By Heather Graham-Ashley, III Corps and Fort Hood Public AffairsNovember 30, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas (Nov. 30, 2011) -- For Brave Rifles troopers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Nov. 16 was a day of change. The regiment transitioned from an armored unit to a Stryker unit, changes the unit's name, and welcomed a new command team.
Col. Reginald Allen's last act as the commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was a conversion of the unit from the Army's sole remaining armored cavalry regiment to an infantry-centric Stryker-mounted cavalry regiment.
With the conversion, the regiment changed its name to 3rd Cavalry Regiment and added two new squadrons. The re-activated Longknife Squadron, formerly the regiment's aviation squadron, is now 3rd Cav.'s new reconnaissance squadron. In addition, the regiment stood up a new fires squadron, Steel Squadron.
The transition from armored to Stryker cavalry marked yet another evolution for the storied regiment. During its 165-year history, the regiment of mounted cavalrymen has seen the transition from horses to armored vehicles, and now Stryker fighting vehicles.
"This proud regiment has been in existence for over 165 years, and change has marked her storied path to the parade field," Allen said. "Change has been a hallmark of this great organization through the years."
With all that has changed in the 3rd Cav. Regt., the cavalry spirit of the regiment has been steadfast.
III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. said the conversion was simply another change in how the regiment is configured for operations.
"To the troopers here today, understand that the legacy of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment does not disappear today," Campbell said. "This transformation is not an end to the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, but just another change in how you are configured to best serve the American people."
It is not the equipment that makes the regiment what it is and continues to carry on the storied history and traditions, but the trooper, Campbell added.
"Forged in battle, the spirit of 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment lives in your hearts and in your actions," the general said. "It is you, the trooper, who carries on traditions."
Allen said the heart of the regiment remains the same throughout the many changes.
"What has not changed over a century and a half, however, is the heart of this regiment, the mounted rifleman," Allen said. "It is the grit and tenacity of the Brave Rifles trooper that has carried this unit through 165 years of challenge and change."
The regiment will begin receiving their Strykers early next year, outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Hunt said.
During the same ceremony, Allen and Hunt said farewell to Fort Hood and the Brave Rifles welcomed the new regimental command team of Col. John Richardson and Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Akuna.
"This command team has demonstrated absolute dedication to the Army team," Campbell said.
Allen will head to England, where he will complete the British Higher Command and Staff College.
Hunt is retiring and will stay in the area.
Campbell said he has tremendous confidence in the incoming command team.
"They come to us from highly experienced and diverse backgrounds," the general said. "They are proven combat warriors."
Richardson came to Fort Hood from Harvard where he attended the Kennedy School on a National Security Fellowship with a concentration in leadership and management.
Akuna is the former command sergeant major of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry, 172nd Infantry Brigade in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
The 74th colonel of the regiment said he and his family are honored to join the historic regiment.
"We consider ourselves truly blessed to have this unique opportunity to serve you all," Richardson said. "Standing before you is one of the most battle-tested outfits in the United States Army."
The incoming commander acknowledged the regimental troopers as the "backbone in every campaign" of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He thanked the outgoing command team for their leadership and dedication to the regiment, but said the day was about much more than a change of command.
"To the regiment, today marks a significant milestone in our unit's history," Richardson said. "It's not the passing of the regimental colors from the 73rd to the 74th colonel of the regiment, but because today marks the official date that the regiment converts from an armored cavalry regiment to a Stryker organization with a new organizational structure and a new mission."