3rd Cavalry Regiment (United States)

The 3rd Cavalry Regiment, formerly 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment ("Brave Rifles") is a regiment of the United States Army currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

The regiment has a history in the United States Army that dates back to 19 May 1846, when it was constituted in the Regular Army as the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. This unit was reorganized at the start of the American Civil War as the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment on 3 August 1861. In January 1943, the regiment was re-designated as the 3rd Cavalry Group (Mechanized). Today they are equipped with Stryker vehicles. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was the last heavy armored cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army until it officially became a Stryker regiment on 16 November 2011. It will retain its lineage as the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Under various names it has seen action during eleven major conflicts: the Indian Wars, the Mexican–American War, the American Civil War, the Spanish–American War, the Philippine–American War, World War I, World War II, the Persian Gulf War, SFOR in Bosnia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Twenty-three of the regiment's troopers received the Medal of Honor, all awarded for gallantry in action between 1871 and 1898. The list includes William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, whose award was rescinded in 1916 for not being a member of the military. Cody's medal was reinstated in 1989.

Structure

:For further information on the current structure, see #Change of Mission, below

The 3rd Cavalry Regiment's structure consists of seven cavalry squadrons. Each cavalry squadron is divided into four cavalry Troops/Batteries/Companies. The regiment also controls four independent companies/troops:

  • Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Remington)
  • 1st Squadron (Tiger)
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Roughrider)
    • A Troop (Apache) - Infantry
    • B Troop (Bandit) - Infantry
    • C Troop (Crazyhorse) - Infantry
    • ADA Battery (Predator) - Air Defense Artillery
  • 2nd Squadron (Sabre)
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Rattler)
    • F Troop (Fox) - Infantry
    • E Troop (Eagle) - Infantry
    • G Troop (Grim) - Infantry
    • 43rd Combat Engineer Company (Sapper) - No longer with the 3rd Cavalry as of 16 November 2011; it is a regimental asset which falls under administrative control of Sabre Squadron.
  • 3rd Squadron (Thunder)
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Havoc Hounds)
    • G Troop (Grim Reapers) - Infantry
    • H Troop (Heavy) - Armor
    • I Troop (Ironhawk) - Infantry
    • Q Troop (Quicksilver) - Squadron support
  • 4th Squadron (Longknife)
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Headhunters)
    • N Troop (Nomad) - Reconnaissance
    • O Troop (Outlaw) - Reconnaissance
    • P Troop (Predator) - Reconnaissance
    • Q Company (Quicksilver) - Anti-Tank infantry company which falls under Longknife Squadron for administrative control.
  • Field Artillery Squadron (Steel)
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (Brimstone)
    • A Battery (King) - M777
    • B Battery (Lion) - M777
    • C Battery (Regulator) - M777
  • Engineer Squadron (Pioneer)
  • Support Squadron (Muleskinner)
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Bullwhip)
    • Supply and Transportation Troop (Packhorse)
    • Maintenance Troop (Blacksmith)
    • Medical Troop (Scalpel)
    • O Troop (Outlaw) - Signals troop that falls under administrative control of Muleskinner Squadron.

Origins

The Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was authorized by an Act of Congress on 1 December 1845 and was formed at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. The president signed the bill in law on 19 May 1846 and COL Persifor F. Smith was placed in command. Thus came into existence a new organization in the United States Army: a regiment of riflemen, mounted to provide greater mobility than the infantry and equipped with Model 1841 percussion rifles to provide greater range and more accurate firepower than the infantry’s muskets or the dragoon’s carbines. The Mounted Riflemen were considered a separate branch of service at the time and wore green piping with a trumpet for the branch insignia.

When the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was organized pursuant to the act of Congress in 1846, the first companies filled were A, B, C, and D. They would not be designated as troops until 1883 and would later make up the core of 1st (Tiger) Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. Companies C and F were recruited from the mountains of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, I Company was formed in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the rest of the regiment was recruited from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

"Bandit Troop" (then B Company) is the regiment's senior troop. It was organized 1 August 1846, and consisted of 1-Captain, 1-1st Lieutenant, 1-2nd Lieutenant, 1-Brevet 2Lt, and 75 enlisted men. "Crazyhorse Troop" (then C Company) was organized next on 1 September 1846, with Captain Samuel H. Walker as its commander. He is listed as being "on detached service at Washington, obtaining equipment and recruits for Company" until 21 May 1847. No doubt the "equipment" he was obtaining was the shipment of 1,000 Colt-Walker revolvers he had co-designed with Samuel Colt. "Apache Troop" (then A Company) completed its organization 1 October 1846. Captain William Wing Loring was the first Commander of A Company, and would later become the Regiment's 2nd Colonel, before resigning his commission to serve the Confederacy. "Dragon Troop" (then D Company) was organized 4 October 1846 with 3 officers and 61 enlisted. Captain Henry Pope was the first commander of D Company.

Mexican–American War

Originally formed to provide security for travelers on the Oregon Trail, the regiment was immediately rerouted southwards when the Mexican-American War began. The Mounted Riflemen lost most of their horses in a storm during the voyage across the Gulf of Mexico, forcing them to fight dismounted. Once the regiment landed at Veracruz on 9 March 1847, they would go on to serve in six campaigns of the Mexican War. On 17–18 April, the Regiment was engaged in fierce hand-to-hand fighting during the Battle of Cerro Gordo and were soon engaged again in the Battle of Contreras on 19 August. On 20 August 1847, General Winfield Scott, Commander of American Forces in Mexico, made a speech from which the first sixteen words have become important to the regiment. The regiment was bloodied and exhausted from the fierce fighting at Contreras, but even so, each man stood at attention as Scott approached. The General removed his hat, bowed low, and said: "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel!" This accolade is emblazoned on the regimental coat of arms, and is the source of the regimental motto, "Blood and Steel" and nickname, "Brave Rifles." The Mounted Riflemen were soon after sent to engage in desperate fighting in the Battle of Churubusco later that day.

Today, all enlisted personnel are required to loudly challenge all officers in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment with the portion of the regimental accolade given to the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen during the Mexican–American War. When an enlisted trooper is preparing to render military courtesy upon contact with an officer he will yell out "Brave Rifles" whereupon the officer will reply "Veterans."

On 8 September 1847, as US forces continued the drive to Mexico City, intelligence was received that a cannon foundry and a large supply of gunpowder was believed to be at Molino del Rey, 1,000 yards east of Chapultepec Castle. MAJ Edwin V. Sumner took 270 Riflemen to screen the American flank as the attack on Molino del Rey began. 4,000 Mexican cavalrymen were poised to attack the US flank, but Sumner's men navigated a deep ravine (considered impassable by the Mexican cavalry), charged, and defeated the vastly superior force. The Rifles finally departed Mexico on 7 July 1848 and arrived in New Orleans on the 17th. Their ship, the Aleck Scott, sailed them up the Mississippi River back to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

In December 1851, the regiment was ordered to Texas. By January 1852, the regiment arrived at Fort Merrill, where for the next four years it operated against the Indian tribes living in the area. Patrols, skirmishes, guard, and escort duty were all part of the daily routine. In 1853, the regiment was redesignated as the First Regiment of Mounted Riflemen because the Army was considering raising another mounted rifle regiment. This did not happen, and the unit remained the only Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.

American Civil War

In April 1861, the American Civil War broke out and 13 officers left the regiment to join the cause of the Confederacy, including future generals Joseph "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, William W. Loring, Dabney H. Maury, William H. Jackson, George B. Crittenden, and John G. Walker. Not a single enlisted man left the regiment.

At the outbreak of the war, a Confederate force of about 3,000 Texans began a campaign at Fort Bliss, Texas to seize the territories of New Mexico and Colorado. The Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was one of the few Regular Army units in the region available to oppose them. On 25 July 1861, detachments of Companies B and F were involved in a hard fight at Mesilla under MAJ Isaac Lynde. Here, they charged the Confederate lines but were driven back after the attack faltered from accurate return fire, and the men retired to Fort Fillmore, where it was later surrendered on 26 July.

Indian Wars

Company E, traveling on the Arkansas River, suffered 13 troopers killed, 9 injured, and 12 missing when the steamship Miami catastrophically exploded on 28 January 1866. In April 1866, Companies A, D, E, H, and L were sent to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania to be brought back up to strength, and the regiment was once again ordered to the New Mexico territory to campaign against the Indians. In 1868-1869 many fights against Mescalero Apache, and also Jicarilla Apache, Navajo and Ute Indians involved detachments of the regiment between the Rio Grande and the Pecos River. On 9 July 1869, Companies G and I were attacked by a force of Navajo warriors near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. One soldier died from an arrow wound and four men were wounded severely enough to be dismounted from their horses. When the remainder of the unit retreated, these men were set upon and killed by the Indians. Five men were killed and four others were wounded. Beginning in February 1870, most of the companies of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment began moving individually to the Arizona Territory, but the Regimental Headquarters and Company I moved to Camp Halleck, and Company D to Camp McDermit, both in northern Nevada. Late in 1871, the regiment was transferred north to the Department of the Platte, which included what are now the states of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The 3rd Cavalry became the main cavalry force for Department operations in the Black Hills region. Despite the US forces being stymied by the Indians, during the battle, "three battalions of the 3rd Cavalry under Captains Mills, Henry and Van Vliet, performed gallant, heroic, and outstanding service.

On 13 May 1898, the Regiment arrived in Tampa, Florida. On 8 June, the regiment, minus four troops, embarked, dismounted, on the transport Rio Grande for Cuba. Three provisional squadrons were formed; 2nd Squadron was commanded by MAJ Henry W. Wessels Jr. and consisted of Troops C, E, F, and G. 3rd Squadron, under CPT Charles Morton, consisted of Troops B, H, I, and K. The four troops that were left in camp (Troops A, D, L, and M) in Tampa took care of the animals and regimental property and instructed recruits. The Regiment landed at Daiquirí, Cuba but were forced to leave behind most of their horses. Troop B advanced to the enemy's line at the San Juan Blockhouse (different from the San Juan House) where the Regiment's U.S. Flag, carried by Sergeant Bartholomew Mulhern of Troop E, was the first to be raised at the point of victory. 2nd Squadron, held in reserve on Kettle Hill, joined the 3rd Squadron on San Juan Hill that evening. On 23 July, 1LT John W. Heard, the regimental quartermaster, was directing several troopers unloading supplies from the Wanderer near Bahia Honda when they were set upon by a force of 1,000 Spanish cavalrymen. After two men were shot and the ship was disabled, Heard led the defense and repelled the enemy attack. For this action, he would receive the Medal of Honor. The regiment stayed in Cuba until 6 and 7 August 1898 when they sailed for Montauk Point, New York.

Old Bill

In 1898, the American artist Frederick Remington was visiting the camp of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry in Tampa, Florida, where the regiment was preparing for the invasion of Cuba during the Spanish–American War. During his visit, Remington's attention was drawn to one of the troop's NCOs. Sergeant John Lannen struck the artist as the epitome of the cavalryman and he made several rough sketches of Lannen. From those rough sketches Remington later executed the now famous drawing portraying a trooper astride his mount with a carbine cradled in his arm, depicted here. At some point in the past this drawing became known as Old Bill. This drawing represents a trooper, a unit, and a branch of service and has come to symbolize mobile operations in the US Army.

The deploying troops landed in Manila in October 1899, with the remaining four troops following from Fort Myer in 1900. The 3rd Cavalry remained on the island of Luzon until 1902, fighting sixty-two engagements during that time. The fighting was often fierce with no quarter asked and none given. This would be the first time the U.S. Army would fight in a jungle environment, and the first time it would fight a counterinsurgency, but it would not be the last. The regiment returned to the United States in detachments between April and November 1902. The Headquarters, band, and Troops A, D, I, K, L, and M were stationed in Montana, Troops B and C in Wyoming, Troops G and H in Arizona, Troop E in Idaho and Troop F in North Dakota.

World War I

On 17 March 1917, the entire 3rd Cavalry Regiment was transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and one month later, the United States of America entered the First World War on the side of the Allies. The regiment was one of the first units to arrive in France in November of that year, and immediately began their duties; the operation of three major horse remount depots. The three squadrons were charged with the purchase of horses, mules and forage, the care, conditioning, and training of remounts before issue, and the distribution and issue of remounts to the American Expeditionary Force.

Arriving in England in June 1944, the 3rd MCG began preparing for combat in France. They landed in Normandy on 9 August and were assigned to be the covering force of XX Corps of Patton's Third Army. While conducting screening, reconnaissance, and covering missions, the 3rd MCG was the first unit of the Third Army to reach the Meuse River and the Moselle River, and were also the first to enter the city of Thionville. Task Force Polk grew and shrunk throughout the war, and its max strength was roughly 5,000 men when the 5th Ranger Battalion was attached as well. On 17 November, TF Polk crossed the Moselle and possibly became the first US troops to enter Germany. Covering the advance of the 10th Armored Division, TF Polk was heavily engaged in the Battle of Metz, where it fought dismounted in fierce urban combat. The first time the 3rd Cavalry served on the Iron Curtain was in August 1955, when it replaced the 2nd Cavalry as part of the Army's Gyroscope plan that rotated entire units between Germany and the U.S. In February,1958, the cycle repeated and the troopers of the 3rd Cavalry returned to the States as the 2nd Cavalry resumed their former mission. The 3rd Cavalry, though, would not remain stateside for long.

When 3rd Cavalry returned to the United States from Germany in February 1958, and was once again stationed at Fort Meade. The regiment became part of the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and, from 1958–1961, it was the recipient of four STRAC streamers, awarded for superior readiness and training.

In November 1961, the regiment was deployed to Germany once again in response to the Soviet threat during the Berlin Crisis. The troopers were stationed in Kaiserslautern but the unit soon found itself once again patrolling the border. Cavalry Troops within the regiment were soon attached on a monthly, rotating basis to the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment to assist with patrols in the 3/14 ACR sector. Additionally, the 1st and 2nd Squadrons relieved units of the 14th Cavalry for two one-month periods during 1962 and 1963. During 1964, though, the regiment played a larger role in border operations.

Since the 11th Cavalry was scheduled to return to the U.S. in the summer of 1964, a unit was needed to fill the gap along the Iron Curtain in southeastern Bavaria. To meet this requirement, the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry, was re-designated as the 1st Squadron, 11 ACR, and rotated back to the states with the 11th Cavalry. At the same time, the 11th Cavalry's 1st Squadron stationed in Straubing was re-designated as 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry, and conducted border operations under the regimental colors of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The unit conducted border operations from its two border camps until March 1965 when it was relieved by 2/9th Cavalry of the 24th Infantry Division. The regiment remained in Germany until July 1968 when it moved to Fort Lewis, Washington. The 3rd Armored Cavalry regiment participated in Exercise Reforger 1 in 1968 and Reforger 2 in July and August 1971.

In July 1972, the 3rd Cavalry received orders to move to Fort Bliss, Texas.

Gulf War

On 7 August 1990, the regiment was alerted to move overseas in defense of Saudi Arabia. In September 1990, the regiment arrived in country as part of the 24th Infantry Division XVIII Airborne Corps, and moved into defensive positions south of the Kuwaiti border in the area known as the Neutral Zone. On 22 January 1991, elements of I Troop led by the 63rd Colonel, Colonel Douglas Starr, engaged in the first ground combat of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The regiment's attack was successful in destroying an Iraqi Army outpost. On 24 February, F Troop led the regiment across the berm into Iraq. In 100 hours, the regiment moved over 300 kilometers, and left remnants of three Iraqi Republican Guard divisions in its wake. The regiment was over task organized with over 7,000 soldiers for Desert Storm. The former regimental deputy commander, 2007–2009 LTC(R) Nathan E. Hines III, was the regimental scout platoon leader during the assault into Iraq. At the time of OIF 07-09 he was one of only three soldiers in the 5,000 soldier regiment who served with them in Operation Desert Storm.

The regiment deployed back to the U.S., arriving 5 April 1991. The regiment fielded new combat systems and conducted the first National Training Center rotation for a combat proven unit. The regiment deployed to NTC 11–91 and defeated the OPFOR during regimental force on force operations; the culmination battle for the rotation. In the fall of 1995, the 3rd ACR began its relocation to Fort Carson with the regiment fully standing up in the Spring of 1996 (The 4th Infantry Division was relocated from Fort Carson to Fort Hood, Texas).

Four years after the return from Operation Desert Storm in April 1996, the regiment completed its move to its new home at Fort Carson, Colorado. During this historic period the regiment was led by COL Douglas Starr, 63rd Colonel of the Regiment, COL Robert Ivany, 64th Colonel of the Regiment, COL Robert Young, 65th Colonel of the Regiment, COL Robert Wilson, 66th Colonel of the Regiment, and COL Martin Dempsey, 67th Colonel of the Regiment.

Bosnia peacekeeping

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. 3rd ACR troopers had to stand down from a more aggressive war fighting posture to act as neutral observers. They trained at Brcko, a simulated Bosnian village built by Fort Carson to provide a realistic training environment. After taking part in sustained training exercises conducted by other units stationed at Ft. Carson, those members of the regiment slated for the deployment completed a rigorous exercise at Ft. Polk, Louisiana designed to test their readiness for the SFOR mission. While the SFOR units were to be involved in the peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Task Force Rifles (TFR) was activated back at Fort Carson. Composed of Tiger Squadron and all regimental units remaining at Fort Carson, TFR was tasked with post red cycle duties as well as maintaining the many vehicles that were not taken to Bosnia.

When the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed, beginning in February 2000, it represented 75% of the American contribution to the Multinational Division North (MND-N) and constituted the bulk of the American maneuver element.

For the first time, a U.S. Army artillery unit conducted patrols as part of the peacekeeping operations for MND-N when the troopers of Regulator Battery assumed peacekeeping responsibility for Banovici and Zivinici. Other activities included weapons storage site inspections, removal of roadblocks, and confiscation of illegally cached weapons. Thunder Squadron also conducted joint patrols with Turkish, Russian, Estonian, Polish, Swedish, and Danish troops.

TFR also represented the regiment at Fort Hood during CPX Ulchi Focus Lens. This exercise simulated the deployment of the regiment to South Korea. 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.

The 3rd ACR Troopers took part in field training and live fire exercises while in Egypt. They also conducted training on nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare, night warfare, and the use of smoke on the battlefield. Static displays and briefings on air defense artillery capabilities were also provided. Aviation support was provided for the exercise by Longknife Troopers in the form of medical evacuation and personnel transport, while the Muleskinners of Support Squadron established and operated a logistics support system. The first elements of the regiment crossed the border into Iraq on 25 April 2003 and were immediately tasked to perform an economy of force mission to secure and stabilize Al-Anbar province in the western part of the country.

Various units of the Task Force found themselves managing a large number of projects to rebuild the infrastructure and restore basic services, efforts aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Many schools in Iraq were found to have been turned into munitions storage facilities, because the regime knew Coalition forces would not attack schools. These schools were cleared, renovated and returned to use.

Longknife Squadron established aerial border qualification standards and became the first aviation unit in theater to operate well inside the five kilometer buffer zone established by U.S. Central Command. The success of the program resulted in its adoption by CJTF-7 as the theater standard.

Over twenty forward operating bases (FOB) were established in order to provide the best possible living conditions for Task Force personnel, and from which combat, security, and sup-port operations could be conducted throughout a 140,000 square kilometer area. The various FOBs established by the task force became nodes in a massive logistical network. Capt. Rozelle deployed to the town of Hit, Iraq as the commander of the 3rd ACR's K Troop ("Killer"). During operations in Hit, Rozelle's Humvee ran over an anti-tank mine which destroyed both the Humvee and Rozelle's right lower leg. This resulted in the amputation of Rozelle's foot and ankle.

After being given an artificial leg, Capt. Rozelle returned to duty as commander of the 3rd Cavalry's Headquarters Troop. He then redeployed to Iraq with the 3rd ACR on their third tour in Iraq. Since his injury, Rozelle has completed the New York Marathon and written the book, Back In Action: An American Soldier’s Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude.

"Steve-O"

Known as "Steve-O" to protect his identity, this 13-year-old boy was one of the 3rd Cavalry's most helpful informants.

Steve-O's father was once an army captain in the Republican Guard, and led a 40-man insurgent group after the Coalition invasion. Forced to fight alongside his father against the Americans and severely beaten by his father, Steve-O walked to a 3rd Cavalry check-point to turn in his father.

After turning in his father, Steve-O turned in a number of other insurgents. Often riding in the back of a Humvee, Steve-O would simply point out people he saw at the meetings of insurgents his father used to take him to. However, with Steve-O's father arrested and his mother killed by insurgents in retribution, Steve-O had nowhere left but to live on Forward Operating Base "Tiger" with the troopers of the 3rd Cavalry.

After the 3rd Cavalry returned from their year-long deployment to Iraq, Steve-O continued to live on post with the Marines that replaced the cavalry. Eventually, 1SG Daniel Hendrex was able to arrange for Steve-O to leave Iraq and come to the United States.

Steve-O's story came to public attention when he and the troopers responsible for his successful move to the United States appeared on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Operation Iraqi Freedom III: 2005-2006

The 3rd Cavalry only remained stateside for less than a year, before returning to Iraq for a second tour. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06 in February 2005. The regiment served from South Baghdad province to Western Ninewa Province in Northwestern Iraq until March 2006. The 2nd Battalion of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment (of the 82nd Airborne Division) served with the regiment in Iraq from September – December 2005. In September 2005, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment conducted 'Operation Restoring Rights' to defeat a terrorist stronghold in the city of Tal Afar.

In July 2005, the Army announced that the regiment would re-station to Fort Hood within months of returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment officially departed Fort Carson, Colorado in July 2006.

Two elements of the regiment stayed behind at Fort Carson and were subsequently re-flagged. The regiment's aviation element was re-flagged as 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry, part of the 1st Infantry Division, while the other element was re-flagged as part of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team rear detachment.

Operation Restoring Rights

By the time 3rd Cavalry returned to Iraq in 2005, the northern city of Tal Afar had fallen entirely under the control of insurgents. Led by Colonel H.R. McMaster, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment focused first on pacifying the smaller surrounding cities and closing down the nearby Syrian border to prevent supplies and routes of escape to the insurgents occupying the city. The next stage was to build a massive earthen berm that enclosed Tal Afar, the berm was constructed by Alpha Company 113 Engineer Battalion stationed out of Indiana, as law-abiding residents were ordered out to evacuation camps. 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 commandos. 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 Tal 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. 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.

After the regiment returned from Iraq, Tal Afar Mayor Mayor Najim Abdullah al Jubori sent a letter to Gen. George Casey, the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, thanking the 3rd Cavalry for liberating his town. The Mayor's letter became the subject of widespread media attention after U.S. President George W. Bush mentioned it during a speech in March 2006.

Post OIF 04-06

Following OIF 04-06, the regiment relocated from Fort Carson, Colorado to Fort Hood, Texas. The regiment officially completed its move in July 2006. On 29 June 2006, COL H.R. McMaster completed his command and officially gave the guidon to COL Michael Bills. The 3rd ACR began training for another tour in OIF right away, fielding new weapons systems (including new M1A2 Abrams tanks and M3A3 Bradley fighting vehicles) and re-build the organization following the move from Fort Carson. In July the regiment completed a successful NTC rotation 07-09.

Operation Iraqi Freedom 2007-2009

On 25 October 2007, the regiment began its third tour in Iraq. 1st and 3rd Squadrons are deployed in the Ninawa Province, 2nd Squadron was deployed to eastern Diyala province until OCT when it rejoined the regiment in Mosul. 1st Squadron in Qayarrah, and 3rd Squadron in Mosul. Because Mosul is the most violent major city in Iraq, Heavy Company, Eagle Troop and 43rd Combat Engineer Company (2/3 ACR) were attached to 3rd Squadron to help with increased insurgent activity. A platoon from 43rd Combat Engineer Company 3rd PLT (heavy blue) was attached to Heavy Company also 3rd Platoon Heavy Company attached to Lightning Troop, becoming Lightning 5th Platoon, "Gold Platoon" in order to help bear the largest, and most dangerous area of the city. 4th Squadron is served in Baghdad. Thunder Squadron was part of several major operations in order to clear the city of insurgents, including Operations Lions Roar, which was praised as one of the turning points in the war on terror.

1st Squadron's King Battery (currently attached to 1/25th SBCT) firing artillery and is split between three FOBs, which allows the Battery to cover the entire Diyala Province. Firing over 7,700 rounds in eleven months, King Battery has destroyed the previous record which was set by a battalion size element.

2nd Squadron minus, composed of Grim Troop, Fox Troop, Lion Battery and the Squadron Headquarters and Headquarters Troop spent the bulk of the deployment at FOB Caldwell in Eastern Diyala Province, where it was responsible for 62% of the battle space of 4/2 ID. During the deployment 2nd Squadron passed from the operational control of 4/2 ID to 2nd SCR where they remained until they rejoined 3rd ACR in OCT 2008. 2nd Squadron conducted several major operations during its time in Diyala including Operation Raider Harvest, which removed the most of the last pockets of organized resistance in Diyala in the vicinity of Muqdadiyah. 2nd Squadron also spearheaded Operation Sabre Tempest, the largest combined Iraqi Army–U.S. Army air assault mission of OIF. This operation and several follow-on operations cleared and secured Diyala Province from Baqubah to the Iranian border. Having completed its mission in Diyala, 2nd Squadron rejoined the rest of 3rd ACR in Mosul in OCT 2008 where it assumed an area of responsibility between 1st and 3rd Squadrons. On rejoining the regiment, Grim Troop, from 2nd Squadron was awarded the Draper Award for Leadership Excellence. 2nd Squadron held this area and in combined operations with Iraqi security forces destroyed numerous caches and detained more than 50 insurgents before the squadron's redeployment to Fort Hood in January 2009.

Post OIF 07-09

On 3 April 2009, Reginald E. Allen became the 73rd Colonel of the Regiment, the first African-American to command a United States cavalry regiment, and Jonathan J. Hunt, the XVIIIth Regimental Command Sergeant Major. The new command team immediately focused on the reception of equipment from the post-deployment reset program, the integration of newly arrived personnel, and the continuation of individual training. The Squadrons concentrated on weapons qualification, combat life saver training, and mandatory classes and schools through the summer until they began to receive their combat vehicles back from reset. As each unit's tanks and Bradleys arrived, the crews conducted communications and live fire tests as well as driver's training to certify new operators on their equipment. Soldiers also attended refresher training on new equipment and upgrades made during the reset process. With all of their vehicles and weapons finally back from reset, the squadrons accelerated their training pace to prepare for the next deployment to Iraq.

In the fall of 2009 the regiment received orders to deploy to Iraq again the following summer. This time period also marked the beginning of a series of field training exercises that gradually increased in intensity as the squadrons moved into the collective phase of training. Platoon and troop-level situational training exercises (STX) challenged junior leaders to assess their surrounding and decide on a course of action when faced with various tactical scenarios. These exercises also offered the first opportunity to test the new company intelligence support teams (COISTs) that had been selected and trained throughout the summer. The COISTs emphasized the bottom-up development and refinement of intelligence that is fundamental part of counterinsurgency operations in the contemporary operating environment. COIST members practiced debriefing patrols after simulated combat missions and developing an intelligence pictures for the company-level commander to drive future operations. This new capability will provide units with an increased understanding of the environment in their areas of responsibility in their next deployment.

On 5 November 2009, the regiment was called upon again, not to face an overseas threat, but to help protect the members of its own community when a lone attacker opened fire on Soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood‘s Soldier Readiness Center. Sabre Squadron, the installation‘s designated crisis reaction battalion at the time of the incident, was alerted to deploy back from training in the field and assist Fort Hood Emergency Services with cordoning the crime scene while the police searched for additional suspects. Joined by Soldiers from Tiger, Thunder, and Muleskinner, Sabre Squadron manned entry control points around the post to systematically search vehicles leaving the installation later that evening and the continued to secure the gates for several days after the attack. When President Obama visited Fort Hood on 10 November to help memorialize the twelve soldiers and one civilian who died in the attack, the regiment teamed with the Directorate of Emergency Services again to secure the route for the official convoy from the airfield to the III Corps headquarters.

In December, the squadrons took to the field for two more weeks of collective training to prepare for the National Training Center rotation scheduled for the following spring. Troops occupied patrol bases outside simulated Iraqi villages across Fort Hood and spent several days developing intelligence, training Iraqi security forces, and conducting reconnaissance operations. These Squadron-level exercises tested the units on the techniques and procedures they had developed throughout the fall and simulated the types of operations they would conduct at the National Training Center the following spring. After a short block leave for the winter holidays, the regiment's troopers began to prepare in earnest for what would likely be the 3rd ACR's last heavy stabilized gunnery beginning at the end of January. The Chief of Staff of the Army directed the regiment to convert to a Stryker regiment after the next deployment to Iraq. The announcement came out in the fall but the decision was not final until early 2010. This last stabilized gunnery helped train a new generation of tankers and scouts, many of whom had never fired a formal gunnery due to the high tempo of operational deployments.

As part of the planned Stryker transformation, the regiment also received word that Longknife Squadron would be deactivated in 2010 and reflagged as part of a new combat aviation brigade (CAB) that would be formed at Fort Lewis, but the squadron will remain at Fort Hood until 2012 as part of the new split-based CAB. The aviation squadron continued its training and crew certification program throughout this time period, including two deployments to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk supporting other deploying brigades and then supporting the regiment with attack and lift capabilities at a mission readiness exercise at the NTC in May/June 2010.

The regiment's NTC rotation 10-07 at Fort Irwin set the conditions for the regiment's pending deployment. Because of the extensive training and extended dwell, the regiment entered the rotation at higher training level than most units and as such was able to ramp up the training faster using less situational training exercise (STX) days and spending more days fully exercising all systems in the regiment.

Operation New Dawn: 2010-2011

The regiment's fourth deployment in seven years would be very different from the previous three but no less challenging or dangerous as an advise and assist regiment/brigade (AAB) in support of Operation New Dawn. On 30 Sep 2010 the regiment conducted a transition of authority with 3rd BDE, 3rd ID and assumed responsibility for the five northern provinces of United States Division-South under MG Vincent Brooks and the 1st Infantry Division. Later in the deployment the regiment was under the operational control of the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division.

The regiment’s area of operations included the Iraqi provinces of Babil, Karbala, Najaf, Diwaniyah (Qadisiyah), and Wasit; an area roughly the size of South Carolina. After assuming operational authority as the first AAB deployed during Operation New Dawn, 3rd ACR’s mission was to conduct stability operations in support of the United States Department of State provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) and to advise, train, and assist Iraqi security forces (ISF) of the 8th Iraqi Army (IA) Division and the 3rd and 5th Directorates of Border Enforcement (DBE) Regions. 3rd ACR's geographical terrain was the largest operational environment (OE) in the United States Forces-Iraq OE, encompassing approximately 64,700 square kilometers of desert, agricultural fields and urban terrain. Within this diverse area, the human terrain of OE Rifles included the cultural fault line between the Shi’a population in southern Iraq and the Sunni population in central Iraq.

Executing more than 12,000 dismounted and mounted patrols, 76 named operations, 3,500 operations in partnership with various Iraqi security force counterparts, more than 1300 key leader engagements (KLEs), and training more than 14,000 ISF personnel, 3rd ACR Troopers maintained a consistently high tempo of operations, intelligence gathering and analysis, and stability support and development during the year long deployment. In conjunction with Department of State personnel, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment also completed more than 200 civil projects with a value of $49.7M.

Change of Mission

On 16 November 2011, COL Reginald Allen, 73rd Colonel of the Regiment, cased the colors of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and uncased the colors of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment while handing over command to COL John B. Richardson IV, 74th Colonel of the Regiment. This transition marked a change of mission from conducting Corps-level reconnaissance and security, to a combined arms Stryker regiment able to conduct decisive action missions in support of unified land operations anywhere in the world. The regiment's size expanded as well, and a Fires Squadron was added, and 4th Squadron (Longknife) was made a ground reconnaissance unit. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Squadrons were reorganized as Stryker infantry formations, and a Signal and Anti-Armor Troop were added as well. The attached 89th Chemical Company was inactivated however. In effect, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment had returned to its roots as the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.

The Regiment's original green facings on the uniform is shown by the color of the shield. The unit's first engagement was the capture of Vera Cruz, and it continued with especially distinguished service throughout the campaign of 1847 to the capture of Mexico City. Upon entering the city, it hoisted the Stars and Stripes over the national palace and displayed the regimental standard from the palace balcony, which drew from General Scott the statement, "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel." The campaign is shown by the cross for Vera Cruz and the tower in green (the Mexican color) for fortified Mexico City, the first and last engagements thereof. The chief, taken from the arms of Lorraine, commemorates the regiment's World War I service. from Ft. Lewis, Washington to Ft. Bliss, Texas

  • Relocated to Ft. Carson, Colorado in 1996
  • Relocated to Ft. Hood, Texas on 13 July 2006
  • Redesignated 16 November 2011 as 3rd Cavalry Regiment and reorganized as a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

See also

  • List of United States Regular Army Civil War units

Notes

References

External links

* including regimental history

003 003 003 003 003 003 3rd United States Cavalry|003 003 003 3rd Cavalry Category:Comanche Campaign 003 Category:1846 establishments in the United States Category:Cavalry regiments of the United States Army

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