SECOND UNITED STATES CAVALRY – A HISTORY
Compiled, edited and published by Historical Section, Second Cavalry Association
Maj. A. L. Lambert and Cpt. G. B. Layton, 2d Cavalry
Click photos to enlarge
The War Department reached the decision on December 18, 1942 to reactivate two regiments of cavalry, the Second and Twenty-Ninth, as mechanized units. A TWX from War Department through Army Ground Forces, Birmingham, Alabama, reached (then Lt. Col.) Charles H. Reed at the 42d Armored Regiment of the 11th Armored Division where he was assigned as Executive Officer. It designated him as Regimental Commander of the 2d Cavalry Regiment, Mechanized, being reactivated at Fort Jackson, S.C.
At the same time orders were received at Headquarters Fort Riley, Kansas, directing that Headquarters furnish the regimental staff.
The original staff as selected by Headquarters Fort Riley carried Major S.W. Benkosky, as Regimental Executive and included Capt. T.B. Hargis, Jr., formerly of the 15th Cavalry Regiment, as Regimental Adjutant, Capt. Shelby Greene, formerly of the 4th Cavalry Regiment, as Intelligence Officer, Major Benjamin Stahl, of the Fort Riley Motors Department, as Operations Officer, Capt. James H. Pitman, formerly of the 15th Cavalry Regiment as Supply Officer, and Capt. Allan C. Peck, of the Fort Riley Motors Department as Regimental Motors Officer. 1st Lt. John S. Higgins was appointed Communications Officer, and Capt. Lowry as Regimental Surgeon. Major W.J. Easton and Major W.A. Hill, from the CRTC were later designated as Squadron Commanders.
Major Benkosky was the first arrival at Fort Jackson, S.C., the new station of the Second Cavalry, reporting there on 2 January 1943. Lt. Col. Reed arrived on the following day, and arrangements were made with the Station Commander for the assignment of a portion of North Camp, in the area with temporary wood barracks, for the housing of the regiment.
Regimental headquarters were set up temporarily in one of the barracks for the reception of the incoming staff officers, and arrangements for mess were made with a nearby unit of the station complement, since the cooks were in the enlisted cadre which had not yet reported for duty.
By the 14th of January the enlisted cadre, selected, experienced men from the 15th Cav Regt. at Fort Riley, had arrived at the new station, and with the already functioning staff formed the trained nucleus of a regiment that was to gain the praise of the Germans as well as of its own higher command.
It was at that time, in the second week of January that the regiment really began to take form.
Now a mechanized cavalry regiment in the spring of 1943 had a table of organization that listed a regimental headquarters troop, a service troop, four reconnaissance troops and two support troops.
The regimental headquarters included two squadron commanders and staffs, as tactical headquarters only, thereby giving the regimental commander great flexibility in the formation of his squadrons for any tactical situation – a practice that is still followed in armored divisions, with their use of combat commands.
In order to facilitate training and encourage the use of the chain of command, the tactical troops were divided equally into two squadrons for the training period while the administrative troops, headquarters and service, together with the medical detachment, were formed into a provisional squadron.
In the case of the Second Cavalry, Major Easton was given command of the 1st Squadron and received reconnaissance Troops A and B, and support Troop E as the major units.
On Major Easton’s staff were such well-remembered men as Capt. Eben R. Wyles as Squadron Executive (Capt. Wyles was given command of the provisional squadron for the training period), Lt. George Orcutt, S-1-4, and Capt. Tullius C. Tupper as S-2-3.
The original A Troop commander was Capt. Reddick who was followed shortly in command by Capt. Brandenburg. 1st Sgt. “Micky” Walker headed the enlisted cadre of A Troop and Sgts. Cates, Fontenot and Clark are best remembered as key nco’s. Mess Sgt. Confer, T/4 Branaman, Hines, Bodiford and Deptola were others.
In Troop B, Capt. Cason was the first troop commander, and the men of the regiment will recall Sgt. Ronald M. Goyette and Sgt. Frank T. Funke as enlisted men who contributed to the high regard B Troop gained in the regiment. Capt. Barrett followed Cason as troop CO for a short while, then 1st Lt. William E. Potts took charge and started B Troop to a proud record.
1st Lt. Roland W. Englebright, from the 4th Cavalry Regiment, was in command of Troop E, the support troop in the 1st Squadron.
1st Sgt. Melvin Fuller, long handled Texan, headed the enlisted cadre, with such notables as Sgt. Chester Harmon, Sgt. Walter D. Angelo and Sgt. Alphin riding herd on the tank platoons and Sgt. Donald E. Estes in charge of the assault gun platoon.
Sgt. Herbert B. Jones was known to have frequented the E Troop mess, according to Mess Sgt. Sigmund Kogutkiewicz, and is presumed to have been carried on the rolls. LaCroix, Hooge, Cortez, Hughes and Day also helped to give E Troop its start.
Major William A. Hill, in command of the 2d Squadron, had Capt. Paul Shroyer as his Executive, 1st Lt. Jeremiah C. Ryan as the S-1-4 and Communications Officer, and 1st Lt. Kenneth A. King as S-2-3.
In Troop C, 1st Lt. Lawrence Lusk was commanding and was supported by such able reconnaissance troopers as 1st Sgt. “Dusty” Rhodes, Sgt. Henry A. Lane, Sgt. Tom Wagster, Mess Sgt. Williams and Sgts. Robbins and Cressidy.
Capt. George Gosch was the original commander of the other reconnaissance troop in the squadron, Troop D. 1st Sgt. Alvin F. Skinner headed the non-coms and Sgt. Lewis B. Summerville, William E. Beasley and Stephan Stofko were the original platoon sergeants. They were aided by Sgt. Roger Hinman, Sgt. John Kelly, and Sgt. Virgil Barnes. Tech. Sgt. Jack Gold and Cpl. Bartashunas headed the maintenance sections, while S/Sgt. Kenneth E. Huntsucker and T/5 Melvin Harbour started the troop mess. T/5 Joseph Delvar kept the troop’s personnel records and bucked for T/4.
F Troop was headed by Capt. Frank E. Brence, and his 1st Sgt. was the perennial “Pappy” (Eugene W.) Greene. Sgt. Mortimer R. Fountain, Sgt. James Black, and Sgt. Howard M. Ange were other key non-coms.
The Provisional Squadron referred to as Capt. Wyles temporary command had 1st Lt. Rene Tallichet, a former paratrooper from the 82d Airborne Division, in command of Headquarters Troop with key enlisted men like 1st Sgt. Jones; Mess Sgt. Lansing; Sgt. Grotta in the S-4 section; M/Sgt. Brown, Comm. Sgt.; Sgt. Harry B. Zulauf, S-3; Sgt. William Longmire, S-2 Sgt.; and M/Sgt. Barnett as Sgt. Major followed shortly by Cpl. Hooper. “Bulldog” Hillhouse was demolitions Sgt. Sgt. Gallagher soon took over the Regtl. Message Center, accompanied by his trusty bike rider, Cpl. Holmes. Capt. John S. Higgins, with Mr. Caldwell and Sgt. Brown established the communications section and set up regimental schools for the fillers.
The service troop commander, Capt. Watson Conners, had 1st Sgt. Crowell as first soldier, Sgt. Reece Cowan in the maintenance section and S/Sgt. Richard T. Frisby in transportation.
With the above mentioned men and officers, Col. Reed was to weld together the framework of the Second Cavalry.
A day was taken out on Jan. 15th 1943 for the reactivation ceremony held at Fort Jackson. Lt. General Simpson (later Commanding the powerful Ninth Army in Europe), then XII Corps Commander, made the presentation of the colors of the Second Cavalry Regiment, in person to Col. Charles H. Reed, the new commander, as the officers and cadre were drawn up at attention on the parade ground at Fort Jackson.
The General briefly recalled the proud traditions of the Second Cavalry, and indicating the 29 battle streamers tied to the regimental colors, expressed the hope that the new regiment would carry on in the spirit of Brett and Leonard, and add still more honors to the Second Cavalry, which already was one of the most decorated units in the United States Army.
Col. Reed accepted the colors for the new regiment, and along the cavalry line heads were held high in pride for his inheritance.
Immediately after the ceremony the skeleton organization plunged into work. A strenuous schedule for the cadre and new officers was devised, which, closely supervised by the regimental commander and his staff, assured a standardization of instruction for the new recruits when they did arrive, and permitted the weeding out of officers and nco’s that did not measure up to the regimental standards.
It was during this period that the intensive physical training and marching program began that was to mark the regiment, although mechanized, as peers in the infantry role as well.
Under War Department Training Circular No. 82 exercises were prescribed to be done with a maximum of physical effort rather than in a measured cadence. The “Duck Walk” and “Burpee” made their appearance, and the drill field on an early morning looked as though the Army were training for a post season football game, and this type of conditioning got results.
It was about this time that the incident known as Admiral Scott’s last voyage took place.
Among the specialized equipment that the regiment received for experimental purposes was an amphibious quarter ton truck, colloquially designated the “Duck” (we had never heard of a Seep at that time).
It was immediately the center of much interest to the “brass” of both squadrons and the regimental staff. After a few trial runs by most of the senior officers on the little lake behind the ordnance shops at Fort Jackson, it came 2nd Lt. Scott’s turn – he being last in line due to his rank (or lack of it). Just after he put out from shore and was attempting to tack to the starboard, a hearty “Sail Ho!” died on his lips as the regimental commander hove into view. “Mister Scott ————–!”
Late that evening, “Admiral” Scott finished packing the wheel bearings of the vehicle and solemnly took an oath never to look another glass of water in the face.
By January 22nd the new recruits or “fillers” began to arrive. A night and day system for handling the new arrivals went into effect, and the men were fed, processed to determine their military possibilities, and assigned to the type of troop that could use their abilities to the best advantage, immediately upon arrival. The men were carefully graded so that each troop received a proportionate share of men with high AGCT scores. The troop commanders were on hand to personally interview those men assigned to their troop and take notes to aid in the immediate classification of the new men in the troop set up.
The Second Cavalry received an exceptional group of men for their recruits. They represented the youth of America, being in the first contingent of the draft of men 18 years old. Their youth and enthusiasm was fertile ground for the vigorous training and exacting standards of the Second Cavalry. These men were a good cross section of America, coming as they did from every section of the country. One train load would report in from Camp Grant, Ill., the next from Fort Devins, Mass., and still another from Fort Riley, Kansas and even one from the replacement center of Fort Jackson itself. They were fine men, and the officers who trained them ventured that they would be hard to beat with a little experience under their belts.
When the greatest influx of fillers was past and the Regiment approached full strength, Col. Reed called a regimental formation and all the troops formed around the building platform between regimental supply and the chapel. Col. Reed vaulted to the platform as the command ramrodded at attention. The men were for the most part, bewildered at being thrust into the Army, and curious as to what was in store for them. Col. Reed told them.
That was the starter. The men knew now where they stood, what was expected of them and where they were going.
In the next 13 weeks they pitched in with a will. The nine to fifteen mile marches at night and the four mile double times were for good reason, and accepted. There was the usual gripping by the shortsighted youngsters and some even swore undying hatred, but that was all forgotten by about one month after Luneville.
At the end of the third week of basic training the command held its first overnight hike. The troops marched out some six miles in the direction of the rifle range, then turned north to pitch their tents, and camouflage, midst the scrub pine and sand that was to become so familiar. Later bivouacs were held which stressed practice in scouting and patrolling, both in day and night.
The command marched and sang in the evenings, on the long route north of Fort Jackson, past the little lakes with roses growing along their fenced shores. And you could here snatches of the songs, like “they say this is a mechanized war, then what the hell are we marching for”, or the “Beer Barrel Polka”.
The men were encouraged to sing on the hikes, and in addition, since Col. Reed realized the importance of music in gaining and maintaining precision, he authorized the formation of a marching band and dance orchestra in March 1943.
2nd Lt. Kelly was appointed Band Officer. Since the unit was not authorized a band there was no equipment and no money to buy any. However, after gathering together all the men who had musical talent, Lt.Kelly contacted the troop commanders and talked them into donating money toward a band fund. With this money he purchased instruments and music, which, together with the instruments the men received from home allowed him to organize a 26 piece band.
The original group included the following men:
Pvt. Albert Santofciatro, a mechanic, played the alto horn; Pvt. Dennis O’Doherty, a clerk, the snare drum; Pvt. William Cintia, a radio operator, the bass drum; Pvt. Roland Guay, a driver, the trombone (also hula dancer); Pvt. Frank Veldhuis, a driver, the trombone; Pvt. Louis Zumbahlen, a code clerk, the trombone; Pvt. Richard Myers, a mechanic, the trombone; Pvt. Richard McCallen, a dispatcher, the trombone; Pvt. Richard Hardgrove, a driver, the saxophone; Pvt. Dominic Messa, an ammo hauler, the cymbals and accordion; Pvt. Leonard Dixon, a bike rider, clarinet and sax; Pvt. Wayne Bragg, a clerk, trumpet; Pvt. Thomas Griffin, a clerk, clarinet; Pvt. James Dittamo, a driver, trumpet; Pvt. Arnold Barber, a driver, saxophone; Pvt. Lewis de Biaso, a driver, saxophone; Pvt. Michael Bellanca, a driver, snare drum; Pvt. Louis Albergo, a tank driver, trumpet; Pvt. Edward Morgan, a mechanic, trumpet; Pvt. James Gray, radio operator, snare drum; Pvt. Pasquale Grassi, driver, trumpet; Pvt. Lloyd Caler, S-4 clerk, drum major; Pvt. Kenneth Calgrove, clerk, snare drum; Pvt. Norman Seldomridge, driver, saxophone; Pvt. Howard McConnell, mechanic, trumpet; Pvt. William Miller, director.
With these men Lt. Kelly set about to make a team and a band. However, these men were in the process of training to become soldiers, so they could not set their duties aside. It was necessary to augment their training with an hour or two of musical practice a day. This continued for two months, much of their free time being spent in practicing until May 1943 when they played in their first formal regimental parade. The band made an excellent impression.
In addition, a dance orchestra was formed from this same group and made its preview at the Wade Hampton Hotel, Columbia, S.C., playing for the regimental officer’s dance.
Of course the training by day went on apace, with tank driving, range firing, and all the many little classes by platoon leaders accomplishing basic training. The men of the Second Cavalry learned fast. One little group in particular, the assault gun platoon of E Troop. The men were all late arrivals and the other “veterans” of one week laughed at their first attempts at “about face”. Why, they didn’t even have the new green fatigues, but were clothed in the old type blue ones! For this reason they were promptly dubbed the “Blue Devils”, and it became a point of honor that someone in blue would come out first in all the troop functions. They caught up fast and soon produced such outstanding non-commissioned officers as Sgt. Massey, Sgt. Cooke and Sgt. Scott.
Now, no story about the Second would be complete without the mention of the colonel’s driver – the inimitable O’Leary. He joined the regiment late in March, and soon caught the colonel’s eye (we almost said breath) with his driving, and held on to the job. For those of us who just remember O’Leary with his cap cocked to the side, crouched over the wheel (foot to the floor) it might be enlightening to disclose that he was a Chicago boy – you guessed it, taxi driver, and a pretty fair gunman. However, he did pick up that last qualification while in the Army.
So the spring months of February, March and April passed until one day in May the big day arrived.
We were going to Charleston (map SC)! Folly Beach, they say, some to see the sea for the first time, and walk all the way – one hundred and ten miles.
Well, the Second Cavalry made that march, and since it was rainy and muddy the first day out, on Monday, May 25, there were many raw blisters from the wet shoes before the regiment had moved twenty miles.
Some started with more of a handicap than that. Captain’s Rene Tallichet and John Mayfield just left a cocktail party in time for the hike without waiting to change their boots, but they made it, too.
Easy stages at first, eighteen to twenty miles a day, then a forced march starting at 3 a.m. which chalked up twenty-seven miles in 10 hours! The band was playing when that one ended at the top of a steep wooded hill, and many of the men claimed that the music was the only thing that pulled them up the hill. The band, which had arrived in the lead, didn’t have much wind left for music, but their efforts were very much appreciated.
Five grueling days over the warm South Carolina countryside before Charleston was reached. The aches, the thirst, and the blisters that were suffered then gained the mutual confidence of all the troopers for their buddies. They knew they could take a lot and still not quit.
There were some pleasant surprises, too. Pvt. Hobart A. Frisbee of E Troop had been a slight, quiet boy whom no one noticed, but during that hike he blossomed out. The big rugged lads he amused with his banter and shamed into staying with him when they thought the going was tough.
It was on this march that the medical detachment, under Capt. Lowry, received their first taste of what was in store for them. Although the detachment was composed of young men who had received as their only specialized training the elementary first aid given routinely to all Army personnel, they had to march along with the men, treat casualties along the way, then continue on to bivouac area to treat still others at sick call.
The sea attracted the attention of all as soon as tents were pitched, area guards posted, and life guards under Lt. Kalwaic detailed at the beach. A refreshing plunge, in spite of the sting of salt water on blistered feet, and the regiment settled back to relax for a few hours.
Most of the men took in a dance or two at the beach Pavilion or visited Charleston during the Decoration Day weekend before the return trip to Fort Jackson by motor on June 2nd.
Maybe it was because the Charleston hike was the first hardship shared by the men of the regiment but it was to remain a talking point when men of the regiment got together even after the rigors of the European Campaign.
The months of June and July were spent in small unit training and combat firing, with additional classes for officer’s and nco’s to prepare the regiment for the Second Army Maneuver to be held in Tennessee.
During this period of specialized training the medical detachment men were learning to apply bandages, splints, and other measures of first aid. They became proficient in litter drills, the treatment of shock, the study of anatomy, and the setting up and operation of aid stations while the other troopers were receiving training on their weapons and vehicles.
Everyone participated in some of the combat training such as the problems around Wateree Pond in August. Again dismounted scouting and patrolling was stressed with one exercise calling for the infiltration over some thirty miles along a supposed main supply route, observing movement and picking up information along the way – all within a specified time.
At Wateree Pond there were exercises in engineer field expedients for stream crossing where Tech. Sgt. Jack Gold’s maintenance crew strung up a cable crossing for quarter tons.
Finally, in the latter part of August the command was ready and received orders to participate in Second Army Maneuver No. 3. The regiment moved by motor from Fort Jackson on 9 Sept. 1943 by way of Columbia, Batesburg, S.C., through Greensboro and Athens, Georgia to Chickamauga Park near the Tennessee state line where the command went into bivouac.
After a brief rest, march order was given and the regiment crossed the Cumberland Mountains under cover of darkness. The steep twisting mountain roads, slick with rain, made the march a real test for the young troopers now groggy with fatigue. Constant riding of the column by unit commanders, and the talking of alert assistant drivers kept most of the drivers awake. A near miss occurred when Pvt. Max Cohen, of D Troop, driving a self-propelled 37mm gun, went over the side of the road above a steep ravine and bellied up on the shoulder just one foot from destruction. One man could have rolled the vehicle over with little effort. Cpl. Bartashunas arrived with the wrecker and pulled the vehicle back on the road and it started again under its own power before the next serial caught up.
Just as dawn was breaking the regiment closed in bivouac in a large cedar grove just outside Lebanon, Tenn. The men, thoroughly tired, cussed the muddy details before dropping into their tents to rest.
In the first phase of maneuvers, a meeting engagement, the Second Cavalry jumped off to the south in the direction of McMinnville, reconnoitering in advance of the 30th Infantry and the 12th Armored Divisions. The advance guard of Regimental Headquarters, which was always kept close to the front for better control and communications, somehow passed through the reconnaissance screen of A, B, and C Troops and made first contact with elements of the 98th Inf. Div. (enemy) advancing to the north. The 30th Inf. Div. passed through the Second Cavalry to attack and the regiment assembled and moved to the left flank probing for a spot to commit the armor. The regiment made good headway considering the rugged terrain, and one company of medium tanks from 12th Armored Div. attacked through the leading elements as a feint.
Then the main armored thrust rolled through on the right flank over the beautiful tank country west of Highway 10, achieving surprise, and the phase was ended by the Maneuver Director.
There followed seven more weeks of maneuvers with five days each week on operations and the weekends spent in regrouping for the next phase and for maintenance.
The addition of the 94th Inf. Div., the 13th Tank Destroyer Group and two regiments of paratroopers broadened the scope of action which covered river crossings, exploitation of a breakthrough, defense of a river line, and defense against airborne assault.
Capt. Higgins, Regimental Communications Officer, was strictly a radio man and secretly resentful toward the little feathered beasties that Sgt. Joe Glass used to carry on his patrols behind the enemy lines – the carrier pigeons. There were several reasons for his dislike, one being the difficulty of maintaining the stock of pigeons and keeping track of the cages, another being the difficulty of accounting for those that disappeared (some circles still don’t believe the Captain’s denial that he used them to supplement the field ration). And finally there is that perfectly good Message Center bantam that Pvt. Hillhouse wrecked while on a blackout search for pigeons. When we picked up the bantam the following day it looked like it had lost a decision to the Wabash Cannonball. From the marks and ruts it looked as though the road turned in the dark and the jeep didn’t, but hit a steel wire fence and bounced back across the road.
Still some of Hillhouse’s closer associates can’t see how he got a broken arm – and didn’t bring back the pigeons.
A formal investigation cleared Capt. Higgins of any liability for two crates of pigeons which were found much the worse for wear under a Headquarters half track that overturned during one of the “difficult driving” phases of the maneuvers. Higgin’s only comment was “completely unreliable.”
During the last phase of maneuvers T/5 Paul Communale was posted at night as a guard on a bridge when he heard a vehicle approaching. He challenged the vehicle to halt but the driver did not heed his warning. Not having any ammunition, the guard picked up a discarded ration tin and heaved it. The vehicle, being hit, came to a halt and to the sentry’s surprise he was complimented for being alert by the regimental commander.
The end of the maneuver early in Nov. 1943, found the Second Cavalry a considerably hardened and more experienced crew. The final bivouac on Judge Guild’s estate at Gallatin, Tenn., was stretched out three weeks as the permanent station of the command was undecided, being changed to Texas and back to Fort Jackson, S.C.
The time there was spent in furthering training and maintenance, with occasional formal retreat parades and dances in Gallatin and nearby towns. This is when the band, now under the direction of Lt. Lunak, proved to be a real asset. While playing for the parades, dances and bond rallies in Nashville and vicinity it gained a fine reputation.
The command looked especially good on November 11, 1943, when the band led the Second Cavalry Regiment in a big Armistice Day parade through Gallatin to the center of town where memorial services for the dead of World War I were held. The social receptions at Judge Guild’s home and the dances at the Baptist church and Gallatin High School sold the Yankees on the warmth of southern hospitality.
Cpl. Thomas Griffin particularly recalls the hospitality of Gallatin.
Finally orders were received directing the regiment to return to Fort Jackson, S.C., and upon completion of the move the first 10% of the command were sent on leave and furlough. This continued throughout December 1943 with the men remaining behind continuing training.
On 21 December 1943 the regiment was redesignated the Second Cavalry Group, Mechanized, and two squadrons were formed which had their own administrative sections, the 2d Cavalry Rcn. Sq. from the former 1st Squadron and the 42d Cavalry Rcn. Sq. from the former 2d Squadron.
Each squadron was composed of three rcn. troops, A, B and C; an assault gun troop, E; a light tank troop, F; and a headquarters and service troop.
Group Headquarters was reduced in strength to a tactical or coordinating headquarters, with only staff and communications sections while the supply, personnel, and maintenance functions were taken over by the squadrons.
The commanders and staffs under the new organizations were:
Regimental Commander, Col. Charles H. Reed; Executive, Lt. Col. Stephen W. Benkosky; S-3, Major Thomas B. Hargis, Jr.; S-2, Capt. John L. Likes; S-4, Capt. Eugene Kline (followed by Major William J. Young); Communication Officer, Capt. John S. Higgins; Assist S-2, 1st Lt. Alexander G. Fraser; Assist S-3, Capt. Roy E. Brandengurg; Assist Comm Officer, 1st Lt. Tom W. Stewart; Dental Officer, Capt. Charles H. Thurwachter; Protestant Chaplain, Capt. Harvey D. McGraw; Catholic Chaplain, Capt. George P. Gallivan; 2d Sq Commander, Lt. Col. Walter J. Easton; Executive, Major Eben R. Wyles; S-3, Major Kenneth A. King; S-2, Capt. Roland W. Englebright; S-4, 1st Lt. Roland T. Steinmetz; Motors, Capt. John A. Mayfield; Assist S-3, Capt. Howard A. Stevenson; S-1, 1st Lt. Richard F. Boyer; Communications, 1st Lt. Reynolds M. Steinbach; Troop A Commander, 1st Lt. Robert Murless; Troop B Commander, Capt. William E. Potts; Troop C Commander, Capt. Rene L. Tallichet; Troop E Commander, Capt. Tullius C. Tupper; Troop F Commander, 1st Lt. Michael Bayer; Hq & Service Troop Commander, 1st Lt. Charles B. Warner; 42d Sq Commander, Lt. Col. William A. Hill; Executive, Major James H. Pitman; S-2 & S-3 (acting), 1st Lt. Arthur L. Lambert; S-4, 1st Lt. Charles E. Harris; S-1, 2nd Lt. Herman A. Rothenbach; Communications, 1st Lt. Jeremiah C. Ryan; Troop A Commander, 1st Lt. Tom W. Embleton; Troop B Commander, 1st Lt. Henry J. Ebrey; Troop C Commander, 1st Lt. William S. Beckley III; Troop E Commander, 1st Lt. Charles K. Welch; Troop F Commander, Capt. John R. Watson; Hq & Service Troop, Capt. Frank E. Brence (followed by Capt. Robert P. Andrews).
In addition some of the key enlisted men of the 42d Sq. were assigned as follows:
Sq. Sgt. Major, M/Sgt. Harry B. Zulauf; Pers. Sgt. Major, T/Sgt. James A. Leavel; Sq. S-3 Sgt., S/Sgt. Frank M. McFarland; S-2 Sgt., S/Sgt. Victor J. Love; Med. Det. 1st Sgt., S/Sgt. John W. Pradka; Troop A 1st Sgt., S/Sgt. John S. Philipps; Troop B 1st Sgt., 1st Sgt. Elmer C. George; Troop C 1st Sgt., 1st Sgt. Henry A. Lane; Troop E 1st Sgt., 1st Sgt. James B. Bowen; Troop F 1st Sgt., 1st Sgt. Eugene W. Greene; Hq & Service Troop 1st Sgt., 1st Sgt. Richard T. Frisby.
January and February of 1944 were spent in shaking down the new organization and participating in tactical exercises with the squadrons operating against one another. The counter reconnaissance exercise that took place in the Flint Hill area north of Fort Jackson 7-12 February, and another in the vicinity of Winnsboro, S.C. during 21-26 February applied the final polish.
Even in the busy period the recreation of the men was not neglected. The band, now under the 2d Squadron, was the protege of Lt. Warner and earned the distinction of being selected over all the other bands in the vicinity of Columbia, S.C., to play at the opening of the outdoor pavilion at Valley Park which became, along with the Elks Club and USO of Columbia, one of the favorite off duty haunts for the Second Cavalry troopers (and members of the Yankee Division!)
The opening was attended by the Governor of South Carolina, and all the city officials, as well as many high ranking officers. Here Pvt. Roland Guay was featured in a hula dance.
Shortly after this the band was invited to play in the Armory in Charlotte, N.C., and was very well received by nearly 2500 soldiers and their guests, enhancing the reputation of the Second Cavalry.
As February ended the Second Cavalry Group was superbly conditioned, physically, proud of its ability to shoot and march, and confident of its tactical soundness. Now everyone eagerly awaited – the alert order.