20 April 2009

Unit of the Week – 7th Cavalry Regt



As you know by now, I’m biased toward the Cavalry, but I believe the notoriety that the 7th Cavalry Regiment gained at the Little Big Horn was more than made up for by then Lt. Col Hal Moore in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam. Below is a short history that comes from their home page.

Constituted by Congress on 28 July, 1866, the 7th cavalry Regiment organized on 21 September, 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas. From 1866 until 1891, the regiment fought the Western Frontier, protected pioneer settlements, and escorted scientific expeditions into uncharted territory. Under LTC George A. Custer’s command, the regiment built the enviable reputation as the best horse soldiers on the plains.

As controversial as he was colorful, LTC Custer was responsible for the adoption of “Garryowen” as the regimental song.
From the period of 1892 until 1917, the 7th Cavalry fought in Cuba, the Philippines, and in Mexico. In September 1916, the 7th Cavalry participated in the last true “Cavalry Charge” during the Battle of Guerrero. From 1917-1943, the regiment was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, where it patrolled the Mexican border. During this period the unit also participated in numerous training exercises which helped prepare for World War II.

In February 1943, the regiment turned in their horses and began retraining as foot soldiers for action in the Pacific. Moved to Australia in July 1943, the 7th conducted extensive amphibious and jungle training. From July 1943 until June 1945, the troopers of GARRYOWEN saw heavy fighting from the Admiralties Islands to Luzon. On 2 September, the 7th landed on the Japanese mainland with General MacArthur.

In Korea, the 7th Cavalry fought in the war’s bloodiest battles. These included Hwanggan, Yong-dong, Kwanni, and Naktong River Defense. When the 1st Cavalry Division attacked north, the 7th Cavalry was in front, smashing 116 miles behind enemy lines in a historic 24 hours.
On 18 September 1965, the 7th Cavalry arrived in Quinhon Harbor, Republic of Vietnam. In the famous battles of the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965, the GARRYOWEN Regiment virtually annihilated the 66th North Vietnamese Regiment. In the Bong Son area, the regiment mauled three different enemy battalions into combat ineffectiveness. For its actions in Vietnam, the 7th Cavalry was awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm.

In the mid 1972, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was deactivated. On 6 June 1974, the 1st Battalion (Armor), 7th Cavalry was activated as a unit of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
On 16 October 1986, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was reorganized as an Armored Cavalry Squadron and redesignated as the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry and assigned as the Divisional Cavalry for the 1st Cavalry Division.

On 11 August 1990, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry was placed on alert and in September 1990, received orders to deploy to Southwest Asia. Two ground troops from the 2nd Armored Division were attached to the squadron, thus making 1-7 Cavalry the largest Divisional Cavalry Squadron in the Army. The unit began deploying on 17 September 1990. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Squadron was the first unit to screen along the Saudi Arabian-Iraqi border, first to conduct reconnaissance missions into Iraq, and the first to engage the enemy with direct fire in the Wadi-Al-Batin area. The 7th Cavalry, with three ground troops and two air troops, maintained a 50 kilometer, 43 day screen line along the Iraqi border.

On 16 February 1991, the GARRYOWEN Regiment, with its three ground and two air troops, led the division by charging into Iraq on a 250 kilometer move into southern Iraq in 24 hours. When the cease-fire came into effect on 27 February 1991, the Squadron had overrun numerous dismounted defensive positions, captured equipment and over 500 prisoners and destroyed a number of enemy vehicles. On 14 April 1991, the entire Squadron redeployed to Fort Hood having accomplished its mission without the loss of life.

Since 1995, the Squadron became the first and only division cavalry squadron to draw and outfit with the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and more recently with the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The Squadron also set history as the first and only squadron to conduct an Intrinsic Action deployment, covering over 300,000 miles in a three month period during Intrinsic Action 97-01, and setting the record for the fastest draw of the AWR-5 prepositioned floating fleet in Kuwait.

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