10th Cavalry Regiment
WW II, European Theater
"Ready And Forward"

US Arizona, Pearl Harbor
On 07 December 1941, without warning, the Japanese destroyed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor and triggered fears of assaults on the west coast and invasion threats from south of the border. With a new emphasis placed on the western defenses of the continent, the 2nd Cavalry Division deployed the 3rd Brigade to Arizona. General Coulter, the Brigade Commander, was also given command of the Southern Land Frontier Sector of the Western Defense Command. Under him the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, stationed at Phoenix, and the 14th Cavalry at Tucson, patrolled the Mexican Border for the next seven months. Meanwhile the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, 4th Cavalry Brigade, remaining at Camp Funston, continued an endless cycle of training by routinely losing veteran personnel to be cadre for new units and receiving untrained recruits.

Identifying San Diego as particularly important because of its strategic location, numerous military installations, and rapidly expanding war-related industries, the Army decided to deploy cavalry units along the California-Mexican border because of the extremely rugged terrain east of San Diego. Soldiers on horseback could patrol the hills and gorges, places inaccessible even to vehicles as had been done several years ago by the cavalry units. As the newspaper put it, "Along the Mexican border and in the areas surrounding the dams impounding San Diego county's water supply system, the horse cavalry, is the only Army unit able to function effectively in this period of national emergency."

The cavalry troops were to be stationed at Camp Lockett, a sprawling military base on the Mexican border about 60 miles southeast of San Diego near the small town of Campo, CA. Completed in December 1941, the construction of Lockett construction transformed this small tranquil border town into a bustling military post.

Location Of Camp Lockett, CA
Initially the 11th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the performed the task of border patrol. In June 1942, with the necessity for the Army to build up forces to deploy to Europe, the 11th Cavalry Regiment was reassigned to Ft. Benning, GA.

The 11th Cavalry Regiment was immediately replaced at Lockett by the 4th Cavalry Brigade, currently made up of two regiments - the 9th and 10th Cavalry. Consequently, the 4th Cavalry Brigade, in preparation for their relocation, moved the 9th Cavalry to Fort Clark, TX, for continued training for combat and patrol along the Texas-Mexican border. The 9th and 27th Cavalry, active at the Texas post, eventually became the assigned troops of the 5th Cavalry Brigade. Then, concentrating on the pending mission, the 4th Cavalry Brigade Headquarters and the 10th Cavalry, under the command of Col. Waldemar A. Flack, made plans for their relocation to Camp Lockett, CA.

Brigadair General Thoburn K. Brown and an advance party of the 4th Cavalry Brigade arrived at Camp Lockett to finalize their mission plans to act in the capacity of the new base unit for the Headquarters Southern Land Frontier Sector (SLFS). On 30 June 1942 the SLFS moved into Lockett by convoy from Phoenix, AZ. In mid July, the SLFS was followed by its 4th Cavalry Brigade with the 10th Cavalry Regiment. Moved incrementally by rail, they were transferred to Lockett from Camp Funston, Ft. Riley, KS.

Aerial View of Camp Lockett, CA
At the height of the activation of Camp Lockett, approximately 3,500 horse soldiers and hundreds of civilian support personnel occupied Lockett. The camp would eventually expand to more than 500 buildings and cover an area of nearly 7,000 acres.

On 15 July 1942 the 2nd Cavalry Division was inactivated. However, the 4th Cavalry Brigade and its regiments were to remain active. In the constant and somewhat fluid reorganization of the structure of the Army, in November 1942 the War Department reactivated the 2nd Cavalry Division and the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were reassigned, but remained in their respective locations of Ft. Clark, TX and Camp Lockett, CA.

From 1942 to 1944, the cavalry troops at Lockett patrolled the border from the Otay Lakes area, north and east of Chula Vista, to El Centro in the Imperial Valley. They also provided security details for water supplies, the railroads that served as the city's only direct link to the manufacturing centers in the east and the communications links that were vital to region of San Diego. In addition they were assigned the mission of interdicting an invasion that military strategists feared might come through Mexico.

On 25 February 1943 the 2nd Cavalry Division was reactivated with Headquarters at Ft. Clarke, TX. The 3rd Brigade, 9th and 27th Cavalry, remained at the Texas post and became the assigned troops of the 5th Cavalry Brigade. The 10th and 28th Cavalry Regiment, newly activated and assigned to the 4th Cavalry Brigade, located at Camp Lockett, made up the 4th Cavalry Brigade. With the additional patrol strength undergoing basic training and instruction in cavalry operations, Colonel Burnett went to Fort Bliss, TX, where he selected 369 horses from those turned in by the 1st Cavalry Division when it was dismounted in February 1943. An additional 1,080 horses came from the Remount Station at Ft. Robinson, TX.

At Camp Lockett, the 10th Cavalry performed the same duties as their predecessors, patrolling the border, guarding the dams, and providing security for the trains and communication systems. In addition, in late December of 1942, the 10th participated in war games against the 140th Infantry, headquartered during the war in San Diego. The infantry soldiers maneuvered against the Cavalry in the mountains at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The infantry was no match for the horse soldiers.

The 10th Cavalry worked around the hills keeping out of sight and spotted some infantrymen in an open field. The cavalry worked its way down through the forest, spread out in a line, drew pistols and charged. Needless to say a rout ensued with several hundred horses baring down on the infantry and all pandemonium broke loose. The cavalry camped for the night and the following morning made a forced march of 44 miles back to Camp Lockett.

With the war confined to the European and the Pacific theaters, the newly acquired cavalry skills and training as a whole, would not be tested because the War Department had developed a plan to use the 2nd Cavalry Division personnel to form needed service units in overseas operations. The Southern Land Frontier Sector had already been deactivated at Lockett. In January 1944 the War Department ordered the 2nd Cavalry Division and its elements to dismount and prepare for deployment overseas.

10th Cavalry Inactivation In Africa
On 11 February 1944, the War Department ordered the 4th Cavalry Brigade, along with the 10th Cavalry Regiment, to dismount and deploy from Lockertt. On 15 February, they arrived at the staging area of Camp Patrick Henry, VA and moved on to the embarkation port at Hampton Roads, Va. and on 03 March deployed to the Mediterranean theater. On 12 March they arrived off the coast of North Africa at the port of Casablanca, Morocco and were move by rail to a desert post of Assi-Ben Okba, Algeria, east or Oran, Algeria.

Following arrival and staging, the 10th Cavalry Regiment was inactivated on 20 March 1944. Personnel were transferred and reassigned to service units and assets were transferred to the 6486th Engineering Battalion. This action marked the end of an era "the horse cavalry regiments" in the United States Army which were being replaced by mechanized units. The Cavalry Branch was eventually merged with the armored units and renamed Armor Branch in 1950, as a recognition of "a continuation of the cavalry."

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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 Jan '12 SpellChecked