In April of 1997 the Regiment received a Warning Order to be prepared to deploy to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the first Mission Rehearsal Exercise held at the JRTC in June, the unit moved to Germany to begin integration with the First Armored Division. Meanwhile, all its equipment was shipped to the Intermediate Staging Base at Tazar, Hungary.
The Regiment’ s participation in Operation Joint Guard began when the Second and Third Squadrons moved across the Sava River into Bosnia in August 1997 to augment the First Infantry Division (Forward) in support of Bosnia-Herzegovina’ s first free municipal elections. The Regiment’ s air cavalry, the Fourth Squadron and the Regimental Support Squadron also moved into the country. The Regiment’ s separate companies -“ the 502d Military Intelligence Company, 84th Engineer Company, H-159th Aviation Maintenance Company, and the Air Defense Battery -“ completed the Regimental troop list.
While the ground squadrons were in Bosnia, the Regimental headquarters deployed to Germany to train with the First Armored Division headquarters in preparation for assuming command in Bosnia. During August and September, the Regiment was spread across five countries on two continents, and was under the direct command and control of three different general officer commands. This period included another first for any army unit during a 12-month period: The Regiment participated in major training exercises at all three of the Army’ s Combat Training Centers: The National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, and the Combined Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) at Hohenfels, Germany. In October the remainder of the Regiment rode into theater, assuming responsibility for the American sector of Multinational Division (North), which stretched from the war-torn bridge at Brcko in the north to the shattered city of Srebrenica in the south.
The first major action of the Regiment in Bosnia was the seizing of Serbian radio-television towers to prevent the broadcast of inflammatory propaganda into the Republic of Srpska. Other significant operations that the Regiment conducted include: the restructuring of the Republic of Srpska Specialist Police; the creation of the first multiethnic police department, in the city of Brcko; security for the announcement of the Brcko Arbitration Decision (an effort to resolve the status of this Serb-dominated city within Bosnia); institution of common license plates and currency in Bosnia, and the opening of the Bosnian rail system. In conducting operations in sector, the Regiment executed an estimated 12,500 patrols and 480 weapon storage site inspections, supervised the removal of over 12,000 mines, and oversaw 350 training exercises for the Former Warring Factions.
The Regiment’ s redeployment to Fort Polk marked the end of its eighth operational overseas deployment in the service of our country. It returned home to reassume its mission as the armored cavalry regiment of the XVIII Airborne Corps and to await the call to service.