1st Cavalry Division units have served the nation from 1855 to the present; building a history rich in pride with solid ties to the traditions and heritage of the United States Cavalry.
The famed 1st Cavalry Division was baptized by fire and blood on the western plains in an era of horse-mounted cavalry. Dubbed the
"First Team" by Major General William C. Chase, the division has always strived not only to be the first, but to be the best.
The division's roots date back to 1855 when the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was organized. Redesignated as the 5th Cavalry in 1861, this unit participated in a number of famous Civil War engagements, including Bullrun, Antietam, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Appomattox
The sound of the bugle and the cry of "Charge!" sent the thundering hooves of the U.S. Cavalry troopers to protect the western-bound settlers in an era when Indians roamed the western frontier and pioneering settlers clung to their land with determination and luck.
The 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Cavalry regiments that would one day form the Division, clashed with the Sioux, Comanche, Arapaho, Apache, and Ute Indian Nations during the Indian Wars, led by colorful characters like Col. George Armstrong Custer.
As the Indian campaigns concluded, the Cavalry patrolled the far western frontiers from the frozen tundra of Alaska to the scorching deserts of the southwest. Just prior to World War I, the Cavalry engaged Pancho Villa's forces during the punitive expedition into Mexico.
With the initiation of the National Defense Act, the 1st Cavalry Division was formally activated on September 13, 1921 at Fort Bliss, Texas. That day, the 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments were assigned to the division. The 5th Cavalry Regiment was assigned on December 18, 1922.
In addition to three of the four regiments of the cavalry, the original organization included the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion (Horse), the 13th Signal Troops, the 27th Ordnance Company, Division Headquarters, and the 1st Cavalry Division Quartermaster Train which later became the 15th Replacement Company. Major General Robert L. Howze was assigned as the first division commander.
The division's early history is largely a saga of rough riding, patrolling the Mexican border, and constant training. Operating from horseback, the cavalry was the only force capable of piercing the desert's harsh terrain and halting the band of smugglers that operated along the desolate Mexican border.
As the depression of the 30's forced thousands of workers into the streets, the division was asked to provide training for 62,500 people in the Civilian Conservation Youth Corps. These workers constructed barracks for 20,000 anti-aircraft troops at Fort Bliss, Texas in preparation for the Air Age.
Although the division was created as a result of a proven need for large horse-mounted formations, by 1940, the march of progress had left the horse far behind.
The era of the tank, automobile, aircraft, and parachute had dawned and eclipsed the age of the armored horseman. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor erased all doubt. An impatient 1st Cavalry Division was dismounted in 1943 and processed for overseas movement to the Southwest Pacific as foot soldiers.
After six months of training in Australia, the division got its first taste of combat. On February 29, 1944 the men of the division sailed for the Admiralty Islands and stormed ashore in an amphibious landing at Los Negros Island. After a fierce campaign in which the enemy lost some 7,000 combat soldiers, the division could look with pride on its first combat test of World War II.
The next action for the Cav troops was on the Philippine Island of Leyte. The division fought tirelessly against the Japanese fortification. With the last of the strong-holds eliminated, the division moved on to Luzon, the main island of the Philippines.
One of the First Team's most noted feats was accomplished during the fighting for Luzon. On January 31, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur issued the order, "Go to Manila, free the prisoners at Santo Tomas, take Malacanan Palace and the legislative building."
The next day, the "flying column," as the element came to be known, jumped off to slice through 100 miles of Japanese territory. Hours later, the 1st Cav was in Manila and the prisoners were freed. The First Team was "First in Manila."
As the war came to a sudden end, MacArthur's First Team was given the honor of leading the Allied Occupational Army into Tokyo, achieving its second notable first -- "First in Tokyo."
On July 18, 1950, the 1st Cavalry Division plunged ashore at Pohangdong, South Korea to successfully carry out the first amphibious landing of the Korean conflict. The landing at Pohangdong helped halt the North Korean war machine at the Pusan perimeter. The division broke out of the perimeter in mid-September and started north. Crossing the 38th Parallel on October 9, 1950, the troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division crashed into Pyongyang, capturing the capital city of North Korea on October 19. This marked the third first for the division -- "First in Pyongyang."
The sudden intervention of Communist Chinese forces dashed hopes of a quick end to the war. First Team troopers fought courageously in the see-saw campaigns that followed, and successfully defended the city of Seoul.
By January 1952, the division, after 18 months of continuous fighting, rotated back to Hokkaido, Japan, returning to Korea in 1957 where they patrolled the Demilitarized Zone until 1965.
The division went home in 1965, but only long enough to be reorganized and prepared for a new mission. Within 90 days of becoming the Army's first air mobile division, the First Team was back in combat as the first fully committed division of the Vietnam War.
Their first real combat test came during the Pleiku campaign; 35 days of continuous air mobile operations beginning October 29, 1965. The troopers destroyed two of the three regiments of a North Vietnamese Division, earning the first Presidential Unit Citation given to a division in Vietnam.
The division began 1968 by terminating Operation Pershing, the longest of the 1st Cav's Vietnam actions. For nearly a year the division scoured the Bong Son plain, An Lo valley and the hills of coastal II Corps, seeking out enemy units and their sanctuaries. When the operation ended on January 21, the enemy had lost 5,401 soldiers and 2,400 enemy soldiers had been detained. Some 1,300 individual and 137 crew served weapons had been captured or destroyed.
Moving to I Corps, Vietnam's northern most tactical zone, the division set up Camp Evans for their new base camp. In late January, the enemy launched the Tet Offensive, a major effort to overrun South Vietnam. Some 7,000 enemy, primarily well equipped, crack NVA regulars blasted their way into the imperial city of Hue and Quang Tri, the capital of Vietnam's northern-most province.
The Cav went on the move and by February 1, Quang Tri was liberated followed by Hue. After shattering the enemy's dreams of a Tet victory, the 1st Cavalry Division "Sky-troopers" moved to relieve the besieged Marine Base at Khe Sann.
In May 1970, the First Team was "First into Cambodia," hitting what was previously a Communist sanctuary. Troopers deprived the enemy of much needed supplies and ammunition, scattering the enemy forces. The division's Vietnam service ended in 1972 when its last brigade began withdrawing. The 1st Cav had been the first division to go, and the last to leave.
"Firsts" had become the trademark of the First Team.
General Creighton Abrams, while commander of all U.S. Forces in Southeast Asia, said of the 1st Cav, "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."
Cav returned to the United States on May 5, 1971 where it was reorganized as the "First Triple Capability (TRICAP) Division." This TRICAP designation stemmed from its organization, consisting of an armored brigade, a mechanized infantry brigade, an airmobile brigade, and support troops tailored to assist the combat elements of the division.
In January 1975, the 1st Cav was once again reorganized, becoming the Army's newest armored division. During the Division's most recent past, the unit successfully completed field testing of TACFIRE, a computerized system to increase the effectiveness of artillery.
The division also received the mission in September 1978, for testing the Division Restructure (DRS) concept, used to determine the most effective use of manpower and weapons systems for the battlefields of the future.
Since fielding the M-1 Abrams main battle tank in 1980 Force Modernization has continued as a major division focus. The First Team became the "First" division to field the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), and the Multiple Launch Rocket System.
The division's first National Training Center rotation in September 1982, kicked off a long on-going series of tough, realistic desert battles. The first units were the 1st Brigade's 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, and 3rd Battalion, 10th Cavalry. The Division now conducts three NTC rotations year.
During exercise REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) '83, the First Team became the "First unit to train as a division-size element in Northern Europe."
All the training, modernization, planning, and operations culminated in REFORGER '83, when the First Team deployed nearly 9,000 soldiers to Holland, drew propositioned equipment, moved to a staging area and conducted exercise "Certain Strike" on the plains of Northern Germany. The success of the exercise proved that the division was fully capable of performing its wartime mission. This was the "First U.S. deployment to Holland and Northern Germany since W.W.II."
October 16, 1987 the First Team became the "First" division to field and train with Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE), the military version of a cellular telephone system. The system became fully operational October 25, 1988.
In January of '89, the Cav's 2nd Brigade amassed a series of "Firsts" during its NTC rotation.
This was the first combined use of the AH-64 Apache, M2 Bradley, and MSE. In addition, the First Teams' Apaches launched the first Hellfire anti-armor missiles ever fired at the National Training Center. One of the missiles was guided to it's target by the new OH-58D Observation Helicopter.
In August 1990, the 1st Cav was alerted for deployment to Southwest Asia as part of the joint forces participating in Operation Desert Shield. The focus at that time was the defense of Saudi Arabia against potential Iraqi attack.
During August, the division trained on a massive scale, firing all weapons, preparing equipment and people for overseas movement, and planning surface, sea, and air movement. Actual deployment to Saudi Arabia began in September, extending into mid-October. Equipment was moved by convoy and rail to ports in Texas and then by ships to the port of Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
Before hostilities, the First Team gained valuable experience in combined operations through coordination with French, Egyptian and Syrian forces. With the First Team's 2nd Brigade and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) under its tactical control, the 1st Cavalry Division conducted a complex light force/heavy force defense of critical theater logistics bases.
In January 1991, the division was attached to VII (US) Corps and the focus of the First Team clearly began to shift toward offensive action. The division moved early 500 kilometers to another assembly area near King Khalid Military City (KKMC) in northern Saudi Arabia.
While other ground forces prepared for war, the First Team began a calculated war of deception along the Saudi border.
The goal was to lure Saddam Hussein into believing the Allied attack would come from this direction, and trick him into emplacing additional forces there. While the division's 8th Engineer Battalion improved positions and conducted "Berm Buster" missions to destroy Iraqi obstacles, the division's 1-7 Cav, screened well forward, clashing with Iraqi forces. The First Team began its secret fight to deceive Iraq long before the world would come to know that "ground-war fighting" had already begun.
The enemy responded. Iraqi divisions focused forces toward the coalition threat in the Wadi, and the First Team froze them. Hussein's flanks were left thinned, allowing the other Allied Forces to attack virtually unopposed. The deception had worked.
On February 20th, in Desert Storm's "First" major mounted ground engagement, the division's 2nd (Blackjack) Brigade attacked 10 miles into Iraq, confirming and destroying enemy positions. Success exacted its price. During this engagement, the Blackjack Brigade suffered the agony of the "First" three Army soldiers to be killed in action.
On the opening of the ground war, the Blackjack Brigade supported by the Aviation Brigade Apaches, moved into Iraq on a reconnaissance-in-force. The brigade broke contact after penetrating enemy obstacles, taking fire and causing the enemy to light fire trenches. They withdrew south to join the division for its final attack.
On February 26, the Commander of the Allied Forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf directed, "send in the First Team. Destroy the Republican Guard. Let's go home."
The division charged west pausing only to refuel before passing through breeches in the enemy obstacle belt. Racing north, then east, the division moved in a vast armada of armor, stretching from horizon to horizon, Within 24 hours, the first Team had gone 300 kilometers, slicing deep into the enemy's rear. As the division prepared to destroy a Republican Guard division, the cease fire halted it.
1st Cavalry Division units setup defensive positions where the cease fire had stopped their attack, then expanded north to "Highway 8," clearing bunkers and looking for enemy equipment and soldiers. The 1st (Ironhorse) Brigade stretched through the historic Euphrates River Valley. Within 2 weeks the 1st Cav moved south into Saudi Arabia and its new assembly area (AA) Killeen. There on the plain of the Wadi al Batin - the Cav began to prepare for redeployment home.
During Operation Desert Storm, the First Team had several firsts: "First" to defend along the Saudi-Iraq border; "First" to fire Copperhead artillery rounds in combat; "First" to conduct intensive MLRS artillery raids; and in its pre-G-Day attacks the First Team was "First" to conduct mounted combat in Iraq.
Upon its return to the United States, the 1st Cavalry Division became the largest division in the Army, with the reactivation of its 3rd "Greywolf" Battle Team May 21 1991. Included in this battle team was the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment; 1st and 3rd Battalions, 67th Armor, 1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment; and the 502nd (redesignated 215th) Forward Support Battalion.
October of 1992 saw the activation of the Engineer Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. Through the Army's "Engineer Restructuring Initiative," the nucleus of the brigade was formed around the division's historic 8th Engineer Battalion. The 20th Engineer Battalion was brought from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to join the brigade and the 91st Engineer Battalion was activated to complete it.
In November 1992, the unit designations for the battalions remaining from the former "Tiger" Brigade of the 2nd Armored Division were returned to them prior to their reactivation at Fort Hood on December 2, 1992. This action was done to realign the historical designations of units to their parent divisions.
On November 29, the Cav in turn regained the titles of its historical units: 3-41 Infantry was redesignated 1-9 Cavalry, 1-67 Armor became 3-8 Cavalry, and 1-3 Field Artillery took the title 2-82 Field Artillery. On December 16, 1992, other 1st Cavalry Division units redesignated to accomplish the realignments for historical purposes. These changes included: 1-32 Armor redesignating as 2-12 Cavalry, 3-32 Armor to 1-12 Cavalry, and Battery A, 333 Field Artillery to Battery B, 26th Field Artillery.
In August of 1993, the reflagging actions were completed when the 2nd Armored Division's 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry was reflagged the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, which was assigned to the First Team's 3rd Greywolf Brigade.
Following its reorganization, the division became the Army's largest division and only armored contingency force, ready to deploy anywhere in the world on a moment's notice.
Since then, elements of the First Team have returned to Kuwait no less than three times - as part of a ten-year training agreement between the U.S. and Kuwait and also in a crisis situation when Iraq infringed on Kuwaiti border rules.
Meanwhile, the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California remains a mainstay of training for the division which deploys brigades there three times a year. Here they have 1,000 square miles for maneuver training against the best trained opposing force in the world.
More recently, the 1st Cavalry Division was selected to assume the mission of "Task Force Eagle," conducting peace support operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On 16 April 1998, the decision to send the First Team on this unique and challenging mission was announced. Following 4 months of highly successful and intensive planning, training, and maintaining, "Americas' First Team" assumed the mission of ensuring peace and stability throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On October 7, 1998, The First Cavalry Division, under the command of Maj. Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, assumed authority of the Multinational Division (North) area of operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina from the 1st Armored Division. The division was the first CONUS based division to assume this mission.
The 1st Cav's mission was to conduct operations to enforce the military provisions set forth by the Dayton Accords. The 1st Cav soldiers served as our nation's ambassadors. Their day-to-day presence and commitment to the citizens of this ravaged nation helped prove that a lasting and self-sustaining peace is possible.
In order to conduct successful peace missions while in theater, soldiers were extensively trained on mine awareness, country and cultural customs nad checkpoint and convoy operations. Training was conducted on all levels including individual readiness training, leader/staff training, Operation Joint Forge Training and the Mission Rehearsal Exercise.
1st Cav soldiers were placed in position of responsibilities never before experienced. These responsibilities ranged from monitoring former warring factions to assisting in the return of displaced persons and refugees.
The preparation for the deployment included preparing family members for the long separation. The 1st Cav's family and soldiers' readiness program set a new Army standard. The First Team set the conditions to build self-sufficiency in our families.
The division expertly executed the SFOR 4 and 5 missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and set new standards for follow on units.
The SFOR 4 was comprised of soldiers from 2-5 Cav, 1-8 Cav, 2-8 Cav, 1-82 FA, 20 ENG Bde, A Battery 4-5 ADA, 1-545th MPs, 4th Bde HQs &2-227th AVN Bn, the ENG Bde HQs, 13th Sig Bn, 312th MI Bn, III Corps units to include elements from 13th COSCOM, 410 MP Co, 205 MI Bn, 15 PSB and 15th Finance Bn. In six months, they conducted more than 11, 000 day inspections and conducted combined missions with the Russians.
SFOR 5 comprised of soldiers from HHC 2nd Brigade, 1-5 Cav, 1-12 Cav, 2-12 Cav, 3-82 FA, 91st ENG BN, C 4-5 ADA, 2/545th MPs, 15th FSB, and 1-7th Cav. They conducted daily mounted presence patrols in their HMMWVs and occasionally, in armored vehicles, among the Bosniac, Serb and Croat populace.
During the six months, squads and platoons conducted over 9,000 combat patrols and escorted over 1000 convoy movements over some of the most rugged terrain and austere conditions.
The soldiers conducted hundreds of weapons storage site inspections, established vehicle checkpoints designed to monitor and control movement and often conducted searches for and seizures of illegal contraband and weapons.
The pilots, crew chiefs and mechanics set a new Army benchmark for safety and the number of hours flown--over 17,000 flying hours.
The Engineers monitored the demining of more than 80,000 square meters of contested land and supervised the construction of 41 million dollars worth of base camp improvements.
Operation Clear Skies
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the military accelerated plans for the use of joint forces to protect key national assets from terrorist attack. After extensive planning and coordination, elements of 4-5 ADA and 13th Signal were deployed as a task force to Washington, DC.
Over 150 Soldiers arrived to man Sentinel radars, Avengers, and Stinger missiles under the command of First Air Force. The troopers quickly prepared to engage and destroy any airborne threat declared hostile to the National Capital Region. The Task Force’s operation was the first military defense of Washington since the Anti-Ballistic Missile systems of the 1970s.
They remained vigilant and ready to destroy any hostile threat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Their discipline and skill provided the deterrence needed to keep the
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
Just one month after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, President Bush initiated Operation Enduring Freedom.
The following month, US Forces entered Afghanistan to begin offensives directed at those organizations and governments who were directly and indirectly responsible for the attacks.
On December 15, 2001, the Division’s 545th Military Police Company deployed and was assigned to HQ-ARCENT located in Bagram, Afghanistan. The MP’s were responsible for interrogating and processing nearly 2500 detainees.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
In early 2003, select divisional units were designated to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom through the initial phase of combat culminating in the liberation of the Iraqi people from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein.
These specialized units, including attack helicopters from 1-227 Aviation Battalion provided aviation assets to the operations; maintenance support for the battalion was provided by the 615th Aviation support battalion. Airfield security was provided by 1-21 Field Artillery. The 68th chemical company as attached to 3rd Infantry Division serving as a Hazardous material response team.
On 24 March 2003, helicopters of the 1-227th engaged the elite Republican Guard Medina Division. An AH-64D Apache piloted by Chief warrant officers’ Williams and Young were downed by enemy ground fire.
Chiefs Williams and Young became the first 1st Cavalry Division POW’s since the Korean War. Twenty two days later Williams and Young along with other US POW’s were rescued by US Marines.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM II
In the fall of 2003, the division as a whole was ordered to prepare for deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In preparation, for deployment the Division provides training at National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center and at Fort Hood. Training included combat operations, working with city services and cultural awareness.
In January, Division elements began deploying to the theater of operations and in April 2004 the division assumed command and control of Task Force Baghdad. During the division’s tour of duty, Task Force Baghdad’s ranks swelled to more than 39,000 uniformed members including active duty, reserve, national guard Soldiers, US Marines, and international coalition partners.
The Division engaged in multiple lines of operations simultaneously to defeat the enemy and win the support of the Iraqi people. Combat Operations, Train &employ Security Forces, Essential Services, Promote Governance, and Economic Pluralism) while mutual supporting, were discrete, the sixth – Information Operations – when used properly amplified the effectiveness of everything the Division did. The Division helped the Iraqi people forge a new, democratic government --- the first in that nation’s history.
Two major events in the march toward true democracy occurred during the division’s year in the Iraqi capital: first, the coalition returned sovereignty to the people of Iraq in June 2004; and second, the national elections of January 2005 demonstrated the resolve of the Iraqi people to gain control of their own country.
The division transferred authority to the 3d Infantry Division in February 2005 and completed redeployment on April 2
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM IV
On 20 June 2006, the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters received orders to reurn to Iraq later in the year. The units designated to return along with the 1st Cavalry Headquarters and their Special Troops Battalion (STB) were the 2nd (BlackJack) Brigade Combat Team, who was closing out a specialized training session at the National Training Center – Ft. Irwin, CA, and the 3rd (GreyWolf) Combat Team, who were completing battlefield training at the Joint Readiness Training Center – Ft. Polk, LA. Approximately 12,000 Soldiers of the Division staff level of 18,500 were covered by these orders. Although no timing or schedule was established for the deployment, the Division was expected to relieve the 4th Infantry Division currently deployed in Baghdad. Units still without orders, the 1st(Ironhorse Brigade Combat Team at Fort Hood, TX and the 4th (Longkinfe) Brigade Combat Team at Ft. Bliss, TX, continued to train as if they could be called up at any time.
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM VI
2008 - 2010
On 19 May, the Department of Defense announced the deployment of over 6,000 Army and National Guard Troops in Texas for duty in the Middle East. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division was named among 25,000 designated to replace units in Iraq that are scheduled to return by the end of the year.
On 4 June, the 4th (LongKnife) Brigade Combat Team began an initial step in their anticipated 15th month deployment by casing their colors in a ceremony at Cooper Field Parade Grounds. Although an advanced party left Central Texas for Iraq four days ago, the entire Brigade is not scheduled to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom - VI until mid June.
On 30 June, the Department of Defense announced that the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams of the 1st Cavalry Division is to deploy to Iraq in early 2009 to conduct a full spectrum of operations. The announcement reflected the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people, and provides replacement forces required to maintain the current level of effort in Iraq. The release also explained that "any subsequent deployment orders will be issued based on force level decisions made in the future."
On 30 September, In a second Department of Defense announcement, the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters received orders to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2009. More than 1,100 Soldiers serve in the Division Headquarters and they provide command and control, intelligence, communication and logistical support among other capabilities while conducting stability and security operations in cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces and local governments. The deployment orders marked the third time that the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Air Cavalry Brigade, undertaking their third deployment since 2004, prepared to join the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams of the 1st Cavalry Division who were already "in theater". On 20 April 2009, the first flights of 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Soldiers, the last brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division to deploy, left Robert Gray Airfield for Iraq amid a cheering crowd of family members and friends. More than 250 Soldiers were in the "Torch" or advance party of the brigade. The advanced party included the lead elements of the 615th Aviation Support Battalion who will be in charge of the port operations of helicopter assembly, test and inspection in Kuwait.
2009 - 2010
On 4 May 2009, the "Torch Party" of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division composed of 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Troopers, returned from Iraq to hundreds of cheering family members, fellow Soldiers and other guests at a welcoming home ceremony in front of the Division headquarters. The torch party was sent back earlier than the rest of the unit to help set up operations for their unit when it starts to return in its entirety. Flights for the 4th BCT Soldiers were scheduled to go on for the next several weeks, bringing the rest of the Brigade back to Fort Hood, Texas.
On 10 November, an advanced party (Greywolf Advon 1) of 300 personnel from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division was the first group of Soldiers from the Division to return after deployment for a year in Mosul, Iraq. Their friends and families were patiently waiting and then, almost on cue, the white buses arrived from the airport, full of Grey Wolf Troopers. The Soldiers filed quickly filed out and fell into formation. The music stops. The crowd grows quiet. An officer says a quick prayer and then calls out the command the families have long awaited - Charge !! The families rush the field to find their loved one in a sea of camouflage.
On 26 December, the last flight of 2nd Brigade Combat Team Members, 1st Cavalry Division members, arriving from Iraq, missed Christmas by a couple of hours, however not one Soldier or family member seemed to care as they walked across Cooper Field, most donning Santa Claus hats.
0n 13 January 2010, the 1st Cavalry Division closed out its responsibilities of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM - VI (Rotation 08-10), formally "Multi-National Division Forces - West and Baghdad" by executing a Transfer Of Authority to the commander of the incoming division (now designated as "USD - Center") of control, the 1st Armored Division. The next day, 14 January, the flight of the trail party of the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters Soldiers arrived at Ft. Hood, TX and as they gathered at the homecoming ceremony at Coopers Field to greet their family and friends, the Colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were uncased, signifying the return of the Division from the combat operations of Operation IRAQ - VI (Rotation 08-10).
On 17 March, the advanced party of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, the last organizational unit of the 1st Cavalry Division scheduled to leave Operation IRAQ - VI (Rotation 08-10), began its return to Fort Hood as 150 soldiers were welcomed back from Iraq at Cooper Field. Soldiers from across the Brigade made up the advance party that will prepare for the arrival of the rest of the Brigade in April.
Operation NEW DAWN
2010 - 2012
1 September 2010 marked the official end to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and combat operations by United States forces in Iraq. In The transition to Operation NEW DAWN, the remaining 50,000 US service members serving in Iraq will conduct stability operations, focusing on advising, assisting and training Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Operation NEW DAWN, a compromise of the Republican and Democrat Parties to vacate the Iraqi operation by mid 2010, also represents a shift from a predominantly military US presence to one that is predominantly civilian, as the Departments of Defense and State work together with governmental and non-governmental agencies to help build civil capacity of Iraq.
The transition to Operation NEW DAWN is the US commitment to the government and people of Iraq as a sovereign, stable country that will be an enduring strategic partner with the United States. This has been made possible by the improved capability of the ISF to take the lead in securing their country. New Dawn also signifies the success of the responsible drawdown of forces and the redeployment of thousands of US Soldiers, as well as the return or transfer of war fighting equipment to the US or to combat troops in Afghanistan.
To support the transition to stability operations, the Army has six Advisory and Assistance Brigades (AABs) in Iraq. AABs are designed to partner with ISF and are tailored for the needs of the specific location in which they will operate. They provide security for Provincial Reconstruction Teams and have up to 24 specialty teams which enable them to conduct advisory, security, and training missions, as well as the development of civil capacity. ABs are structured around the modular design of brigade combat teams but are trained for stability operations, rather than for combat. However, under the security agreement they retain the inherent right to self-defense and are authorized to take necessary action to prevent terrorist activities in order to protect themselves or the people of Iraq. The 4th Brigade Combat Team (LongKnife) was the first BCT of the Division to deploy and assume the roll of an AAB in September 2010 and was followed by the other three BCTs, GreyWolf, BlackJack, and IronHorse in 2011.
On 15 December 2011, after almost nine years, the Iraq war officially ended. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta flew into Baghdad to be the guest of honor at a ceremony formally wrapping up the 8 1/2 year invasion and occupation period of Iraq. The ceremony ended the war two weeks earlier than was necessary under the terms of the security agreement signed by the US and Iraqi governments in 2008, which stipulated that the troops must be gone by 31 December 2011.
In the morning of 18 December 2011, the 3rd Special Troops Battalion of the 3rd BCT (Grey Wolf) was the last unit to leave Iraq. As the MRAP crossed the border into Kuwait, Soldiers of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command closed the gates marking the end of the operation. This movement completed the movement of the 1st BCT, 2nd BCT and 3rd BCT of the First Team from Iraq to Kuwait. A flawless movement involving multiple passages of lines conducted without incident.
The 1st BCT (Iron Horse) remained in Kuwait as Theater Reserve and conducted training to prepare for possible missions. Completing their year-long deployment they returned to Fort Hood and their colors were uncased on Cooper Field just after midnight on 6 July marking the return of all assigned Troopers of the Division to Fort Hood.
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM
2011 - 2014
On 19 May 2011, in continuing to expand its role in the mid-eastern theater of operations, the 1st Cavalry Division unfurled the unit's new colors in a transfer of authority ceremony with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. During a pivotal time in the war on terror and in Afghanistan’s history, The command authority of the Regional Command - East (RC-E) shifted from Combined Joint Task Force-101 to CJTF-1.
In this new mission of the 1st Cavalry Division took control of over 35,000 Soldiers from eight US, French and Polish task forces and 14 provinces that, combined, provide safety and security in an area populated by approximately 7.5 million Afghans. The Area of Command consists of 43,000 square miles and shares 450 miles of border with Pakistan.
The 1st Cavalry Division returned from its deployment to Afghanistan in April 2012 and the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade returned in June completing the split deployment of the Division Headquarters and its brigades. The 1st ACB completed its year of flying in the challenging terrain of Afghanistan in combat with no fatalities, a remarkable accomplishment that demonstrated their level of training and leadership.
The leadership of the 4th Brigade Combat Team and its subordinate units: 1-9th Cavalry, 2-7th Cavalry, 2-12th Cavalry, 5-82nd Field Artillery, 27th Brigade Support Battalion and the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion cased their colors in preparation to deploy to Afghanistan. This marks the fourth deployment in the seven years since the BCT was reactivated at Fort Bliss in 2005. Approximately 1400 Troopers, primarily the leadership of the units will deploy and form security force assistance brigades to train the Afghan units to take over the security of their own nation. The planned deployment of nine months began almost immediately as the advance party of the BCT deployed within one day of the ceremony. The Brigade's return to Fort Hood began at the end of June 2013.
On 27 June 2013 the Colors of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and its subordinate units: 4-9th Cavalry, 1-5th Cavalry, 1-8th Cavalry, 3-82nd Field Artillery, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, and the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion were cased for the Black Jack Brigade's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. The 2nd BCT assisted with the withdrawal of forces and equipment from Afghanistan and involved with closing bases. During their tour to Afghanistan, the 2nd Brigade was assigned missions across Afghanistan and accomplished all of their assigned missions. The unit redeployed in early 2014, uncasing their colors and signifying their return to Fort Hood on Jan 23, 2014.
The First Cavalry Division continued to deploy units in support of Operations in Afghanistan, even as the number of US and Coalition troops began to drop. Task Force 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment deployed to Afghanistan as a multipurpose Aviation Task Force providing lift and attack helicopter support across Afghanistan while the First Team Headquarters prepared for their deployment to Regional Command South to lead the final months of Operation Enduring Freedom and the transition to an enduring mission in Afghanistan.
After a decade of continued deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan the Army began to reorganize and contract. The Army ordered several Brigade Combat Teams to inactivate and case their colors while also reorganizing the structure of the remaining BCTs. 4th BCT (Longknife) was ordered to inactivate on 15 October 2013. As part of this inactivation, the 4th Special Troops Battalion, the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, and 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery were inactivated. The remaining Battalions in the Brigade were realigned to the other Brigades in the Division and combined with the conversion of the Special Troops Battalions to Engineer Battalions, completed the transformation of the Division’s BCTs.
Along with the reorganization of the Division, the slowing pace of deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq brought a new set of challenges for the First Team. Units in the Division were now called on to execute the Army’s regionally aligned forces concept, requiring units to train and deploy all over the world to strengthen our partnerships with other nations. As a result of this concept, 1-12 CAV deployed for a rotation to Korea in February 2014, becoming the first rotational unit to deploy to Korea, while the 1st BCT (Ironhorse) conducted the first training exercises in Europe as a regionally aligned Brigade. In addition to those missions, 6-9 CAV was the first active duty battalion to deploy to the Sinai peninsula as part of the Multinational Force Observers in August 2013.
1CD prepares lethal, flexible, agile Division HQ and Brigades competent in Combined Arms Maneuver and
Wide Area Security to execute missions to Prevent, Shape, Win as directed.
A focus on training and readiness ensures that any element of the 1st Cavalry Division will be prepared to
accomplish any mission thanks to our outstanding Soldiers.