Fourth Cavalry History

History of the Fourth Cavalry


The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry "Quarter Horse", is one of the most famous and most decorated units in the United States Army. In its 144 years of service to the United States, the 1/4th Cavalry has fought in the Indian Wars, the Civil War, the Philippine Insurrection, World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War. Its Squadron standard is adorned with 53 campaign streamers, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Valorous Unit Award and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.


At the end of the Mexican War in 1848, the U.S. Army had only three mounted regiments, the 1st Dragoons, the 2nd Dragoons, and the Regiment of Mounted Rifleman to protect settlers moving westward. By 1855, Congress realizing the number of mounted soldiers was not enough authorized the raising of two more regiments, the 1st Cavalry and the 2nd Cavalry.

The 1st Cavalry Regiment was constituted on 3 March 1855 and organized at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri on 26 March 1855 under the command of Colonel Edwin Voss Sumner. The military aptitude of the twenty-eight officers selected for the 1st Cavalry was conclusively proven in the Civil War when twenty-two of them became general officers in either the Union or Confederate armies. Among them were Captain George B. McClellan, (Major General, Commander, Army of the Potomac and the inventor of the famed McClellan saddle), and 2nd Lieutenant James E.B. (Jeb) Stuart, (Major General, CSA, Commander of the Confederate Cavalry Corps).

Upon completion of the organization of the regiment in August 1855, the 1st Cavalry was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Its mission was two-fold; to maintain law and order in the Kansas Territory between pro and anti-slavery factions and to protect the settlers from attacks by the Cheyenne Indians. In 1857 the regiment was split with half taking up new quarters at Fort Riley, Kansas and the rest maintaining small garrisons scattered throughout the state. On 3 March 1861, Colonel Robert E. Lee assumed command of the 1st Cavalry only to resign his commission a month later to lead the Confederate States Army in the Civil War.


With so many units being sent east for the war the 1st Cavalry was initially kept on the frontier until militia type units were raised to protect against Indian raids. On June 22, 1861 George McClellan now a Major General, requested Company A and Company E to serve as his personal escort. The two companies saw action in the Bull Run, Peninsula, Antietam and Fredericksburg campaigns, not rejoining the Regiment until 1864. The rest of the 1st Cavalry was committed to action in Mississippi and Missouri.

Since 1854 it had been advocated to redesignate all mounted regiments as cavalry and to renumber them in order of seniority. This was done on 3 August 1861. As the 1st Cavalry was the fourth oldest mounted regiment it was redesignated as the 4th Cavalry Regiment. 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry takes its lineage from Company A, of the original 1st Cavalry, which became Company A, 4th Cavalry. (In 1883 Cavalry Companies were redesignated as Cavalry Troops).


The end of the Civil War brought a new surge of westward migration. Indian nations were determined to hold on to the lands they had taken back during the Civil War. In Texas the situation was acute with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe roaming at will in the north and the Comanche, Kiowa and Mescalero Apache controlling western Texas and eastern New Mexico. The 4th Cavalry was ordered into Texas to confront these formidable foes. The Regiment was filled with skilled Civil War veterans from both armies and outfitted with the latest and best equipment. On War Department records of that day the 4th Cavalry was rated the best cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army.

By November 1865 the Regiment had transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. From here the 4th pacified the San Antonio area and conducted campaigns against Indians along the Mexican border. On 15 December 1870 twenty-nine year old Colonel Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, U.S. Cavalry assumed command of the Regiment. A brilliant leader, he commanded a Union cavalry corps at the age of twenty-four. He would command the 4th Cavalry for twelve years, leading it on some of its most famous campaigns.

On 1 April 1873 the Regiment moved to Fort Clark, Texas close to the Mexican border. To stop the cross-border raiding by the Apaches coming out of Mexico Mackenzie was ordered by President Grant to ignore Mexican sovereignty and strike at the Apache/Kickapoo village at Remolino, Mexico some fifty-five miles south of the border. With utmost secrecy Mackenzie began training and preparations for the operation. On 17 May 1873 six companies of the 4th (A,B,C,E,I,M) crossed the Rio Grande under cover of darkness and headed to Remolino. It was a difficult night march over unfamiliar terrain but by dawn they were in position and on Mackenzies signal the 4th charged the camp. There was some scattered resistance but most of the warriors fled leaving their horses and families behind. The families and horse herd were rounded up and the 4th began a grueling march back to the Rio Grande reaching Texas at dawn on 19 May. During this operation the 4th Cavalry covered 160 miles in thirty-two hours fought an engagement and destroyed a hostile camp. With out their horses and their families in captivity the Indian warrior returned to their reservations in Texas.

The Texas legislature voted "the grateful thanks of the people of Texas for the gallant conduct of Colonel Mackenzie and the 4th U.S. Cavalry". President Grant also sent his congratulations. In the early 1950s John Ford made a film called "Rio Grande" starring John Wayne based on the raid. In 1958, ZIV television produced a 52-week series based on the raid and other 4th Cavalry exploits entitled "Mackenzies Raiders". (The 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry used "Mackenzies Raiders" as their unofficial nickname before and during the Vietnam War.)

In August 1874, with the border pacified the 4th began a major campaign against the Comanche nation in northern Texas. On 27 September 1874 the Regiment located the Comanche in the Paladuro Canyon of the Red River. Two companies drove off the large pony herd of 1200 while other companies attacked the camp driving off the warriors and then burning it. The Comanches made their way on foot to Fort Sill to surrender.

Successfully accomplishing their pacification mission in Texas, the Regiment was stationed in what is now the state of Oklahoma when it received orders to march with General Crook north to avenge the massacre of General George Custer and five companies of the 7th Cavalry. On 24 November 1876, the 4th Cavalry located Chief Dull Knife and his northern Cheyenne band. The Regiment rode all night to reach the Indian camp. At dawn the 4th Cavalry charged the village killing many of the Indian warriors, destroying their lodges and capturing 500 horses. The survivors soon surrendered. In 1880 and 1881 the Regiment was busy relocating Indian tribes in Utah and Colorado.

In 1883 the War Department redesignated all cavalry companies as troops. The designation squadron was given to a group of four troops and the cavalry no longer used the designation battalion. Since 1862 the U.S. Cavalry had used guidons similar in appearance to the United States flag to better distinguish Union from Confederate cavalry. On 4 February 1885 the War Department ordered a return to the traditional red and white cavalry guidon used before the Civil War with one specific change. On the upper red half instead of displaying U.S. in white the regimental numeral would be displayed and as before the troop letter would be displayed in red on the white lower half.

In 1884 the 4th Cavalry was ordered to Arizona to combat the Apache. By May 1884 the Regimental headquarters was located at Fort Huachuca along with Troops B, D and I. The rest of the Regiment was stationed at army posts throughout the eastern half of Arizona. In May 1885 150 Apaches led by Geronimo left the reservation and cut a wide swath of murder and robbery throughout southern Arizona as they headed for Mexico.

After unsuccessful efforts to bring Geronimo back to the reservation. General Nelson A. Miles commander of the Department of Arizona ordered Captain Henry W. Lawton with Troop B, 4th Cavalry in pursuit. Several engagements with 4th and 10th Cavalry elements took a toll on Geronimos band but he managed to escape back to Mexico. In July Lawton resumed the pursuit. Geronimo sent word he was willing to surrender. Moving into Mexico Lawton accompanied by Lieutenant Charles Gatewood, 6th Cavalry, whom Geronimo respected and trusted, met with Geronimo on 24 August. Geronimo agreed to cross back into Arizona and surrender to General Miles. Captain Lawton and Lieutenant Gatewood brought Geronimo to Skeleton Canyon some twenty miles north of the Mexican border where he formally surrendered to General Miles on 3 September 1886.

General Miles and Captain Lawton escorted Geronimo and his band to Fort Bowie. They were immediately put on a train and sent to Florida accompanied by Troop B, 4th Cavalry. After delivering Geronimo to the authorities in Florida, Troop B was ordered to Fort Myer Virginia to serve as an honor guard. With the end of the Geronimo Campaign the 4th Cavalry was transferred to Fort Walla Walla Washington in May 1890. For the next eight years it performed routine garrison duties.


After the seizure of Manila during the War with Spain by Admiral Dewey the call was made for American ground forces to defend the Philippines. The first regiment to be sent was the 4th Cavalry. Six troops were initially sent in August 1898 to Manila were they were immediately deployed to defend Manila from dissident elements of the Philippine army that resented the American takeover of their islands. Fighting broke out when Filipino forces fired on U.S. Forces. The Americans drove the Filipinos from the city and began a campaign to capture the insurgent capitol of Malolos. Because of a mix-up the 4th Cavalrys horses had been unloaded in Hawaii. Troops E, I and K were mounted on Filipino ponies and participated in the Malolos campaign. The dismounted squadron consisting of Troops C and L participated in the capture of Santa Cruz led by Major General Lawton. (He had served in the 4th Cavalry as a 1st Lieutenant and Captain from 1871 to 1888 and had commanded Troop B during the Geronimo Campaign.)

By August 1899 the rest of the Regiment had arrived in the Philippines. In the fall of 1899 the 4th Cavalry moved north under General Lawton to capture the insurgent President Aguinaldo. Severe fighting took place and in the small town of San Mateo and General Lawton ( was killed in action.

In January 1901 the Regiment was assigned pacification duties in the southern part of Luzon. On 31 September 1901 the tour of duty in the Philippines ended for the Regiment. The 4th Cavalry had participated in 119 skirmishes and battles. The Regiments three squadrons were reassigned to Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley Kansas and Jefferson Barracks Missouri, the birthplace of the regiment. In 1905 the 4th returned once again to the Philippines and participated in the Jolo campaign on the island of Mindanao. It was about this time that John Phillip Sousa impressed with the reputation of the 4th Cavalry wrote an official march for the 4th Cavalry entitled "Riders for the Flag".

What follows is a rare treat. About a year ago, I received these photos from someone(?). The next day I received an email from that person saying "don't use these photographs because they are not quality and need some more work. They will be sent at a later date. Still haven't received them....They are photos of the 4th Cav Regiment taken in the late 1800's/cir. early 1900's and seem to center around the Phillipine Insurrection which the 4th Cavalry Regiment was deployed and involved in. They of course aren't high quality by todays digital standards but you can get any idea from many of them what life was like in the "Old" Cavalry. Anyway, enjoy! (bb)


Cavalry Troopers!....................................Cavarly Correl


Sight seeing at Grand Canyon on manuvers...................Search and Destroy Mission


Hot Meals in the,it would seem they took their women with them


Surveying enemy damage.....................Busting Jungle with my faithful steed


FSB in the Phillipines..........................Cavalry Barracks - Phillipines


Unknown Fortress(?)/ammo dump(?)................Mounted Drill in the Cavalry


Forming for the Battle..............................More Search and Destroy


Presidential Mansion - Phillipines................Presential Mansion - Phillipines

4th Cavalry at the Signing of the Peace Treaty ending the Phillipine Insurrection


In 1907 the 4th was reassigned back to the United States to be stationed at Fort Meade, South Dakota less the 3rd Squadron stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. In 1911 the 4th was sent to the Mexican border and two years later departed for Schofield Barracks Hawaii where it served throughout World War I. In 1919 the Regiment returned to the Mexican border and then to Fort Meade, South Dakota in 1925. Regular duties were performed with practiced marches and annual maneuvers held in Wyoming. The 4th Cavalry Band and the Black Horse Drill Team of Troop F participated in many civic functions throughout the Midwest.


As war swept Europe in 1940 the 4th Cavalry Regiment was reorganized as a Horse-Mechanized Corps Reconnaissance Regiment. The 1st Squadron retained their horses and the 2nd Squadron was mechanized. By 1942 the Army decided that the corps reconnaissance regiments should be completely mechanized. The 1st Squadron turned in its horses at Fort Robinson, Nebraska in the spring of 1942 and was issued M-5 light tanks. In January 1943 the Regiment left Fort Meade for the last time for the Mohave Desert to prepare for the North African campaign. But the Regiments orders were changed and the 4th arrived in England in December 1943 to serve as the reconnaissance regiment of the VII Corps. Immediately upon arrival the 4th Cavalry Regiment was redesignated and reorganized as the 4th Cavalry Group Mechanized. The 1st Squadron was redesignated the 4th Cavalry Squadron, Mechanized and the 2nd Squadron redesignated as the 24th Cavalry Squadron, Mechanized.

In preparation for the Normandy invasion the 4th Cavalry was assigned a critical role in the amphibious assault of the VII Corps onto Utah Beach. Aerial reconnaissance showed German fortifications on the St. Marcouf Islands 6000 yards off of Utah Beach. These fortifications could pose a serious threat to the Utah Beach landings. The 4th Cavalry was assigned the mission of neutralizing them prior to the landing. The 4th also had the mission of getting two troops ashore on D-Day to link up with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions to give them armor support.

At 0430 Hours 6 June 1944, elements of Troop A, 4th Squadron and Troop B, 24th Squadron landed on the St. Marcoufs. They became the first seaborne American soldiers to land on French soil on D-Day. As the troops dashed from their landing craft they were met with silence. The Germans had evacuated the islands but they did leave them heavily mined. Meanwhile one platoon of Troop B, 4th Squadron got ashore at Utah Beach and liked up with the 82nd Airborne. On 7 June the platoon surprised a German column and in a mechanized cavalry charge hit the column routing it with a loss of some 200 casualties. Heavy seas prevented Troop C from linking up with the 101st until 8 June.

As the American forces swung into the Cherbourg peninsula the 4th Cavalry performed screening missions. To prevent the Germans from escaping from the Cap de la Hague area the 4th Squadron dismounted and sized all of their objectives in five days of bloody fighting capturing over 600 prisoners. For its gallant conduct a Cape de la Hague the 4th Squadron less Troop B received the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.

In the dash across France the 4th Cavalry assumed traditional cavalry missions of flank screening and protection of line of communication for the VII Corps. By 3 September the 4th crossed into Belgium and by 15 September the 4th had reached Germany and the Siegfried Line.

On the 19th, 20th and 21st of December 1944 while the attention of the world was on the Battle of the Bulge some of the fiercest fighting of the war continued on the edge of the Hurtgen Forest along the approaches to the Roer River. The 4th Cavalry was given the mission to seize the heavily defended town of Bogheim and the high ground to its southeast. On the 19th under a ground fog two troops of the 4th got into the town undetected and engaged the Germans. Two other troops coming up in support were caught in the open as the fog lifted and took heavy casualties. The two troops already in the town successfully drove out the Germans by the afternoon. All four troop commanders had either been killed or wounded and over one fourth of the enlisted personnel had also become casualties.

The next morning the 4th Squadron charged dismounted across two hundred yards of open fields to seize the high ground overlooking the town. In the battle for Bogheim the 4th Squadron destroyed two battle groups of the 947th German Infantry and a company of the 6th Parachute Regiment. For its magnificent bravery at Bogheim the 4th Squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

On 25 March 1945 the 4th crossed the Rhine River and swept further into Germany brushing aside light resistance and capturing hundreds of prisoners. The war ended with the 4th Cavalry in the Harz Mountains.


For occupation duties in Germany and Austria the Army organized the U.S. Constabulary. The 4th Cavalry Group was redesignated the 4th Constabulary Regiment with the 4th and 24th Constabulary Squadrons. The Regiment was stationed in Salzburg, Austria. On 1 May 1949 the 4th Constabulary Regiment was inactivated. The 4th Squadron underwent several designation changes to become the 4th Armored Cavalry Reconnaissance Battalion. It was inactivated on 1 July 1955. The 24th Squadron was transferred to Germany in 1949 and inactivated on 15 December 1952. To perpetuate some small remnant of the 4th Cavalry on the active rolls of the Army, Headquarters Company of the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion was redesignated as Headquarters Company, 4th Armor Group and activated in Germany on 1 July 1955.


In the short span of twelve years the 4th Cavalry Regiment had been redesignated five times and all that was left of one of the U.S. Armys finest regiments was its regimental numeral on an armor group headquarters company. With the decision to also do away with most tactical regiments the Army realized it must preserve the valuable honors, traditions and history of famous regiments. In 1957 the Army set up the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS). Under CARS the regiment would be a group of tactical units bearing the regimental name. Over one hundred and fifty historic regiments of cavalry, armor, infantry and artillery were preserved. The original line companies/batteries/troops of a regiment would be activated as the headquarters company/battery/troop of newly constituted battle group/battalion /squadron to preserve the lineal ties with the old regiment. Should a separate company-sized element be required the original company/battery/troop would be activated.

On 15 February 1957 five elements of the 4th Cavalry were activated. The 4th Cavalry did not see action during World War I but a unit from which the present 1st Squadron takes part of its history, participated as a unit of the 1st Infantry Division in World War II. This unit, known as the 1st Reconnaissance Troop, was activated in August 1940 and participated in the North African and european Campaigns, adding 8 additional streamers to the honors now carried by the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry. The 1st Reconnaissance Troop was Mechanized in 1943 and was deactivated in 1946 while in Europe. In October 1948 this unit was reactivated in Germany and redesignated as the 1st Reconnaissance Company. On 15 February 1957, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Reconnaissnace Squadron, 4th Cavalry and the 1st Reconnaissnace Company were consolidated and designated as the 1st Reconnaissnace Squadron, 4th United States Cavalry, this became an organic unit of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas and has served with the "Big Red One" since that date. The 2nd Battle Group (Infantry) descending from Troop B was activated in the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea. The 3rd Squadron descending from Troop C joined the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks Hawaii. The 4th Squadron descending from Troop D was activated in the Army Reserve 102nd Infantry Division at Kansas City Missouri and the 5th Squadron descending from Troop E was activated with the Army Reserve 103rd Infantry Division at Ottumwa, Iowa.

During the 1960s Army requirements led to changes in the active elements of the 4th Cavalry. On 1 August 1963 the 2nd Battle Group was reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Squadron and assigned to the 4th Armored Division. On 15 March 1963 the 5th Squadron was inactivated. Its predecessor Troop E was activated on 3 December 1963 and assigned to the Army Reserve 205th Infantry Brigade at Madison, Wisconsin. On 31 December 1965 the 4th Squadron was inactivated.


The 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry departed the United States for Viet- nam in September 1965. The first troops landed at Vung Tau, Viet- nam, on 7 October 1965. Deploying immediately, the Squadron established a base camp at Bien Hoa and later moved to Phu Loi. Each man set out to uphold and continue the traditions of those who had carried the guidons be- fore and through the mud and heat, the muck and slime of the past fifty-four months, the men of the 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry have courageously striven to do just that.

Under the comnmand of Lieutenant Colonel Paul M. Fisher upon their arrival in Vietnam, the squadron conducted long range recon- naissance patrols, search and destroy, route security, convoy escort and air cavalry missions. They fought in operations with names like SILVER CITY, BUST HMASTER, MALLET, and ROLLING STONE. The squadron in addition to its outstanding combat record participated in numerous comnbined US-ARVN pacification operations such as LAM SON. Many of these were characterized by Medical Civil Action Progranis (MEDCAP) which are conducted among the Vietnamese population in need of medical assistance.

On 12 November 1965 at a small village called Bau Bang the squadron tasted its first war blood. Troop A amid the 2nd Battalion, 2d Infantry (2/2 Infantry) engaged a reinforced Viet Cong Regiment. The first VC attack was in the form of a large probe but was repulsed. A second and third attack followed, but these too were thrown back. A final attack came within spitting distance of the armored personnel carriers (APC's), but withering fire from the fifty caliber machine guns and 90mm cannister cracked the Viet Cong assault wide open. The enemy relinquished the bloody field of battle leaving behind 198 of their dead. (Bill Baty note: There were no tanks at Bau Bang. They were consolidated at Sqdn level upon arrival in-country and didn't return to Troop control until sometime in 1966. We took our baptism returning fire with .50 Cal, 4.2 mortar, M-60's, M-79's and small arms)

Troop B fought a courageous battle at Cau Dinh against a Viet Cong Regiment in the early morning hours of 24 February 1966. Once again the Viet Cong suffered severe casualties from the devastating firepower of the cavalry.

In April 1966 Lieutenant Colonel Fisher departed the Squadron to become executive officer of the 1st Brigade and Lieutenant Colonel Leonard L. Lewane assumed command. Under his command, they continued to contribute to the successful combat record of the 1st Infantry Division. They fought in Operations BIRMINGHAM, EL PASO and SHENANDOAH with faraway names like Srok Dong, the Minh Thanh Road and Bench Mark 69.

On 8 June 1966 Troop A, while moving to An Loc, engaged the 272nd Viet Cong Regiment along a desolate stretch of Route 13 at Benchmark69. For five hot dusty hours, 148 cavalrymen with air support fought and defeated a thousand of the enemy. On the following day Troop A saddled up as victors of the battlefield and resumned their march to their original destination at An Loc. This marked the first time that any type of road column had survived a full scale enemy ambush, and inflicted such heavy enemy casualties to boot. For their magnificent courage, Troop A was decorated with the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

On 30 June, 1966, Troops B, C, D and HQ with C Company 2/18 Infantry attached, while conducting a reconnaissance in force north of An Loc on Route 13, engaged the 271st Viet Cong Regiment. For seven hours, these gallant units attacked the enemy with splendid support from the 8/6th Artillery and US Air Force fighter aircraft. Close to 300 of the enemy fell on this fiery battlefield.

Still relentlessly seeking out the enemy troops B, C, D and HQ with B Company 1/2d Infantry attached, met the enemy on the Minh Thanh Road on 9 July 1966. Firepower from the tanks, ACAVs and gun ships together with walls of fire provided by the artillery and air force so overwhelmed the 272d Viet Cong Regiment that they broke and fled from the battlefield within two hours after the first enemy were sighted. In this battle, the squadron was credited with over 250 enemy dead. As a result of these three battles, the squadron was awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation.

One month later, on 25 August, in a full day and night of fierce fighting Troops A and C, with that 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division engaged the VC main force Phu Loi Battalion, killing 171 and captur- ing six in a thick jungle base camp area approxiniately four miles east of Lai Khe and 25 miles north of Saigon off Highway 16.

Members of the 1st Squadron 4th United States Cavalry have coin- piled an impressive record of courageous fighting and comnbat pro- ficiency. High courage, boldness and battlefield endurance have been necessary traits since the Vietnam war first began. It has lived true to the words of General DePuy, the Division Commander, when on 15 April 1966, he said, I expect this cavalry squadron, if it doesnt already have the motto, to adopt that motto of "ATTACK".

LTC Thomas W. Fife assumed command in December 1966. Un- der his direction, the squadron continued to strike at the Viet Cong. During January 1967, the Fourth Cavalry participated in Operations Niagara Falls and Cedar Falls. The squadron successfully completed assigned search and destroy, security, and road clearing missions. The squadron was credited with 37 enemy kills and 96 detainees in the Iron Triangle. These operations had a wider significance in that they relieved VC pressure on Binh Duong Province and facilitated pacifica- tion efforts by Vietnamese officials.

The mobility of the squadron was employed in a series of fast- moving operations from February to April. During the first weeks of February, the squadron conducted Operations Williston and Tucson- Delta at Bau Bang and Minh Thanh respectively. These operations were followed by a lightning move across the Saigon River to Suoi Da in Tay Ninh Province for Operation Junction City. From late February until 15 April 1967, the Fourth Cavalry cleared and secured roads, established fire support and patrol bases, and escorted convoys. The squadrons northern limit of advance was Katum, practically on the Cambodian border.

The latter part of April found the squadron at Dau Tieng, participating in Operation Manhattan. The objective was to deprive the VC of safe havens and supply bases before the monsoon season began. In furtherance of this aim, C Troop conducted a search and seal mission at AP14 Chanh. During this action, C Troop surprised a small VC force, killed 12 VC and detained 36 prisoners.

LTC John W. Seigle assumed command of the "Quarterhorse" in the field on 2 June 1967. The squadron next participated in Operation SHENANDOAH II. Elements of Troop C fought in the battle of Loc Ninh and helped to hand the VC one of he bloodiest defeats of the war. At the conclusion of the operation, the Squadron permanently opened Highway 13. On the 10th of December, C Troop helped fight in the defense of Fire Support Base Caisson 6. This engagement later became known as the battle of Xa Cat. The courage of the men of the 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry contributed in sending 143 members of the 26th Bn, 165 NVA Regiment to their graves.

The New Year, 1968, brought the Squadron a new commander. LTC Thomas B. Tyree assumed command at Phu Loi. On the 31st of January, during the festivities surrounding the Vietnamese celebra- tion of their Lunar New Year (Tet), the VC initiated a series of attacks against South Vietnams major cities and Allied military installations, including Lai Khe. Troop C moved into the Ben Cat area, and counterattacked the NVA unit hitting the ARVN comnpound there. The enemy body count was 45.

During the night of 1 February, C Troop conducted a forced march to the battle of An My, and took part in the sweep through the village. Joining B Troop, who was already there, they helped account for the VC battle dead, numbering 132.

The 17th, 18th, and 19th of April found the "Quarterhorse" engaged in a series of heavy battles in the area known as the Catchers Mitt. During these days the enemy used CS gas, RPG rounds and automatic weapons fire in an attempt to destroy the US forces oppos- ing them. At the end of the fighting, however, there were 100 VC dead.

The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry was engaged in some extremnely heavy contact on the 5th and 6th of May. While conducting Recon- in-Force operations north of Di An, B Troop made contact with a small VC force, which they destroyed. Immediately, a large battle commenced in which, A Troop also became involved. Heavy fighting continued throughout both days, and as the enemy withdrew, he left 340 dead on the battlefield behind him.

On 11 July, the reins of the Cavalry were handed over to LTC John C. Faith. The 10th of October was a moving day for the "Quarterhorse". They departed Phu Loi, their home for the past three years, and set up a new base camp at Di An. Only D Troop (Air) remained at Phu Loi. Their major role for the rest of the year was one of pacification in the area.

January, 1969, saw the appearance of LTC William Haponski as Commanding Officer, The men of Quarterhorse ranged over a wide area in the early months of the year, patrolling roads, amid providing security. In March, they participated in Operation Atlas Wedge. On 30 March, in the Michelin Rubber Plantation, west of Lai Khe, the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry contacted the 7th NVA Division in heavy fighting. The clash resulted in 72 VC killed in action, and the capture of 22 AK-47 rifles.

Late Spring, the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry moved north from Di An to Lai Khe base camp. That move facilitated operations in the northern part of the Division Area of Operations. Reconnaissance in- Force continued in the Iron Triangle and the Trapezoid.

On 11 July, LTC John T. Murchinson, Jr., assumed command of the unit. Late in that month A Troop moved up to Quan Loi and worked under the Operational Control of the 1st Air Cav. On the night of August 12, 1969, they stopped a large enemy force enroute to attack the Quan Loi base camp, a pitched battle resulted in the rout of VC forces in which 66 VC/NVA were killed. Thus the base camp was saved from a direct assault that night.

September and October saw the men of the "Quarterhorse" providing security for the Quan Loi convoys, on highway 13, and working the road to Song Be.

The "Quarterhorse" operated in the Chanh Luu area from November to 6 January. The emphasis during this time was placed on effective combined operations with ARVN and Regional Forces. These combined operations included extensive road and convoy security mis- sions, as well as ground reconnaissance in force.

Troop D Air provided air cavalry support to the 1st Infantry Divi- sion in tactical operations throughout the division area during this year of combat. The troop demonstrated its capability to provide divi- sion wide support at multiple locations on short notice many times throughout the year.

During the year; Troop D Air conducted varied and extensive missions. The main mission of the Troop was visual reconnaissance accomplished by "Hunter-Killer" teams, made up of an AH-19 gun- ship and an OH-6A, light observation helicopter.

The Aero-Rifle-Platoon was inserted in many areas found by air reconnaissance and was very successful in destroying enemy positions and capturing enemy supplies and weapons. The platoon was used many times as a blocking unit and proved successful as a support and reconnaissance force.

Troop D Air mobility and courage was aptly demonstrated during the months of July, August, and September 1969 when they led the entire division in enemy killed, a total in excess of one hundred per month. All members of Troop D Air fulfilled the mission of the troop, "To Fly and To Fight".

On January 4 the Squadron changed command. LTC Frederic J. Brown assumed command and simultaneously received a new mis- sion. The Squadron moved into the C-61 jungle, southwest of Lai Khe. The enemy had used the area as a staging ground for rocket attacks on Lai Khe. The "Quarterhorse" faced the mission of interdicting enemy rocket fire and successfully accomplished this goal. The threat of Tet 1970 saw the Squadron deploying in platoon size ready reaction forces from Chanh Tanh south to Di An, an area of 50KM by 30KM.

In February the Squadron was assigned the mission of screening the redeployment of the Division and thereby became the last manuever element of the 1st Infantry Division deployed on combat operations in Vietnam. The Squadron accepted the mission with honor,and accomplished it with distinction until the colors returned to the United States on April 5, 1970.

The 1st Squadron participated in eleven campaigns of the Vietnam War from 20 October 1965 to 5 February 1970. The 1st Squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its heroism in Binh Long Province as well as a Valorous Unit Award for Binh Doung Province. Troop A, 1st Squadron received a Valorous Unit Award for its actions at the battle of Ap Bau Bang.


Three 4th Cavalry elements participated in the Gulf War. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry continued to serve as the reconnaissance squadron for the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) assigned to the VII Corps. The 2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry was the reconnaissance squadron for the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps. Troop D, 4th Cavalry, the reconnaissance troop of the 197th Infantry Brigade (which was attached to the 24th Division) was placed under operational control of the 2nd Squadron. The ground attack of Desert Storm was launched shortly after midnight on 24 February 1991. The attack began in the XVIII Airborne Corps sector on the extreme left flank of the Coalition Forces. The 24th Division had the critical mission of blocking the Euphrates River valley to cut the escape of Iraqi forces in Kuwait and then to attack east with VII Corps to destroy the Republican Guard divisions. The 2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry had crossed the border six hours ahead of the main attack and scouted north along the two axis of advance. The 2nd Squadron found little evidence of the enemy and the division made rapid progress. With the 4th Cavalry screening 5 to 10 miles in front of the attacking brigades the 24th continued north until around midnight when the division was halted 75 miles inside Iraq. By 27 February, the fourth day of combat, the 24th Division had destroyed all Iraqi units it had encountered securing the Euphrates River Valley and had trapping most of the Republican Guards divisions for the two Corps to destroy. On the first day of the ground attack the VII Corps ordered the 1st Infantry Division to breach the main enemy lines. The Big Red One soon had destroyed some ten miles of enemy defenses and had created a breach in the Iraqi lines for the VII Corps to pour through. Swinging east the Corps with the 1st Division on the south passed through the cavalry screen and attacked the Iraqi forces. By 27 February the 1st Division had destroyed two armored divisions. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry then set up blocking positions on the Al Basrah Kuwait City highway preventing Iraqi forces from escaping from Kuwait. The Squadron received a Valorous Unit Award for its actions during Desert Storm.

A cease-fire was declared at 0800 28 February 1991. Thus ended the quickest and most overpowering victory in U.S. Army history. The 4th Cavalry elements that participated in Desert Storm the 1st Squadron, the 2nd Squadron and Troop D all performed their missions with courage, and outstanding professionalism adding to the reputation of the 4th Cavalry as being one of the Armys finest regiments.


The deep draw down of the Army beginning in the middle 1980s and continuing after Desert Storm combined with the burgeoning peace keeping commitments led to the decision to halt the implementation of the unit replacement system. Unfortunately by the time the decision was made the Army had completed a massive reassignment of regiments, which had often terminated long standing historical associations between regiments and divisions. The inactivation of the 3rd Squadron 4th Cavalry after serving with the 25th Division for thirty years is a case in point. By 1996 the Army, recognizing the damage such moves had made on esprit-de-corps reassigned many units back to their traditional parent organizations. Thus the 3rd Squadron, which had served with the 3rd Infantry Division since 1989 to include a tour in Bosnia, was reassigned back to the 25th Division.

Currently the 4th Cavalry has five elements on active duty. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry is the reconnaissance squadron assigned to the 1st Infantry Division at Conn Barracks in Schweinfurt, Germany. Conn Barracks is considered to be the 4th Cavalry regimental home base as it is where the 4th Cavalry regimental colors are located with the 1st Squadron. The 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry is an air cavalry reconnaissance squadron assigned to the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and is stationed at Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii.

On 16 January 1999, Troop E, 4th Cavalry was reactivated as the reconnaissance troop for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany. Troop F, 4th Cavalry was also reactivated on 16 January 1999 as the reconnaissance troop for the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Vielseck, Germany. Troop D, 4th Cavalry was reactivated 16 June 2000 as the reconnaissance troop for the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Additionally the U.S Army sponsors and maintains Troop B, 4th U.S. Cavalry (Memorial) at Fort Huachuca Arizona. Organized in 1973 Troop B appears at military and civilian ceremonies and functions throughout the southwest to promote the heritage and traditions of the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars. The memorial troop is equipped and mounted identically to Troop B, 4th Cavalry in 1886 when it participated in the Geronimo Campaign under the command of Captain Henry W. Lawton. Active duty soldiers and Department of the Army civilians wear authentic 1886 cavalry uniforms and are armed with the cavalry weapons of that era and the horses are saddled and bridled with equally authentic equipment.

Soldiers who have served in the 4th Cavalry can take great pride in having contributed to the record of one of the finest regiments in the U. S Army. Todays active duty 4th Cavalrymen continue to add to and perpetuate the magnificent history of the 4th Cavalry.

QuarterHorse Campaigns

Return to the QuarterHorse Index Page

This Page Modified 10 Feb 2017