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Unit History

The 1st Cavalry Division

3rd Infantry Division unit patch

The 1st Cavalry Division shoulder sleeve insignia. The traditional Cavalry color of yellow and the horse's head is symbolic of the original organizational structure of the Cavalry. The color black is symbolic of iron, alluding to the organizational transition from mounted horses to tanks and heavy armor.

The 1st Cavalry Division was formed in 1921 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The division was originally composed of the 1st, 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion (Horse), 13th Signal Troop, the Ordnance Company, Division Headquarters and 1st Cavalry Quartermaster. The division's first commander was Major Robert L. Howze.

The primary mission of the division in the 1920s was patrolling on horseback the rugged terrain along the Texas-Mexican border, which was infested with bandits and smugglers. During the Depression years of the 1930s, the troopers assisted with government construction projects such as the Civilian Conservation Corps. During these transition years leading up to World War II, the troopers swapped their horses for tanks and mobile howitzers and a number of new units were added to the division.

Beginning in 1944, division troops fought the Japanese in the southwestern Pacific, most notably in the Philippines. The troopers were given the honor of leading the Allied Occupational Army into Tokyo in 1945.

The division participated in the first amphibious landing of the Korean War in 1950 and for nearly two years fought major battles throughout the peninsula. In 1952, the division was transferred to Japan and later to South Korea, where Soldiers guarded the demilitarized zone until 1965.

In the early stages of the Vietnam War, the 1st Cavalry became the first fully committed division in the war. During the war, the troopers used helicopters extensively, giving them much more speed and mobility than riding to battle on horseback, as they had only 35 years earlier.

General Creighton Abrams, while commander of all U.S. forces in Southeast Asia, paid 1st Cavalry the highest compliment when he said: "The big yellow patch does something to an individual that makes him a better Soldier, a better team member, and a better American than he otherwise would have been." The yellow patch with the black diagonal line and horse inside a shield is the division's insignia.

The division returned stateside from Vietnam in 1971 and underwent several reorganizations and received new tanks and helicopters. During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the division performed magnificently and was instrumental in crushing Iraqi resistance. Speaking of the 1st Cavalry Division, Commander of the Allied Forces General Norman Schwarzkopf directed: "Send in the First Team. Destroy the Republican Guard. Let's go home."

Upon its return to the United States in 1991, the 1st Cavalry Division, with its headquarters at Fort Hood, Texas, became the largest division in the Army, with a number of new units and further reorganization. As in the early years, the division prides itself in being combat-ready and expeditionary. The division subsequently deployed to a number of world trouble spots, including Bosnia-Herzegovina and more recently to Iraq.

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The United States Army