9th Cavalry Regiment
WW II, Pacific Theater
"We Can, We Will"

Captured Japanese Pilot's View
On 07 December 1941, without warning, the Japanese destroyed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. Although the 1st Cavalry Division was created as a result of a proven need for large horse-mounted formations, by 1940 many thought that the march of progress had left the horse far behind. All doubt was erased with the surprise of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Immediately troopers returned to the 1st Cavalry Division from all over the United States. They outfitted their horses and readied their weapons and vehicles in anticipation of the fight against the Axis.

In February 1943, the entire 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for an overseas assignment as a dismounted unit. On 16 June, the division departed for Camp Stoneman, California and departed 03 July aboard the SSS Monterey and the SS George Washington for Australia to join in the Southeastern Pacific Theater of Operations against Japan.

On 13 November 1943, the 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized, was constituted in the Army of the United States. On 04 December 1943, the unit was activated in Australia and assigned the lead reconnaissance mission of the 1st Cavalry Division. The 302nd had a specific TO&E which incorporated a unique radio unit with personnel composed of Lakota and Dakota Indians who used their ancient tribal Sioux language to communicate to other Divisional Headquarters troops. This secret organization, formed in the foothills of Australia and later to be known as "The Code Talkers", was recruited at the direction of General MacArthur. The close net group of individuals, Phillip Stoney LeBlanc, Edmund St John, Baptiste Pumkinseed, Eddie Eagle Boy, Guy Rondell and John Bear King took their task seriously and saved many America lives using their unbreakable coded language to fool the Japanese throughout the subsequent Island Campaigns. In January 1944, the division was ordered to leave Australia and sail to Oro Bay, New Guinea. After a period of staging in New Guinea, it was time for the 1st Cavalry Division to receive their first baptism of fire.

The capabilities of the 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop played a major role on being able conduct surveillance missions to determine the extent of troop strength and fortifications of occupied islands. For example operations on Los Negros had reached the mopping-up stage, but an estimated 2,700 Japanese troops remained on Manus. General Swift decided to launch the 2nd Brigade on an attack on Lugos Mission, an important objective west of Lorengau. Lorengau, known to be heavily fortified. It has an airfield and four roads converged there.

As a preliminary surveillance mission, the 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop was ordered to identify and locate sites from which the artillery could cover landings on Manus. Three patrols were sent out by LCVP on 11 March. The first found Bear Point on Manus free of Japanese but it lacked sites for artillery emplacements. The second scouted the Butjo Luo Islands. They found the islands apparently unoccupied, with good sites on the northern island. The third patrol, 25 officers and men of the 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, two officers from the 99th Field Artillery Battalion, Navy escorts and a native guide, set out for Hauwei in an LCVP, escorted by one of the PT Boats that were now operating from the tender USS Oyster Bay in Seeadler Harbor.

On 15 October 1945, at the close of the Pacific Theater Operations, the 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized was redesignated as the 302nd Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.

On 25 March 1949, the 302nd Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop was redesignated as the 16th Reconnaissance Company and subsequently on 01 November 1957, during the beginning of the Korean DMZ Operations, was consolidated with the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry on 01 November 1957.

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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 31 Oct '09 SpellChecked