History of the 7th Cavalry Regiment
As the nation expanded westward following the close of the Civil War, the Department of the Army determined that more units were needed to protect settlers and fortune seekers heading west. On 28 July 1866, Congress authorized the creation of four additional cavalry regiments. Due to the racial segregation of the day, two white regiments and two black regiments would be organized. By General Order 92, the 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments were activated at Fort Riley, Kansas on 21 September 1866.
Shield: Or, on a chevron azure, between a phoenix rising from its ashes in Dexter chief, the head of a North American Indian war bonnet couped at the neck in sinister chief, and a yucca plant vert in base, seven horseshoes heels upward of the field.
Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) a Dexter arm embowed vested azure, the hand in buckskin gauntlet proper, grasping an old U.S. Army saber argent, hilted over.
Motto: The Seventh First.
Symbolism: The field is yellow, the cavalry color. The principal charge is a chevron whose origin tradition ascribes to the spur, which was formerly of that shape without rowel. The number of horseshoes corresponds to the numerical designation of the regiment. The phoenix symbolized the resurrection of the regiment after its virtual extermination in the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The Indian head and yucca commemorate Indian campaigns and the Punitive Expedition of 1916, respectively. The crest shows the position of “Raise Saber” taken at the command “Charge” as prescribed in 1873, the arm being habited in the uniform of the period.
Within a gold horseshoe showing seven nail holes, heels upward and the opening between the heels closed with a blue ribbon bearing the word Garryowen in yellow letters, the crest of the regiment. This insignia was approved in 1924.
Lest one forget, "Garryowen" has never been two words! The regiment submitted three versions of the regimental distinctive insignia (RDI) to the War Department Office in 1924. The first design placed the tip of the saber at the base of the W. The second design placed the tip between the W and the E. The third design, which the War Department approved, placed the saber tip between the Y and the O.
Brevet Major General (Major) John W. Davidson, of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, was the man responsible for getting 7th Cavalry its start. He was directed to select "from the subalterns of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry a suitable number of officers to assist in the organization." Although Davidson was never actually assigned to the regiment, he was effectively the commander until 26 November 1866, when Brevet Major General (Colonel) Andrew J. Smith took over as the first actual commander of the regiment. Smith, with little time in the regiment, commanded for a mere five months until Brevet Major General (Lieutenant Colonel) George Armstrong Custer assumed command on 26 February 1867.
Custer, the 1861 class "goat" (34th out of 34 graduates) of the United States Military Academy, served initially with the 2d Cavalry Regiment (Dragoons), then commanded the Michigan Volunteer Cavalry Brigade (Wolverines) from 1863 to the end of the war. He participated in every major battle of the war, and became the youngest officer ever to hold the rank of brevet Major General on 29 June 1863, two days prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. In spite of his distinguished wartime record and rank, he never received the Medal of Honor.
Almost immediately following its activation the Seventh Cavalry Regiment patrolled the Kansas plains for raiding native Americans and to protect the westward movement of pioneers. From 1866 to 1881, the regiment marched a total of 181,692 miles across Kansas, Montana, and the Dakota Territories. In the meantime, the bulk of the regiment’s activities involved escorting duty, both for settlers and Indian Agents.
Coupled with low pay, alcoholism, poor subsistence, and generally poor conditions, the regiment suffered ten suicides and 160 desertions. To exacerbate the bad living conditions, a private's monthly pay was $16.00. One dollar automatically came out of his pay for savings, and there was an automatic twelve and a half cent deduction for the Soldiers Home. This left the basic private soldier with a grand total of $14.87 and a half cents per month.
In 1867, Custer was relieved of his command and court-martialed on charges that during a pursuit of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, he had set such a killing pace that men deserted and he had issued the order to shoot on sight, wounding three and killing one. In addition, he was charged with an unauthorized absence from his command, to visit his wife Elizabeth at Fort Riley, Kansas. Custer was found guilty of these charges and was suspended from rank and command for one year with no pay during that time. General Ulysses S. Grant personally signed the court-martial order, and Custer's comparatively light sentence was most likely due to his distinguished service in the Civil War.
After reinstatement in the fall of 1868 Custer started preparing the regiment for a winter campaign. In the meantime, the bulk of the regiment's activities involved escorting duty, both for settlers and Indian Agents. The Seventh was sent to deal with a group of Cheyenne who were encamped in the area of the Washita River. Custer's column marched south from their forward base, Camp Supply, towards the Washita. The regiment went to painstaking effort to clear the ridgelines lest the Cheyenne see them crossing the snow-covered hills. Osage scouts led the troopers. Upon detecting Chief Black Kettle's plan on the evening of 26 November 1868 Custer formulated his plan. The regiment would assault the camp in three separate columns. This division of forces, designed to surround their faster-moving enemies and bring the troopers' superior firepower to bear, became standard operating procedure with LTC Custer. As dawn broke on the extremely cold morning of 27 November 1868, the regimental band started playing "Garryowen." Many of the musicians' lips froze to their instruments in the cold. The regiment routed the Black Kettle and his men in a resounding victory for the troopers.
Over the next eight years the regiment performed several key missions, one of which was the Black Hills Expedition of 1874. The regiment escorted several prospectors into the Black Hills (considered a sacred Native American burial ground) country of South Dakota as the prospectors searched for gold. In the past, the land had been reserved for the Native Americans, but the prospectors were unconcerned with ceremonial rights. They found gold, and the resultant influx of gold-seekers were a contributing factor to the 1876 escalation of hostilities.
In 1875, the regiment also escorted a railroad survey of the Yellowstone River valley. This expedition brought the regiment into constant conflict with Native American raiding parties. Custer, contrary to popular belief, was a peace-loving man. He did everything possible to prevent war during his frontier campaigns. Custer repeatedly requested authorization to share surplus food and grain with the Native Americans under the jurisdiction of the Standing Rock Indian Agency, but was denied permission by the Department of the Interior, which controlled the Indian agencies. The cavalry, on the other hand, was under the War Department, and thus, had no recourse. Typically, the federal government had broken every treaty it had made with the Indians. Food, supplies, and weapons that had been promised to Native Americans were instead sold for gold to the settlers. The government promised these goods to the Native Americans if the latter would peacefully remain on reserved lands. What few supplies that actually were sold to the Native Americans were at unreasonable prices. Flour and grain sent to the agencies were often mixed with sand; meat was often unfit for human consumption. Given the Native Americans' traditionally nomadic lifestyle and the poor living conditions, it was no surprise that they migrated.
In his conduct of the "Cleaning House Campaign" against the Indian agents, Custer found one of the worst culprits in President Ulysses S. Grant's brother Orville. Abuse, cheating, and dishonesty ran rampant amongst the Indian agents who were supposed to uphold treaties and act as liaisons between the Native Americans and the federal government. Indian agents, who were appointed, often paid bribes to secure their position.
President Grant relieved Custer of his command in April 1876 for the latter's sin of speaking the uncomfortable truth about Orville Grant and the Indian agents. In the meantime, the regiment had been in combat and had made its name as the finest horse cavalrymen on the frontier.
General Philip H. Sheridan intervened and Custer returned to the regiment in late winter 1876 in time to join the campaign that was supposed to begin that spring. General Alfred H. Terry would have overall command, but Custer would command the Seventh Cavalry. The party departed Fort Abraham Lincoln (now Bismarck, North Dakota) on 17 May 1876. The Sioux Expedition of 1876 was a complicated plan that involved the coordination of three separate commands departing from three separate locations and intended to converge at approximately the same time. Major General George Crook's column in the south came into contact on 16 June with a large force on the Rosebud. Since he remained in possession of the battlefield after the fight, he would always claim a victory. In fact, enemy forces had stopped him, forcing him to remain at the Rosebud for more than two weeks reconstituting his command. Now there were only two columns left.
Terry's intent was to trap the Indians between Custer and Major General John Gibbon in the Little Big Horn Valley. Custer would pass all the way down the Rosebud and cross over to the Big Horn Valley and move north, thereby preventing their enemy from escaping south. In the past, the Sioux could use their superior mobility to avoid decisive engagement, and Terry's plan was to force a fight on 26 June in the valley of the Little Bighorn River.
Custer marched with approximately 700 soldiers on 22 June. They moved south for several days identifying Indian camp signs along the way. After making visual contact with Indians on 23 June, Custer ordered the column to turn west towards the Little Big Horn. On 24 June, Custer's Arikara and Osage scouts identified a party of Sioux shadowing them. The Sioux fled when approached-they had been discovered and Custer didn't want the Sioux encampment to escape. That night he gave the attack plans for 25 June. One battalion (D, H, and K Companies), led by CPT Frederick W. Benteen, was to circle wide to the south to follow General Terry's directions. A second battalion (A, G, and M Companies), led by MAJ Marcus A. Reno, would cross the Little Big Horn due west, make a turn, and sweep north. CPT Thomas M. MacDougall, with B Company, would guard the regimental trains. Custer led a reinforced third battalion (C, E, F, I, and L Companies) to make a frontal attack on the Sioux encampment, by staying on the east side of the river, moving north, then attacking from the north.
Benteen found nothing in his sweep. Reno had limited intelligence information, and attacked into a hornet's nest of warriors. Reno was forced to withdraw in disarray and establish a strongpoint defense in a depression on a ridgeline. Benteen's column later joined them and Benteen took over command over the defense. They were able to hold out until relief arrived on the 27th. Custer, however, was not so lucky. Functioning under the same vague intelligence, that there was a "heap big injuns" in the valley, Custer assaulted the largest single encampment of North American Plains Indian in history, estimated between 1500 and 6000 warriors. Never before, and never again, would the Sioux amass such a large force. Custer's command was annihilated in the attack.
The only living thing found at the last stand was Comanche, the I Company Commander's horse. Five members of the Custer family died at the last stand (George Armstrong Custer, CPT Thomas W. Custer, Brice C. W. Custer, Arthur Reed (a nephew), and LT James Calhoun (Custer's brother-in-law). Sioux warriors had stripped bodies of clothing and mutilated them to prevent fallen warriors from going to the Happy Hunting Grounds in the afterlife. Many troopers were so mutilated that no positive identification could be made.
Custer's body, however, was left intact, out of respect to his position and reputation. Custer had two bullet wounds in his body, one in his left side, the other to the temple of his head. It was common practice for soldiers to keep one round (q.v. the last verse of the traditional cavalry poem "Fiddler's Green") for themselves if they risked capture by the Indians. Could Custer have committed suicide? According to Native American reports passed down from generation to generation, the soldiers presumably began shooting themselves to avoid being captured. This may never be known. Reno's and Benteen's battalions waited and fought all night and the next day and watched as the Sioux pulled up camp and left just prior to the late arrival of Generals Gibbon and Terry and their relief column. On the morning of the 27th the Sioux moved out.
To add insult to injury, Congress had failed to pass a payroll bill for the Army during 1876. The result was that no soldiers received pay during the entire calendar year! Every Garryowen trooper who died at Little Big Horn died unpaid.
Despite the tremendous defeat at Little Big Horn, the Sioux Campaign of 1876 was successful. By the beginning of 1877 nearly all of the Sioux tribes who had participated in the battle had returned to their reservations and they never again banded together in such numbers or even with such unity. The regiment during that time spent most of its time in garrison, and the bulk of the Records of Events for the years after Little Big Horn were characterized by reports such as “garrison duty at their respective stations during the entire year.”
In 1883, cavalry companies were redesignated as troops. In the meantime, the regiment had been serving on the frontier. As the Indian Wars died down, the regiment moved to Fort Bayard and the Arizona Territories to interdict Native American raids in the area. After the beginning of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the governor of Arizona requested more security, primarily against Hispanics sympathetic to the Emperor Maximillian. In 1899, however, elements of 1st Squadron would deploy to Cuba to support forces there. They remained there until 1902, when they redeployed to Chickamauga National Park, Georgia.
During the time periods 1904-1907, and 1910-1915 the regiment served in the Philippines, but the next time the Seventh Cavalry would see combat was on the Mexican border as part of General John J. Pershing's Punitive Expedition against the Villistas of Pancho Villa. It was during the Punitive Expedition that the Seventh made the last true cavalry charge by a United States Army unit at the Battle of Guerrero.
After the Punitive Expedition, the regiment stayed at Fort Bliss with the 15th Cavalry Division. George S. Patton, Jr. served as A Troop Commander during this time. During World War I, COL Selah R. H. "Tommy" Tompkins would lead a force of cavalry, artillery, and engineers after Pancho Villa's Mexican bandits in 1919. Tompkins entered service in 1884 with the 7th Infantry Regiment, then transferred to the 7th Cavalry in 1886. He fought at Wounded Knee and White Clay Creeks-the last two major engagements in the Indian Wars. COL Tompkins, at his completion of command of the regiment in 1920, had spent 34 years in the regiment, from his years as a second lieutenant all the way to his completion of regimental command.
In 1921, the Seventh Cavalry Regiment would be assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division and remained at Fort Bliss. During the interwar period, the regiment held the line as one of the last bastions of the horse cavalry in spite of the increasing need for mechanization. It was in the last days of the horse cavalry that 2LT Creighton A. Abrams got his start, distinguishing himself as F Troop's finest lieutenant before heading to his future armor assignments.
With the onset of World War II, the War Department determined that the 1st Cavalry Division (and the 7th Cavalry with it) would give up their horses. They reorganized as an infantry-cavalry hybrid, less horses, on 28 February 1943. The regiment fought in General of the Army Douglas MacArthur's island-hopping campaigns from the Admiralty Islands to New Guinea through the Philippines. On 27 January 1945, the regiment, as part of the "Flying Column" that covered over 100 miles in 66 hours, assaulted from the Lingayen Gulf area of Luzon, freeing 3700 prisoners. At Antipolo, men of the 7th Cavalry earned 41 Silver Stars.
The 1st Cavalry Division was first to Tokyo as part of the army of occupation. 2nd Battalion provided the honor guard and escort for General of the Army MacArthur as he entered and took up residence in Tokyo. The regiment remained in Japan for the duration of the occupation until the outbreak of the Korean War. In 1949, the regiment reorganized wholly under infantry tables of organization and equipment, although it retained its cavalry designation.
In response to the invasion of the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950, elements of the 24th Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division, and 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Korea as part of the United Nations "police action." The 1st Cavalry Division began landing, albeit piecemeal, on Pohang on 18 July 1950. The 7th Cavalry arrived last, having been delayed enroute by a typhoon. In less than a week, the regiment was in combat on the Taegu-Taejon road. Under COL Cecil W. Nist, the regiment was directed to support other elements of the division already in contact. 1st Battalion (1/7) served as the division reserve in a "clean-up" role.
During this period, the commander of 1/7 Cav was Greek-born LTC Peter Clainos. Clainos was a featherweight boxing champ at West Point and a combat veteran of World War II. During that war he had trained a Greek battalion which fought in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations with the British Commandos. He also commanded an infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater where he won a Silver Star. During its first month of duty in Korea 1/7, as the division reserve, received augmentations, to include artillery and tanks, to bring it to almost double of its authorized strength. This "fat" (for being over-strength) unit was labeled "Clainos' Clouters" for its role in plugging holes in the division line. In one instance the battalion killed, wounded, or captured over 700 men of an opposing thousand-man force. In another instance when 2/7 Cav and its direct support artillery, the 77th Field Artillery Battalion, came under attack, 1/7 Cav came up to support. Between the three units they inflicted more than 2500 casualties and rendered the 10th Division of the North Korean People's Army totally combat ineffective.
During early fall 1950, in the Pusan Perimeter breakout, part of the regiment was formed into Task Force 777, consisting of 3/7 Cav, C Battery, 77th FA Battalion, and seven tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion. The task force's name came from the sevens involved. Also, during this time, LTC William A. Harris, the former commander of the 77th FA Battalion, became the regimental commander. The regiment under Harris conducted the longest advance through enemy terrain during the war with TF 777 as the division's vanguard, advancing 116 miles.
The 7th Cavalry led the division through the "Bowling Alley", through the 13th Division of the North Korean People's Army, and toward Seoul. The unit charged forward, racing across Korea in support of the amphibious assault at Inchon. The regiment, ordered to continue the attack into North Korea, led the way towards the capital city of Pyongyang. During this drive north, 1/7 Cav contacted a strong North Korean "cavalry" force of some 2500, 37 of which were mounted. Clainos sent an interpreter forward to tell them 1/7 Cav was a Soviet unit come to help defend Pyongyang. The deceived North Koreans marched forward, where they were captured and disarmed by 1/7 Cav. One of the captured saddles made its way to the hood of COL Harris' jeep as a reminder of the regiment's mounted past. After leading the division, the regiment passed the division forward into Pyongyang. After Pyongyang's capture, the Seventh seized the key port of Chimnampo.
On 19 December 1950, the United Nations command attached the Greek Expeditionary Force under LTC D. Arbouzis to the 7th Cavalry Regiment as the 4th Battalion (GEF), 7th Cavalry Regiment. Later that month, the regiment fought off the Chinese counterattack as the division rear guard. The 7th Cavalry was the last regiment out of Seoul. On 30 January 1951 at about midnight, the 334th Regiment of the Chinese Communist Forces attacked 4/7 (GEF) on Hill 381. In the space of approximately four hours, 4/7 (GEF) killed some 800 of the 3000 Chinese, much of it in hand-to-hand combat as the Greeks ran out of ammunition. For the regiment's service with the Greek Expeditionary Force during the war, the Greek government awarded the regiment the Chryssoun Aristion Andrias, its Bravery Gold Medal.
The 7th Cavalry continued to serve through the stalemate that marked the last two years of the war. At the cease-fire in 1953, the regiment returned to the Japanese province of Hokkaido, a brief stop before the entire division moved to Honshu in 1954. On 29 June 1957, the last Organizational Day of the Regiment, the active strength of the regiment was reduced to zero as all personnel were transferred to other units. Under General Order 89, Headquarters Eighth US Army, dated 23 September 1957, the 24th Infantry Division reflagged as the 1st Cavalry Division, under the pentomic structure.
General Maxwell Taylor, then the Army Chief of Staff, directed the pentomic structure as the structure by which the Army would fight on the nuclear battlefield of the future. Instead of four regiments, each division would instead have five battle groups. With some exceptions such as the armored cavalry regiment, the regiment as the Army had known it since the 1700s was dead. Under the new Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS), lineages and honors would transfer to various battle groups and reconnaissance squadrons. Under CARS, 1-7 (as opposed to 1/7) became a battle group (essentially an oversized battalion task force), while 2-7 and 3-7 became reconnaissance squadrons, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division and the 3rd Infantry Division respectively.
After several years, the Army jettisoned the pentomic division as too weak and too unwieldy on the battlefield. In 1963, the battle group was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at the time a straight-leg infantry battalion. At about the same time, the 11th Air Assault (Test) Division was conducting the first applications of airmobility using helicopters at Fort Benning, Georgia, and in 1965, it assumed the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
In August 1965 the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 7th Cavalry sailed for South Vietnam. By this time, they had completed their initial training and were full-fledged air assault infantry battalions. Upon reaching Vietnam in September 1965, the 1st Cavalry Division began the construction of a massive firebase in the Central Highlands region of the Republic of Vietnam. In November 1965, the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) attacked the Special Forces camp at Plei Mei. The division moved into the area, with the intent of trapping the Viet Cong forces between Plei Mei and the Laotian border.
1-7 landed in Landing Zone X-Ray, a small open field in the Ia Drang valley, to search for and destroy units on 14 November 1965. They landed in an area with nearly three full-strength regiments of the North Vietnamese Army and into what would become the first major battle of the Vietnam War.
1-7's battalion commander, LTC Harold G. Moore (pictured above), had planned for a possible piecemeal engagement before all of his elements closed on LZ X-Ray, but they were nearly overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the NVA. Eventually 1-7, with elements of 2-7 were able to bring massive air, artillery, and aerial rocket artillery (helicopter) fires into the area. Once the codeword "Broken Arrow" was given, it meant that a US unit was in danger of being overrun and, upon acknowledgment, meant that the calling unit had priority of all aircraft in country. 1-7 and 2-7 had aircraft stacked at thousand foot intervals from 5000 to 30,000 feet waiting to drop ordnance.
Tactical air support was not the only air asset in the Ia Drang that day. For the first time, B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers flew in direct support of a ground unit. One of the lasting concepts from the Ia Drang battle was that of the "Mad Minute," where for one minute every weapons system in the battalion would fire into the bush. These uses of overwhelming firepower and the intelligent deployment of ground units (to include units that arrived during the battle) allowed LTC Moore to save his command and destroy the 66th NVA Regiment (and also maul the 33rd and 320th NVA Regiments). This, the first battle between US and NVA ground forces, was a tremendous tactical victory, and validated the concept of airmobile infantry under the most rigorous battlefield conditions.
1-7, 2-7, and later, the newly-created 5-7 served in the 1st Cavalry Division through the war until 1972, and near the end, with all three battalions of the 7th Cavalry in 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, the brigade picked up the nickname "Garryowen Brigade."
1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry inactivated at Fort Hood on 22 October 1972. Almost immediately afterwards, the division became the experimental test bed for the TRICAP, or "triple capability" division, consisting of one armored brigade, one light infantry brigade, and one aviation brigade. 1st Battalion (Armor), 7th Cavalry activated as an M60A1 tank battalion on 20 June 1974, and was part of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division until 1986. In 1985, 1-7 Cav traded in its M60s for M1IP tanks.
In 1986, the US Army Center of Military History made some realignments under CARS, and one of the changes that occurred was the redesignation of the division cavalry squadron from 1-9 Cav to 1-7 Cav. At that time, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry furled its colors and assumed a new identity as 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armor. At the same time, 1st Squadron (Recon), 9th Cavalry ceased to exist and became 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry. According to Donna Everett, the curator for Armor and Cavalry lineages and honors at the Center of Military History, the specific reasons for making 1-7 Cav the division cavalry squadron was not known, but it was in response to a specific request by an unnamed general officer.
For the first time since 1943, 1-7 was truly once again cavalry, conducting cavalry missions as a true cavalry unit. The squadron at that time consisted of one ground troop and two air troops, with a combat power of 20 M3A1 Bradleys, 8 AH-1P Cobra attack helicopters, and 12 OH-58C observation helicopters. In September 1990, the 1st Cavalry Division started preparing for deployment to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield. As part of this preparation, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry, (division cavalry squadron for the 2nd Armored Division) which was slated for inactivation, detached its A and B Troops to provide fillers and vehicles for 1-7 in mid-September. Immediately before deploying, the squadron received completely new equipment as it drew AH-1F Cobras and, after arriving in Southwest Asia, became the first division cavalry squadron to draw the M3A2 cavalry fighting vehicle.
The augmented squadron, with three ground troops and two air troops, arrived in October 1990 and conducted reconnaissance and security operations for the division, including a 43-day screen across a 50 kilometer front of the Saudi-Iraqi border. Troopers also conducted probes forward into Iraqi territory. They were the first American unit to cross the border on 16 February 1991. 1-7 became the first unit in the area to engage the enemy with direct fire weapons as it led the division into the Wadi Al-Batin.
After redeploying from Fort Hood, 1-7 became the largest division cavalry squadron as it retained its augmentees on a permanent basis. In 1993, 1-7 changed over to a new organization which added M1A1HC (Heavy Common) tanks to the squadron and reorganized aviation maintenance from a platoon into its own troop. The resultant combination led to seven troops (headquarters, three ground, two aviation, and one aviation unit maintenance). In 1995, the squadron turned in its M1A1HC (Heavy Common) tanks and became the first division cavalry squadron to draw the M1A2 Abrams tank, a quantum leap in technology and lethality over the M1A1HC.
In 1996, the squadron became the first unit since 1988 to go undefeated at the National Training Center, defeating the OPFOR of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in six battles. Highlights of the rotation included "killing" both the OPFOR regimental and division commanders during force-on-force, as well as setting the tank and AH-1 Cobra live-fire records for kills. Several months after returning from NTC, the squadron received notification of a pending deployment to Kuwait for an Intrinsic Action deployment, the first ever slated for a division cavalry squadron.
In mid-February 1997, as part of the squadron departed Fort Hood for Kuwait, the air troops turned in their AH-1F Cobra and OH-58C helicopters to prepare for transition to the OH-58D (Improved) Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter, which brings new all-weather target acquisition and attack capabilities to the squadron. At the same time, the squadron replaced its venerable 4.2 inch mortars with the M121 120mm mortar, making 1-7 the first unit in the 1st Cavalry Division to draw these weapons systems.
As Task Force 1-7 Cavalry, the squadron received augmentees from all over the division: a Paladin battery from the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, a company from the 20th Engineer Battalion, a platoon from the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery, a platoon from the 312nd Military Intelligence Battalion, a platoon from the 545th Military Police Company, and a full support slice from the 615th Aviation Support Battalion and 27th Main Support Battalion accompanied the squadron. 1-7 Cavalry, as the first-ever division cavalry squadron to conduct an Intrinsic Action exercise, set the record for fastest landing and equipment draw as A Troop cleared its forward staging base at Doha a full hour and a half ahead of the wartime requirement. While out in the desert, the task force fired its best tank and Bradley gunneries ever, with a tank average of 884 and a Bradley average of 939. It traveled a total of over 300,000 miles without loss of life and maintaining a 95% operational readiness rate.
And, the bottom line is:
First in Tokyo, first into North Korea, first airmobile assault in Vietnam, first into Iraq, first to field the latest equipment, and first Intrinsic Action cavalry squadron-these are all ways that the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry lives up to its regimental motto: The Seventh First!
In Truth, I started out with the intention of keeping this page current. However since 9/11 and the War on Terror, the Army that I knew has changed greatly. In the intervening years with the multiple combat deployments to Gulf War II and Afghanistan, I find it beyond my meager resources to document the recent history.
And now as of 2014, there is the potential for additional combat deployments; as world events are even more ominous than before. Therefore, I will leave Current History to someone who has a current perspective. Reader, would you be that person?
Constituted 28 July 1866 in the Regular Army as Company A, 7th Cavalry
Organized 10 September 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas
(Cavalry companies officially designated as troops in 1883)
(7th Cavalry assigned in December 1917 to the 15th Cavalry Division; relieved in May 1918 from assignment to the 15th Cavalry Division; assigned 13 September 1921 to the 1st Cavalry Division; dismounted 28 February 1943 and reorganized 4 December 1943 partly under cavalry and partly under infantry tables of organization and equipment; reorganized wholly as infantry 25 July 1945 but retained cavalry designations)
Redesignated 25 March 1949 as Company A, 7th Cavalry
(7th Cavalry relieved 15 October 1957 from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division) Reorganized and redesignated 1 November 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 7th Cavalry, and assigned to the 1st Cavalry (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated)
Redesignated 1 September 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry
Inactivated 22 August 1972 at Fort Hood, Texas
Activated 20 June 1974 at Fort Hood, Texas (as a tank battalion)
Reorganized and redesignated 16 October 1986 as the 1st Squadron 7th Cavalry
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered ANTIPOLO,
Additionally, Troop B entitled to:
Presidential Unit Citation (Army) with 4 oak leaf clusters
Presidential Unit Citation (Army) with 1 silver leaf cluster
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OTHER THAN CUSTER
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Benteen, Frederick W. Camp Talk: The Very Private Letters of Frederick W. Benteen of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment to his Wife, 1871-1888. Mattituck, NY: J.M. Carroll, 1983. 179 p. E83.876B455.1983.
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"March of Troops E, F, H, K, 7th Cavalry, From Fort Meade, Dakota Terr. to Fort Sill, Indian Terr. June 2 to August 15, 1888." Army & Navy Register 97 (29 Jun 1935): p. 569. Per.
Mulford, Ami F. Fighting Indians! In the Seventh United States Cavalry, Custer's Famous Regiment. Bellevue, NE: Old Army Pr, 1970. 155 p. #303-7CAV.1970. Facsimile reprint of 1925 ed.
Reedstrom, Ernest L. Bugles, Banners and War Bonnets. NY: Bonanza Books, 1986. 362 p. #303-7CAV.1986. Reprint of #303-7CAV.1977.
______. Custer's 7th Cavalry: From Fort Riley to the Little Big Horn. NY: Sterling Pub Co, 1992. #303-7CAV.1977.1992e.
Rodenbough, Theophilus F., & Haskin, William L. The Army of the United States.... NY: Maynard, Merrill, 1896. pp. 251-67. UA25A76.1896.Ref.
Abstract of the Official Record of Proceedings of the Reno Court of Inquiry Convened at Chicago, Illinois, 13 January 1879, by the President of the United States, Upon the Request of Major Marcus J. Reno...to Investigate his Conduct at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 25-26 June, 1876. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1954. 303 p. E83.876R4.1954.
Arnold, Steve, & French, Tim. Custer's Forgotten Friend: The Life of W.W. Cooke, Adjutant, Seventh U.S. Cavalry. Howell, MI: Powder River Pr, 1993. 45 p. E83.876A76.1993.
Carroll, John M. The 7th U.S. Cavalry's Own Colonel Tommy Tompkins: A Military Heritage and Tradition. Mattituck, NY: Carroll & Co., 1984. 191 p. U53T62C37.1984.
Champlin, Peggy. "Custer's Theme Song: Keogh and 'Garry Owen.'" In Myles Keogh. El Segundo, CA: Upton, 1991. pp. 45-47. E83.876K46M94.
Company of Mil Historians. Military Uniforms in America. Vol. 4. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1988. pp. 2-3. UC480M54.
Darling, Roger. Custer's Seventh Cavalry Comes to Dakota: New Discoveries Reveal Custer's Tribulations Enroute to the Yellowstone Expedition. El Segundo, CA: Upton, 1989. #303-7CAV.1989.
Goldin, Theodore W. With the Seventh Cavalry in 1876. [Ed. by John Carroll] Bryan, TX: J.M. Carroll, 1980. 68 p. E83.876G65.
Hammer, Kenneth M. Men with Custer: Biographies of the 7th Cavalry 25 June, 1876. Ft Collins, CO: Old Army Pr, 1972. 262 p. E83.876H33.Ref.
___ & Carroll, John M. They Rode with Custer: A Biographical Directory of the Men That Rode with General George A. Custer. Mattituck, NY: Carroll, 1987. 238 p. E83.876T53.1987.
Hutchins, James S. Boots & Saddles at the Little Bighorn: Weapons, Dress, Equipment, Horses, and Flags of General Custer's Seventh U.S. Cavalry in 1876. Ft Collins, CO: Old Army, 1976. 81 p. UE443H87.
Taylor, William O. With Custer on the Little Bighorn: A Newly Discovered First-Person Account. NY: Viking Penguin, 1996. 207 p. E83.876T39.1996.
Tieszen, Randal M. "The Defeat of the 7th Cavalry: Impact on the Nation." AWC Student Paper, 1993. 36 p. AD-A265 488.AWCLib.
Wagner, Glendolin D. Old Neutriment. NY: S. Lewis, 1973. 256 p. E83.876W3. John Burkman, Troop A.Westfall, Douglas P. .Letters From the Field: Wallace at the Little Big Horn. Orange, CA: Paragon Agency, 1997. E83.876W35A4.1997.
Windolph, Charles. I Fought with Custer: The Story of Sergeant Windolph, Last Survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. NY: Scribner, 1987. 236 p. E83.876W5.1987.
Daily, Edward L. Skirmish, Red, White, and Blue: The History of the 7th U.S. Cavalry (1945-1953). Paducah, KY: Turner, 1992. 128 p. #303-7CAV.1992.
Richeson, Voorheis. "Seventh Cavalry." US Army Recruiting News 12 (1 Apr 1930): p. 4. Per.
U.S. Army. 7th Cav Regt. Roster of Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel John F. Guilfoyle, 7th Cavalry, Commanding. Fort Riley, KS: 1909. 17 p. #303-7CAV.1909.
___. 4th Sqd. 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry. Baton Rouge, LA: Army & Navy Pub, 1963? 56 p. #303-7CAV.1963.
WORLD WAR II
Bordley, Marcello W. "Tank Support with the 7th Cavalry." Ft Knox, KY: Armor Sch Paper, 1948? 12 p. U423.5R32.1947-48.B67.
Boyce, Ralph. "Philippines Advance." Yank 3 (24 Nov 1944): pp. 8-9. Per.
Spencer, Houck. "The Operations of Troop "C", 7th Cavalry (1st Cavalry Division) Near Rossum, Manus Island, the Admiralty Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, 22-24 March 1944 (Bismarck Archipelago Campaign): (Personal Experience of a Troop Commander)." Ft. Benning, GA: Inf Sch Paper, 1947? 30 p. #303-7CAV.1947a.
Stanton, Shelby L. Order of Battle, U.S. Army, World War II. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1984. p. 313. UA25.5S767.1984.Ref.
Blumenson, Martin. "Hwachon Dam--Korea 1951: The 4th Ranger Company and the 7th Cavalry in Action." Inf 86 (May/Jun 1996): pp. 20-30. Per.
Daily, Edward L. The Legacy of Custer's 7th U.S. Cavalry in Korea. Paducah, KY: Turner, 1990. 128 p. #303-7CAV.1990.
Griepp, Frank. The Circuit-Riding Combat Chaplain: The Chaplain of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment in the Korean War. Rancho Verdes, CA: By the Author, 1988? 93 p. DS921.4G75.
Grady, Bernard. On the Tiger's Back. Brunswick, ME: Biddle Pub Co, 1993. 239 p. DS556.4G72.1994. (5/7th in Vietnam).
Moore, Harold G., & Galloway, Joseph L. We Were Soldiers Once...And Young: Ia Drang: The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam. NY: Random House, 1992. 412 p. DS552.3I3M66.1992.
Schild, James. For Garry Owen in Glory: The True Account of an Airmobile Combat Platoon Leader in Vietnam 1968-1969. Florissant, MO: Auto Review, 1989. 194 p. DS559.5S35.1989.
Stanton, Shelby L. Vietnam Order of Battle. Milwood, NY: Kraus, 1986. pp. 127-28. DS552.55S73.1986.Ref.
Swager, Brent. “Rescue at LZ Albany.” Vietnam 12 (Oct 1999): pp. 46-52. Per.
U.S. Army. 1st Cav Div. "After Action Report, Ia Drang Valley Operation: 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 14-16 September 1965." San Francisco, CA: Div HQ, 1965. #05-1CAV.1965/2.