I hope everyone had a good Christmas and will have a healthy 2001. To begin the New Millenium, I think it appropriate to look back and be reminded of what the 9th Cavalry has been over the years of its existence. As most folks know, the U.S. Army’s 9th (& 10th) Cavalry was initially organized in 1866 as Black horse soldiers to protect new settlers in the West. These “Buffalo Soldiers” sustain their legacy with their own organizations and annual events (see http://www.zianet.com/wblase/courier/buffalo.htm for more info). The familiar regimental badge depicting the gold “Indian” on the galloping horse has the blue, five-bastioned fort as background. The fort background is there because it was the badge of Teddy Roosevelt’s 5th Army Corps in Cuba, of which the 9th Cav Regiment was a part (the badge was approved in 1925).
During WWII, the 9th Cav sent its assets to other units, but elements that later became part of the 9th Cav did serve in both theaters, including the landing at Normandy. Interestingly, the 302nd Mech Cav Recon Trp, a precurser to the 1-9th, was the unit that included the Lakota Souix “Code Breakers”.
At the outbreak of the Korean War, the 1st Cav was serving post-war duty in Japan, and their recon unit at the time was the 16th Recon Co. On 15 Oct ‘57, Co "A", 509th Tank Battalion, 9th Cav, previously inactivated at Fort Knox, KY, was redesignated Troop "A", 9th Cavalry. On 1 Nov ‘57, Trp "A", 9th Cav was redesignated as HHT, 1st Recon Sqdn, 9th Cav. On 1 Sept ‘63 the 1st Recon Sqdn was reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Sqdn, 9th Cav, remaining on duty at the DMZ until ‘65 when it was transferred to Fort Benning.
On 1 July ‘65, the 1st Cav Div (Airmobile) was officially activated, made up of resources of the 11th Air Assault Div (Test) and elements of the 2nd Inf Div. As a part of this reorganization, the 3-17th Cav Rgmt was redesignated 1-9th.
The Squadron left with the Division for Vietnam in August, ’65, wearing the black cavalry Stetsons to war for the first time since the horse soldier days. On 28 June ‘71, the 1-9th Cav (less B Trp) returned from Vietnam, the most decorated Unit of that war, and assumed the role of the divisional reconnaissance squadron.
I’ll cover post-Vietnam 9th Cav history in the next issue. I will mention that at the end of the Gulf War and the subsequent reorganization in Dec ‘92, Troop "A", 9th Cavalry, 199th Infantry Brigade, was redesignated as HHC, 9th Cavalry and reassigned to the 3rd Brigade (Grey Wolf), 1st Cav Div, Ft. Hood. For you folks with on-line access, you can read about Cav activities during WWII and Korea under “War Service” at http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/matrix/1CD/1CD-Matrix.htm and at 1st Cav Asso Historian Harry BOUDREAU’s great site: http://www.vvm.com/~firstcav/home.html. For a comprehensive history of the 9th Cavalry legacy beginning with the Buffalo Soldiers through today’s unit at Ft. Hood, I urge you to look at Harry’s “9th Cav” site at: http://www.metronet.com/~harryb/1st_team/9th_rgmt/. Also available on-line now is Gen. Tolson’s 1972 history of the formation and application of the air assault concept, “Airmobility: 1961-1971” (http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/Vietnam/Airmobility/airmobility-fm.html). This book depicts the history of how the Army’s first airmoble division was conceived, formed and used. I’ll review this and other pertinent books on the 1-9th later.