Line In The Sand

On 8 November 1990, the Second ACR was in the process of redefining its post-Cold War mission when it was alerted for deployment to Saudi Arabia. On 11 November, what had been VII Corps’ initial instructions to “move no earlier than 20 November” became “begin movement tomorrow.”

Leading the VII Corps deployment to Saudi Arabia, the Regiment occupied assembly areas deep in the Saudi desert by mid-December. There, intensive training and planning for the ground offensive took place for several months. The 210th Artillery Brigade, the AH 64 Apache helicopters of the 2/1 Aviation Battalion, the 82nd Engineer Battalion, and other assets were added to form the 8,500 strong “Dragoon Battle Group.”

This Battle Group, which had worked together in Europe, continued to train and to provide security for the Corps through the commencement of hostilities. The Regiment, commanded by Colonel Leonard D. “Don” Holder, the 65th Colonel of the Regiment, was given the following mission: “At G-day, H-hour, 2nd ACR attacks through the western flank of the enemy defenses and conducts offensive cover operations in order to develop the situation for VII Corps.” On 23 February artillery fire prepped the area and the Second Cavalry attacked, breaching the Iraqi-Saudi border berm and moving north into Iraq. It was the first time the Regiment had seen combat in over 45 years.

For the next 72 hours the Second Cavalry spearheaded the VII Corps’ attack as it advanced into southern Iraq. On 26 February the Regiment fought a series of fierce engagements with elements of four Iraqi Divisions, three of them armored or mechanized. Best known is the “Battle of 73 Easting” in which G, E, and I Troops destroyed an entire armored Brigade. By the end of its covering force mission, the Regiment had broken the defensive line of the Republican Guard’s Tawakalna Division and led three heavy Divisions into the fight. During the 100-hour war, the Regiment moved over 250 kilometers, captured over 2000 prisoners, and destroyed 159 enemy tanks and 260 other fighting vehicles. Its actions against the Iraqi Divisions have become textbook examples of modern tank warfare. The Battle Group had limited its casualties to seven Soldiers killed in action and nineteen wounded.

After the cease-fire, the Regiment moved into Kuwait, and then back into Iraq, occupying a position along the demarcation line south of the Euphrates River. From there, it monitored the border for compliance with the cease-fire and provided humanitarian aid to thousands of Iraqi refugees escaping the ravages of the conflict.

The Regiment was relieved on the demarcation line on 7 April and returned to Saudi Arabia for redeployment to the Federal Republic of Germany. The Regiment earned two more tan colored streamers for the Regimental standard and the red with blue streamer of the Valorous Unit Award for actions in Southwest Asia.

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