The Civil War was known as Terrible Golden Age of the Cavalry. The war pitted former Regular Cavalry officers against men of their own regiments. Thousands of troops served with Union and Confederate Cavalries. In 1861, the US Army reorganized its mounted service into six Cavalry Regiments.
In a section of the galley, a trooper is shown in full dress uniform of the 5th Regiment of Cavalry which was worn during the Civil War. The tents in the background are two shelter halves of a two-man tent.
Cavalry troops had to maneuver fast and travel light on horses. These animals were especially bred to carry him and all the gear, food and feed, weapons, and equipment necessary to support him in the field.
Shown in the exhibit is an original Spencer Carbine. It was one of the first repeating rifles used in the Civil War.
Heroic actions by units of both sides of the Civil War brought the Cavalry into the forefront as one of the major branches of the Army.
The end of the Civil War resulted in a great western movement of displaced confederate and union soldiers looking for adventure along with African-Americans looking for a new life. This movement west brought the Native American in direct contact with them. Fighting soon began and the Army was assigned the task to keep the peace and control the Indian population.
The Army, reduced in size, was required to patrol a large area. Troops of the Indian War period became highly professional soldiers. Uniforms and equipment were developed to support their operations. In this period is the first time that soldiers have two separate uniforms; a dress uniform for guard mount and parades and uniform to be worn in field or on campaign.
The primary weapon of the Indian War period was the Model 1873 Springfield Carbine.
The Indian War period lasted from 1866 to 1900. Exhibit maps shows the locations of the numerous battles fought with the Native American Nations and the forts required to hold the land.
Between 1885 and 1918 units that would soon become a part of the 1st Cavalry Division fought in various skirmishes such as the Spanish American War of 1898, the Philippines Insurrection 1899-1904 and the Punitive Expedition of 1916,
A display in the Spanish American war exhibit shows the Model 1899 30-40 caliber Krag Carbine. This carbine was the first US military weapon to use the new smokeless cartridge. The Model 1903 Springfield replaced the Krag Rifle and was used until the beginning of WWII.
The Punitive Expedition mission into Mexico was to capture Pancho Villa, a border raider who harassed the frontiers of western Texas; it was the last great cavalry campaign.
The National Defense Act of 1920 called for the reorganization of the Army. One active cavalry division and one inactive division served in the regular Army.
On 13 September 1921, the 1st Cavalry Division was officially formed with the Headquarters stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. The Division was formed around the 1st, 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments. In 1922, the 5th Cavalry Regiment joined, replacing the 10th Cavalry, to round off the square organizational concept.
The mission of 1st Cavalry Division was to train regularly and patrol the desert around Fort Bliss, Camp Clark and Camp Marfa, all located along the Texas-Mexico border.
The display includes a photograph of the first commander of the division, MG Robert Lee Howze, a Medal of Honor hero during the Indian war years. This is the only known photo of MG Howze with the 7th cavalry insignia visible on his uniform. He died in 1926 during surgery for appendicitis.
The display also includes a photograph of Mrs. Ben Dorcy, who designed the Division patch in the shape of a Norman shield. She selected Cavalry Gold for the background color with the silhouette of a horse's head that represented the thoroughbred horse of the mounted cavalry. The diagonal line represented a scaling ladder. The insignia of the 1st Cavalry Division is the largest of all US Army patches. "The patch had to be large enough to be seen through the dust and sand at Fort Bliss, and we made it that way because it is worn by big men who do big things."
In 1940-1941 the division participated in the 3rd Army Maneuvers in Louisiana and the southwest Texas desert.
With the introduction of mechanical support, Harley Davidson WLA motorcycle were used for reconnaissance and courier missions. By 1940 the march of progress had left the horse far behind. The 1st Cavalry Division was dismounted in 1943 and processed for overseas movement to the Southwest Pacific as cavalry foot soldiers
After (6) six months of training in Australia the first taste of combat in World War II occurred on 29 February 1944 in the Admiralty Islands. The enemy lost 2,000 soldiers in the fist battle. The next action was on the Island of Leyte, and Luzon the main islands of the Philippines.
On 31 January 1945 General MacArthur ordered the 1st Team to capture and secure the legislative building and Santo Tomas University in Manila. The next day BG Chase formed the flying column slicing through 100 miles of Japanese territory. The capture of Manila, was first of firsts "first in Manila". BG Chase, later promoted as Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, lead the allied occupation into Tokyo achieving its second notable, "1st in Tokyo".
The occupation duties of the Division were interrupted on 25 June 1950 as hostilities broke out in Korea. On 18 July 1950, the First Team plunged ashore at Pohongadong, South Korea. In mid-September, the Division started North, crossing the 38th parallel on 09 October 1950 and into the capital city of Pyongyang becoming the "first in Pyongyang".
After 18 months of fighting the 45th Infantry Division relieved the 1st Cavalry Division and they returned to one of the Northern Islands of Japan, Hokkaido. Fully rested and retrained they returned to Korea in 1957 to patrol the border dividing North and South Korea, the DMZ.
The 1st Cavalry Division came home in 1965 to prepare for a new mission. Within 90 days of becoming the Army's first airmobile division, the "First Team" was deployed overseas again for combat action in the Republic of Vietnam.
First blood was drawn 29 October 1965, where skytroopers destroyed two NVA divisions and earned the only Presidential Unit Citation awarded to a division in Vietnam during the Pleiku Campaign. The First Team went on to participate in 13 campaigns in the Vietnam War, over the seven years of combat.
On 05 May 1971 the 1st Cavalry Division returned to the United States and took up station at Ft. Hood, Texas where it was reorganized as the first Triple Capability (TRICAP) Division. This TRICAP designation stemmed from its organization consisting of an armored brigade, and support troops tailored to assist the combat elements of the division.
Today the Division is equipped with modern state of the art equipment. With an authorized strength of 12,500 soldiers it became the Army's newest armored division in 1975. The 1st Cavalry division linked its colorful horse cavalry heritage with today's modern army and has the ability to fight and win anywhere in the world.
In August 1990, the Division was alerted for deployment to Southwest Asia for supporting Saudi Arabia defenses against a potential Iraqi attack. Massive division training on all modern weapons and preparation for overseas movement occurred. Actual deployment began in September to mid-October. By the end of December the 1st Cavalry Division was one of the most modern and powerfully equipped divisions in the Army.
In January 1991 the division was attached to VII Corps for offensive action. On 26 February 1991 the commander of the allied forces General Schwarzkopf directed, "send the First Team, destroy the Republican Guard."
Included in the exhibit is a Diorama which depicts the capture of an Iraqi soldier by a 1st Cavalry Division soldier in Kuwait, over looking the Persian Gulf in the background.
Preparing to return to the states, in an address to the Division at Assembly Area (AA) Killeen on Palm Sunday, VII Corps Commander LT Gen. Frederick Franks emphasized the Division's major role in the allied victory. "You were leading the Corps-you were the major combat power VII Corps had. You were the "First Team". You led us into combat. You began the fight, you led the way....."
The 1st Cavalry Division was the first US based division to be sent to Bosnia. The Division, part of multinational Division consisting of the Polish, Finnish, Norwegian, Sweden, Danish, Lithuania, Latvian, Estonian, Turkish and Russian troops, had the mission to supervise and enforce the Dayton Peace Accords.
In carrying out their mission, the 1st Cavalry Division patrolled the region, performed inspections of weapon storage sites, and allowed free flow of commerce. The exhibit includes a Diorama of a Tactual Operation Center or TOC, the nerve center of the Base Camp. From there patrols were sent out and situations were monitored in the their Area of Control.
The exhibit also includes a mockup of Sea Huts, the housing units, where soldiers at the Base Camps lived in comfortable quarters.
Revised 12 Jan '13 SpellChecked