squadron deployed twice to Fort Huachuca, Arizona and twice to Fort Hunter Ligget, California for JTF-6 Counter-drug mission support. From September 2001 through April 2002, the Squadron deployed P, Q, and a detachment of S Troop to Bosnia in support of SFOR-10. They played a key role in maintaining the peace in the Balkans and performed anti-terrorist missions following the 11 September terrorist attacks.

With the return of P and Q Troops from Bosnia, the reunited Squadron deployed for Joint Readiness Training Center rotation 02-09. Although, the rotation again showed the strength of the Air Cavalry, it was made bitter by the loss of 2 fine Warrant Officers to an aircraft accident.

Among some of our many accomplishments during the year of deployment were: the 87th Chemical Company being the first from the Regiment to attack into Iraq in March 2003 at the forefront of Army and Marine Corps spearheads and O Troop moving out next as part of Task Force Cougar in early April 2003 with the rest of the Squadron following that same month. Together, they had flown over 16,000 combat hours in support of the Regimental Combat Team, the 1st Armored Division and the 3rd Infantry Division. N, O and P Troops had Air Cavalry brand-name recognition in Baghdad for armed reconnaissance and area security support. R Troop set the standard for a UH-60L Troop in Iraq. They moved over 7,000 passengers and hauled thousands of tons of cargo while conducting countless command and control missions in support of the Regiment. They contributed to the neutralization of hundreds of terrorists. They also assisted in the seizure of thousands of small arms, hundreds of heavy caliber weapons, tons of munitions, all the while making the streets of Iraq safe one day at a time. They simultaneously pumped over one million gallons of jet fuel and drove over 100,000 ground convoy miles with Task Force Hammer in the heart of Baghdad. Workhorse and S Troop were truly the heavy lifters when it came to Force Protection and meeting the complex ground and air coordination and maintenance needs of this Squadron.

August 2003 was busy month for the Sabre Squadron. Sabre Squadron sustained an operational tempo uncontested by any other aviation unit within their area of responsibility, up to that date never canceling a mission. The month started with a Change of Responsibility of the Command Sergeant Majors. On a somber note, Sabre Squadron suffered a loss as well with the unexpected death of Specialist Colunga. Sabre Squadron continued to surpass all expectations with its optempo by averaging 1,400 hours a month for flight hours flown with a total of 5,000 in country. They continued to support all units within the Baghdad AOR. The OH-58Ds continued to perform zone and area reconnaissance missions, route reconnaissance, and area security missions in support of, or in preparation for ground operations. Most recently the OH-58Ds provided area security for the United Nation's compound after the bombing. The UH-60s continued to stay busy supporting the Regiment and other units within the AOR. They conducted a multiship air movement in support 2-37th Armor and sling loads with RSS. Living areas continued to improve every day. The swimming pool opened and provided hundreds of soldiers a day a welcome escape from the heat. All of Sabre Squadron's living areas had air conditioning now. 4th Squadron's weight room, referred to as Jim's Gym, continues to improve everyday with incoming equipment. The Cantina continued to improve with the addition of an Internet Cafe, which was expected to open in the first week of September.

September 2003 was a busy month for the Sabre Squadron. Sabre Squadron continued to sustain an operational tempo uncontested by any other aviation unit within our area of responsibility, up to that date never canceling a mission. Sabre Squadron continued to meet every demand and improve quality of life and life support daily. Sabre Squadron continued to surpass all expectations with their optempo by averaging 1,500 hrs a month and 6,800 total flight hours to date. They continued to support all units within the Baghdad AOR. The OH-58Ds continued to perform zone and area reconnaissance missions, route reconnaissance, and area security missions in support of, or in preparation for ground operations. The UH-60s continued to stay busy supporting the Regiment and other units within the AOR. They continued to conduct multiship air movements and sling loads. In addition, they had ongoing missions of personnel movement to BIAP, Balad, Combat Support Hospital, and Doha, Kuwait. Both the OH-58Ds and the UH-60s provided continuous support Operation Fly Trap. In addition, both were preparing for Aerial Gunnery in October 2003. The Cantina continued to improve with the addition of an Internet Café, big screen TVs with satellite, pool tables, and foosball tables. Many soldiers got to enjoy the Drew Carey show at BIAP. R Troop supported that by shuttling 44 soldiers there and back. 4th Squadron also had conducted 2 trips to Babylon for guided tours of the ancient ruins. The Squadron would continue to take soldiers to Babylon from the Regiment twice a month. The Squadron had also started to send soldiers home on Environmental Leave in September 2003. The Squadron held an awards ceremony on 28 September 2003 where there were a total of 48 awards given out. Immediately following the awards ceremony the Squadron held a grudge match flag football game between the Drivers and the Flyers.

October 2003 marked the sixth month that 4th Squadron had been deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During October 2003, the Squadron conducted aerial gunnery at Butler range. During the gunnery training, the Squadron demonstrated its ability to successfully conduct 2 missions at once. While continuing the normal mission support the squadron conducted aerial gunnery without missing a beat. The OH-58D crews qualified tables III, IV, VII, and VIII. The UH-60's conducted door gunnery. Lieutenant Colonel Beckinger and the Command Sergeant Major Marin both participated in the UH-60 door gunnery. The first soldiers returned from their well-deserved environmental leave. The 4th Squadron had continued to conduct combat operations 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Many troops took advantage of the cooler October weather by conducting their Army Physical Fitness Test. They also held Spur Ride and Spur dinner morale boosting events. The day of the ride began at 0630 for the first Squadron run in country. At 0930 an awards ceremony was held where the first Air Medals were awarded. Immediately following the awards ceremony the Spur Ride began. More than 150 soldiers participated in the Spur Ride. The day ended with a Spur Dinner, with 250 soldiers in attendance.

November 2003 marked the seventh month that 4th Squadron had been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Soldiers continued to take advantage of Environmental Leave. Despite everything going on 4th Squadron had continued to conduct combat operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. November 2003 has brought with it cooler temperatures and all living areas were subsequently outfitted with heaters. Rain and mud at the base came were additional factors. The Squadron conducted a convoy live fire exercise during November 2003. The Live Fire exercise was conducted at Butler Range Complex. Forty soldiers participated in the exercise. This experience increased the combat readiness of 4th Squadron. The Squadron also conducted close quarters combat training and approximately 40 soldiers participated in that training as well. Both exercises were great opportunities for the soldiers to do some invaluable training.

The 4th Squadron was able to take brief, well-deserved breaks from daily combat operations. The Squadron also redeployed 118 short of the "365 days boots on the ground" policy and received 88 replacements. They had 205 go on environmental or emergency leave (fully 73 percent of the eligible), 57 went on pass to Qatar and over 100 attended the Babylon cultural awareness day trip. In forms of tangible accomplishments over 20 children were born while they were away, 12 wedding engagements announced, they presented 22 Bronze Stars, 307 air medals and 348 army commendation medals to deserving troopers. At the Squadron's home station, the Rear Detachment and Family Readiness Group hosted a variety of team building events ranging from monthly Video Tele Conferences (over 160 participating), recurring festive holiday gatherings and, of course, the spectacular homecoming.

Following its redeployment from Iraq, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment began transformation to the a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, being reactivated in 2006 as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. As part of this reorgnaization, the 3 maneuver squadrons were reduced to 3 troops, with the howitzer battery being reassigned to a new FIRES Squadron at Regiment level. As a by product and in Keeping with the tradition of troops following in alphabetical order through the Regiment's squadrons, 4th Squadron gained K and M troops (though L troop was inactivated), inactivating R and S Troops. The various troops were reflagged and maintained their previous missions. The Regiment as a whole also subsequently redeployed to Rose Barraks, Vilseck Germany, being reassigned to V Corps, as part of US Army Europe.




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