U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment

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The 7th United States Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry unit, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century. Its official nickname is "Garryowen", which alludes to the traditional Irish drinking song Garryowen that was adopted as its march tune.

The 7th Cavalry was organized in 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas, after the US Civil War as part of an expansion of the regular army following the demobilization of the wartime volunteer force. From 1866 through 1871, the Regiment was posted at Ft. Riley and fought in the Indian Wars, notably at the Battle of the Washita in 1868.

Typical of post-Civil War cavalry regiments, the Seventh was organized as a twelve company regiment without formal battalion organization. Throughout this period, the cavalryman was armed with Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolvers and single shot Springfield rifles, caliber .50-70 until 1870 and caliber .45-70 until 1892. He used one of the many variants of the McClellan Saddle. Sabres were issued but not carried on campaign.

From 1871 through 1873, Seventh Cavalry companies participated in occupation duties during the Reconstruction period in the South. Sent West, the Regiment garrisoned Ft. Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer's disaster at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25 and 26, 1876, while a stunning defeat, demonstrated the sheer bravery of the 7th Cavalrymen: fourteen soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor during that battle. The Regiment was present at the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890, the end of the Indian Wars.

In 1892, the Army adopted the Springfield .45-70 Rifle with the U.S. Magazine Rifle, Model 1892, also known as the .30-40 Krag-Jorgensen Rifle. A carbine version, the M1896, issued in 1896.

After 1883, cavalry "companies" became "troops" and "battalions" became "squadrons".

From 1895 until 1899, the Regiment served in New Mexico (Fort Bayard) and Oklahoma (Ft. Sill), then overseas in Cuba (Camp Columbia) from 1899 to 1902.

In 1903 the Army replaced the Krag .30-40 with the M1903 Springfield rifles, initially in caliber .30-03 and later in its more familar .30-06 form. In 1911, the Army adopted the superb M1911 Automatic Colt Pistol, replacing the Colt single and double action .45 and .38 caliber revolvers.

The Regiment served in the Philippines during the Philippine Insurgency from 1904 through 1907, with a second tour from 1911 through 1915. Back in the United States, the Regiment was once again stationed in the southwest, in Arizona (Camp Harvey J. Jones), where it patrolled the Mexican border and later was part of the Mexican Punitive Expedition, 1916 - 1917.

From 1917 through 1943, the Regiment remained at Ft. Bliss, Texas, a period of transition for cavalry, as the War Department sought to integrate crew-served weapons such as heavy machine guns and mortars, Browning Machine Rifles and Automatic Rifles, and gasoline powered vehicles into horse cavalry formations. In 1943 the Regiment traded in its horses and was reorganized for service in World War II with the First Cavalry Division in the Pacific Theatre.

During World War II and the Korean War, it used the main weapons of the U.S. Army (namely, the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, M1911A1, and BAR). However, it converted to a tank unit, and used mainly the M26 Pershing.

After the Korean War, 7th Cavalry was used mainly in a reconnaissance role. It received the M14 rifle, along with various other new weapons and equipment (including the M60 Super Patton). Also, a few OH-13s were used by the reconnaissance squadrons.

Three battalions, the 1st, 2nd and 5th served during the Vietnam War, armed with the new M16, M203 grenade launcher, and M79 grenade launcher. Claymore mines were also used extensively. The other 2 units, the 3rd and 4th reconnaissance squadrons were based in Germany, and Korea.

The 1st, 2nd, and 5th battalions were deactivated after the Vietnam war, and only the 3rd and 4th squadrons remained as divisional reconnaissance squadrons assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and 2nd Infantry Division respectively. Both the 3rd and 4th squadrons are aviation-tank cavalry squadrons using M-60 Tanks , M-113 & M-114 APC's. Both squadrons had an air cavalry "Delta" Troop, that had both reconnaissance & gunships UH-1B. The gunships were armed with M-5 rocket launchers, M-22 guided anti-tank missiles.

However, between 1974 & 1975 other units were reactivated. The 1st Battalion became an armored unit, the 2nd Battalion and 5th Battalion as mechanized infantry. In 1978 the 5th Battalion was once again deactivated.

The 1st Squadron and 4th Squadron fought in the Persian Gulf War. The 1st Squadron was the divisional cavalry squadron for the 1st Cavalry Division and assigned to an aviation brigade. The 4th Squadron was also the divisional cavalry squadron for 3rd Armored Division. Armed with the M106A2 Tank, M3A1 Bradley CFV. Air cavalry Troops AH-1F Cobras, OH-58C scouts.

The 3rd Squadron fought in the Iraq War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and as the "Eyes and Ears" for the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the "Iron Fist" for the XVIII Airborne Corps. The unit was engaged with the enemy earlier or more often in the war than any other unit. The 3rd Squadron was the speadhead and the screening force for the main elements of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Currently, the 1st Squadron is in the 4th Aviation Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, armed with M1A2 SEP Abrams, M3A2CFV Bradleys, OH-58 Kiowa. The 2nd Battalion fights as mechanized infantry under the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, using M2A3 IFV Bradleys. These two units are both stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

The 3rd and 4th Squadrons, on the other hand, fight as aviation-tank units, with similar dispositions as the 1st Squadron. The 3rd Squadron fighting under the 4th Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. The 3rd Squadron is based at Fort Stewart in Georgia, while 4th Squadron is under the 2nd Infantry Division, stationed in various bases north of Seoul, South Korea. The 5th Squadron recently activated in July 21, 2004 and assigned to 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, as a mechanized Infantry unit and based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, The 7th Cavalry is currently a parent regiment.

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