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 A Summary History of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment

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"Toujours Prêt"

(Updated 5-30-08)

The unit that most Cold War era veterans knew as the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) has recently fielded the Stryker Armored Vehicle and is now designated as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (SCR). The 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment is a military unit within the United States Army that can trace its lineage back to the early part of the 19th century. 2SCR has the distinction of being the longest continuously serving unit in the United States Army. The mission of the 2nd Cav is, upon receiving orders, to rapidly deploy and execute reconnaissance and security operations anywhere in the world and be prepared to fight upon arrival and win.

The 2nd Regiment of Dragoons was constituted on 23 May 1836 to fight in the Seminole Indian Campaigns in Florida. The Dragoon was basically a mounted infantryman. That type of unit was considered to Click to preview or purchase "The Boldest Plan is the Best" from Amazon.combe the most capable in defeating the agile and elusive Seminole. From these campaigns the Regiment earned their first Battle Streamer. The Second Dragoons then served on the Texas frontier guarding the western expansion of the nation. The regiment fought in the Mexican-American War, the early frontier Indian Wars, Bleeding Kansas, and the Mormon War in Utah.

When the Civil War began in the spring of 1861, the 2nd Dragoons made the long trek across the United States to join Federal Forces around Washington D.C. Elements of the unit arrived in time to participate in the First Battle of Bull Run. The 2nd Dragoons, like all mounted units, were re-organized and became the 2nd U.S. Cavalry on August 3, 1861. The Second U.S. Cavalry served in almost every major battle and campaign that the Federal Army of the Potomac participated in. The Regiment earned 14 Battle Streamers during the Civil War and three 2nd Cavalry Troopers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After the Civil War the 2nd Cavalry returned to the West. Through 1890 the Regiment participated in the Indian Wars. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment was scattered across the frontier, where they were called upon to keep the peace, explore the vast unknown lands of new territory, establish forts and develop road systems and telegraph lines. The 2nd U.S. Regiment of Cavalry added eleven additional Battle Streamers from the Indian Wars to their Colors. Fifteen more Troopers of the 2nd Cavalry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during this period.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the 2nd Cavalry deployed to Cuba, joining Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders in the fighting at El Canay, San Juan Hill, Aquadores, and Santiago. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment stayed in Cuba on occupation duty until 1903. From 1903 to 1906 and again from 1910 to 1912, the Regiment served in the Philippine Islands. There they conducted operations against the Moro Natives and the insurrection against the established Philippine government. Upon returning from the Philippines, the 2nd Cavalry was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas to conduct border security during the turbulent years of the Mexican Revolution.

World War I was another era during which the 2nd Cavalry Regiment distinguished itself. By 1917 the Regiment, based at Forts Ethan Allan, VT and Fort Myers, VA was training additional cavalry units for the coming war. Based on its reputation and history, General Pershing called on the Regiment to serve in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and in 1917 the Regiment deployed to Europe as the only American horse mounted Cavalry unit to fight in WWI. The Regiment served throughout the American sector conducting cavalry operations and was used as an exploitation force in several combat operations, working as Dragoons, dismounting to hold key terrain. Through these actions the Regiment proved that horse-mounted cavalry units still had value on the modern battlefield. The Second Cavalry remained with the Army of Occupation in Germany at Koblenz until August 1919.

During the Inter-War years, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. There the Regiment performed peacetime duties as the Cavalry School Training Regiment from 1919 to 1939. At Fort Riley the Regiment experimented with the first armored cars, and in 1936, as more money became available for maneuvers, it participated in the first armored and cavalry maneuvers.

When the United States entered World War II on December 7, 1941, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment was deeply involved in training cavalry troopers in mechanized operations at Fort Riley. Adjustments were made within all of the existing Cavalry Regiments to help create new armored units that were needed to fight in Europe. After the restructuring, in January 1943, the Regiment was re-designated as the 2nd Cavalry Group (Mechanized).

During World War II, the Regiment, under the new designation of "2nd Cavalry Group," landed in France on July 19, 1944, becoming part of General Patton's Third Army. During this period, the Regiment became known as the "Ghosts of Patton's Army" due to their ability to conduct reconnaissance, materializing seemingly at will behind German lines. The Regiment made the deepest penetration of the war, arriving in Czechoslovakia before finally linking up with Soviet forces heading west. The Regiment also conducted a famous raid behind Soviet lines to rescue the famous Lipizzaner Stallions.

At the end of the war, units that held the lineage of the Second Dragoons were re-designated as the 2nd U.S. Constabulary Regiment. Their mission was to first serve as occupation forces, then as surveillance and security along the Iron Curtain of East Germany and Czechoslovakia. The Regiment remained in Germany for the next 47 years. The 2nd Constabulary Regiment was re-organized and re-designated the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1948. The 2nd ACR served along the East German and Czechoslovakian geopolitical borders for the remainder of the Cold War, until 1992. Throughout this period the Dragoons fielded newer weapons, tanks and equipment while serving on the forward edge of freedom's frontier.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the 2d ACR was a fully trained, combined arms combat unit, equipped with M1A1 Abrams Tanks and M-2 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles. While the Regiment's peacetime mission had been defense and deterrence along the border, their wartime mission was to be the covering force for the U.S. VII Corps. In November of 1990 the 2nd ACR deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield (later Operation Desert Storm) where they would spearhead the VII Corps' attack. On the 26th of February 1991, the Regiment was heavily involved in blocking the Iraqi counterattack into Kuwait by seven of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard Divisions. At a desolate spot deep in the eastern Iraqi desert the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment engaged the Tawakalna Division. This engagement became known as the "Battle of 73 Easting." The outcome of this battle was the destruction of the Iraqi armored force which earned the Regiment the Army's Valorous Unit Award. The actions against the Iraqi Divisions have become instructional examples of modern high intensity armored warfare.

Returning from the Gulf, the Regiment was relocated from Germany to Fort Lewis, Washington after 49 years of continuous overseas service. The Regiment's ground squadrons were converted into a light cavalry unit consisting of Humvees (Scout HMMWV) mounted with TOW launchers, MK-19 grenade launchers, .50 caliber machine guns and squad automatic weapons (SAW). The 2nd ACR (Light) was then sent to Ft Polk, LA in 1992. The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) became the "Corps Cavalry" or the eyes and ears of the XVIII Airborne Corps. At Fort Polk, the 4th Squadron (Regimental Aviation Squadron) was added to the new Regiment's organization. The addition of the 4/2 ACR (Air Cav), with their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters and UH-60 helicopters, completed the Regiment's re-organization into a Light Cavalry Regiment.

The Regiment next deployed in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti from 1995 to 1996. In 1997, the 2nd ACR was deployed to Bosnia to serve as part of NATO's SFOR in support of Operation Joint Guard for peacekeeping operations in that country.

After returning from Bosnia, the Regiment returned to Fort Polk, Louisiana. In 2002, elements of the Regiment were deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as part of the Global War On Terrorism. Soon the unit deployed again to the Gulf, this time for Operation Iraqi Freedom. With only 96 hours notice, the Regiment deployed the Second Squadron and O Troop (Air Cavalry) to protect the V Corps lines of communication during major combat operations against the Iraqi Army. By May of 2003 the entire Regiment was deployed and served in the Baghdad Area of Operations. Upon the Sadr Uprising of April 2004, the Regiment's tour was extended in combat. The 2nd ACR fought urban battles in Sadr City, Diwaniya, Al Kut, Kufa, and An Najaf. The Regiment remained for a total of 16 months and earned the Presidential Unit Citation.

In March of 2005, the 2nd ACR was moved to Fort Lewis, Washington. In April 2005, the Regiment was re-designated the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and began reorganizing into the Army's newest Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT). The Regiment was returning to its original mission as Dragoons, or mounted infantry.

On June 1, 2006, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division conducted a joint re-flagging and casing ceremony. The 2nd CR was re-flagged as the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker). The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division cased its brigade colors and was re-flagged as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (SCR). As of September 15, 2006, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment has been home-based at Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, near the Regiment's Cold War home of Nuremberg. With a foundation of infantry-based tactics and the mobility of the Stryker vehicle, the Stryker brigade has become more of a hybrid unit, filling the gap between pure light infantry and the mechanized, heavy infantry.

On August 3, 2007, a farewell ceremony was held in Vilseck as the 2nd SCR prepared to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom once again. They are scheduled for up to a 15 month tour. From the Swamps of Florida to the Deserts of Iraq, the 2nd Dragoons have lived up to their Motto of "Toujours Prêt," meaning "Always Ready," when our Nation calls.

 

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