7th Cavalry Regiment (United States)

The 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century. Its official nickname is "Garry Owen", in honor of the Irish drinking song Garryowen that was adopted as its march tune.

Indian Wars

The regiment was constituted on July 28, 1866 in the Regular Army as the 7th Cavalry. It was organized on September 21, 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of an expansion of the Regular Army following the demobilization of the wartime volunteer and draft forces. From 1866 through 1871, the regiment was posted at Fort 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. However, battalions - renamed "squadrons" in 1883 - did exist. Companies A-D were assigned to 1st Battalion; Companies E-H were assigned to 2nd Battalion; and Companies I-M (no company J in Regiment) were assigned to 3rd Battalion. Throughout this period, the cavalryman was armed with Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolvers and single shot Springfield carbines, 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. The Seventh was the only U.S. cavalry regiment of the period to have a band, as the infantry regiments did. This is thought to have been the idea of Major Alfred Gibbs. This band adopted "Garry Owen" as their favorite tune and thus gave the Seventh their nickname among the rest of the Army. The troopers in the West didn't only fight Indians: on July 17, 1870 in Hays, Kansas a shoot-out between Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok and two troopers resulted in one soldier dead of wounds and one wounded.

From 1871 through 1873, 7th Cavalry companies participated in constabulary duties in the deep American South in support of the Reconstruction Act, and, for half the regiment, again in 1874–1876. In 1873 the 7th Cavalry moved its garrison post to Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory. From here, the regiment carried out the historic reconnaissance of the Black Hills in 1874, making the discovery of gold in the Black Hills public and starting a gold rush that precipitated the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer was defeated at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25 and 26, 1876. Although the Seventh is best known for its catastrophic defeat at the Little Bighorn, the regiment also participated in at least one victory: the capture of Chief Joseph's Nez Perce at the Battle of Bear Paw in 1877. The Regiment perpetrated the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890, the end of the Indian Wars.

Before World War II

In 1892, the Army replaced 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, was issued in 1896.

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 Rifle, initially in caliber .30-03 and later in its more familiar .30-06 form. In 1911, the Army adopted the 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-American War 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 U.S.-Mexico border and later was part of the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916 to 1917.

In December 1917, 7th Cavalry was assigned to the 15th Cavalry Division, an on-paper organization designed for service in France during World War I that was never more than a simple headquarters because of the speed in which the war ended after the entry of the United States. 7th Cavalry was released from this assignment in May 1918.

On September 13, 1921, 7th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, which assignment was maintained until 1957. The Division and its 2nd Brigade was garrisoned at Fort Bliss, Texas, while the 1st Brigade was garrisoned at Douglas, Arizona. Additional garrison points were used as well.

The 7th Cavalry Regiment continued to train as horse cavalry right up to World War II, including participation in several training maneuvers at the Louisiana Maneuver Area on April 26, 1940 - May 28, 1940; August 12-22, 1940; and August 8, 1941 - October 4, 1941.

World War II

The 7th Cavalry Regiment was dismounted on February 28, 1943, and started packing up for deployment to the Pacific Theater, still part of 1st Cavalry Division. The 7th Cavalry staged at Camp Stoneman, California on June 18, 1943, and departed the San Francisco Port of Embarkation on June 26, 1943. It arrived in Australia on July 11, 1943, where it trained for combat, and then participated in the New Guinea campaign, which began on January 24, 1943, and did not end until December 31, 1944.

The regiment was relieved from duty in this campaign, and moved on to be reorganized under special Cavalry and Infantry Tables of Organization & Equipment on December 4, 1943, and then trained for combat and participated in the Bismarck Archipelago campaign, which started on December 15, 1943, and did not end until November 27, 1944.

The 7th Cavalry moved to Oro Bay, New Guinea on February 22, 1944, and moved by Landing Craft to Negros Island to reinforce the units there on March 4, 1944, securing Lombrum Plantation.

The 7th Cavalry moved on to Hauwei Island, which it secured on March 12-13, 1944. The regiment continued on, and arrived at Lugos Mission on Manus Island on March 15, 1944.

The Leyte campaign started on October 17, 1944, and 7th Cavalry moved on towards the Philippines, and assaulted Leyte on October 20, 1944. 7th Cavalry reached the Visayan Sea in late December, 1944, and reassembled with the 1st Cavalry Division near Tunga on January 7, 1945. Leyte did not end until July 1, 1945, but 7th Cavalry was needed for the Luzon campaign, which started on December 15, 1944.

Deploying again by landing craft, 7th Cavalry landed at Luzon on January 27, 1945, where the regiment engaged until the end of the Luzon campaign on July 4, 1945. 7th Cavalry again reorganized - this time entirely under Infantry Tables of Organization & Equipment, but still designated as a Cavalry Regiment, on July 20, 1945 to prepare for the invasion of the main Japanese islands. However, the invasion was not to be. 7th Cavalry Regiment was at Lucena Batangas in the Philippines until September 2, 1945, when it was moved to Japan to start Occupation duty.

Occupation of Japan and Korean War

The 7th stayed in Japan as part of the occupation force. Coincidentally, one of its officers during this period was Lt. Col. Brice C. W. Custer, the nephew of former commander George Armstrong Custer.

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. The conduct of 7th Cavalry soldiers with respect to their involvement with the massacre at No Gun Ri during the early part of the Korean War has come under fire. Their story is most fully told by a veteran of the regiment, historian and Army Captain Robert Bateman, who wrote a book on the event using veterans accounts and historical documents.

7th Cavalry Regiment was reorganized under a new Table of Organization & Equipment on March 25, 1949, when the Troops were once again designated as Companies.

Cold War

The regiment was relieved from its assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division on October 15, 1957, and then reorganized under the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) on November 1, 1957. HQ & HQ Company transferred to the control of the Department of the Army. November 1,

As part of this reorganization, Company "A" redesignated, 1st Battle Group, 7th Cavalry and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. Company "B" redesignated 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Cavalry and Company "C" redesignated, 3d Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Cavalry and assigned to the 10th Infantry Division.

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 Patton tank). Also, a few OH-13s were used by the reconnaissance squadrons.

Three battalions, the 1st, 2nd and 5th served during the Vietnam War as the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. 3rd Brigade often self-referred itself as the "Garryowen Brigade". These troopers were armed with the new M16 rifle, the M203 grenade launcher replacing the M79 grenade launcher. Claymore mines, and Bell UH-1B helicopters were also used extensively. The experiences of the 1st and 2nd Battalions at the Battle of Ia Drang in November, 1965, were recounted in the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young by Lt Gen Harold G. Moore, then a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 1st Battalion, and United Press International correspondent Joseph L. Galloway. The book was later adapted into the film We Were Soldiers, with Mel Gibson as Moore and Barry Pepper as Galloway.

The other 2 units, the 3rd and 4th reconnaissance squadrons were based in Germany, and Korea.

Persian Gulf War

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 the Division's aviation brigade.

The 4th Squadron was also the divisional cavalry squadron for 3rd Armored Division, taking part of the Battle of Phase Line Bullet. Ground troops were armed with the M3A1 Bradley CFV. Air cavalry Troops AH-1F Cobras, OH-58C scouts.

Iraq War

The 1st Squadron served in the 1st Cavalry Division's 5th Brigade Combat Team (BCT) during its first deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from April 1, 2004 to April 1, 2005. The 1st Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry Regiment, commanded by LTC William R. Salter, distinguished itself by extraordinary valor and gallantry while executing combat operations in the Al Rashid District of Baghdad, Iraq. The Squadron defeated a surge of enemy attacks and neutralized insurgent and terrorist elements within its Area of Operations (AO) through a combination of constant day to day interaction with the populace, adaptable tactics and the tenacious fighting spirit of its troopers. In addition to securing an AO of 68km2 with a population of more than 1.2 million, the Squadron also secured ROUTE IRISH, a strategic highway and Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) Main Supply Route connecting the International Zone (IZ) to the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). The Squadron was also instrumental in providing a secure environment during the first Iraqi democratic election in January 2005. 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for its actions during this campaign. Most recently 1-7 CAV, commanded by LTC Kevin S. MacWatters, deployed as the Armed Reconnaissance Squadron for 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 (October 6, 2006 to January 15, 2008). The Squadron conducted full-spectrum operations as a part of Multi-National Division-Baghdad (MND-B)in the Taji Area of Operations. During this deployment the Squadron was instrumental in the destruction of multiple Improvised Explosive Device (IED)and Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED)terrorist cells as a part of the "Surge", greatly enhancing MND-B's ability to secure Baghdad. The secure environment created by the Squadron in the Taji area enabled local government to take hold, local police and Iraqi Army forces to take over security operations, and the "Reconciliation" to successfully spread throughout the Area of Operations.

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

The 2nd Battalion was attached to the 39th BCT although assigned to 3d BCT. 1st CAV. Commanded by LTC James Rainey, the 2nd Battalion was the main combat power for the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. The U.S.M.C. personally requested the presence of the "Ghost Battalion" for the onslaught into the insurgent ran city. The Marines repeated their request for the Garry Owen Ghosts for the August 2004 battle in Najaf. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU) Commander, Col Tony Haslam, attributed their success in the city to the brave Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion.

The 2nd Battalion moved from 3rd BCT, 1st Cav Div, Ft Hood Texas, to Ft Bliss to become part of the newly formed 4th BCT and in October 2006 The 2nd Battalion again headed for Iraq this time to Mosul. Within the first several months the Battalion took the first casualties of the 4th BCT. The battalion redeployed in December 2007 to Fort Bliss, TX.

The 5th Squadron has been deployed in 2005 and most recently January 2007. Following the 15 month deployment, the Troopers of the Squadron redeployed to Fort Stewart in April 2008. During their recent deployment they have remained unattached from 3rd ID, 1st Brigade and under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Wheeler, they have secured areas around Ramadi and Fallujah. Most recently they left operational control over the areas they secured in Fallujah to the II Marine Expeditionary Force so they could be an integral part of Operation Phantom Phoenix. As of January 2008 they have suffered 6 KIA and many wounded.

Current status

Currently, the 1st Squadron is the Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron for the 1st Brigade, and the 2nd Battalion organized as a Combined Arms Battalion is assigned to the 4th Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. Both battalions are stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

The 3rd Squadron is part of the 2nd Brigade, while the 5th Squadron is part of the of the 3rd Infantry Division 1st Brigade as the brigade reconnaissance elements. Both are based at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

The 4th Squadron is the reconnaissance element part of the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Camp Hovey, South Korea.


7th Cavalry Regiment

  • Regiment Constituted July 28, 1866 in the Regular Army as the 7th Cavalry Regiment.
  • Company A Organized September 10, 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Regiment Organized September 21, 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Cavalry companies officially designated as troops in 1883
  • Assigned in December 1917 to the 15th Cavalry Division
  • Relieved in May 1918 from assignment to the 15th Cavalry Division
  • Assigned September 13, 1921 to the 1st Cavalry Division.
  • HHT, 4th Squadron, Constituted November 13, 1943 in the Regular Army as Troop D, 7th Cavalry Regiment.
  • Regiment Reorganized December 4, 1943 partly under cavalry and partly under infantry tables of organization and equipment. Troop D concurrently reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters Troop, 1st Cavalry Division, Special. Replacement Troop D Activated concurrently in Australia, partly under cavalry and partly under infantry tables of organization and equipment.
  • Regiment reorganized July 25, 1945 wholly as infantry, but retained cavalry designations.
  • Regimental troops redesignated March 25, 1949 as companies (1st Cavalry Division, Special concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Cavalry Division)
  • Regiment Relieved October 15, 1957 from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division
  • Regiment Reorganized and redesignated November 1, 1957 as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Squadrons were concurrently redesignated as Battle Groups.
  • Headquarters Company, 1st Cavalry Division (Ex-D Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment) Disbanded July 1, 1960 in Korea.
  • EX-Headquarters Company, 1st Cavalry Division, EX-D Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment Reconstituted July 2, 1960 in the Regular Army, consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Cavalry (see below), and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment.
  • HHT, 4th Reconnaissance Squadron Redesignated January 25, 1963 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division (organic elements concurrently constituted).
  • 4th Squadron activated February 20, 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
  • 1st Battle Group Redesignated September 1, 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.
  • 1st Battalion Inactivated August 22, 1972 at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • 1st Battalion Activated June 20, 1974 at Fort Hood, Texas
  • 1st Battalion Reorganized and redesignated October 16, 1986 as the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment.
  • 4th Squadron Inactivated January 18, 1988 in Korea and relieved from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division
  • Regiment Withdrawn February 16, 1989 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System. 4th Squadron concurrently Assigned to the 3d Armored Division, and activated in Germany.
  • 4th Squadron Inactivated October 16, 1991 in Germany and relieved from assignment to the 3d Armored Division.
  • HHT, 4th Squadron consolidated April 5, 1996 with the 2nd Reconnaissance Company (see below) and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment; Squadron concurrently assigned to the 2d Infantry Division and activated in Korea

2nd Reconnaissance Company

  • 2nd Reconnaissance Troop Constituted July 20, 1940 in the Regular Army and was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division.
  • 2nd Reconnaissance Troop Activated August 1, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
  • 2nd Reconnaissance Troop Redesignated April 1, 1942 as the 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.
  • 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop Redesignated March 1, 1943 as the 2d Reconnaissance Troop.
  • 2nd Reconnaissance Troop Redesignated July 6, 1944 as the 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized
  • 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized Redesignated June 16, 1945 as the 2nd Mechanized Reconnaissance Troop.
  • 2nd Mechanized Reconnaissance Troop Redesignated July 30, 1945 as the 2nd Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop
  • 2nd Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop Reorganized and redesignated October 15, 1948 as the 2nd Reconnaissance Company
  • 2nd Reconnaissance Company Inactivated June 20, 1957 in Alaska and relieved from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division.
  • 2nd Reconnaissance Company consolidated with HHT, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment on April 5, 1996 and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment; Squadron concurrently assigned to the 2d Infantry Division and activated in Korea.



  • Indian Wars:
  1. Comanches;
  2. Little Big Horn;
  3. Nez Perces;
  4. Pine Ridge;
  5. Montana 1873;
  6. North Dakota 1874
  • Mexican Expedition:
  1. Mexico 1916–1917
  • World War II:
  1. New Guinea;
  2. Bismarck Archipelago (with arrowhead);
  3. Leyte (with arrowhead);
  4. Luzon
  • Korean War:
  1. UN Defensive;
  2. UN Offensive;
  3. CCF Intervention;
  4. First UN Counteroffensive;
  5. CCF Spring Offensive;
  6. UN Summer-Fall Offensive;
  7. Second Korean Winter;
  8. Third Korean Winter
  • Vietnam:
  1. Defense;
  2. Counteroffensive;
  3. Counteroffensive, Phase II;
  4. Counteroffensive, Phase III;
  5. Tet Counteroffensive;
  6. Counteroffensive, Phase IV;
  7. Counteroffensive, Phase V;
  8. Counteroffensive, Phase VI;
  9. Tet 69/Counteroffensive;
  10. Summer-Fall 1969;
  11. Winter-Spring 1970;
  12. Sanctuary Counteroffensive;
  13. Counteroffensive, Phase VII;
  14. Consolidation I;
  15. Consolidation II;
  16. Cease-Fire
  • Southwest Asia:
  1. Defense of Saudi Arabia;
  2. Liberation and Defense of Kuwait;
  3. Cease-Fire


  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for:
  • Valorous Unit Award for:
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for:
  • Belgian Fourragere:
  1. 1940
  • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action:
  1. In the ARDENNES
  • Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for:
  1. 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945
  • Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for:
  2. KOREA 1952–1953
  • Chryssoun Aristion Andrias (Bravery Gold Medal of Greece) for:
  1. KOREA
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for:
  1. VIETNAM 1965
  2. VIETNAM 1965–1969
  3. VIETNAM 1969–1970
  4. VIETNAM 1970–1971
  5. VIETNAM 1971–1972
  • Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for:
  1. VIETNAM 1969–1970


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