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The soldiers of the 2d Cavalry Regiment who have steadfastly served their nation since 1836.
This document is a work of many hands and is intended to be a living reference for the soldiers who serve today as well as a record of the service of those who have preceded them.
Special recognition is given to William Heidner and the others who were part of the original team who assembled this book at the direction of the Colonel of the Regiment.
In this publication we attempt to preserve and present the essence of what it is to be a 2d Cavalryman. By this effort we wish to carry on the traditions of this special unit and at the same time record the new chapters and pages of history written by today’s Dragoons.
We intend this to be a living document updated in accordance with the bi-annual schedule of 2d Cavalry Association reunions as well as the experiences and deployments of the Regiment.
The content of this document is subject to copyright law and any reproduction or modification of the material here may be subject to approval of the 2d Cavalry Association and the Commanding Officer of the 2d Cavalry Regiment.
All material presented here is based on the best available information at the time of publication and is not intended as a final statement on matters of historical reference nor matters of policy within the Active Regiment.
Published by the 2d Cavalry Association, a Florida Corporation and an IRS registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Date of revision: 13 August 2014
Part I – History
History of the Second Dragoons …………………………………………………………………… 1
Part II – Lineage and Honors
Certificate Of Lineage and Honors ………………………………………………………………..28
Campaign Credits ……………………………………………………………………………………….31
Troop Credits ……………………………………………………………………………………………..32
Medal of Honor Recipients……………………………………………………………………………38
Colonels of the Regiment………………………………………………………………………………40
Part III – Customs and Traditions
Regimental Awards Programs ………………………………………………………………………43
Armor Association Awards ………………………………………………………………………….44
Regimental Customs and Traditions ……………………………………………………………..46
2d Cavalry Association ………………………………………………………………………………..60
History of the Second Dragoons
The Second Dragoons are the oldest mounted regiment on continuous active service in the U.S. Army. From its formation in 1836 to fight in the Second Seminole War, to its numerous deployments to the Middle East, the Regiment has distinguished itself in major campaigns: the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both world wars, and the Persian Gulf War. Along the way members of the Regiment served gallantly in action, and 20 were awarded Medals of Honor.
The Birth of the Regiment
To respond to the increasing trouble in Florida during the Second Seminole War, President Andrew Jackson issued an executive order 23 May 1836 forming the Second Regiment of Dragoons. Congress appropriated $300,000 for the Regiment, and the headquarters were established in June 1836 in Washington, DC.
Colonel David Emmanuel Twiggs was the First Colonel of the Regiment. Nicknamed “Old Davey” or the “Bengal Tiger,” his troops claimed that he could “curse them right out of their boots.” Lieutenant Colonel William Selby Harney was second in command, and later became the Second Colonel of the Regiment. His temper was as fiery as his flaming red hair, and although brutal on the field of battle, his imaginative and conscientious leadership helped to shape the character of the Regiment. Twiggs and Harney set the initial tone of the Regiment and fostered many of its enduring qualities.
Recruiting began immediately. Companies A and I were organized in the Fort Myer Virginia area. Company B obtained recruits in Virginia and Louisiana, Harney’s home state, while Company C recruited from Tennessee. Companies B and C were not listed on the Regiment’s active returns until April 1837. Company D was organized from a detachment of the First Dragoons in Florida and saw service there immediately. Companies E, F, G, and H recruited mostly from New York, and Company K was recruited from New Orleans and activated in March 1837.
In April 1837, the Regimental headquarters was moved to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, where a “School of the Trooper” was organized for the remaining companies, numbering over 400 new recruits. The new troopers were excited to get their training under way. As fast as the “green” horses were received they were introduced to their new riders, equally “green” at horsemanship. It was said that their “ambitious mounting in hot haste” frequently resulted in their immediate dismounting. Veterans noted that their “quickness of time and variety of motions” were unparalleled in mounted tactics.
The Second Seminole War
Even before the arrival of the Regiment for its first assignment, the men who became Company D had their first encounter near Micanopy, Florida. They drew “first blood” as members of the Regiment in July 1836 in a spirited engagement at Welika Pond, near Fort Defiance, Florida, on 10 June 1836.
In December 1836, the first four companies sailed from New York to Charleston, South Carolina, for immediate service in Florida. Company I joined them in Charleston, and Harney took command. The Regiment arrived at the mouth of the St. John’s River, Florida, in January 1837 and marched to Fort Mellon on Lake Munroe, arriving on 6 February. This post fell under attack only two days later, embroiling the companies almost immediately in the war.
On 9 September 1837, three companies of the Second Dragoons and two of Florida volunteers surrounded an Indian village. At first light, the force captured the village, including the important chief, King Phillip.
This action represented a shift in tactics. Garrisons had previously waited in forts and responded when attacked, only to find that the Seminoles had melted back into the Florida Everglades. Though some experts doubted the wisdom of employing mounted troops in that terrain, the Second Dragoons pioneered the practice of taking the battle to the enemy. The Indians responded by signing what would be a short-lived peace treaty.
Chiefs Coacoochee and Osceola, however, did not sign the document and persuaded the rest of the members to return to the Everglades and continue the fight. This pattern of warfare would be repeated so often that a poet wrote:
“And yet ‘tis not an endless war,
as facts will plainly show,
Having been ended forty times
In twenty months or so.”
Harney would go to any length to defeat the enemy. In March 1838, the Regiment took delivery from Samuel Colt of 50 Patterson Patent revolving carbines. Legend has it that Harney purchased these weapons with his own money. Fifty selected troopers were equipped with this new carbine and formed a Regimental corps of sharpshooters. Some say that the sharpshooters were so successful that Harney bought 50 more carbines in 1839. Thus, the Regiment earned its reputation both for daring new tactics and the use of new technology.
The Regiment earned one red and black battle streamer for its participation in the Seminole War.
Fort Jessup, Louisiana
As the war with the Seminoles began to wind down, the Regiment was repositioned in Louisiana, which formed part of the eastern frontier of the Louisiana Purchase. This was the Regiment’s first posting in the state of Louisiana. In October 1842, Companies A, D, E, F, and G were ordered to move to Fort Jessup, Louisiana, and Fort Towson, Arkansas. The remaining companies worked to improve their positions and to scout for the last band of hostile Indians in Florida. Upon completion of their tasks in Florida, these companies went to Louisiana, where the entire Regiment assembled. Headquarters were at Fort Jessup and additional postings were to the Arkansas Territory and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In August 1842 Congress passed a resolution to dismount the Regiment as a cost-saving measure, and it was reconstituted as a Regiment of Riflemen. The Secretary of War noted in his report of 1842 that dismounting the Regiment saved very little money. It was also pointed out that the distances along the frontier and the mounted Indian tribes of the area necessitated more mounted formations. In March of 1843 the Regiment was re-mounted and again designated as the Second Dragoons.
Fort Jessup was home to the Dragoons for four years. They patrolled the border between the United States and the Republic of Texas while providing security along the famous El Camino Real, which took travelers from Natchitoches, Louisiana, to Nacogdoches, Texas. Life for the Regiment at Fort Jessup was a nice change from the deprivations of service in Florida. Twiggs established a steam-powered sawmill at the fort to begin an extensive building program. (Visitors to the historic site of Fort Jessup, six miles east of Many, Louisiana, can see some of the original buildings of this frontier post.)
Following a period of temporary duty in Europe, one Captain William J. Hardee briefly armed several of the Dragoon’s companies with lances. An Inspector General’s report said at the time that the unit was the “best drilled” outfit in the entire Army.
In 1836 the Republic of Texas was established after fighting for its independence from Mexico. For the next decade, Mexico refused to recognize Texas’s independence and made sporadic attempts to recover its lost province. The country along the border was in constant turmoil as a result of these extremely ruthless raids. On March 1,1845, Congress resolved to admit Texas into the Union. The Mexican Government promptly broke off diplomatic relations with Washington.
President James K. Polk continued to hope that the situation could reach a negotiated settlement. Not only did he wish to resolve the issue of the annexation of Texas, but he also wished to purchase additional Mexican territory extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Negotiations were further complicated by a long unresolved dispute regarding the southern border of Texas. Spain and Mexico maintained that the southern boundary was the Neuces River, while the Texas and the United States claimed that the Rio Grande River was the international border. In anticipation of hostilities, Brevet Brigadier General Zachary Taylor assembled an “Army of Observation” at Fort Jessup.
War With Mexico
In July of 1845, General Taylor’s force began moving to Texas. Most of his force embarked from New Orleans bound for Corpus Christi, Texas. The Second Dragoons were the exception, choosing to proceed over land from Fort Jessup to Corpus Christi. They made the 501-mile march in 32 days, and reported to General Taylor in fine shape, contrary to some predictions from others outside the command. In March of 1846 General Taylor was ordered to move his force to the Rio Grande River in order to repel any invasion. General Taylor’s force departed Corpus Christi to establish a base of operations at Point Isabel. The vanguard of his force, led by a squadron from the Second Dragoons and Major Ringold’s Flying Artillery, subsequently moved to establish Fort Texas along the Rio Grande River. This position was directly across from the Mexican city of Matamoras, near what is now Brownsville, Texas.
The Dragoons began an aggressive schedule of mounted patrols along the Rio Grande. Acting as the eyes and ears for General Taylor and maintaining security along the flanks, the Regiment became well acquainted with the area and some of the local ranchers. On 25 April 1846 General Taylor received word that the Mexican Army was crossing the river above and below his position. Two companies of Dragoons moved to the lower crossing while Companies C and F went to reconnoiter the upper crossing. The next day one of the Company’s native guides returned to camp claiming that the units had been attacked by a large force of Mexicans near La Rosia and that “all had been either cut to pieces or captured.” The two companies of Dragoons, numbering 60 men, were surrounded and ambushed by over 500 Mexican cavalry. They sustained nine dead and two wounded. Thornton was pinned to the ground when his horse was shot dead in mid-air as he cleared an eight-foot wall of chaparral in an attempt to charge through the enemy. The entire command, now under Captain William Hardee, was captured and taken to Matamoras. This battle gave President Polk the excuse he needed to invade Mexico.
During a counter-attack at Palo Alto on 8 May 1846, the Regiment was largely responsible for forcing the enemy to the east and exposing its left flank. The next day at Resaca de la Palma, General Taylor ordered Captain Charles A. May to silence a battery of Mexican cannons that had been blocking the Matamoras Road. May said, “I’m going to charge them,” as he led his squadron(Companies D and E) through the American infantry lines and into the fire from the Mexican artillery. May overwhelmed the battery and captured a Mexican general. May’s order of the day, “Remember your Regiment and follow your officers,” has become the Regiment’s motto.
Another hero of the Mexican war was Sergeant Jack Miller, whose small patrol was ambushed by a force five times its number near Monclova in November 1847. The Dragoons were going for their carbines when Miller shouted: “No firing, men! If 20 Dragoons can’t whip 100 Mexicans with the saber, I’ll join the Doughboys and cart a fence rail all my life.” The Dragoons charged and killed six Mexicans, wounded thirteen, and captured seventy. Casualties in Miller’s unit were limited to only one man wounded and three mounts lightly scratched.
On 29 June 1846, Colonel Twiggs, the First Colonel of the Regiment, recently promoted to Brigadier General after ten years in command, passed command of the Regiment to his successor, Colonel Harney. Harney remained in command for the duration of the Mexican War. Congress later awarded Twiggs a sword with a jeweled hilt and a gold scabbard as a tribute to his gallantry at Monterey. The Regiment’s service proved invaluable in every major campaign of the war, and it is one of perhaps two regiments in the Army to have had elements participate in every battle. The Regiment added 14 green and gray campaign streamers to the Regimental standard during the war with Mexico.
The Nation Expands West
After the Mexican war, the Regiment moved west to secure the country’s newly acquired territories for the influx of settlers. In June of 1849 troopers from Company F under the command of Major Ripley Arnold established an encampment along the banks of the Trinity River in Texas, which they named Fort Worth in honor of General William J. Worth, whom the Regiment had served with during the final years of the Seminole War. This area is now known as “the fort that became a city,” Dallas/Fort Worth.
The Regiment spent the pre-Civil War period fighting Indians and securing the routes that brought settlers into the new territories of the United States. In 1854, the Second Dragoons took part in a campaign against the Sioux Indians and soundly defeated a sizable Brule Sioux force near Ash Hollow, Nebraska, without incurring a single loss. This action forced the Sioux to sign a peace treaty.
In late 1857, in response to reports of harassment and abuse of Federal officials from
Mormon settlers in Utah, a battalion formed from the Regiment was sent to put down Mormon resistance to U.S. authority as part of a 2,500 man expeditionary force. Expecting a confrontation, the Mormon leader and Utah governor, Brigham Young, mobilized the Utah militia, but agreed to terms just before the expeditionary force reached the state. This long and arduous winter march is immortalized in the Don Stiver print, “Never a Complaint.”
On 14 June 1858, Harney was promoted to Brigadier General and Philip St. George Cooke was appointed the Third Colonel of the Regiment. During this time Colonel Cooke published the definitive manual on cavalry tactics, which was used by both sides in the Civil War.
In July 1860, the President of the United States ordered Harney to St. Louis to take command of the Department of the West. Once there, however, the combination of the onslaught of political events and his own political naiveté ruined him. Although he was a brilliant cavalryman, Harney, as a political neophyte, could not negotiate the tangle of political affairs in Missouri. Suspected of Southern sympathies by the powerful Blair-Benton faction in Missouri, local politicians demanded his removal, and President Lincoln relieved him of his command in May 1861. On 1 August 1863, Harney was placed on the retired list. He was promoted to brevet Major General on 13 March 1865 in recognition of his long and faithful service. President Lincoln later admitted that Harney’s removal was one of the biggest mistakes of his administration. Harney went on to serve several Indian commissioners and became known as “the nation’s greatest Indian expert.” He died in Orlando, Florida, on 9 May 1889. In his honor, the Sioux gave him a title he would have cherished, “Man-Who-Always-Kept-His-Word.” A single thread runs through all that he did and tried to do – a fierce desire to serve. His epitaph in Arlington Cemetery captures his humility and dedication to the Regiment. It reads simply, “Harney, Second Dragoons.” In 1985 Fort Leavenworth named its new gymnasium after this distinguished cavalryman.
At the opening of the Civil War, now Brevet Major General Twiggs surrendered all Union forces and stores in Texas to Confederate General Ben McCulloch. Twiggs was promptly dismissed from Federal service, and on 22 May 1861 received an appointment as a Major General in the Confederate Army. At that time, he was the senior general officer in the Confederate service, but the former Dragoon was too old to take the field.
Both the Union and Confederacy thought that Colonel Cooke would support the Southern cause. His son, John R. Cooke, became surgeon general of the Confederate Army and the husband of his favorite daughter was no less than J.E.B. Stuart. Some even said that he “may pull a Twiggs,” referring to the surrender of the Union forces. Still, his loyalty to the Constitution remained steadfast. In November 1861 he was appointed Brigadier General and placed in command of a cavalry brigade in Washington. During the Peninsula Campaign, he commanded the cavalry reserve, a division consisting of two brigades.
The Civil War Years
In 1861 the Second Dragoons were recalled to the east to fight in the Civil War. Because of the continuous turmoil on the plains, the Regiment was full of combat veterans. Thomas John Wood was appointed as the Fourth Colonel of the Regiment, and was almost immediately promoted to Brevet Brigadier General and placed in charge of a Brigade of Volunteers. Wood fought the entire war with the Army of Tennessee, seeing action at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge outside of Chattanooga. Many illustrious company grade officers commanded the Regiment, most notably Captains Wesley Merritt and Theophilus Rodenbough.
The Dragoons’ designation was changed to Second United States Calvary Regiment on 3 August 1861. Company C was the last unit to fight as Dragoons during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri. The Second Calvary fought as part of the First Calvary Division of the Army of the Potomac and participated in numerous campaigns in Virginia and the battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Manassas, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor.
During the battle of Fredericksburg, Sergeant Martin Hagan and a handful of troopers held off a Confederate cavalry brigade belonging to J.E.B. Stuart’s corps, allowing the Union Army to withdraw across the river. Hagan accomplished this mission without the loss of a single man, horse, or major item of equipment, and for his gallant action he was awarded the first Medal of Honor of the Second Dragoons. Sgt Hagen is not listed as a recipient of the Medal of Honor by any of the agencies tasked to track these things. The Regiment has several sources that indicate that he was the Regiment’s first recipient. The Regimental Museum staff has asked the National Medal of Honor Historical Society to clarify this.
Many historians point to Stoneman’s Raid in 1863 as the resurgence of the Union cavalry. Troopers of the Second Cavalry who were on the raid would no doubt agree. General George Stoneman, who had been with Colonel Cooke during the “Mormon Expedition,” led this successful raid deep into the rear of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. This action proved ill-timed and a major strategic error for General Joseph Hooker. The absence of these troops as a cavalry screen at Chancellorsville allowed Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to fall upon the unsuspecting flank of the Union Army with disastrous results.
A generally better mission was the advance of the Union cavalry under General Alfred Pleasanton to attack the Confederate cavalry of J.E.B. Stuart at Brandy Station. Pleasanton, who had been a young lieutenant with Captain May at Resaca de la Palma, and a major in charge of the Regiment at the Battle of Yorktown in 1862, was the newly appointed Chief of Cavalry for the Army of the Potomac. The Regiment, commanded by Captain Wesley Merritt, led a charge against the Confederate cavalry at Kelly’s Ford during this historic battle. This was the first time that the Union cavalry had dared to take on J.E.B. Stuart’s forces head-to-head. This action gave Stuart a “black eye” in the Southern press and may have influenced his actions over the next three weeks prior to the epic battle of Gettysburg.
The First Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, led by former Second Dragoon, Major General John Buford, fought a steady recon and counter recon battle with Stuart’s cavalry as Lee’s forces moved from Virginia into Maryland for their invasion of the North that ended at Gettysburg. General Buford established the battlefield area of operations by deploying his cavalry division as dismounted skirmishers and began to engage Lee’s forces as they moved into the town in search of shoes. His successful stand against a vastly superior force, until the Union Army could be brought forward, ensured that the Union Army would hold the high ground of Cemetery Ridge. Buford’s action remains the classic example of an advance cover operation.
In June 1864, the Regiment charged the Confederate lines at Louisa Court House smashing the Confederate cavalry. Captain T.F. Rodenbough, at the time in command of the Regiment, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his outstanding valor during this brief but violent clash. Though severely wounded, Rodenbough exhibited leadership that ensured a brilliant victory. Returning to duty in September 1864, he participated in the Battle of Winchester, where he led a desperate charge against the Confederate artillery at Opequon Creek. During an immediate follow-on attack by the entire First Cavalry Division, Confederate fire again severely wounded Rodenbough, and he lost his mount and his right arm. In the midst of the confusion, Sergeant Conrad Schmidt of K Company picked up the badly wounded captain and, under heavy fire, moved him to the rear.
For bravery in the face of the enemy in saving his captain’s life, Schmidt was awarded the Medal of Honor. The annual Regimental award presented to the most outstanding senior NCO is named in honor of First Sergeant Schmidt. The famous Don Stiver print, “Sergeant’s Valor,” vividly depicts Schmidt’s heroic act and shows two of the Regiment’s Medal of Honor recipients in the same action.
In October 1864, General Sheridan applied the torch to the Shenandoah Valley. During this campaign, Confederate cavalry continually harassed Sheridan’s troops to such an extent that Sheridan ordered General Tolbert of the First Cavalry Division to, “either whip the enemy or get whipped yourself.” On 9 October 1864, the divisions of Generals Wesley Merritt and George A. Custer, along with a reserve brigade including the Second Cavalry, attacked the flanks of the Confederate line. The Confederates, overwhelmed by superior numbers, broke and fled southward for ten miles past Woodstock, Virginia. During the charge, Private Edward R. Hanford of Company H captured the battle flag of the 32nd Virginia Cavalry. For his bravery during the charge and for the capture of an enemy battle flag, Hanford was awarded the Medal of Honor. In all, the Regiment was awarded 14 battle streamers and five Medals of Honor during the Civil War.
The Indian Campaigns
With the end of the Civil War, the Second Cavalry Regiment returned to the western frontier and its campaign against the Indians, who had grown bold in the absence of “the long knives.” The Regiment was scattered over several states and territories, with often only a single troop occupying a post.
On 15 May 1870, Sergeant Patrick Leonard and four men from C Troop were searching the Little Blue River in Nebraska for stray horses when a war party of about 50 Indians suddenly surrounded the detachment. Quickly racing for cover, Leonard dismounted his men and discovered that, in the rush for cover, Private Thomas Hubbard and two mounts had been wounded. The Indians charged twice and the troopers repelled them, with one Indian killed and three wounded. Leonard then slaughtered the two wounded horses to form a breastwork just in time to repulse a third attack in which the cavalrymen killed two more Indians and wounded four others. Within the hour, the Indians retreated. Leonard had to withdraw his patrol on foot because the Indians had killed all the horses during the attack. Leonard then took a settler’s family of two women and a child under his charge. While moving to the next settlement, the Indians did not renew their attack. Leonard safely arrived at C Company’s bivouac at 2300 hours with his entire patrol and the civilians relatively secure.
For gallantry in action, Leonard and Privates Canfield, Himmelsback, Hubbard, and Thompson were awarded the Medal of Honor. This has long been considered Leonard’s second medal, since he was awarded his first when he was a corporal in the 23rd Infantry. The Medal of Honor Historical Society, in a 1985 publication, revealed that there were in fact two Sergeant Patrick Leonard’s. Only through a review of their widows’ petitions for benefits did the society discover different middle names and backgrounds. The annual Regimental award for the most outstanding junior NCO is named in honor of Sergeant Leonard.
One battalion of the Second Regiment nearly joined Custer before his last stand. In June 1876, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer of the Seventh Cavalry was offered the use of the “Montana Battalion” of the Second Regiment, but he declined the offer. On 25 June Custer stumbled into a force of 5000 Sioux warriors who killed every officer, Soldier, and civilian in Custer’s wing of the Seventh Cavalry. Two days later, the Montana Battalion discovered the evidence of Custer’s fate.
By April 1877, most of the cavalry Regiments of the United States were engaged in warfare with several small bands of Indians. The Cheyenne surrendered in December. Although Sitting Bull escaped into Canada, Crazy Horse surrendered in April of 1878. This left only a chief named Lame Deer and his warriors on soil claimed by the U.S. government, but the U.S. Cavalry, including the “Montana Battalion” of the Second Cavalry, was in pursuit. Marching day and night with only short breaks, the cavalrymen reached the area of an Indian encampment near Little Muddy Creek, Montana, on 6 May.
At 0100 hours, 7 May 1877, after only a few hours’ rest, the troopers broke camp and marched for the remainder of the night. At dawn they surprised Lame Deer’s warriors. Company H charged through the village and stampeded the horses, and then the other cavalry troops charged, thoroughly routing the Indians. The village was one of the richest Indian encampments ever captured. The Soldiers found many artifacts of Custer’s Seventh Cavalry, including uniforms, guidons, and weapons. At the height of the battle, Private William Leonard became isolated from his command and defended himself for over two hours against the Indians from a position behind a rock before he was rescued. For gallantry in action, Privates William Leonard of L Troop and Samuel D. Phillips of H Troop were awarded the Medal of Honor.
In August 1877, elements of the First and Second U.S. Cavalry had been following Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians for almost two weeks. Suddenly, the Indians turned back on their pursuers at Camas Meadows in Idaho and disrupted the chase before escaping into Montana through what is now Yellowstone Park.
General O.O. Howard, who would later accept the surrender of Chief Joseph’s Nez Perce band, ordered L Troop of the Second Cavalry back to Fort Ellis for provisions on 25 August. From there, they would later join Howard. On 18 September, a force of approximately six hundred men, including Troops F, G, and H of the “Montana Battalion” of the Second Cavalry marched northwest in an effort to prevent the Indians from reaching Canadian territory and discovered that Chief Joseph had made camp on Eagle Creek along the eastern part of the Bear Paw Mountains. Three troops of the Second Cavalry were immediately dispatched to attack the Indians’ rear and drive away their pony herd. In the meantime, the Seventh Cavalry attacked the Indian positions but were repulsed. Another assault – this one with the aid of infantry – also failed.
White Bird and several other Indian Chiefs were making a run for Canada with the pony herd when Lieutenant Edward J. McClernand and Company G caught up to them. In a brief engagement, McClernand captured the Indians and the pony herd intact. For his skill and boldness, McClernand was awarded the Medal of Honor. It became apparent that the Nez Perce would only be starved out of their entrenchments. After a four-day siege, Chief Joseph surrendered to General Howard on 4 October 1877.
During the Nez Perce campaign, Captain Norwood’s L Troop of the “Montana Battalion” was part of a force under General Howard. On 20 August 1877, the Nez Perce turned on their pursuers, driving off their pack train and managing to escape with it. Dangerously low on supplies, Howard dispatched L Troop and an additional two troops of the First Cavalry to recover the supplies. After eight miles of hard riding, the detachment overtook the Indians, and heavy fighting ensued. Corporal Garland, although wounded in the hip and unable to stand, continued to direct his men until the Indians withdrew. For gallantry and bravery in action, four men of L Troop received the Medal of Honor: First Sergeant Wilkens, Corporal Garland, Farrier Jones and Private Clark. The annual regimental award for the most outstanding trooper is named in honor of Farrier Jones. The farrier was a cavalry unit’s combination medic, veterinarian, and blacksmith.
In the autumn of 1878, Second Cavalry elements were attached to two newly established forts in the Department of Dakota named Fort Custer and Fort Keogh. The Dragoons spent most of this year waiting for Sitting Bull to return from Canada. It was also a year without pay for the cavalry, as Congress had failed to appropriate pay for the Army.
As winter approached, the Cheyenne Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf led their bands from the reservations in Oklahoma, moving north towards Canada. U.S. Soldiers intercepted Dull Knife and the Indian chief surrendered at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.
A month later, however, Little Wolf and his band of Indians reached Wyoming and fled into the Sand Hills. Lieutenant William P. Clark, who had developed a special rapport with the Indians, was sent after Little Wolf with troops E and I of the Second Cavalry. On 25 March 1879, Clark located Little Wolf’s encampment at Box Elder Creek, Montana. After negotiations, Clark persuaded the chief and his band to return under escort to Fort Keogh. The Army enlisted several of them as scouts, allowing them to stay in the north.
On 5 April, during the march back to Fort Keogh, a small band of Indians escaped and attacked two Soldiers. Sergeant Glover and ten men in his charge from Company B, Second Cavalry, charged the Indians and, though outnumbered, surrounded them forced them to surrender. For gallantry in action, Sergeant Glover was awarded the Medal of Honor.
In the winter of 1886, the Regiment was kept busy by groups of Indians who were following the buffalo herds south from Canada and occasionally attacking settlers and stealing their stock. During the summer and fall, most of these bands surrendered at Fort Keogh, Montana. At this time, the only large group of Indians on the northern plains who had not been placed on a reservation was Sitting Bull’s band of Sioux Indians in Canada.
In early March 1887, a large band of Sioux crossed the border into Montana without warning. C Troop from Camp Stambaugh, Wyoming, and E Troop from Fort Sanders, Wyoming, were quickly dispatched into Montana. The Second Cavalry pursued the Sioux for over 150 miles, finally surprising their camp at O’Fallon’s Creek, Montana. In fierce fighting, the cavalry killed many braves and killed or captured 46 horses. It was this loss of horses that forced the band to break up and flee back toward Canada.
Captain Eli L. Huggins was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action at O’Fallon’s Creek, where he surprised the Indians in their stronghold and boldly fought them with great courage. Captain Huggins became the 12th Colonel of the Regiment. The annual Regimental award for the most outstanding junior officer is named in honor of Huggins.
Second Lieutenant Lloyd M. Brett was awarded the Medal of Honor for his fearless conduct and dashing bravery in scattering the Indians’ pony herd. Brett became the commander of the Third Cavalry Regiment in 1927. For actions against the Indians, the Regiment earned 13 more red and black battle streamers, while troopers of the Regiment earned 15 Medals of Honor.
The War With Spain
The Spanish-American War in 1898 found the Regiment in Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. They were assembled in Georgia as all Regular Army Units and several hundred thousand volunteers began to assemble in the southern United States. This was the first time that the entire Regiment had been together since the Civil War. They moved to Mobile, Alabama, in preparation for movement to Cuba. Troops A, C, D, and F boarded transports with their horses, and the remainder of the Regiment moved overland to Tampa, Florida, where the rest of the forces were being assembled. Due to a lack of transports, the remainder of the Regiment did not board ships, but instead gave up its wagons to assist the movement of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders” to the ships.
The four troops that arrived in Cuba found that they were the only horse-mounted cavalry available for the campaign. They worked primarily for General Shafter, the commander of troops in Cuba, doing a variety of jobs. Teddy Roosevelt observed that “the Second Cavalrymen are everywhere. All day long you see them. All night long you hear their clattering hooves.”
During the Armistice the women and children of Santiago were sent through the American lines to El Caney. A desperate situation was created here, as there were 22,000 refugees in a town with normally a few hundred people. Troop D, under Lieutenant Allen, was detailed to the unpleasant task of feeding the people and policing the place. Although this work took the troop away from the firing line, the task was a very important one. It was the first work of its kind engaged in by the Army during the campaign, but was to be continued on a large scale throughout the island for years.
The troops from the Second Calvary fought at El Caney, San Juan Hill, Aquadores, and around Santiago Cuba. Troop B was committed to the Puerto Rican campaign in July and August. Due to sickness the squadron was returned to the United States late in August. In January 1899, the entire Regiment began pacification duty on Cuba and remained there for three years, where much work was done to educate the people and improve the sanitation of the island.
The Early Twentieth Century
From 23 January to 18 July 1905, the Regiment broadened its experience by participating in the Cavite Campaign, Philippine Islands. On 14 February 1910, the Regiment fought in the battle of Tiradores Hill near Pindar on Mindanao. The Regiment followed this up with several clashes with the Moros: one at Mount Bagoak, Jolo, on 3 December 1911, and another near Mount Vrut, Jolo, 10-14 January 1912.
Back in the United States in June 1912, the Second Cavalry took the mission of enforcing the neutrality laws along the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. “I should consider myself fortunate to again have your splendid Regiment as part of my command,” General Pershing wired Colonel West (the 15th Colonel of the Regiment) when the Second had left Jolo Island, Philippines, in 1912. The section of the international border between the United States and Mexico assigned to the Regiment gradually extended from El Paso to Presidio, Texas, a distance of 262 miles. This operation represented the first “border surveillance” and “border security” mission for the Regiment – a precursor of future missions later in the century.
The Regiment departed Fort Bliss, Texas, in December 1913 for Fort
Ethan Allen, Vermont, for training and maneuvers. These field exercises, often in conjunction with the National Guard units of the northeastern states, were often under the personal direction of General Leonard Wood.
The year 1914 culminated with the Regiment’s Horse Show Team representing the Army in the annual horse show at Madison Square Garden in New York. Representing the Army in national competition would be a task the Regiment excelled in for many years. The beautiful silver trophies awarded to the Regiment are still used to commemorate excellence within the Regiment. The Dragoon Lightning Trophy was originally awarded to the Regimental horse team in 1914. One of the award-winning team members was First Lieutenant George Brett, the son of Medal of Honor recipient Lloyd Brett.
As the nation began to think about involvement with the European war, the Army recognized a need for a pool of trained leaders. General Wood led the drive to train business leaders and professionals for the future needs of the Army. The Second Cavalry established training camps in Plattsburg, New York, to train business leaders from New York City and Philadelphia in the rudiments of Army life. This was so successful that the Regiment established a second camp in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, near the Civil War battlefield of Chickamauga. The Regiment, under the command of Joseph T. Dickman, the Seventeenth Colonel of the Regiment, trained over 13,000 of these men in five provisional regiments. This program of training a pool of leaders ready to respond during times of national emergency became the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Dickman commanded the Third U.S. Infantry Division during the “Great War.” His leadership at the second battle of the Marne River would forever mark the Third Infantry Division as “The Rock of the Marne.”
The First World War
World War I was another chapter of American history in which the Second Dragoons distinguished themselves.
12 May 1917 at Ft. Ethan Allen, Vermont, the Regiment was divided into thirds, forming two new cavalry regiments. One third of the officers, men and equipment formed the Eighteenth Regiment, and one third the Nineteenth Regiment. The three regiments were then recruited to strength. Later this same year the Eighteenth Cavalry Regiment was redesignated Seventy-sixth Field Artillery and attached to Third Infantry Division, serving with distinction during the war. Their unit crest today bears heraldry of the 2d Dragoons. Nineteenth Regiment was also redesignated in 1917 to the Seventy-seventh Field Artillery and attached to the Fourth Infantry Division, serving with distinction during the war.
In April 1918, a scant three weeks after leaving the United States, the Second Cavalry found itself landed in France in the Toul sector. After being initially deployed to perform military police duties and to manage horse remount depots, the Regiment was the only American unit used as horse cavalry during the war. A provisional squadron formed by Troops B, D, F, and H was the last element of the Regiment ever to engage the enemy as mounted horse cavalry.
General Pershing’s words were again realized half a world away when, with 31 Dragoon troopers from Headquarters Troop as his escort, he landed first in England and then at Chaumont, France. These were the first American Expeditionary Force troops in France. The commander of Pershing’s headquarters element was Captain George S. Patton, Jr.
The Second Dragoons fought in the Aisne-Marne offensive from 18 July to 6 August 1918, where the American First and Second Divisions penetrated the western flank of the German Marne salient at Soissons. Detachments from the Regiment also took part in the Oisne-Aisne offensive from 18 August to 11 September. The greatest commendations the Regiment received in the war came for its part in the reduction of Saint Mihiel Salient. From 12 to 16 September, Troops A, B, C, D, F, G, and H fought magnificently under Lieutenant Colonel D.P.M. Hazzard’s command.
At this time in the war, General Pershing massed six divisions on an 18-mile front. The First Division jumped off, bypassing Mont Sec (which the French had assaulted in vain for years), and reached the German line of Heudicort-Nosard. From there, the Second Cavalry passed through the forest of La Belle Oziere, Nosard, and Vigneulles, and scouted the open country as far as Heudicort, Creue, and Vignuelles. They would eventually advance all the way to Saint Maurice, Woel, and Jonville to pursue the enemy.
The final Allied offensive, the Meuse-Argonne campaign lasted from 26 September to 11 November 1918. The Second Cavalry was attached to the American 35th Division, playing an important role as the left flank element of eight divisions and later as the main effort between the Meuse River and the Argonne Forest. The plan of the American First Army was to bypass the strong points of Montfaucon and Romagne on both sides. Then the forces would seize the high ground at Barricort with a converging effort that was designed to shatter all German positions before Sedan.
The 35th Division spearheaded the assault on the left with an engagement in which the troops of the Second Cavalry fought bravely during a six-day battle between 26 September and 2 October 1918. The battle started at Vauquois and wound through Bois de Roussigny, Ouvrage D’Aden, Cheepy, Charpentry, Baulny, Bois de Montre Beau, and Exermont. The men from the Regiment were commended for “…accomplishing their tasks with fearlessness, courage, and disregard for danger and hardship.” Three rainbow colored campaign streamers were added to the Regimental standard during World War I.
With the Germans driven across the Meuse at Sedan, the stage was set for the Armistice on 11 November. The Second Cavalry remained with the Army of Occupation in Germany at Koblenz until August 1919.
The Inter-War Years
After its service in the Army of Occupation, the Regiment returned to the United States for duty at Fort Riley, Kansas. There it remained from 1919 to 1939, performing peacetime duties as a school training regiment. This Cavalry School prospered under the guidance of a host of visionary men destined to be general officers in World War II. The list includes such revered names as Patton, Truscott, Keyes, and Mattox, among many others.
THE CAVALRY SCHOOL
Office of the Commandant.
Fort Riley, Kansas, August 26, 1924.
Subject: Commendation of General Pershing.
To: Commanding Officer, 2nd Cavalry.
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that General Pershing stated to me, while going from my quarters to the station, that the Cavalry Squadron which was escorting him was the best looking Cavalry he had ever seen.
I hope you will let the members of the Second Cavalry know this as I considered it a very splendid compliment. The appearance of the Squadron could not be surpassed.
Edw. L. King
Brigadier General, U. S. A.
BG Edward King commanded Troop M for many years as a young Captain, and while with the Regiment during the Philippine Insurrection, served as Civil Governor of Jolo Island.
At Fort Riley the Regiment experimented with the first armored cars, and in 1936, as more money became available for maneuvers, it participated in the first armored and cavalry maneuvers. In 1936 the Second Cavalry celebrated its first centennial, marking 100 years of devoted service to the nation. In 1938, two armored regiments, the 1st and the 13th, and an augmentation of artillery and light airplanes joined the Regiment for maneuvers. Then, as now, the Regiment was leading the Army in the development of a combined arms organization and tactics.
World War II
The invasion of Poland by the blitzing German panzers in 1939 accelerated the movement to mechanize American forces and led to the first extensive mechanized maneuvers in 1940. By 1941, the Second Calvary was participating in similar large-scale maneuvers in Louisiana. The headquarters for the Louisiana Maneuvers were in the Bentley Hotel in Alexandria, Louisiana. In January 1942, the Second Cavalry served a period on border duty at Tucson, Arizona.
Since the emphasis in the Army was shifting to armor, the Regiment, still a horse outfit, returned to Camp Funston, Fort Riley Kansas for refitting. It was there on 15 May 1942 that it was redesignated and refitted to form the Second Armored Regiment of the Ninth Armored Division. It was this outfit that spawned specific armored units composed initially of men and equipment from the Second Cavalry. These units, the Second Tank Battalion, the 19th Tank Battalion and the 776th Tank Battalion, would distinguish themselves in combat through the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. (Also at this time Company D, 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Armored Division was formed from part of the old Regiment. From here after it has separate lineage.)
In June 1943, the Regiment was renamed the Second Cavalry Group, Mechanized. Colonel Charles Hancock Reed became the 31st Colonel of the Regiment. In December the Regiment was again reorganized, its elements being Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Second Cavalry Group, Mechanized, and the Second (now First Squadron) and 42nd (now Second Squadron) Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons, Mechanized.
Elements of the Regiment landed in Normandy in July 1944 and soon distinguished themselves as part of General Patton ‘s Third Army. The Regiment performed such daring reconnaissance missions that it became known to the German High Command as the “Ghosts of Patton’s Army,” seemingly materializing at different points behind the German lines.
On 17 September 1944, German Army Group “G” was preparing to make a major armored effort against the Nancy salient to stabilize the line along the forts of Belfort, Epinal, Nancy, and Metz. Prominent armored units among the enemy Army Group included the 2nd and 11th Panzer Divisions, and elements of the 16th Panzer Division, the 130th Panzer Lehr Division, and the 111th Panzer Brigade. This armored force, though under strength, was still a formidable enemy. Holding the point of the Nancy salient was the Second Cavalry. What the first scouts reported as “six Tiger tanks with infantry support” became a major clash that sent the Regiment reeling. It became apparent that the Regiment was bearing the brunt of the 5th Panzer Army’s attack.
As a result of the accurate and timely reporting of the Regiment and the valuable time gained by its vigorous delaying action, the German attack ground to a halt far short of its objective. The key city of Luneville remained secure and under the control of the Second Cavalry Regiment. The Germans suffered irreparable damage in the battle and were unable to mount another offensive until the Ardennes campaign three months later.
While Patton’s Third Army was poised to continue offensive operations to the east into Germany, Hitler’s war machine had secretly assembled a large force for what would become Germany’s last counter-offensive in the West. The Germans massed 25 divisions in a thinly manned, “quiet sector” along the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg. Before daylight on 16 December 1944, the Germans attacked along a 60-mile front. The American units in this sector were either full of inexperienced Soldiers or depleted from earlier combat. All were stretched thin.
The German offensive gained ground quickly and a “bulge” within the American lines formed. This characteristic gave the combat its name, “The Battle of the Bulge”. Though cut off and surrounded, many small units continued to fight. These pockets of resistance seriously disrupted the German timetable and bought precious time for the American and British forces to reinforce the area to stop the penetration. Many of these actions were conducted by the Second and 19th Armored Battalions of the Ninth Armored Division, which trace their lineage to the Second Cavalry. The Second Armored Cavalry Regiment (Second Tank Battalion), cited, would earn the Presidential Unit Citation for their heroic efforts in the early part of the battle. The Fourth Infantry Division holding the southern shoulder of the bulge, bent but did not break. This would be key to the successful operations of the Third Army as they moved to relieve the beleaguered forces in the bulge and the surrounded town of Bastogne.
The Third Army was oriented east as they prepared to move north to hit the penetration and drive through to Bastogne to relieve the 101st Airborne Division. After breaking contact with the enemy, the Regiment screened the movement of the Third Army as General Patton made good on his promise to have his army redirected and in the new battle within 48 hours. This rapid shift and change of direction of attack from the east to the north was one of the most noteworthy instances during the war of the successful employment of the principle of maneuver. The Second Cavalry Group moved into positions along the southern shoulder of the Bulge, relieving those elements of the Fourth Infantry Division holding onto this key terrain. Elements of the Third Army drove through the German formations to reach the encircled forces at Bastogne. The 37th Tank Battalion, lead by Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams, officially relieved the 101st on 26 December 1944. Abrams later became the 38th Colonel of the Regiment.
Colonel Reed led the Regiment in the deepest American penetration of the war, all the way into Czechoslovakia. Under Colonel Reed’s leadership, the Second Dragoons rescued the world famous Lipizzaner stallions in a daring raid through German lines to an area that was to be the Soviet Zone of Occupation. Colonel Reed defied Soviet threats and herded the Lipizzaners safely back to Germany. In 1960, Walt Disney Productions released a full-length (though historically flawed) motion picture entitled “The Miracle of the White Stallions” that captured the drama of these events.
As significant as this raid has become to all the horse lovers of the world, the real reason for the raid may have been to capture key intelligence from a senior officer of the German intelligence service. Concurrently, a force from the Second Dragoons moved to a POW camp nearby to rescue American and Allied prisoners. Not only was the rescue of the Lipizzaners a success, but the Regiment also secured the surrender of the 11th Panzer Division. This ended the wartime relationship between the 11th Panzers and the Second Dragoons and began the peacetime relationship that continues to this day.
On 8 May 1945, Germany surrendered. The Second Cavalry had driven well into Czechoslovakia when orders came to occupy a restraining line. The objective had been the capture of Prague, but for political reasons the Soviets were to capture the city. The Russians also had orders to take Pilsen, which was already in American hands. Even though the Soviets knew the American disposition, they were determined to continue their march on Pilsen. On 11 May 1945, Soviet Major General Fomenich of the 35th Tank Brigade told Colonel Reed to move the Second Cavalry aside — his forces were moving forward. Colonel Reed, then under orders to hold his present line, told the Soviet commander, “If you go forward, remember, our guns are still loaded.” Fomenich gave no response. That night, the Regiment received a message from Corps to begin movement back to the U.S. zone, and the Second Cavalry eventually left Czechoslovakia on 14 May without incident. Colonel Reed exemplified the cavalryman’s will and determination in this prelude to the Cold War.
Not only did the Regiment participate in the European Theater, but elements of the Regiment, designated as the 776th Amphibious Tank Battalion, also took part in amphibious operations throughout the Pacific. These elements earned a Philippine Presidential Citation and battle streamers in Leyte and the Ryukyus campaigns for island-hopping and jungle warfare efforts. This unit, an amphibious reconnaissance force equipped with 75mm pack howitzers, mounted on amphibious tracked vehicles (AMTRAC’s) often spearheaded the landings of the Seventh Infantry Division. Once ashore, their guns were used for close artillery support to the vanguard elements of the division.
In all, the Regiment earned five brown campaign streamers for actions in Europe and two yellow streamers for battles in the islands of the Pacific. The Presidential Unit Citation for Bastogne is represented by a blue embroidered streamer.
The Constabulary Period
When the war ended, the Second Calvary became part of the Army of Occupation in Europe. In May 1946, the Regiment was redesignated the Second Constabulary Regiment, undergoing special training and reorganization. Their mission was to “win the peace” in Europe and maintain control over the U.S. zone of occupation within Germany. Under a common occupation policy developed principally in conferences at Yalta and Potsdam in 1945, the Allied Powers assumed joint sovereign authority over Germany. American, British, Soviet and French forces occupied separate zones.
The U. S. Constabulary, an elite military organization of the highest standards, was commanded by Major General Earnest N. Harmon, a former Second Cavalry squadron commander from the First World War. “Old Gravel Voice” was hailed as the second Patton. Having formerly commanded the 1st Armored Division in Tunisia, the 2nd Armored Division across Europe, and the XXII Corps in Czechoslovakia, “Hell on Wheels” gave the 2nd Armored Division its famous nickname.
The Regiment was key to the early development of the Constabulary. Not only were they the first unit to assume Constabulary duties, months in advance of the establishment of the Constabulary, they designed the distinctive “Circle C” patch, established the Constabulary school at Sonthofen and initially taught the courses. Troop D was used as the model for the mechanized Constabulary troop.
The Regiment was still under the command of Colonel Reed and worked for the Third Army under General George S. Patton, who was the Military Governor of Bavaria. The Regiment provided security force and performed police functions as they assisted with the round-up of war criminals and weapons caches. It also maintained order within the displaced persons camps and the area of southern Germany. The Regiment’s contribution to winning the peace in Germany was not only significant, but foreshadowed future missions now referred to as “Peace Support Operations.”
One of the most interesting changes to the Regiment’s Table of Organization and Equipment was the re-introduction of the horse. This modification was due to the fact that even the venerable jeep could not patrol through some of the areas due to the battle damage and rubble. During a review of troops before General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Colonel Reed proudly passed in review with the Regiment handsomely mounted. “Ike” expressed displeasure at the horses, stating that he thought that he had gotten rid of all the horses in the Army. The various commanders, including Colonel Reed, had to report to the general and explain the change to the authorized equipment list of the Constabulary. The mission of the Constabulary remained into the early 1950’s, though the name of the Regiment changed to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1948.
The Cold War
The Cold War officially started in 1945, though the Troopers of the Constabulary period no doubt hoped for peace following the horrors of war. There is no definitive moment for the onset of the Cold War, though by 1949 the chilling evidence of a growing world menace was obvious to world leaders. Winston Churchill had declared that “an Iron Curtain” had descended on the countries of Eastern Europe. During the Constabulary period many of the indicators of future conflict already existed.
As the political situation in the Soviet Zone of Occupation began to change, the border surveillance mission for the Regiment began a new period. The Regiment was making the transition to the Cold War. Initially the Regiment operated from the cities of Freising and Augsburg, and in 1951 the Regiment established its headquarters in Nuremberg.
In 1955, the Regiment was ordered to Fort Meade, Maryland, under a “gyroscope” rotational plan with the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. It “gyroscoped” back to Germany in 1958, reestablishing Regimental headquarters in Nuremberg at Merrell Barracks. The gyroscope program was cancelled and the Second Armored Calvary Regiment would remain in Germany for the next 33 years, covering the entire duration of the Cold War.
The Regiment’s mission was to train for war and conduct border surveillance. The Regimental headquarters were established at Merrill Barracks in the city of Nuremberg. The squadrons were located throughout southern Germany, with First Squadron operating out of Bindlach, Second Squadron in Bamberg, and Third in Amberg. The Regiment’s Aviation Company, came into existence in May of 1960. It operated out of Soldiers Field AAF, Nurnberg and moved to Fuecht airfield in approximately 1967. Sometime after 1973 this unit eventually became the Fourth Squadron. The Regimental Support Squadron and the Command and Control Squadron operated from Nurnberg as well.
The Regiment conducted gunnery training at Grafenwoehr, maneuver training at Hohenfels, later the Combat Maneuver Training Center, and participated in numerous REFORGER’s (Return of Forces to Germany) exercises. The troops were constantly rehearsed to perform their portion of the NATO war plan. During its time in Germany, the Second Armored Calvary Regiment saw improvements in equipment and facilities, as the Army bounced back from the cuts of the post-Vietnam era. Throughout this era the Regiment was considered one of the most elite units of the entire Army and the best trained of the 300,000 Soldiers stationed in Europe.
During the Cold War era the Second Armored Calvary Regiment was responsible for surveillance of 731 kilometers along the Iron Curtain. Its sector included 375 kilometers of the border separating West and East Germany, as well as the entire 356 kilometers of the West German-Czechoslovakian border. From a distance, the border area appeared deceptively peaceful and scenic. Close inspection, however, revealed a massive and deadly barrier system. A series of metal mesh fences topped with barbed wire and equipped with sensitive warning devices, guard towers with interlocking fields of observation, and concrete walls similar to those found in Berlin presented a formidable barrier to freedom. Only a few legal-crossing points existed and these were heavily guarded and fortified. The East German and Czech border commands consisted of hand-picked individuals who were considered politically reliable and were well-trained in marksmanship and surveillance skills. The low number of successful escapes from East Germany, normally about 25 a year in the Second Armored Calvary Regiment (ACR) sector, testified to the deadly efficiency of the barrier system.
To conduct continuous border surveillance in sector, the Regiment operated six border camps in addition to the home garrisons of the squadrons. Camp Harris (Camp Coberg) located in the town of Coberg, Kingsley Barracks (Camp Hof) in Hof, Camp Gates in Brand, Camp Pitman in Weiden, Camp Reed in Rotz, and Camp May in Regen. From the border camps, Second ACR units patrolled their sectors by vehicle and on foot with helicopters assisting from the air. At each border camp, a reaction force was kept on standby around the clock and could clear the camp within 15 minutes of the alert horn sounding. The Regiment worked closely with the German border agencies, the BGS (Bundesgrenzshutz) and BBP (Bavarian Border Patrol), and the ZOLL (Customs Police), sharing intelligence information and conducting joint patrols. The mission of the Regiment demanded the constant vigilance and dedication of all the Soldiers stationed along the Iron Curtain.
In November 1989, Second ACR witnessed the opening of the Iron Curtain. Regular border patrols were discontinued on 1 March 1990, ending the Cold War phase of the Regiment’s history. The Cold War era represents the longest single mission in the history of the Regiment.
Families played an important role in the life of the Regiment while in Germany. Volunteer and family support groups provided aid and sponsored family activities for the entire unit. The Regiment and its squadrons also held family days and open houses so that both its family members and the German populace could understand the Soldiers’ jobs and the mission of the Regiment. To assist in this effort and to help the Regimental commander pass his policies and messages directly to the Soldiers, the Regiment published its own monthly newspaper, The Dragoon, from 1976 to 1991.
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. From 22 to 26 February the Regiment fought a series of fierce engagements with elements of four Iraqi divisions, three of them armored or mechanized. Best known of these is the “Battle of 73 Easting” in which Second and Third Squadrons destroyed an Iraqi armored brigade while First and Third Squadrons identified the Tawalkana Division’s flank and passed the First Infantry Division forward into exploitation into Kuwait. By the end of its covering force mission, the Regiment had broken the defensive line of the Republican Guard, provided critical intelligence to the Corps Commander, and led three heavy divisions into the fight. During the 100-hour war, the Regiment moved over 250 kilometers, integrated air cavalry and close air support into its fight, 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 mounted operations. The Regiment’s casualties in the operation were six troopers 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.
Transition Back to the Continental United States
As part of the draw-down of forces in Europe after the Cold War, the Regiment relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington, in 1992. The unit was redesignated as the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) and tasked with developing a new organizational structure for a lethal, yet more rapidly deployable cavalry. The Regiment remains at the forefront of operational doctrine development.
In the summer of 1993 the Regiment moved again to Fort Polk, Louisiana. The Second Dragoons became the cavalry regiment for the XVIII Airborne Corps, serving as part of a rapid deployment force able to move quickly anywhere around the globe. In addition, the Regiment played an important part in cultivating the war fighting skills of the Army’s light forces through its continual support of the Joint Readiness Training Center. By augmenting both opposing and friendly forces, the Dragoons helped to provide the light Soldiers of today’s Army with the most realistic training they can receive.
Deployment to Haiti
In January 1995, the Regiment was called upon to reinforce American foreign policy through the aptly named and highly successful United Nations mission “Operation Uphold Democracy.” The Second Dragoons were an essential part of a multinational force that helped the Haitians to reestablish democracy. The Soldiers of the Regiment provided security for legislative and presidential elections and ensured the first democratic transition of power in that country’s history.
The Regiment rotated Headquarters Troop and all three of its maneuver squadrons to the fledgling democracy between January 1995 and March 1996, with the Support Squadron providing logistical support. While in Haiti, the troopers of the Second Dragoons operated in a variety of roles. They guarded humanitarian relief convoys filled with food for the Haitian people and served as the United Nations Quick Reaction Force (UNQRF). By assisting in the seizure of illegal weapons and conducting security patrols, the Regiment helped to restore civil order to the capital of Port-Au-Prince and throughout the Haitian countryside. They provided protection not only to the Haitian president, but also to the U.S. president and vice president on their state visits. In all of these missions, the Second Dragoons displayed the professionalism and dedication to duty that have characterized the Regiment since its inception.
Deployment to Bosnia and Herzegovina
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.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Bull Troop, 1st Squadron, deployed to Southwest Asia on April 13th, 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. There, the unit served in Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and Djibouti providing port and site security. The unit was relieved by Lightning Troop, 3rd Squadron, in October 2002.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Upon receipt of a 96-hour deployment order, 2nd Squadron and the RTAC deployed to Iraq on 5 April, 2003. The Regiment deployed as a whole in May. The Dragoons spent a year in eastern Baghdad, helping the people of that city rebuild their lives and suppressing insurgents.
The troopers of the Regiment worked to return the people of their zone to a life of peace and normalcy. They provided security to key infrastructure sites such as power stations, telephone stations, and propane distribution sites, reopened hundreds of schools and hospitals, and began efforts to re-establish the Iraqi police force as a respected, effective organization that could efficiently combat the increasing criminal threat. The Regiment also participated in hundreds of direct-action raids in support of Coalition objectives, and killed, wounded, and captured dozens of anti-Coalition fighters during this time. The Regiment’s success was critical to establishing the foundations of security and stability in the shattered city of Baghdad. The Regiment also led the way in recruiting, training, and employing several companies of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, providing another example of “Iraqis helping Iraqis.” A small cadre of NCOs and officers built these fighting organizations from the ground-up, and the light-infantry ICDC became the strongest combat multiplier available. With trained Soldiers and leaders available twenty-four hours a day, the ICDC have took up critical roles in checkpoint operations, raids, patrols, and cordon-and-searches. The Dragoons confiscated or destroyed over 278,059 pieces of ammunition, plastic explosives, mortar tubes and rounds of varying sizes, RPG launchers and rounds, initiation devices for IEDs, grenades, heavy machine guns, assault rifles, handguns and maps detailing targeted sites and proposed targets. Furthermore, the 2d ACR detained over 1,000 criminals, former regime loyalists and insurgents.
On 19 August 2003 at 1632 hours, a vehicle packed with explosives drove onto the U.N. compound and rammed the south west corner of the Mission Building and detonated. The explosion destroyed the south west corner of the building as well as severely damaging the Spinal Cord Clinic located next to it. The Regiment rapidly deployed forces to secure the area and treat casualties, saving the lives of 125 UN workers.
On the 4th of April, 2004, the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment and elements of 1st BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, engaged in some of the fiercest urban combat that the United States Army had been involved in since the Battle of Mogadishu. The Regiment (+) and thousands of Muqtada Al-Sadr Militiamen clashed violently in the Battle of Sadr City that lasted seven hours and cost eight men their lives. By the morning of 5 April, the militia had been thoroughly defeated and all government buildings recaptured. In all, nearly 300 enemy combatants had been killed or wounded. This battle marked the beginning of coordinated attacks throughout Iraq. Within 48 hours, the Regiment was called upon to move south and battle insurgents in the cities of Al Hilla, Al Kut, An Najaf, Kufa and Ad Diwaniya. This action required an extension of the Regiment for another 3 months and the recall of 4th Squadron and advanced parties preparing for redeployment in Kuwait.
The Regiment fought short, but intense battles in Al Kut, Kufa and Ad Diwaniya to retake the town and government buildings. In An Najaf, hundreds of Muqtada Al-Sadr militiamen put up a protracted fight lasting a few weeks. During May and June elements of the Regiment conducted offensive operations resulting in contact with militia on daily basis. At the end of June, the Regiment was relieved by elements of 1ID.
By the end of the deployment, the Regiment sustained the loss of 21 troopers and over 100 WIAs. The enemy sustained over 1000 killed and hundreds captured. The Regiment, in toto, returned to Fort Polk on 15 July, 2004.
Transformation and Return to fort Lewis
In October of 2004, the Regiment was redesignated the “2d Cavalry Regiment” ordered to move to Fort Lewis, Washington and convert to the Army’s fourth STRYKER Brigade Combat Team (SBCT). Approximately 300 troopers of the Regiment transferred from Fort Polk to stand-up the new SBCT. Under the new organization, the Regiment was converted to a primarily infantry based unit, with three infantry squadrons, a scout squadron, field artillery squadron and support squadron; all focused around the new STRYKER combat vehicle and designed to be rapidly deployable by air to conflicts around the world.
Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09
In April of 2007, the Regiment received another call to assist the fight in the war on terror. The Regiment immediately began gunnery qualifications and training at the Joint Multi-National Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany. On 12 August 2007, the Regiment arrived in Kuwait and prepared their Stryker vehicles and other equipment for the move to Baghdad.
On 13 September 2007, the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment conducted the Transfer of Authority ceremony with 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Arrowhead) Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Camp Liberty, Baghdad. The Regiment accepted a unique mission where the squadrons were sent to all parts of Baghdad as President George W. Bush’s surge campaign was in full effect in order to crush the insurgency that had bloodied Iraq for the past two years.
1st Squadron (War Eagle) along with A, B, and C companies were sent to northeast Baghdad to work in the predominately Shia area surrounding Sadr City in Ur, Thawra, Jamilla, and Adhamiyah. 1st Squadron conducted clearing operations to include cordon and knocks, tactical checkpoints, and time sensitive target raids into Sadr City. Their operations culminated in the JAM Special Groups uprising in Sadr City in late March 2008. 1st Squadron joined with Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police units to take the fight to the enemy. The fight ended on 11 May 2008 after JAM Special Groups took heavy losses and Muqtada al Sadr ordered radical militia elements of JAM to stand down in conjunction with a cease fire brokered with the Government of Iraq. 1st Squadron then completed a wall dividing south Sadr City from Sadr City proper and transitioned into non-lethal operations as they provided the Iraqi people with over $1million in projects, small business grants, and security jobs for local nationals (Sons of Iraq) to help ensure security of the area. In August 2008, 1st Squadron was moved to Mosul for the remainder of the deployment to assist 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in their final efforts to quell violence in and around Mosul.
2nd Squadron (Cougars) along with D, E, and F companies was sent to East Rashid in south central Baghdad. E Company quickly distinguished itself by combating Sunni Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI) extremists in several complex attacks which resulted in 10 Soldiers wounded in action and at least 13 enemy killed in action. 2d Squadron then began clear and hold operations with 3d Squadron’s (Wolfpack) G Company, H Company, I Company, and N Troop throughout Dora and Hadar located in East Rashid for Operation Dragoon Talon. This operation primarily focused on Baghdad’s Muhallas 834, 836, and 846 which were largely abandoned, heavily laden with improvised explosive devices, and an AQI stronghold. Over the next several months, 2d and 3d Squadrons battled AQI and won control of East Rashid. The squadrons then spent considerable resources and effort to rebuild the area as local nationals safely returned to their homes.
While 2d Squadron remained in East Rashid until May of 2008, 3d Squadron was called up as the Corps reserve and sent to the Diyala Province to conduct clearing operations with 4th Brigade, 2d Infantry Division (Raiders) Stryker Brigade Combat Team. 3d Squadron was sent with G, H, and I companies to clear the agriculturally rich area called “the breadbasket” in and around the Hamrin Mountains. Operation Raider Harvest focused on clearing AQI out of the last large safe haven in Iraq. 3d Squadron fought in the area from December 2007 through October 2008 and saw considerable improvements as they captured and killed AQI fighters, found hundreds of weapons caches, and rebuilt the region from the ground up through humanitarian reconstruction projects.
4th Squadron (Saber) moved to Forward Operating Base Prosperity to conduct operations in the Al Karkh district just north of the Green Zone, which is the hub of all governmental activities in Iraq. With just O Troop, P Troop, elements of Q Troop, and some support from I Company, 4th Squadron took over the previous battle space of two battalions and conducted largely non-lethal operations in securing the heart of Baghdad. Al Karkh quickly became the most secure area in Baghdad as 4th Squadron set the standard for partnering with the Iraqi Police and Al Karkh became an example for the rest of the city to emulate as the city transitioned into a peaceful state.
Fires Squadron (Hell) with A, B, and C batteries and K Troop based out of Camp Taji to secure the Agar Quf region northwest of Baghdad. While C Battery acted as 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division’s tactical reserve conducting air assault missions to take down high value targets, the remainder of the squadron focused on securing the northern belts of Baghdad. As Fires Squadron secured Agar Quf, they also conducted large scale non-lethal operations as the squadron sought to improve this agriculturally rich area by providing electricity enhancement projects, water pumps, and irrigation improvements across the region.
In January 2008, Fires Squadron came back to the control of the Regiment along with 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry (Gimlets) from 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Hawaii. The Regiment was tasked with destroying AQI remnants in the Abu Ghraib and Agar Quf regions. While doing so, 1-21 Infantry, 84th Engineer Company, and the Regiment conducted the historic operation of finding Staff Sergeant Keith “Matt” Maupin’s remains and returning them to his family on 20 March 2008. SSG Maupin had been missing in action since he was captured by AQI fighters on 9 April 2004, and finding his remains allowed the Army to keep our promise to leave no one behind.
In April of 2008, the Regiment received the order to move to the Diyala Province to replace 4th Brigade, 2d Infantry Division no later than 1 June 2008. Minus 1st Squadron, the Regiment moved in masse to the Diyala Province in May to join 3d Squadron and 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (Sabres). From late May until October of 2008, the Regiment fought extremist Sunni and Shia elements throughout the province. Again, the Regiment set the standard for non-lethal effects as the Regiment focused on rebuilding the province and empowering the government officials to take charge of their communities. The lethal effort culminated in a mostly Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) led operation to clear the province of the last remnants of insurgent activity. Over 50,000 Iraqi Army, Iraqi National Police, and Iraqi Police Forces came to the province to execute Operation Glad Tidings of Benevolence. The Regiment partnered with ISF units to clear villages, roads, and palm groves which had previously been controlled by terrorist elements. At the conclusion of the operation, the ISF was able to hand the area back to Iraqi hold forces, and the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment handed a more secure province over to 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Arctic Wolves) Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Alaska.
Throughout the fifteen month deployment, the Regiment fought both Shia and Sunni terrorists while focusing on the rebuilding and securing of neighborhoods and villages throughout Baghdad and the Diyala Province. This was all conducted with the unfailing support of the Regimental Support Squadron and the Special Troops Squadron as they provided daily logistical, medical, intelligence, aerial surveillance, and communications support.
By the end of the deployment, the Regiment sustained the loss of 29 troopers, over 250 troopers were wounded in action, and over 70 Stryker, MRAP and other legacy vehicles were destroyed by improvised explosive devices. However, the enemy sustained over 100 killed, over 1100 captured, and 100,000 improvised explosive devices, weapons, ammunition and pieces of equipment captured and destroyed. The Regiment saw the key areas of East Rashid, Sadr City, and the Diyala Province transformed from bastions of terrorist activity to more peaceful communities controlled by the Iraqi government as the Iraqi people returned their communities to normalcy. The Regiment returned to Vilseck, Germany, on 27 October 2008 in order to refit and prepare for future operations.
OEF Deployment May 2010 – April/May 2011
The 2d Cavalry Regiment deployed in May 2010 to Regional Command South (RC S), Afghanistan during a period of historical increase in insurgent activity. As part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the mission was to conduct population-centric counterinsurgency operations throughout RC S in order to train and mentor Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and enable enduring stability and legitimacy of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA).
The Regimental Headquarters undertook a daunting task of assuming Command for Combined Team Zabul in Qalat, Zabul Province in July 2010. Partnered with Provincial GIRoA Leadership, ANSF, and Coalition Forces, the Headquarters was responsible for more than 3,000 American and Romanian Soldiers, 3,800 Afghan National Army Soldiers, and 1,800 Afghan National Police Officers throughout a 17,300 square kilometer Province with a population of over 250,000 local citizens. Exceptional Command and Control provided oversight of more than 4,500 partnered presence patrols, route clearance patrols, and other routine operations that ensured stand-alone capability of ANSF. Synchronized intelligence along with focused target analysis resulted in over 50 insurgent weapon and explosive cache seizures, the recovery of over 3,000 lbs of homemade explosives, the clearance of over 300 IEDs, and the destruction of more than 34 enemy retrans sites. De-confliction of over 289 Special Operations missions resulted in the destruction of over 79 high valued targets.
Throughout the deployment, the Regiment covered the length and width of RC S. From the Northwest, 1st Squadron provided the first US Maneuver Forces in Uruzgan Province and partnered with the Afghan National Police and enabled security and governance to occur in historically neglected regions of the Province. In March 2011 WAR EAGLE rapidly retrograded the entire Squadron to Panjwai and Dand Districts, Kandahar Province in order to operate as part of Task Force Kandahar. In conjunction with Afghan partners and the Canadian 22nd Battle Group, WAR EAGLE conducted OPERATION TALLAHASSE, a brigade size clearing operation, which became the largest operation to occur in that region.
In Zabul Province, 2d Squadron conducted the largest combined arms operation in the Province, OPERATION GRAND RAPIDS, which severely disrupted enemy support zones and greatly reduced enemy activity along Highway 1 and throughout the rest of the Province. COUGAR presence was also felt in Kandahar Province, where Dog Company conducted significant disruption operations in the “Horn of Panjwai”. Most significantly, in February 2011, COUGAR facilitated the first full transition of security in Afghanistan between Coalition Forces and the ANA.
From Zharay and Maiwand Districts, 3d Squadron established two, premier blocking positions in all of Afghanistan, the “Wolfpack Wall” and the “Security Wall”. WOLFPACK’s hard work and effort denied the enemy the ability to conduct attacks in Kandahar Province. In September 2010 Stryker Crews from both Hawk and Iron Companies made history by engaging the enemy in sustained combat, for the first time, with the Mobile Gun System Stryker Variant. Archer Battery set the tone by executing a fire mission in July 2010, resulting in the first confirmed kill during the deployment for the Regiment. Archer continued to provide superlative indirect fire support throughout 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division’s area of operation.
To the East in Spin Boldak District, Kandahar Province, 4th Squadron stood guard on the Afghan-Pakistani Border alongside the Afghan Border Police. SABER made great strides by setting conditions for the transformation to a westernized border crossing point. In addition, SABER conducted over 26,000 biometric enrollments, a historical figure unmatched by any other Unit in Afghanistan. From August 2010 to April 2011, Lightning Troop tirelessly conducted dismounted patrols in two Sub-Districts of Kandahar City as part of Task Force Raider. In January Maddog Troop assumed the counter indirect fire mission within the Kandahar Airfield Ground Defense Area and conducted patrols in the rocket boxes surrounding the second largest coalition airfield in Afghanistan.
In Zabul Province, from behind the walls of the Qalat Police Academy, Fires Squadron trained and mentored the future security forces of Afghanistan. In addition, HELL managed the Regiment’s Counter IED Defeat Cell, Route Clearance Patrol operations, and supported the ability to employ ISR assets and signal communication capabilities throughout Zabul Province. HHB provided technical and tactical expertise for its three detached Howitzer Batteries as well as for the Kandahar Airfield Ground Defense Area mission, and deployed its Q36 and Q37 Radar Teams wherever required in RC S.
The Regiment Support Squadron conducted essential combat service support operations from Kandahar Airfield in support of the Regimental footprint spanning across three Provinces. MULESKINNER demonstrated partnership when tasked to assist the Dutch Redeployment Task Force in retrograding all equipment and supplies from Uruzgan Province to Kandahar Airfield, by managing the MRAP vehicle driver’s training program and equipment fielding to Romanian Land Forces, and through generator and maintenance repair classes provided to the Afghan National Army in Zabul Province. Most notably, through the Dragoon Case Management Program, MULESKINNER diligently cared for the Regiment’s wounded and fallen.
Regardless of the deed, the Regiment remained flexible, adaptable and executed every task with dash and professionalism, greatly contributing to the overall mission of bringing peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.
OEF Deployment July 2013 – April 2014
The Vilseck, Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, from July 2013 through April 2014, serving under the 4th Infantry Division Headquarters. The unit arrived in grueling 120-degree heat at the height of the fighting season and took over the battle space previously covered by two brigades. Although the regiment’s leaders shared the same overall mission, the specific tasks each leader performed varied widely from unit to unit. For example, some leaders advised Afghan National Security Forces leaders, some had a counter-rocket mission to ensure Kandahar Airfield remained secure, others provided in-extremis reaction forces, and still others ensured mobility or moved supplies along key routes. (Army Magazine, Volume 64, Number 8)
From the steamy swamps of Florida to the frozen Rocky Mountains, from the badlands of the Midwest to the deserts of southwest Asia, from the northern plains of Europe to the cascades of western Washington, from the disease infested jungles of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico to the island of Haiti, and from its service in the Civil War and the War with Mexico to its current mission as the cavalry regiment of America’s contingency corps, the Second Dragoons have been on active service for nearly one and three quarters centuries, making them the Army’s oldest mounted regiment on continuous duty.
Although with its current organization and equipment, the Regiment may bear little resemblance to those first horse-mounted troopers, the spirit of the cavalry nevertheless lives on today. The Dragoons of the 21st century proudly sustain the legacy by following the orders of Captain May at Resaca de la Palma:
“Remember your Regiment and follow your officers.”
Certificate of Lineage and Honors
The Department of the Army’s Center of Military History issues the Official Lineage and Honors Certificate. This document lists those campaigns and battles for which the Regiment and its troops are given campaign participation credit. One can trace much of the nation’s and the Regiment’s history from this document.
If two or more of the companies or troops participated in a battle, then the Regiment receives credit for that battle and is authorized a campaign or battle streamer. If one company or troop participated in the battle, then that company or troop will receive separate campaign participation credit. The troops are authorized a silver band that is to be displayed on their guidon staff signifying those battles for which they have earned separate campaign participation credit.
Lineage and Honors
Constituted 23 May 1836 in the Regular Army as Second Regiment of Dragoons and organized with Headquarters at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
Redesignated 5 March 1843 as Second Regiment of Riflemen and concurrently dismounted.
Remounted and redesignated 4 April 1844 as Second Regiment of Dragoons.
Redesignated 3 August 1861 as Second Cavalry.
Assigned 15 August 1927 – 15 July 1942 to the 2d Cavalry Division.
Inactivated 15 July 1942 at Fort Riley, Kansas; personnel and equipment transferred to the 2d Armored Regiment (see ANNEX)
Redesignated and activated 15 January 1943 as the 2d Cavalry, Mechanized at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Regiment broken up 22 December 1943 and its elements reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Cavalry Group, Mechanized, and the 2d and 42d Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons, Mechanized.
Above units converted and redesignated 1 May 1946 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Constabulary Regiment and the 2d and 42d Constabulary Squadrons respectively.
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Constabulary Regiment reorganized and redesignated 2 February 1948 as Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Troop, 2d Constabulary Regiment.
Above units converted and redesignated by elements 16 November 1948 as elements of the 2d Armored Cavalry (Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Troop, 2d Constabulary Regiment as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Armored Cavalry).
2d, 776th, and 19th Tank Battalions (see ANNEX) consolidated 8 January 1951 with the 2d Armored Cavalry.
(Battalions and Companies redesignated 23 May 1960 as squadrons and troops, respectively)
Redesignated 1 July 1992 as 2d Armored Cavalry (Light), restructured from men and equipment of 199th Light Infantry Brigade. 1st Squadron from 1-33 Armor; 2nd Squadron from 3-47 Infantry; 3rd Squadron from 2-1 Infantry.
4-17 Cavalry Squadron redesignated 4-2ACR(L) 15 January 1994.
Relieved from attachment to XVIII Airborne Corps April 2005. 4th Squadron deactivated, men and equipment transferred to 4th Bde, 10th Mountain Division.
Regiment reflagged June 2006. 2CR redesignated 4/2 SBCT. Simultaneously 1-25 Infantry redesignated 2SCR.
Second Armored Regiment constituted 11 July 1942 in the Army of the United States and assigned to the 9th Armored Division.
Activated 15 July 1942 at Fort Riley, Kansas, with personnel and equipment of the Second Cavalry.
The Regiment was broken up on 9 October 1943 and its elements were reorganized and redesignated as follows:
Second Armored Regiment (less 1st and 3rd Battalions, Band, and Maintenance, Service, and Reconnaissance Companies) as the 2d Tank Battalion.
1st Battalion as the 776th Tank Battalion and relieved from assignment to the 9th Armored Division.
3d Battalion as the 19th Tank Battalion.
Reconnaissance Company as Troop D, 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized (hereafter separate lineage).
Band and Maintenance and Service Companies disbanded.
After 9 October 1943, the above units underwent changes as follows:
2d Tank Battalion inactivated 7 October 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia.
Relieved 9 January 1951 from assignment to the 9th Armored Division.
776th Tank Battalion reorganized and redesignated 28 January 1944 as 776th Amphibian Tank Battalion. Inactivated 21 January 1946 at Camp Anza, California.
19th Tank Battalion inactivated 9 October 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry.
Relieved 8 January 1951 from assignment to 9th Armored Division.
Campaign Participation Credit
Presidential Unit Citation (2nd Tank Battalion cited)
Presidential Unit Citation
Valorous Unit Award
Resaca De La Palma
Molino Del Ray
Vera Cruz 1847
Little Big Horn
New Mexico 1852
New Mexico 1854
Defense of Saudi Arabia
Cold Harbor Petersburg
|War With Spain|
World War I
World War II
Leyte (with Arrowhead) Ryukyus
Individual Troop Campaign Credit
Troops entitled to separate campaign participation credit as follows:
Puerto Rico 1898
Fort Henry and Donellson
Missouri 1861 (Wilson’s Creek MO)
World War II
New Mexico 1860
World War I
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BASTOGNE
(2d Tank Battalion cited; WD GO 17, 1945)
Presidential Unit Citation (Army)
Operation Iraqi Freedom from 6 April 2003 to 15 June 2004
Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered IRAQ.
Permanent Orders 44-7 dated: 18 March 1992
For the period 23 Feb 1991 – 26 February 1991 (Battle of 73 Easting)
Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm, Streamer embroidered BASTOGNE; cited in the order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at BASTOGNE
(2d Tank Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950 and DA GO 27, 1950)
Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, and Troops A, B, and C each additionally entitled to:
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered 17 October 1944 to 4 July 1945 (776th Amphibious Tank Battalion cited; DA GO 47, 1950)
1st Squadron additionally entitled to:
Army Superior Unit Award, Haiti from 1 January 1995 – 22July 1996
(DA GO 15, 1997 & 25 dated 8 June 2001)
2d Squadron additionally entitled to:
Army Superior Unit Award, Haiti from 20 August 1997 to 21 October 1997
(DA GO 15, 1997 & 25 dated 8 June 2001)
Presidential Unit Citation (Army)
Operation Iraqi Freedom from 30 March to 1 May, 2003
Valorous Unit Award – Iraq (GO 2013–15)
1 September 2007 to 31 October 2007
3d Squadron additionally entitled to:
Army Superior Unit Award, Haiti from 20 August 1997 to 21 October 1997
(DA GO 15, 1997 & 25 dated 8 June 2001)
Army Superior Unit Award – Bosnia 1997 (20 Aug 97 To 21 Oct 97, DAGO 2001 – 25)
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Troop E, Troop F, Troop G, 2d Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Troop I, Troop K, Troop L, 3d Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry
Regimental Medal of Honor Recipients
BRETT, LLOYD, M. 2d Lieutenant, 2d Cavalry at O’Fallon’s Creek, Montana, 1 April 1880
CANFIELD, HETH Private, Company C, 2d Cavalry at Little Blue, Nebraska, 15 May 1870
CLARK, WILFRED Private, Company L, 2d Cavalry at Big Hold, Montana, 9 August 1877
GARLAND, HARRY Corporal, Company L, 2d Cavalry at Little Muddy Creek, Montana, 7 May 1877
GLOVER, T.B. Sergeant, B Troop, 2d Cavalry at Mizpah Creek, Montana, 10 April 1879
*HAGAN, MARTIN Sergeant, 2d Cavalry at Fredericksburg, Virginia, 13 December 1862
HANFORD, EDWARD R. Private, Company H, 2d Cavalry at Woodstock, Virginia, 9 October 1864
HIMMELSBACK, MICHEAL Private, Company C, 2d Cavalry at Little Blue, Nebraska, 15 May 1870
HUBBARD, THOMAS Private, Company C, 2d Cavalry at Little Blue, Nebraska, 15 May 1870
HUGGINS, ELI L. Captain, 2d Cavalry, RHQ at O’Fallon’s Creek, Montana, 1 April 1880
JONES, WILLIAM H. Farrier, Company L, 2d Cavalry at Camas Meadows, Idaho, 20 August 1877 at Little Muddy Creek, Montana, 7 May 1877
**LEONARD, PATRICK Sergeant, Company C, 2d Cavalry at Little Blue, Nebraska, 15 May 1870
LEONARD, WILLIAM Private, Company L, 2d Cavalry at Muddy Creek, Montana, 7 May 1877
McCLERNAND, EDWARD J. 2d Lieutenant, 2 Cavalry at Bear Paw Mountain, Montana, 30 September 1877
PHILLIPS, SAMUEL D. Private, Company H, 2d Cavalry at Muddy Creek, Montana, 7 May 1877
RODENBOUGH, THEOPHILUS F. Captain, 2d Cavalry, Command of Regiment at Trevilian Station, Virginia, 11 June 1864
SCHMIDT, CONRAD First Sergeant, Company K, 2d Cavalry, at Opequon Creek, Winchester , Virginia, 19 September 1864
THOMPSON, GEORGE W. Private, Company C, 2d Cavalry at Little Blue, Nebraska, 15 May 1870
TOMPKINS, CHARLES H. First Lieutenant, 2d Cavalry at Fairfax, Virginia, 1 June1861
WILKENS, HENRY First Sergeant, Company L, 2d Cavalry at Little Muddy Creek, Montana, 7 May 1877
Note: Officers of the Regiment were assigned to the Regiment (not the troops or companies) so their citations do not reflect which troop they were with when they won their medal. Enlisted Soldiers were assigned to the troop level, so their unit of assignment is listed. Sergeant Martin Hagen is the exception to this rule. Sergeant Hagen does not have his unit of assignment listed in available documents.
* Sgt Hagen is not listed as a recipient of the Medal of Honor by any of the agencies tasked to track these things. The Regiment has several sources that indicate he was the Regiment’s first recipient. The Regimental Museum staff has asked the National Medal of Honor Historical Society to clarify this.
** It has previously been reported that Sergeant Patrick Leonard was a double recipient of the Medal of Honor. This is incorrect. The Medal of Honor Historical Society, in an article published in 1985, discovered that there were, in fact, two different Sergeant Patrick Leonard’s, both Medal of Honor winners. Only through a review of their widow’s claims, did they find that they had different middle names and were two different people.
Colonels of the Regiment
|David Emmanuel Twiggs||1st Colonel of the Regiment||8 Jun 1836 – 29 Jun 1846|
|William Selby Harney||2d Colonel of the Regiment||30 Jun 1846 – 14 Jun 1858|
|Philip St. George Cook||3d Colonel of the Regiment||14 Jun 1858 -12 Nov 1861|
|Thomas John Wood||4th Colonel of the Regiment||12 Nov 1861 – 9 Jun 1868|
|Innis N. Palmer||5th Colonel of the Regiment||9 Jun 1868 – 20 Mar 1879|
|John W. Davidson||6th Colonel of the Regiment||20 Mar 1879 -26 Jun 1881|
|John P. Hatch||7th Colonel of the Regiment||26 Jun 1881 – 9 Jan 1886|
|Nelson B. Sweitzer||8th Colonel of the Regiment||9 Jun 1886 – 29 Oct 1888|
|David R. Clendenin||9th Colonel of the Regiment||29 Oct 1888 – 2 Apr 1891|
|George G. Hunt||10th Colonel of the Regiment||10 Apr 1891 – 2 Jun 1898|
|Henry E. Noyes||11th Colonel of the Regiment||2 Jun 1898 – 16 Nov 1901|
|Eli L. Huggins||12th Colonel of the Regiment||5 Dec 1901 – 24 Feb 1903|
|Winfield Scott Edgerly||13th Colonel of the Regiment||2 Mar 1903 – 23 Jun 1905|
|Fredrick K. Ward||14th Colonel of the Regiment||23 Jun 1905 – 1 Oct 1906|
|Frank West||15th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Oct 1906 – 31 Dec 1913|
|William J. Nicholson||16th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Jan 1914 – 11 Feb 1915|
|Joseph T. Dickman||17th Colonel of the Regiment||12 Feb 1915 – 21 Jun 1917|
|Arthur Thayer||18th Colonel of the Regiment||22 Jun 1917 – 11 Aug 1919|
|John S. Winn||19th Colonel of the Regiment||4 Nov 1919 – 18 Jul 1922|
|Charles A. Romeyn||20th Colonel of the Regiment||12 Jun 1922 – 31 May 1924|
|George Williams||21st Colonel of the Regiment||1 Jun 1924 – 31 Jul 1926|
|Llewellyn Oliver||22d Colonel of the Regiment||24 Jun 1926 – 9 Jun 1928|
|Alexander M. Miller||23d Colonel of the Regiment||1 Jul 1928 – 31 Mar 1931|
|Selwyn D. Smith||24th Colonel of the Regiment||30 Jun 1931 – 15 Jul 1935|
|Dorsey R. Rodney||25th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Aug 1935 – 31 Aug 1937|
|Arthur W. Holderness||26th Colonel of the Regiment||25 Aug 1937 – 25 Apr 1939|
|Thoburn K. Brown||27th Colonel of the Regiment||18 Apr 1939 – 8 Aug 1939|
|Harry D. Chamberlin||28th Colonel of the Regiment||9 Aug 1939 – 31 Mar 1941|
|John T. Cole||29th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Apr 1941 – 30 Jun 1942|
|Gilman C. Mudgett||30th Colonel of the Regiment||15 Jul 1942 – 14 Jan 1943|
|Charles H. Reed||31st Colonel of the Regiment||15 Jan 1943 – 31 Aug 1944|
1 Nov 1944 – 31 Aug 1947
|William P. Withers||32d Colonel of the Regiment||1 Sep 1944 – 31 Oct 1944|
|George C. Elms||33d Colonel of the Regiment||1 Sep 1947 – 31 Jan 1948|
|William D. Long||34th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Feb 1948 – 31 Jan 1949|
|Theodore T. King||35th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Feb 1949 – 28 Feb 1949|
|Franklin F. Wing||36th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Feb 1949 – 30 Apr 1950|
|Marshall O. Wallach||37th Colonel of the Regiment||1 May 1950 – 31 Aug 1950|
|Robert W. Porter||38th Colonel of the Regiment||11 Aug 1950 – 6 Jun 1951|
|Creighton W. Abrams||39th Colonel of the Regiment||7 Jun 1951 – 29 Jun 1952|
|William F. Eckles||40th Colonel of the Regiment||30 Jun 1952 – 31 Aug 1953|
|John C. F. Tillson III||41st Colonel of the Regiment||1 Sep 1953 – 8 Jun 1954|
|Jesse P. Moorefield||42d Colonel of the Regiment||8 Jun 1954 – 10 Jul 1954|
|William H. Greer||43d Colonel of the Regiment||10 Jul 1954 – 11 Jul 1955|
|William E. Lobit||44th Colonel of the Regiment||12 Jul 1955 – 7 Jun 1956|
|Jones W. Duncan||45th Colonel of the Regiment||23 Jun 1956 – 27 Jul 1957|
|Leslie R. Wilcox||46th Colonel of the Regiment||28 Jul 1957 – 5 Jan 1959|
|Richard G. Ciccolella||47th Colonel of the Regiment||6 Jan 1959 – 27 Jul 1959|
|Lawrence E. Schlanser||48th Colonel of the Regiment||6 Jul 1959 – 31 Nov 1961|
|George B. Pickett Jr.||49th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Dec 1961 – 1 Jul 1963|
|Carleton Preer, Jr.||50th Colonel of the Regiment||2 Jul 1963 – 1 Aug 1964|
|Frank B. Clay||51st Colonel of the Regiment||1 Aug 1964 – 3 Nov 1965|
|James P. Cahill||52d Colonel of the Regiment||2 Nov 1965 – 30 Aug 1967|
|Clarke T. Baldwin, Jr.||53d Colonel of the Regiment||30 Aug 1967 – 9 Sep 1968|
|Walter G. Allen||54th Colonel of the Regiment||9 Sep 1968 – 19 Mar 1970|
|Matthew R. Wallis||55th Colonel of the Regiment||19 Mar 1970 – 10 Sep 1971|
|Charles P. Graham||56th Colonel of the Regiment||10 Sep 1971 – 23 May 1973|
|John W. Seigle||57th Colonel of the Regiment||23 May 1973 – 19 Nov 1974|
|John W. Hudachek||58th Colonel of the Regiment||19 Nov 1974 – 4 Jun 1976|
|Harold R. Page||59th Colonel of the Regiment||4 Jun 1976 – 6 Jun 1978|
|Robert E. Wagner||60th Colonel of the Regiment||6 Jun 1978 – 16 Jun 1981|
|David M. Maddox||61st Colonel of the Regiment||16 Jun 1981 – 14 Nov 1983|
|William W. Crouch||62d Colonel of the Regiment||14 Nov 1983 – 6 Aug 1985|
|John H. Tilelli, Jr.||63d Colonel of the Regiment||6 Aug 1985 – 6 May 1987|
|James J. Steele||64th Colonel of the Regiment||6 May 1987 – 1 Aug 1989|
|Leonard D. Holder||65th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Aug 1989 – 1 Jul 1991|
|John C. Eberle||66th Colonel of the Regiment||1 Jul 1991 – 1 Jul 1992|
|Thomas M. Molino||67th Colonel of the Regiment||2 Jul 1992 – 8 Jul 1994|
|Walter L. Sharp||68th Colonel of the Regiment||8 Jul 1994 – 13 Jun 1996|
|Dennis E. Hardy||69th Colonel of the Regiment||14 Jun 1996 – 3 Sept 1998|
|Douglas E. Lute||70th Colonel of the Regiment||4 Sept 1998 – 1 Aug 2000|
|Terry Wolff||71st Colonel of the Regiment||1 Aug 2000-17 June 2003|
|Bradley W. May||72d Colonel of the Regiment||18 June 2003 – 24 Feb 2005|
|Jon S. Lehr||73d Colonel of the Regiment||25 Feb 2005 – 1 June 2006|
|John RisCassi||74th Colonel of the Regiment||1 June 2006 – 13 Jan 2009|
|James R. Blackburn, Jr.||75th Colonel of the Regiment||13 Jan 2009 – 27 July 2011|
|Keith A. Barclay|
Douglas A. Sims
|76th Colonel of the Regiment|
77th Colonel of the Regiment
78th Colonel of the Regiment
|27 July 2011 – 8 Jan 2013|
8 Jan 2013 – 15 July 2014
15 July 2014 –
|Patrick J. Ellis||79th Colonel of the Regiment||15 Jul 2016 –|
Regimental awards are presented annually to officers, noncommissioned officers, Soldiers and units for outstanding performance. These awards are presented at the Regimental Spring Ball. A display of the awards is maintained in the Regimental Headquarters.
DRAPER AWARD: The Draper Armor Leadership Award is given annually to promote, sustain, and recognize effective leadership in armor and cavalry units. The unit selects one Armored Cavalry Troop as the best Ground Cavalry Troop based on measurable performance in seven functional areas. The award also recognizes individuals who exhibit excellence in leadership or training, or who made significant contributions to the force. The Chief of Armor and Commanding General of Fort Knox is the proponent for this award.
HARVAY AWARD: Presented by the Second Cavalry Association to the most outstanding Junior Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer of the Regiment. It is presented with a free lifetime membership in the 2d Cavalry Association to recognize the service of those who have demonstrated the highest level of professionalism in the traditions of the Second Dragoons.
ABRAMS AWARD: Presented to the best Non-Lettered Troop (includes all separate companies, all HHTs, S&T Troop, Maintenance Troop, and Medical Troop). This award is a counterpart to the Draper award to recognize the best non-lettered troop, company or battery that demonstrates the most professional excellence during the preceding year.
RODENBOUGH AWARD: Presented to the best Regimental Aviation Troop (lettered) for demonstrating the most professional excellence during the previous year.
THE PELHAM AWARD: Presented to the best Squadron Fire Support System to recognize the traditions and heritage of the Field Artillery within the Regiment. The criteria for selection will be based on the unit’s performance during the Dragoon Thunder exercise.
THE HUGGINS AWARD: Presented to the Junior Officer of the Year (all company grades) to recognize the most outstanding junior officer of the Regiment for the previous year.
THE THAYER AWARD: Presented to the Warrant Officer of the Year (WO1 to CW3) based on their rated performance in leadership positions, physical fitness, individual weapons qualification, and leadership ability.
THE SCHMIDT AWARD: Presented to the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year (SFC to CSM) based on their rated performance in leadership positions, physical fitness, weapons qualifications, leadership ability, tactical and technical proficiency, and special accomplishments. Nominees are evaluated on their individual accomplishments as well as their contributions to the unit.
THE LEONARD AWARD: Presented to the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year (CPL to SSG) for recognition of outstanding achievement through the winning of NCO of the Quarter Board.
THE FARRIER AWARD: Presented to the Trooper of the Year based on rated performance in leadership positions, physical fitness, weapons qualifications, leadership ability, weapons qualifications, leadership ability, technical and tactical proficiency and special accomplishments.
HISTORY OF SERVICE AWARD: Presented to the 2d ACR Family Member Volunteer of the year for their volunteer services, their impact on the quality of life for 2d ACR Soldiers and their families and the impact on the quality of life for the Fort Polk Community.
SCOUTS OUT: This annual training exercise determines the best scout section in the Regiment. Scouts Out is a competition based on several events designed to test each team’s mental and physical agility, technical and tactical acumen, and the section’s ability to work together as a team through the most trying circumstances.
DRAGOON LIGHTNING: Dragoon Lightning is a combined arms exercise that trains and externally evaluates the Regiments anti-tank companies and the 84th Engineer Company. This exercise culminates in the awarding of a trophy and streamer to the best anti-tank company.
DRAGOON THUNDER: Dragoon Thunder is an annual competition and external evaluation of the Regiment’s indirect fire systems. The best Squadron is awarded the Pelham Award. The best howitzer battery is awarded the McRae guidon streamer. This streamer is named in honor of Captain McRae, an artilleryman who took charge of Troop G at the Battle of Val Verde New Mexico, 21 February 1862. The troopers of G Troop fought the engagement as artillerymen, manning the guns of McRae’s Battery.
TROOP FIGHT : Troop fight is an annual event designed to evaluate the operational proficiency of the ground cavalry troops through a realistic and challenging force-on-force training event. The Troop Fight will focus on the ground cavalry troop’s Mission Essential Task List while integrating air cavalry, air defense and engineer operations.
Armor Association Awards
ORDER OF ST. GEORGE: The award of the Bronze Medallion of the Order of St. George is the Armor Association’s recognition of the awardee as the very best of tankers or armored cavalrymen. The award of the Silver Medallion of the Order of St. George is the U.S. Armor Association’s recognition of the awardee upon completion of long and distinguished service to armor or armored cavalry. The Black Medallion is for recognition of armor lieutenants and junior enlisted tankers and cavalrymen.
The award of the Gold Medallion of the Order of St. George is the United States Armor Association’s recognition of those few, select men who, even after leaving their long and distinguished careers of service to armor or armored cavalry, continue to be active supporters of armor.
ORDER OF ST. JOAN D’ ARC: The Armor Association has established the Order of St. Joan D’ Arc to honor ladies who voluntarily contributed significantly to the morale, spirit, and welfare of Armor or Cavalry units and communities. Such voluntary contributions should exemplify the spirit of the Order’s namesake in service to others.
NOBEL PATRON OF ARMOR: The Armor Association has developed the Nobel Patron of Armor Award to recognize those individuals, other than tankers or cavalrymen, who have significantly contributed to the operational success, or the morale and welfare, of armor and cavalry organizations.
Honorary Squadron of Dragoons
The Honorary Squadron of Dragoons was instituted in 1952 by the 39th Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel Creighton Abrams, Jr. Entry into this prestigious roster may be obtained only by nomination and approval of the Colonel of the Regiment. To be “Dragooned,” a Trooper must have served a minimum of 12 months in the Regiment. NCO’s and Soldiers are nominated by the Regimental CSM, Squadron CSM, or their Troop First Sergeant. Officers may be nominated by the Colonel of the Regiment, their Squadron or Troop Commanders, depending on the nominee’s position. Nominees must possess a record untarnished by incidents, punishments, or other acts that reflect unfavorably upon the Regiment.
Regimental Customs and Traditions
Coat of Arms
Shield: Tenné, a dragoon in the uniform of the Mexican War mounted on a white horse brandishing a saber and charging a Mexican field gun defended by a gunner armed with a rammer all proper, in chief two eight-pointed mullets Or.
Crest: On a wreath of the colors (Or and Tenné) the head dress of the dragoons of 1836 Proper.
Motto: Toujours Prêt (Always Ready).
Symbolism: The color of the facings of the old dragoon regiment was orange, which is used for the field of the shield; the insignia was an eight pointed star of gold, two of them (conforming with the numerical designation) are placed on the shield. The traditional episode in the regiment is the charge of Captain May’s squadron on the Mexican artillery
at Resaca de la Palma which is commemorated by the principal charge on the shield. The crest is self-explanatory.
Background: The coat of arms was originally approved for the 2d Cavalry Regiment on 6 August 1920. It was amended to change the 6 pointed stars to 8 pointed stars to conform to the old dragoon star on 28 April 1924. The coat of arms was redesignated for the 2d Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron on 31 July 1944. On 26 November 1946, it was redesignated for the 2d Constabulary Squadron. It was redesignated for the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (US Constabulary) on 17 March 1949. The coat of arms was redesignated for the 2d Armored Cavalry on 1 September 1955. The insignia was redesignated effective 16 April 2005, for the 2d Cavalry Regiment.
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Description: On a black disc within a 1/8 inch (.32cm) yellow border 2 ¾ inches (6.99cm) in diameter overall, a yellow octagonal with concave sides a green scalloped circle bearing a white fleur-de-lis all above a green motto scroll bearing the inscription “Toujours Prêt” in yellow letters.
Symbolism: The design of the shoulder sleeve insignia is based on the Regiment’s distinctive insignia, badge type, approved 28 April 1924. The yellow octagonal simulates the eight pointed star insignia worn by dragoons, the 2d Cavalry having been originally formed as the Second Regiment of Dragoons in 1836. The green scalloped circle, simulating a palmetto leaf, represents the regiment’s first action against the Seminole Indians in Florida, where the palmetto leaf grows in abundance. The fleur-de-lis is for combat service in France in both World War I and World War II. The motto “Toujours Prêt” (Always Ready) expresses the spirit and elan of the Regiment.
Background: The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment on 23 June 1967. It was amended to change the symbolism on 9 October 1967. The insignia was redesignated effective 16 April 2005, with the description updated, for the 2d Cavalry Regiment.
Distinctive Unit Insignia
Description: A metal and enamel device one inch (2.54cm) in height consisting of a gold eight pointed star of rays surmounted by a green palmetto leaf charged with a silver color fleur-de-lis, on a green enameled ribbon scroll forming the base of the device, the regimental motto “Toujours Prêt” in gold metal letters.
Symbolism: The eight-pointed star insignia worn by dragoons, the 2d Cavalry having been originally formed as the Second Regiment of Dragoons in 1836. The palmetto leaf represents the Regiment’s first action against the Seminole Indians in Florida, where the palmetto leaf grows in abundance. The fleur-de-lis is for combat service in France in both World War I and World War II. The motto “Toujours Prêt” (Always Ready) expresses the spirit and elan of the Regiment.
Background: The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 2d Cavalry Regiment on 16 January 1923. The insignia was amended to change the 6 pointed star to a 8 pointed star to conform to the old dragoon star on 28 April 1924. On the 23 March 1931, it was amended to prescribe the method of wear. It was redesignated for the 2d Constabulary Squadron on 21 January 1948. The insignia was redesignated for the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (US Constabulary) on 17 March 1949. It was redesignated for the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment on 1September 1955. The distinctive unit insignia was amended on 20 August 1965, to change the description. It was redesignated effective 16 April 2005, for the 2d Cavalry Regiment.
Since the mid 1800’s, the Second Regiment of Dragoons, now proudly serving as the 2d Cavalry Regiment, have had a tradition of wearing a broad brimmed, black felt hat.
The 2d Cavalry Regiment continues the tradition by wearing the “Stetson” or other broad brimmed hats as designated by the Colonel of the Regiment. Active duty personnel wear this headgear in accordance with standards published by the active Regiment.
All veterans of the Regiment are authorized wearing of this distinctive hat.
The Regimental Accolade, translated from the French “Toujours Prêt” means “Always Ready.” It indicates the Regiment is in a constant state of readiness, prepared to go wherever and whenever needed. Today, this accolade is found on the Regimental patch and the distinctive unit insignia, sometimes referred to as the unit crest. The Regimental Accolade is also the source of the Regimental Greeting.
All enlisted troopers render the Regimental Greeting to officers and by junior officers to senior officers. The greeting is derived from the Regimental Accolade and is executed as follows:
Individual junior in grade exclaims: “Always Ready, Sir”
Individual senior in grade responds: “Toujours Prêt”
The Regimental Motto is: “Remember your Regiment and Follow your Officers.” These were the words spoken by Captain Charles A. May to his Dragoons just before their gallant charge at Resaca de la Palma in 1846.
It is customary for the Regimental Commander to sign all correspondence within the Dragoon Battle Group and affiliations such as the 2d Cavalry Association in such a manner as to indicate his number in chronological succession of command, e.g. “70th Colonel of the Regiment.”
The Regimental birthday is celebrated on 23 May each year. On 23 May 1836, the Congress of the United States declared: “…be it enacted, that there shall be raised and organized, under the direction of the President of the United states to accept the service of volunteers and raise an additional Regiment of Dragoons or mounted riflemen and be it further enacted that there shall be raised and organized under the direction of the President of the United States one additional regiment of Dragoons or mounted riflemen to be composed of the same number and rank of the officers, noncommissioned officers, musicians, and privates composing the regiment of Dragoons now in the service of the United States, who shall receive the same pay and allowances, be subject to the same rules and regulations and be engaged for the like terms and upon the same conditions in all respects what-so-ever as are stipulated for the said regiment of Dragoons now in service.”
On June 15, 1836, the Headquarters of the Army in Washington D.C. went on to issue General Order Number 38 which declared that: “the Second Regiment of Dragoons will be recruited and organized with as little delay as practicable, and the several officers appointed will report for orders and recruiting instructions to the Colonel of the Regiment, who will establish his recruiting headquarters at some central position and report to the Adjutant General.”
Regimental Organization Day
The Regimental Organization day is celebrated on 9 May each year. This date was chosen to commemorate the gallant charge of Captain Charles A. May’s Dragoons at Resaca De La Palma in 1846.
The organizational flag of a mounted unit had traditionally been referred to as the “standard”, as opposed to the “colors”, which are carried by dismounted units. The Regimental Standard is the single most visible symbolic representation of the Regiment. The standard and its accompanying set of National Colors are displayed in the Regimental Commanders office and are carried to all Regimental ceremonies and formations. When a new standard is issued, the old one is retired from service and placed in the Reed Museum. Many former standards are on display in the Reed Museum, the oldest one dating from 1861.
Regimental Color Guard and Color Bearers
The Regimental Color Guard is detailed on a rotational basis by Squadron. The Squadron Command Sergeant Major is responsible for training the Color Guard members. During Regimental formations, the Color Guard is supervised by the Regimental Command Sergeant Major.
Regimental Pass In Review
The command to pass the Regiment, or any element thereof, in review during a parade or ceremony is given in the following manner:
Reviewing officer: “Second Dragoons – Pass in Review”
The Dragoon Band, if established, consists of volunteer Soldiers from throughout the Regiment. They are usually brought together to play for various Regimental functions. The earliest record of the Dragoon Band was after the battle of Buena Vista in 1847, when it played “Hail Columbus” as the Regiment rode into the city. The Regimental Band has been a regular fixture of the Regiment until the late 1970’s.
In the fall of 1998 the Regiment began training and equipping the Regimental Pipes and Drums of the Second Dragoons. This volunteer unit can trace its heritage in the Second Dragoons to the earliest days of the Regiment. It is said that at one of the first Regimental ceremonies, the Army band scheduled to appear was delayed. Some of the members of the Regiment with a strong Celtic background produced their Highland Bagpipes and trooped the line playing a traditional Scottish tune. The Regimental Pipes and Drums played at Squadron and Regimental changes of command, formal occasions and other ceremonies. It played at dedication ceremonies at Fort Worth Texas as well as Mardi Gras Parades in the home station area of Ft. Polk, Louisiana.
After the disbanding of this group Merritt Powell, one of the founding members, continued on his own as the Honorary Regimental Piper, playing at Dragoon funerals, coming home and deployment ceremonies when he was able.
The official song of the Regiment is “Hit the Leather and Ride” by Captain Meredith Wilson in 1903. It praises the Infantry “behind us,” but promises “they’ll have to eat cavalry dust to find us.
“Hit the Leather and Ride”
It’s a far cry — from San Juan Hill to the gallant twenty-sixth at Bataan —
Now the spurs blend their jingle with the clank of a tank; —
Our scouts reconnoiter to protect the Yankee flank; —
Our mechanized security is money in the bank; —
It’s the Cavalry rolling on —
We’re gonna “Hit the Leather and Ride”, take it all in our stride, “Hit the Leather and Ride” all the way, —
And though we’re glad to know the Infantry’s behind us, —
They’ll have to eat Cavalry dust to find us, —
Let every son of a gallopin’ yank jump in a saddle or tank, “Hit the Leather and Ride” all the way, —
Tho’ some are the mechanized, you’ll recognize the outfit, —
We’re ridin’ hell bent for leather today, —
We’re ridin’ hell bent for leather today, —
Let your spurs dig in!
Let the charge begin!
Let the order to rally — — roll through the valley like the roll of drums — —
Let hooves ring true — — in a wild tattoo!
Colonel Teddy and Custer know how we’ll muster when the great day comes –
The official Regimental March is “In the Second Cavalry” dating from at least 1900 and compares life in the cavalry to the other branches. Sergeant Jack Leonard who served with the Regiment during the 1880’s supplied a chorus. The tune is from the old song “Crambambuli.” In 1903 the men of the Regiment also used these amusing lines to compare their lot with that of their comrades in the other branches:
“In the Second Cavalry”
Oh, it’s groom, groom, groom!
’tis the Soldier’s doom,
When he enlists in the cavalry:
And it’s work, work, work,
Which you can’t well shirk
If you’re in the artillery;
But it’s drill, drill, drill,
When you ain’t in the mill,
In the Second Cavalry.
Twas in Eighteen-hundred-and-thirty-six,
That we fought in the Everglades;
When we showed the Seminole the trick,
That from memory never fades;
We have been in many a fight since then,
For ’tis there that we belong;
So we got the right that we’d earned like
Men, to sing this Regiment’s song
Chorus: Trot, trot, trot
Is the Soldier’s lot,
When he lists for the Cavalry.
And it’s hike, hike, hike
Which they don’t much like,
For our friends the Infantry;
Oh, it’s shoot, shoot, shoot
When the trumpets toot,
In the Artillery;
And it’s fight, fight, fight
For your country’s right,
In the Second Cavalry.
When the trumpet sounds that the firing’s
Ceased, and our war flag we may furl
We are always ready, to say the least,
To flirt with a pretty girl.
For at making love or at duty’s call,
Our motto is “Toujours Prêt,”
Oh, a Soldier’s life is the best of all,
So we sing with a will today.
Let’s sing a song to the cavalry,
We’ll follow where’er it leads,
We love its yellow standards,
All lined with gallant deeds.
So here’s to the horses and the riders bold,
To the trot and the gallop free,
To the charge and rush and the fierce
Melee, of the dashing cavalry.
When the trumpets ring and the chargers
Spring, and the lines of the foeman reel,
Then dearer far are the ways of war,
To the lads of the spur and steel.
With “Old Glory” bright, through the dusty
Light and our guidons floating free,
For the ranks of war it’s hip, hip, hurrah!
In the Second Cavalry.
The Regimental Museum (formerly known as the Trophy Room) was renamed in 1980 after Colonel Charles H. Reed, the 31st Colonel of the Regiment. The collection has experienced a complete renovation and remodeling, beginning in July 1998, and culminating in a grand re-opening in October 1999. Items of historical significance in the museum focus on telling the story and the history of the oldest continuously serving mounted regiment in the US Army through the exhibition of artifacts and art. Among the collection is a silver tea service presented to the Regiment by Mrs. George S. Patton, Jr., in appreciation to the Regiment for its part in the planning and execution of General Patton’s funeral. Also found are the original descriptive rolls of the Regiment from 1836, set alongside the rolls of the Honorary Squadron of Dragoons. In addition, many prints of the Regiment by Don Stivers, noted artist of American military history, are blended into the story line along with numerous other artifacts representing the Regiment’s history.
The Reed Museum relocated to Ft. Lewis with the Regiment in 2004, and when the Dragoon’s moved their permanent home back to Germany in the fall of 2006, the museum was crated up and relocated to Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, where it remained in storage during the Regiments 2007-08 deployment to Iraq, and is currently being restored.
The Regimental Colors are orange and gold. Orange reminds us of the orange trim of the Dragoon uniform and gold reminds us of the eight pointed star worn on the Dragoon shako.
Regimental Commander’s Picture
On the date of the Change of Command the out-going Regimental Commander’s photograph is placed with his predecessors in the Regimental Headquarters, in chronological order of succession.
Regimental Commander’s Gift
The outgoing Regimental Commander customarily donates a gift of historic significance, which is given a place of honor in the Regimental Museum.
Regimental Meal Blessing
Almighty, merciful and loving Father, we praise and bless you for bringing all of us together to celebrate this meal. We bless you for all the good gifts we receive from you, especially for peace and freedom. We ask you now to bless us to your service, and this food we are about to receive from your bounty, to our good. Father of all mercy, all praises, and honor to you this day and forever. Amen.
Almighty, merciful, and loving Father, you are the one who hears all our prayers and grants our petitions. We, the troopers of the 2d Cavalry Regiment, ask you to remember, as we do, the tremendous sacrifice made by those who went before us. They have given their lives so that we might live and breathe freely. We ask you to receive them into your hands. Father, give us the strength and wisdom to learn from their example, to uphold freedom and life at home and around the world. Keep us vigilant as we guard the frontiers of freedom. Give our leaders the wisdom and the strength to lead well. Grant all of us courage and confidence.
Be, for all of us troopers, a wise counsel in keeping peace and a strong shield for us against our enemies. Oh heavenly Father, give us the determination that the peace and freedom won at such a high price be lasting!
Father, hold all of the troopers of the 2d Cavalry Regiment in the palm of your almighty hand and protect us in the shadow of your wings. Amen.
Custom Upon Reporting To and Departing the Regiment
Immediately after an officer or NCO is assigned to the Regiment, it is customary for a letter of welcome to be dispatched from the Regiment to the individual. In the case of an officer, the Regimental Commander sends the letter, while the Regimental Command Sergeant Major sends the letter of welcome to a NCO. This letter usually encloses such information as may be necessary for orientating the individual and facilitating his immediate adjustment to his probable duties and new station. All new officers normally report to the Regimental Adjutant or Squadron Adjutant and are addressed at an appropriate time by the Regimental or Squadron Commander. At that time, the new officer will be oriented to the missions and organization of the Regiment, the new officer’s probable duty assignment, and perhaps, the history, customs, and traditions of the Regiment. When departing the Regiment, whether for civilian life or for a new duty assignment, it is customary for all officers to pay their respects in person to the Regimental or Squadron Commander.
Births in the Regiment
Following the birth of a child to an officer of the Regiment, the Colonel of the Regiment on behalf of the Officers’ fund, presents the new Dragoon with a “Baby Cup.”
Deaths in the Regiment
When the Regiment is in garrison and one of its officers, NCO’s, or troopers dies, memorial services are held in the chapel by the Squadron to which the individual was assigned. The squadron chaplain conducts the services and honors are rendered according to the rank of the deceased. It is customary for the Regimental Standard to be present at the services and for the Regimental Commander, Regimental Command Sergeant Major, respective Squadron Commander and Squadron Command Sergeant Major to be in attendance.
Regimental Formals are held twice each year and include a ball and a dining-in. As at any other Regimental function, the Regimental standard is present and the Regimental Command Sergeant Major is in charge of the posting and retirement.
Historic Regimental Toast
I PROPOSE A TOAST:
TO THE HARD BITTEN DRAGOONS WHO RODE WESTWARD FROM THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS SECURING THE FRONTIERS OF OUR ADVANCING CIVILIZATION, AND WHO LED THE VICTORY MARCH INTO MEXICO CITY.
TO THE CAVALRYMAN WHO CHARGED WITH MCCLELLAN AND SHERIDAN IN THE BITTER FIGHTING BETWEEN THE STATES, AND THEN TO WIN THE WEST FOR A GROWING NATION.
TO THE CAVALRYMAN WHO FOUGHT IN CUBA, IN THE PHILIPPINES, AND IN FRANCE DURING WORLD WAR ONE.
TO THE MECHANIZED CAVALRYMAN WHO PROVIDED THE SHARP POINT TO THE SPEAR THAT PATTON DROVE THROUGH THE HEART OF EUROPE.
TO THAT ARMORED CAVALRYMAN WHO GUARDED AN UNEASY PEACE ALONG THE FRONTIER OF THE FREE WORLD UNTIL, LIKE JERICHO, THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN.
AND TO THE TROOPER WHO SPEARHEADED A 250 KILOMETER ATTACK INTO IRAQ.
YES, I PROPOSE A TOAST TO MANY MEN – MANY MEN WHO ARE AS ONE.
I PROPOSE A TOAST TO THAT DEDICATED FIGHTING PROFESSIONAL,
THE TROOPER OF THE 2D UNITED STATES CAVALRY.
Historic Regimental Punch Mix and Ceremony
To the Regimental Punch Bowl Add One Bottle Each of:
Cold Duck (Champagne and Red Wine) Bacardi’s Rum
Rye Whiskey Vieux Bordeaux
Tequila Rhine Wine
Kahlua Napoleon Brandy
Southern Comfort Vodka
Evian Water Slivovitz
Two Sharp’s Non-Alcoholic Beers
While the Regimental Punch is Prepared, Read the Following Aloud:
The 2d Cavalry Regiment was organized as the 2d Regiment of Dragoons in 1836 to fight the Seminole Indians in Florida. The Dragoons wore an eight-pointed star as a cap ornament, which now forms the background of the Regimental Crest. The palmetto leaf superimposed on the star symbolizes the five years the Dragoons fought in the Everglades and swamps. Pour one-half bottle of Champagne and Red Wine over dry ice in commemoration of their baptism in battle.
One year after the Seminole Campaign, units of the Regiment added three more streamers to the Dragoon banner for battles against the Cheyenne, Nez Perces and Bannocks in the Southwest Territories. Pour Rye Whiskey over the dry ice to symbolize the taste for this drink, which the troopers developed.
Add Tequila for the fourteen campaigns fought in Mexico in 1846 and ’47.
Kahlua is added for Captain May’s headlong charge into the blazing Mexican Artillery at Resaca de la Palma. “Remember your Regiment, and follow your officers!” called Captain May, and it became the motto of the Regiment.
During the Civil War, the 2d Dragoons officially became the 2d U.S. Cavalry Regiment and earned 14 battle streamers for such engagements as Chancellorsville, Shenandoah, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Gettysburg. At this point, add Southern Comfort to the punch.
From 1866 to 1880, the Regiment once again did battle with the Indians in Wyoming, Kansas, Montana, and the Little Big Horn. In memory of this, add the last of the Champagne and Red Wine.
In 1898 the “2d Cav” entered the Spanish American War, fighting alongside Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. Now add Bacardi’s Rum to represent the streamer for Santiago.
The Regiment entered World War I and was the only unit to fight as cavalry — horses and all. For such places as the Argonne and the Marne, add the French wine, Vieux Bordeaux. “Toujours Pret!” (Always Ready) was added to the Crest as well as the Fleur-de-lis.
Renamed the 2d Cavalry Group, Mechanized, the Regiment entered World War II, landing at Normandy in 1944 and earning a PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION and Belgian Croix De Guerre for the Battle of Bastogne. Other elements of the Regiment fought in the Pacific Theater, earning the Philippine President Citation. For these actions, now pour Napoleon Brandy.
The next campaign liquor put to use in this historical punch, vodka, represents the Ryukyus battle fought at the close of World War II.
The Regiment was redesignated the 2d Constabulary Regiment and served in the German occupation. In 1940, it became the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment and began Border Duty along the longest stretch of the Iron Curtain patrolled by American Forces. Rhine Wine symbolizes the Central Europe campaign, the drive through Germany, and the long Cold War.
The next ingredient to add to your historical punch is that which sustained the fighting spirit and élan of the Regiment during its combat in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait — Evian Water.
Flexibility and versatility are trademarks of the Second Dragoons, and the Regiment once again proved it in Haiti. As a member of the Multi-National Task Force, the Regiment had driven more accident-free miles, ate more dust and drank less beer than any other unit in recent memory. To commemorate our Haitian experience and the “two beer limit,” add 2 Sharp’s Non-Alcoholic Beers as the next ingredient.
Responding once again to the Nation’s call, the Regiment deployed to the Balkans as part of the Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In honor of our Balkan peace keepers, a bottle of Slivovitz (Plum Brandy) is added to the mix.
Now for the hardest job of all…to drink this punch!!!
The Second Dragoons and Its Special Relationships
THE SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL
The Spanish Riding School, one of Austria’s most illustrious attractions, is the home of the world-famous Lipizzaner Stallions. The origin of the breed dates from 1850, to the Austrian imperial stud farm at Lipizza. The stables were initially located near Trieste, Italy, in what was formerly a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
During the closing days of World War II, the Regiment played an important role in the survival of the School. In 1944, the priceless stud farm of the School had been moved to Hostau, Czechoslovakia to safeguard it from the dangers of Allied air raids. In April 1945, with the American forces advancing from the West and Soviet forces advancing from the East, Colonel Charles H. Reed, 31st Colonel of the Regiment, decided to seize Hostau. This action liberated a large group of Allied prisoners of war as well as rescue the famous horses from sure confiscation by the Soviets.
After coordinating with the German commander of the Hostau compound for its surrender and with higher headquarters for approval, Soldiers from the 42nd Squadron (the present-day 2nd Squadron) advanced into the town. The 42nd’s troopers then herded, rode and trucked the horses to the city of Kotzting in Bavaria. In 1960, Walt Disney Productions released a full length (though historically flawed) motion picture entitled “The Miracle of the White Stallions” to capture these momentous events.
The Spanish Riding Schools eventually returned to Vienna in 1955. Since then, these magnificent horses have entertained hundreds of thousands of spectators in Austria and around the world. In August 1985, the Regiment was formally honored for its efforts by the Lord Mayor of Vienna.
In September 1944 that the Regiment, then known as the 2d Cavalry Group, liberated the small city of Lunéville in France’s Lorraine region for a second time, having done so previously in 1918. Since 1945, the people of Lunéville have celebrated this liberation of their town annually, with a delegation from the Regiment participating each year since 1972.
In 1944, Patton’s Third Army was advancing across France, driving hard for Germany. Leading the way was the 2d Cavalry Group. The Regiment punched a large dent, known as the Nancy salient, into the Fifth Panzer Army line. This enemy force represented the largest concentration of German armor since Normandy, composed of no less than five Panzer Divisions and five Brigades.
Forced to halt the advance, the defense of Lunéville is now regarded as a classic cavalry action. The early warning of the German counter-attack by the alert cavalry scouts and the valuable time gained by the vigorous delaying action helped to secure the key crossroads at Lunéville. The subsequent XV Corps attack on one flank and a brilliant armored defense by the 4th Armored Division on the other resulted in such heavy armor losses that the enemy would not attempt another large-scale counter-attack until Ardennes, three months later.
On 8 May 1945, following the surrender, hundreds of thousands of German Soldiers were taken into captivity in Russian, British, French, and American POW camps. The 11th Panzer Division found extraordinary help from the 2d Cavalry Group (Mechanized), however. Wishing to avoid the Red Army, the 11th Panzer Division, with 16,000 men and 4,000 vehicles, made contact with the 2d Cavalry near Pilsen. Preoccupied with evacuating some 534 thoroughbred Lipizzaners from Hostau to Bavaria, it took from the 8th to the 12th of May (1945) to negotiate a surrender.
The town of Kotzting had a long tradition of a horse-mounted religious pilgrimage each May at Pentecost. In 1945, the town came to the 2d Cavalry requesting permission to hold this observance. It was granted, but serious problems still threatened the ceremony. The central figure of the Pilgrimage, the “Bridegroom”, was Herr Frans Oexler, then a Prisoner of War among the 11th Panzer personnel. Additionally, there were no horses. Captain Fred Sperl was instrumental in the solution to these problems. Since the 11th Panzer Soldiers were to be processed for discharge, Frans Oexler became Discharge #1, and was allowed to borrow a Lipizzaner as his mount.
The tradition has been continued through the years and the population of Kotzting have not forgotten the good will of the Second Cavalry. In May 1985, a delegation from the regimental Staff, the regimental Band, and members of the 2d Cavalry Association attended the pilgrimage in Kotzting, 40 years after the events described above.
Contact with the city of Kotzting was reestablished in July of 2014 with the intention of renewing the relationship with the Association, the Regiment and the Reed Museum.
2d Cavalry Association
The Second Cavalry Association was founded in 1899. It is a private organization of individuals who have served with the Regiment. It stands today as the oldest veteran’s organization established around a particular unit. Membership is open to any member or former member of the Regiment. The Association publishes a newsletter for members, the Thoroughbred. Additional information can be obtained from the Regimental PAO or by corresponding directly with the Association: 2d Cavalry Association, 151 Sargent Street, Newton, MA 02458
The Association runs the gift shop, known as “The Spur of the Moment”, and supports the Reed Museum. The Association was the primary sponsor and support for the Regimental Pipes and Drums.
Currently the Association funds such projects as the Wounded Warrior Program, the Association Scholarship Program, Regimental memorial and awards programs, family readiness group programs, and numerous other programs that support the 2d Dragoon troopers, veterans, and their families.
The Association acts as the representative of the Regimental Commander and the Regiment at all Army medical centers in the continental United States for the purposes of tracking and supporting our wounded warriors. In addition the Association represents the Regimental Commander and the Regiment at all funeral services for our fallen Dragoons.
4 thoughts on “History of the Second Cavalry Regiment”
Interesting history. Regarding the Regimental Museum, IIRC it was called the “Reed Museum” before 1980. I remember seeing the name when it was located in the Headquarters building in Merrell Barracks, Nürnberg, Germany. My office, the Air Liaison Office was above it on the second floor. I actually re-enlisted in the Air Force in the museum. Because our USAF unit was so small (1 Captain and 4 E-5s) we were not authorized colors, so I took my re-enlistment oath in front of one of the historical U.S. Flags in the museum – I don’t recall the number of stars it had but it was way less than 50! Anyway, maybe the 1980 naming was making the name official in the eyes of the Army.
Dennis B. Swaney, MSgt, USAF (Ret.)
ALO, 2ACR April 1974 – June 1978
Toujours Pret, MSgt! Thanks for the story. Would you care to fill out a questionnaire about your time with 2ACR? I’m using these to write a Cold War history of the regiment?
Interesting history. Regarding the Regimental Museum, IIRC it was called the “Reed Museum” before 1980. I remember seeing the name when it was located in the Headquarters building in Merrell Barracks, Nürnberg, Germany. My office, the Air Liaison Office was above it on the second floor. I actually re-enlisted in the Air Force in the museum. Because our USAF unit was so small (1 Captain and 4 E-5s) we were not authorized colors, so I took my re-enlistment oath in front of one of the historical U.S. Flags in the museum – I don’t recall the number of stars it had but it was way less than 50! Anyway, maybe the 1980 naming was making the name official in the eyes of the Army.
Dennis B. Swaney, MSgt, USAF (Ret.)
ALO, 2ACR April 1974 – June 1978
Toujours Pret, MSgt! Thanks for the story. Would you care to fill out a questionnaire about your time with 2ACR? I’m using these to write a Cold War history of the regiment?