8th Cavalry Regiment
Organizational Legacy
"Honor and Courage"

  "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"  
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Composed by George A. Norton - 1917
John Ford Film Released by RKO Pictures

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Regimental Distinctive Unit Insignia


The 1st Cavalry Division, a major subordinate command of the US Third Mobile Armored Corps, is a 19,000 soldier, heavy armored division stationed at Ft. Hood, TX. As one of the two "on-call" heavy contingency force divisions of the Army, the First Team has an on-order mission to deploy by sea, air or land to any part of the world on a short notice. The following narratives, divided in timeline eras of major operational missions, describes the threat environment, tactical conditions, evolution of equipment technology and the strategic methodology employed by one of its subordinate units, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, to contribute to the successful missions and enhancement of the warring organization of the 1st Cavalry Division.


The mission of the 8th Cavalry Regiment is to, on order, deploy to a designated contingency area of operations, conduct reception, staging, onward movement, and integration. It would then, on order, conduct combat operations and redeploy upon mission accomplishment.

Organizational Summary:

At the end of the Civil War, the ranks of the Regular cavalry regiments were thin indeed, as were those of the other Regular regiments. Of the 448 companies of cavalry, infantry, and artillery authorized, 153 were not organized, and few, if any, of those in being were at full strength. By July 1866 this shortage had eased since many of the members of the disbanded Volunteer outfits had by then enlisted as Regulars. By that time, however, it became apparent in Washington that the Army, even at full strength, was not large enough to perform all its duties. Consequently, on 28 July Congress authorized 4 additional cavalry regiments and enough infantry companies to reorganize the existing 19 regiments- then under two different internal organizations- into 45 regiments with 10 companies each. After this increase there were 10 regiments of cavalry, 5 of artillery, and 45 of infantry.

Cavalry companies accounted for 20 percent of the total number of company sized organizations. The Regular Army's authorized strength of approximately 57,000 officers and men was then more than double what it had been at the close of the war. The whole arrangement was remarkable because it was the first time in the nation's history that the Regular establishment had been increased substantially immediately after a war. Recruiting, to obtain the increase in man power force levels, began at once. Emphasis was placed upon securing veteran Volunteers before they left the service. The officers were selected from both Volunteers and Regulars; each candidate was required to have had at last two years of honorable service in the Civil War.

The new cavalry regiments, numbered 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, were organized under the same tables as the 6 already in existence. A regiment consisted of 12 companies formed into 3 squadrons of 4 companies each. Besides the commanding officer who was a colonel, the regimental staff included 7 officers, 6 enlisted men, a surgeon, and 2 assistant surgeons. Each company was authorized 4 officers, 15 noncommissioned officers, and 72 privates. A civilian veterinarian accompanied the regiment although he was not included in the table of organization.

By General Order No. 92, A. G. O., 1866, the first field officer who accepted an appointment was Colonel John I. Gregg, who joined the unit for duty at Camp Whipple, Arizona, in December, 1866, assuming command of the regiment and the District of Prescott, Arizona. The other field officers were Lieutenant Colonel Devin and Major Price, who joined the unit in January 1867.

Angel Island, San Francisco Bay
The 8th Cavalry Regiment, currently represented in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 1st Cavalry Division, was constituted in the Regular Army on 28 July 1866. Company "A" (now the 1st Battalion) was organized on 21 September 1866 at Angel Island, located in San Francisco Bay. California under the command of Colonel John I. Gregg. On October 23 1866, Company "B" (now the 2nd Battalion) was activated at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. On 17 November, one month later "C" Company (mow the 3rd Battalion) along with the remainder of the regiment was organized on Angel Island, California.

As a sign of the extent of the western immigration of 19th century America, their first mission was to escort settlers and fight Indians in the Northwest. These troops were composed chiefly of men enlisted on the Pacific Coast, and included many of the class styled "Forty-niners"; men who had passed months or years in the mines and were typical specimens of the roving order of citizens. Many of them were wild characters who enlisted in the same spirit of adventure which led them to the frontier, and who could not generally adapt themselves to the restraints of a military life. Many desertions occurred; the percentage to the end of the year 1867, being 41.8

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Map Of The Western Frontier Regions

The early history of 8th Cavalry Regiment was closely tied to the movement of people and trade along the southwest and on the western plains.These routes, a result of perceived "manifest destiny", extended the domination of the United States into the far reaches of a largely unsettled western plains and southwestern territories. More and more wagon trains loaded with settlers, rolling west, were being attacked by Indians. The Army, having large areas of territory to protect, established a number of military posts at strategic locations throughout the West.

The sound of the bugle and the cry of "Charge" sent the thundering hooves of the US Cavalry troopers, many who had former service in the Civil War, to oversee and protect the western bound settlers in an era when Indians roamed the western frontier and pioneering settlers clung to their land with determination. The 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments (all eventually subordinate maneuvering units of the 1st Cavalry Division) clashed with the Sioux, Comanche, Arapaho, Apache and the Indian Nations during the Indian Wars.

The current capability of the 8th Cavalry Regiment has been developed in conjunction with the long history of the 1st Cavalry Division. It is the combination of the experienced training received by each dedicated member of the Team and adherence to the performance level and traditions of the past. Highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 8th Cavalry Regiment and the honors they achieved are summarized in the chapters that follow:

On 22 January 1921 the 1st Cavalry Division was constituted in the US Regular Army. On 13 September 1921, with the initiation of the National Defense Act, the 1st Cavalry Division was formally activated at Ft. Bliss, TX and Major General Robert Lee Howze, a Texas native from Rusk County and seasoned veteran of then Frontier Indian Wars, Spanish American War, Philippines Insurrection, Mexican Expedition, World War I and recipient of the Medal of Honor, was selected as its first Division Commander.

Upon formal activation, the 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were assigned to the new Division. With almost a century of service behind the oldest of its regiments and sixty five years of service for its youngest, the units that had already ridden and fought its way into the pages of history were organized into the newly formed divisional structure. The four regiments were now to fight side by side. Other units initially assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division in 1921 included the 1st and 2nd Machine Gun Squadrons, Weapons Troops, 10th Light Tank Company, 13th Signal Troop, 15th Veterinary Company, 27th Ordnance Company, 43rd Ambulance Company, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion (Horse) and the 1st Cavalry Quartermaster Trains which later was redesignated as the 15th Replacement Company.

Later, on 18 December 1922, the 5th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, relieving the 10th Cavalry Regiment. It would not be until 03 January 1933 that the 12th Cavalry Regiment, organized in 1901, would join the 1st Cavalry Division, relieving the 1st Cavalry Regiment. and it was not until 15 October, 1957, when the 4th Cavalry Regiment joined with the 1st Cavalry Division as the 2nd Battle Group, 4th Cavalry, (an element) of the Pentomic Division in ceremonies held in Tonggu, Korea when the colors of the 24th Infantry Division were retired and replaced by those of the 1st Cavalry Division.

As of today, the 8th Cavalry Regiment is currently represented by the following active Units:

This folio of material highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, whose actions, operations and the many critical issues resolved over its 143 year history to meet the changing threat and the honors they achieved are summarized in the following sections:

Table of Contents

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 05 Nov '12 SpellChecked