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Ft. Hood - New Home Of The 1st Cavalry Division

General John Bell Hood, CSA
Ft. Hood, TX had begun its own long history on 15 January 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when the War Department announced that a camp, to be a permanent station of the Tank Destroyer and Firing Center, would be built in the vicinity of Killeen, Texas. On 17 February 1942, the Army announced that the camp would be named Camp Hood in honor of General John Bell Hood, the "Fighting General" of the famous "Texas Brigade" of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, who was later Commanding General of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Although not a native of Texas, General Hood was nevertheless considered a state hero for his connections with the "Texas Brigade and his prior service and dramatic forays in Texas while serving in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (redesignated 10 August 1861, as the 5th Cavalry Regiment) at Ft. Mason, TX under Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee.

Orders were issued for the Real Estate Branch of the Engineer Corps to acquire 10,800 acres of land northwest of Killeen. During the construction phase, the Army purchased an additional 16,000 acres of land in Bell County for training purposes and 34,943 acres in Coryell County for a cantonment to house the Tank Destroyer Basic Replacement Training Center and an area for its extensive field training.

In early 1942 residents of the 30 communities that existed on modern-day Fort Hood were given notice to evacuate their properties following the issue of the Second War Powers Act which gave the government enhanced powers of eminent domain, and so they didn't have to wait for a perfect title before they (claimed the land). On average, people got paid $30 an acre and were told they had a little more than two weeks to vacate the property.

The Reynolds House
Despite his status in the community, even Reynolds - a local merchant, was forced off the land vacating the Victorian-style building with white clapboard siding that he had built in 1915, Eventually, all but one of original homes, the Reynolds House, were torn down to make way for the construction of Fort Hood. It was unclear exactly why the house was left unscathed, but its size and beauty played a role. Its location, near what is now the Warrior Way Commissary and far from the training areas of Fort Hood, also played in its favor,

The Reynolds House - the only surviving building to predate Fort Hood - stands out amid the predominantly flat, tan architectural structure of the other buildings on the post. The house has five bedrooms, a parlor, kitchen, dining room, butler's pantry, carbide lights and a bathroom, and was "an unusually fine structure" for its time and place, It later became home to Fort Hood's commanding general for some time. Later it was designated as the Reynolds House Outreach Center in 1981 and is now home to the Red Cross.

On 26 March 1971, a Stand Down Ceremony at Bein Hoa, marked the departure of the 1st Cavalry Division from Vietnam. With the simple but brief ceremony highlighted by the 1st Cavalry Division Band and the bright colors, their tour of duty came to a close. After sixty-six months "in country" and continuously in combat, the First Team left the 3rd Brigade (Separate) to carry on.

Pass In Review - TRICAP 05 May, 1971
1st Cavalry Division Headquarters - 1971

On 05 May, the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division, minus those of the 3rd Brigade (Separate), were moved from Vietnam to Ft. Hood, TX and were passed to the commander of the former 1st Armored Division, Major General James C. Smith. After twenty-seven years of outstanding service, hardships and dedicated service overseas, the major part of the 1st Cavalry Division was back in Texas where it had been organized over fifty years ago.

Position cursor on selected function, "Click" and "Hold".
TRICAP Division Organization
Following the ceremonies, the 1st Cavalry Division began a reorganization and redesignation of its subordinate units to become the 1st Cavalry Triple-Capability (TRICAP) Division. In its implementation, the Division consisted of two armored brigades (with two mechanized infantry and four armor battalions divided between them) and one air cavalry combat brigade. The air cavalry brigade was structured to be part of a division or independently, was to consist of an airmobile infantry battalion and two attack helicopter squadrons. The brigade had an organic support battalion. Round-out battalions continued to be assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division so that it could deploy as a full armored division along with the air cavalry combat brigade.

Before the organizational instructions was issued, it was decided that the air combat brigade was to be structured as a separate unit for employment at Corps level and to make the Division exclusively an armored unit. With one organic brigade organized as an air cavalry, the 1st Cavalry Division (with only two mechanized infantry and four armor battalions) lacked the necessary ground-gaining and holding ability of a normal armored division. The basic restructuring was accomplished by the transfer of equipment assets and specialized trained personnel of the following units:

Headquarters and Headquarters Co,
1st Cavalry (TRICAP) Division
Headquarters and Headquarters Co,
1st Armored Division
HHC, 1st Armored Brigade
   1st Battalion (Armored), 13th Armor
   2nd Battalion (Mech/Inf), 12th Cavalry
   1st Battalion (Armored), 81st Armor
HHC, 1st Armored Brigade
   1st Battalion, (Armored) 13th Armor
   5th Battalion, 6th Infantry
   1st Battalion, (Armored) 81st Armor
HHC, 2nd Air Cavalry Combat Brigade
   3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry
   2nd Battalion (Armored), 13th Armored
   4th Squadron (Air), 9th Cavalry
HHC, 2nd Brigade
   3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry
   2nd Battalion (Armored), 13th Armor
HHC, 3rd Brigade, (Special)
   2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry
   1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry
   2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry
   1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry
The 3rd Brigade (Special),
1st Cavalry Division remained
in Vietnam until 26 June 1972
HHC, 4th AirMobile Infantry Brigade
   1st Battalion (AM/Inf) 5th Cavalry
   2nd Battalion (AM/Inf) 7th Cavalry
   1st Battalion (AM/Inf) 8th Cavalry
HHC, 3rd Brigade
   2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry
   2nd Battalion, 52nd Infantry
HHB, Division Artillery
   1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery
   1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery)
HHB, Division Artillery
   1st Battalion, 73rd Field Artillery
   1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery
HHC, Support Command
   1st Cavalry Division

   15th Medical Battalion
   15th Supply & Transport Battalion
   27th Maintenance Battalion
   315th Composite Supt Battalion
HHC, Support Command
   1st Armored Division

   47th Medical Battalion
   501st Supply & Transport Battalion
   123rd Maintenance Battalion
Separate Battalions & Companies
HHC, 1st Cavalry (TRICAP) Division
   8th Engineer Battalion
   13th Signal Battalion
   15th Adjutant General Company
   15th Data Processing Unit
   15th Finance Company
   545 Military Police Company
   230th Aviation Battalion (Note 1)
Division Troops
   HHC, 1st Armored Division
   16th Engineer Battalion
   141st Signal Battalion
   501st Adjutant General Company
   10th Data Processing Detachment
   501st Military Police Company
Note 1: The 230th Aviation Battalion was an accounting organization
setup to receive assets of the Vietnam Aviation Organizations.

The 1st Cavalry Division, following a reorganization using the assets and personnel of the 1st Armored Division, received an experimental designation of a TRICAP Division and was reassigned to III Corps, The Division consisted of the 1st Armored Brigade, the 2nd Air Cavalry Combat Brigade (ACCB) and the 4th Airmobile Infantry Brigade. Division Artillery provided the fire support and Support Command provided normal troop support and service elements. Its new mission, under the direction of Modern Army Selected Systems Test, Evaluation and Review (MASSTER) was to carry on a close identification with and test forward looking combined armor, air cavalry, and airmobile concepts.

"Charge" - The Horse Platoon, 1st Cavalry Division

Not to be lost in the historical archives, in January 1972; The Horse Platoon was officially established and formed as a Unit-Of-Choice recruiting tool for the 1st Cavalry Division and was sponsored by the 1st Cavalry Division Association. The transformation and organization of the last horse mounted cavalry unit in the United States Army, renewed and restored the spirit and proud heritage of the horse cavalry to the Division.

TRICAP was derived from combining the ground (mechanized infantry or armor) capability, airmobile infantry and air cavalry or attack helicopter forces. TRICAP I was held at Ft. Hood, TX beginning in February 1972. On 28 February 1972, the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry was reactivated to join in TRICAP evaluations. The purpose of TRICAP I was to investigate the effectiveness and operational employment of the TRICAP concept at battalion and company levels when conducting tactical operations in a 1979 European International mid-intensity warfare environment. The exercise consisted of six phases; movement to contact, defense and delay, exploitation, elimination of penetration, rear area security and night elimination of a penetration in an adjacent area.

By 31 March 1972, only ninety-six thousand US troops were involved in the Vietnam combat operations. In mid June 1972, the stand-down ceremony for the 3rd Brigade was held in Bein Hoa and the colors were returned to the United States. The last trooper left from Tan Son Nhut on 26 June, completing the Division recall which had started on 05 May 1971. With the 3rd Brigade completing its withdrawal, the 1st Cavalry had become the first US Army Division to go to Vietnam and the last to leave.

On 26 June 1972, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry; 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry; and the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry along with the 3rd Brigade (Separate) was brought back to the United States, completing the last stage of the "Vietnam recall" for the 1st Cavalry Division. The return of the units brought about several changes to the organizational structure of the 1st Cavalry Division. On 28 June the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry was inactivated at Ft. Hood, TX. and on 29 June the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry replaced the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment which was inactivated at Ft. Hood, Texas. On 22 August, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was inactivated at Ft. Hood, Texas followed by the inactivation of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry at Ft. Hood, Texas on 13 September 1972.

On 27 January 1973, a cease-fire was signed in Paris by the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the National Liberation Front (NLF), the civilian arm of the South Vietnam Communists. A Four-Party Joint Military Commission was set up to implement such provisions as the withdrawal of foreign troops and the release of prisoners. An International Commission of Control and Supervision was established to oversee the cease-fire.

On 22 June 1973, the first of many aviation resources of the 1st Cavalry Division came into being with the organization and assignment of the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, which included "HH", "A", "B", "C" and "D" Troops, to the 1st Brigade.

However, the period of inactivation for the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was short lived. On 20 April 1974, the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry was reactivated, redesignated 2nd Battalion (Armor), 8th Cavalry and reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division where it has been to the present. On 06 June 1974, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was reactivated as a M-60A1 tank battalion and assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

Continuing the organizational changes, on 20 June 1974 the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, which was inactivated upon its return to Ft. Hood in July 1972, was reactivated, reorganized as an armored unit and reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division as a replacement unit for the 1st Battalion (Armored), 81st Armor Regiment which was inactivated on 20 July.

The units of the aviation operations of the Division underwent several reorganizations and eventually the aviation operations became centralized under the command of a "Provisional" Brigade in 1974.

On 21 February 1975, the TRICAP evaluations ended. It was concluded that the employment of the TRICAP concept at the battalion level appeared to have application in some tactical situations, but employment at company level appeared to be feasible only for short periods of combat and for special missions. The evaluation also indicated that air cavalry would normally be controlled above the company level. The battalion task force encountered no combat support problems directly attributable to the TRICAP concept.

With the conclusion of the TRICAP test evaluations and acceptance of the summary evaluation, on 21 February 1975, the 1st Cavalry Division was once again reorganized, wholly as an armored division with four armor and four infantry battalions as in the Regular Army to become the newest armored division in the Army. During the Division's most recent past, the unit successfully completed field testing of Tactical Fire (TACFIRE), a computerized detection system to increase the effectiveness of artillery.

Along with the reorganization on 21 February, the mission of airmobile anti-armor warfare was transferred to the 6th Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat) co-located at Ft. Hood, TX. On 21 July, the remainder of the air-mobile units, the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry and 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry along with the 55th Signal Company and 34th Support Battalion were transferred the 6th Cavalry Brigade.

In mid 1976, the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) began a formal division restructuring effort to create a force design that took maximum advantage of the new generation of equipment the Army expected to receive in the early 1980s. The ROAD organization not only used 1970s weaponry inefficiently, it could not keep pace with tactical changes emerging from weapon advances like the antitank missile. To remedy this, a Division Restructuring Study (DRS) was developed that would integrate new weapons to ensure their ideal use when and where they were most needed. Weapon systems employment would determine force design.

Simultaneously, indirect fire techniques and air-delivered munitions greatly increased the demands on battlefield commanders attempting to integrate all combined-arms elements. Greater troop dispersion required greater mobility to mass defenders quickly at a threatened breakthrough point. The increasing complexity of war demanded more combat service and combat service support to supply and maintain the troops and the new weapons, continuing a trend of increasing the size of the Army's logistic tail. The 1st Cavalry Division, fresh from the TRICAP experiment, again served as the primary test unit.

On 01 July 1977, the 1st Cavalry Division entered Phase 1 of the DRS to test, evaluate and determine the most effective use of manpower and weapons systems of future "heavy divisions" on the battlefields of the future. Four of the maneuvering regiments were reorganized to include one maintenance company per maneuver unit. The 3rd Battalion, 10th Cavalry was activated along with "E" Battery, 1st Battalion, 68th Air Defense Artillery, the 68th Chemical Defense Company, and one anti-armor company. On 08 August, the 227th Aviation Battalion was activated with one air cavalry troop, one attack helicopter company, one general support company, and a maintenance element.

Not unexpectedly, the Division Restructuring Evaluation (DRE) testing yielded mixed results. Strong support emerged for brigades with organic battalions, integration of combined arms at battalion level and below, single-purpose maneuver units and cross attachment at company level. Yet serious doubts remained: the three-tank platoon was too small, the division depended too much on external combat service support and lacked scouts in maneuver battalions, and the brigade's span of control was too large.

In its final form, the ROAD Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE) updated with 1986 weapons was better and more cost-effective for the offense, but the DRS TOE was better and more cost-effective for the defense. In short, features of both the current and the restructured division warranted inclusion in any new design for a heavy division. However, the desire to field a new force design quickly caused accelerated and nonstandard testing that left many questions unanswered.

During 1968 the REFORGER exercise itself was first conceived when the Johnson administration announced plans to withdraw approximately two divisions from Europe. As a demonstration of its continuing commitment to the defense of NATO and to illustrate its capability of rapid reinforcement,a large scale force deployment Exercise Reforger (REturn of FORrces to GERmany) was planned to deploy a division or more to West Germany in a regular annual exercise. The first such exercise was conducted beginning on 06 January 1969 before the 1st Cavalry Division had returned from Vietnam. These exercises continued annually past the end of the Cold War, except for the year 1989, until 1993. Reforger 1988 was billed as the largest European ground maneuver since the end of World War II as 125,000 troops were deployed.

The US Army also increased its rapid-reinforcement capability by prepositioning huge stocks of equipment and supplies in Europe at POMCUS sites. The maintenance of this equipment has provided extensive on-the-job training to reserve-component support units.

As may be determined by the table (below), the number of deployments (10) of the 1st Cavalry Division to REFORGER exercises during its early years of assignment to Fort Hood, Texas, overseas mission assault training - coupled with the capability of open full scale, field exercises at Ft Irwin, California, contributed to the development of the Division in fulfilling its on-order mission to deploy by sea, air or land to any part of the world on a short notice.

REturn of FORrces to GERmany (REFORGER) Exercises
Reforger I JAN 1969 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
24th Infantry Division (Mech)
Reforger II OCT 1970 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Infantry Division (Mech)
Reforger III OCT 1971 1st Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division (Mech)
Reforger IV JAN 1972 2nd Armored Division.
Reforger V SEP 1973 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 74 SEP 1974 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
1st Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division, (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 75 SEP 1975 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
3rd Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 76 SEP 1976 1st Armored Division,
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
101st Airborne,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
Reforger 77 SEP 1977 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
4th Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division,
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
Reforger 78 SEP 1978 8th Infantry Division,
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
4th Infantry Division (Mech),
5th Infantry Division (Mech),
9th Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division,
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
Reforger 79 JAN 1979 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
1st Armored Division;
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division (Note 1)
Reforger 80 SEP 1980 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
1st Armored Division;
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 81 SEP 1981 8th Infantry Division,
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment,
3rd Armored Division,
4th Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 82 SEP 1982 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
8th Infantry Division,
1st Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 83 SEP 1983 8th Infantry Division,
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment,
3rd Armored Division,
1st Cavalry Division
Reforger 84 SEP 1984 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
11th Armored Cavalry Regimen,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
5th Infantry Division ,
24th Infantry Division ,
30th Armored Brigade (Sep) (TNARNG),
3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (Light)
Reforger 85 JAN 1985 8th Infantry Division,
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment,
3rd Armored Division,
4th Infantry Division (Mech),
5th Infantry Division (Mech),
197th Infantry Brigade
Reforger 86 JAN 1986 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment,
1st Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
24th Infantry Division (Mech),
30th Armored Brigade (Sep) (TNARNG),
3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (Light)
Reforger 87 SEP 1987 3rd Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
24th Infantry Division ,
30th Armored Brigade (Sep) (TNARNG),
3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (Light)
Reforger 88 SEP 1988 3rd Infantry Division (Mech),
8th Infantry Division,
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment,
3rd Armored Division, Berlin Brigade,
1st Infantry Division (Mech),
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment,
179th Infantry Brigade (OKARNG)
Reforger 91 SEP 1991 4th Infantry Division
Reforger 92 SEP 1992 HQ, 1st US Infantry Division (Mech),
Parts 2nd Brigade, 1st US Infantry Division (Mech),
HQ, 24th Infantry Division (Mech),
30th Armored Brigade (Sep) (TNARNG),
HQ, 3rd Brigade, 7th US Infantry Division (Light)
Reforger 93 MAY 1993 1st Armored Division

2nd Brigade, REFORGER Winter '79
Note 1: In 1979, when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held its first winter exercise in five years, troopers and armored units of the 2nd (Blackjack) Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, along with appropriate support units was selected to participate in the REturn of FORces to GERmany (REFORGER) exercises. They were sealifted to Germany for the massive exercises which demonstrated the US will to reinforce Europe, and practiced in deployment and how NATO would defend against a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.

The associated, edited, video clip of FORGER 79 is taken from the archives of the Armed Forces Network. Although brief - it depicts the cold snowey terrain of the Free State of Bavaria, located in southeast Germany, that was encountered by the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in its training exercises. It illustrates a marked contrast of the nearly desert terrain features and the mild temperatures of the winters of the Texas Hill Country where they were normally stationed. If you are a good observer, you can see that one of the soldiers wears a 1st Cavalry Division Shoulder Patch.

National Training Center, Ft. Irwin
Ft Irwin, California was opened in 1980 enabling the army to conduct open full scale, field exercise. In its first use of the facility, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division fielded some 2,500 troopers in Operation DESERT HORSE. The exercise, lasting six weeks, focused on combined arms training, live fire exercises and chemical warfare. It was the first time the Army conducted battalion on battalion exercises using the Multi Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) in the largest peacetime field operations to date

In May 1980 the 1st Cavalry Horse Platoon was recognized as a Special Ceremonial Unit (SCU) by the department of the Army. Its assigned mission was threefold; to represent the 1st Cavalry Division and the Army in public appearances throughout the country; assist in recruiting by demonstrating the professionalism of soldiers; and maintain the proud traditions forged by the cavalry in the colorful history of the United States.

In September 1980, as part of the continuous preparation for combat against unknown enemies of the future, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment was selected to field test the new XM-1 tank. At the same time the Division shed the battle weary M-55 Sheridan armored reconnaissance airborne assault vehicles for M-60 tanks. Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry and supporting troops of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry were deployed to Germany as part of the Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise to put together a combat ready tank battalion using stored (prepositioned) equipment.

During the 1970s, 1980s, and the beginning of the 1990s a crucial part of US Army doctrine of "Total Force" employed the use of "Roundout Brigades". The use of this concept included the flexibility or changes in either staffing or equipment resources by the attachment/assignment of either an Army Reserve or National Guard unit to the Regular Army Divisions. Implementation of these plans included the close supervision and/or training of these "roundout brigades" by the active parent division. In the implementation of the "roundout concept", several active duty divisions reorganized their staffing around the use of two active duty brigades and one brigade of either the National Guard or Army Reserve. The 1st Cavalry Division, one of the active divisions planning to take advantage of the "roundout resources", inactivated the 3rd Brigade at Ft. Hood, Texas on 15 September 1980.

In early 1983, in order to offset the need of increased staffing requirements caused by the inactivation of the 3rd Brigade, the 1st Cavalry Division, as planned, took advantage of the Army Total Forces - Roundout Brigade Program. The Roundout Program, designed and controlled by DOD, in conjunction with State Legislators, had promised to bring any of the participating divisions up to full strength when mobilized. In anticipation of fulfilling its manpower staffing and equipment needs during their continuous reorganization for combat against unknown enemies of the future, the 1st Cavalry Division attached the 155th Armored Brigade, Mississippi Army National Guard to functionally operate as its third brigade.

AUTHOR's NOTE: When the nation critically needed the Roundout Brigade Program concept to work during Operation DESERT STORM, neither the 1st Cavalry Division nor the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) deployed with their roundout brigades. In early 1991, the US Army began a move at reducing the combat role of reservists and changed its basic tenant of the "Total Force" policy. In parallel, it began a massive restructuring effort to deal with a smaller military force by 1995.

As modifications were made to the reserve training program, the reserve units made significant contributions to the continuing Middle East conflicts. The 155th Armored Brigade, Mississippi Army National Guard successfully carried out and met the objectives of the following recent deployments:

On 01 October 1981, more than four years after it had been organized under the 1st Cavalry Division as a provisional unit and equipped with the most modern intelligence gathering electronic equipment, the 312th Military Intelligence Battalion was redesignated and became an active Army element in a colorful ceremony at Ft. Hood.

On 04 September 1982, the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment received a sudden alert to proceed to Germany. Their mission was to reinforce the already selected REFORGER Units and participate in the annual autumn exercises. On 06 September, reinforced by two platoons of "B" Company, 7th Cavalry, the advance party was on its way. Picking up prepositioned equipment at Germersheim, West Germany, they maneuvered and fought mock battles with the 2nd Armored Division and 11th Panzer Brigade (Germany) and various British units.

Also in September 1982, 3,000 troopers of the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade took part in Operation DESERT CHARGER, the first National Training Center (NTC) rotation of the division at Ft. Irwin, located in the High Mojave Desert of California. This kicked off a long on-going series of tough, realistic desert battles which enabled the division to stay on the leading edge of the warfare technology of today. The first units to attend were the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry and the 3rd Battalion, 10th Cavalry. The Division now conducts three NTC rotations per year.

As 1983 began, the First Team began a restructuring, taking on the "Division '86" configuration. The reorganization included: deactivation of the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment on the 15th of June; activation of a new helicopter unit, "A" Company, 227th Aviation Regiment on the 16th of June which would be later reorganized and redesignated as the 228th Aviation Battalion on 01 Oct '83. Other changes included; increasing the authorized sizes of the 8th Combat Engineer, 13th Signal and 15th Medical Battalions along with the DISCOM supply and transport elements and 1st Battalion, 68th Air Defense Artillery.

1st Cavalry Division Headquarters

The opening ceremonies for the new 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters Building were held in July. A modern brick, 124,000 square-foot facility replaced the original World War II structures, enabling the housing of the Division Staff under one roof. Major General William C. Chase (Retired), who commanded the Division in the final days of World War II through the occupation of Japan, participated in the ribbon cutting which was held during the 36th reunion of the Association.

Tankers Deploy On Charted Aircraft
In September, the Division deployed nearly 9,000 soldiers to Europe for the fifteenth annual REFORGER exercises. The Division, the first US combat team to return to the Netherlands since World War II, drew prepositioned equipment, moved to a staging area and conducted exercise CERTAIN STRIKE on the plains of Northern Germany. This deployment, a demanding twenty-seven day exercise, offered many challenges and unforgettable experiences. The success of the exercise proved that the Division was fully capable of performing its wartime mission.

The First Team became the "First unit to train as a division-size element in Northern Europe." REFORGER '83 was designed to test and evaluate plans and support agreements between Americans and European military and civilian agencies. REFORGER and a second strategic exercise CRESTED CAP a major deployment of US Force fighters, together served to demonstrate that the United States remained willing and capable of reinforcing Europe with NATO committed ground forces and air units should a Soviet threat arise.

The Cavalry Division Band accompanied the body of troops deployed to Europe for the annual REFORGER '83 and REFORGER '87 exercises. During these two large-scale exercises, the band served the division by promoting esprit de corps throughout the theater of operations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Reforger '83 - Neinburg, Germany
For many troopers taking part in this exercise, a key logistic feature was the use of Prepositioned Material Configured into Unit Sets (POMCUS). Troopers flew from Ft. Hood to Germany carrying only their uniforms, individual weapons and any specialized gear they would need, such as sighting equipment for the TOW anti Tank missiles. Once they reached Herongen, West Germany, members of the 2nd Battalion received 164 tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks, jeeps and mess vehicles in less than five hours from a POMCUS site. This early training in the use of prepositioned materials and equipment was extremely useful in preparing to deploy a fully armed division to the Persian Gulf within 20 hours in 1990.

On 01 September 1984, the units of the Aviation Operations of the "Provisional Brigade" formed in 1974, were reorganized and formed into the Combat Aviation Brigade. The Brigade, composed of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, the 227th Aviation and the 228th Attack Helicopter Battalions was constituted in the Regular Army and activated at Ft. Hood under the command of Colonel Robert A. Goodbary. At that time The two aviation battalions combined with the reconnaissance squadron of the 9th Cavalry, gave the Combat Aviation Brigade its scout, observation, attack, and support capability.

The mission of the newly formed Aviation Brigade was to find, fix and destroy enemy forces using reconnaissance, fire, and maneuver capability to concentrate and sustain combat power at the critical time and place. The Brigade provided timely reconnaissance and intelligence throughout the battlefield, mass attack helicopter fires and rapidly repositioned combat power anywhere within the division area. It is capable of quickly inserting troops, supplies, and equipment to sustain the battle and at the same time providing the command, control and liaison assets necessary to manage and coordinate the battle.

In October 1984, the 1st and 2nd Forward Support Battalions were activated using elements of the three functional battalions. In the following year, on 20 June 1985, the Army of Excellence (AOE) Reorganization transformed the elements of the remaining functional battalions; Maintenance, Medical and Supply/Transport into the 4th Main Support Battalion. The same reorganization added the 493rd Transportation Aircraft Maintenance Company to the Division Support Command.

On 20 June 1985, the 1st Cavalry Division Band was withdrawn from the Division Support Command and designated as one of the Separate Battalions and Companies of the Division.

On 16 October 1986, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry furled its colors and assumed a new role as the 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor and remained assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. In the same divisional organization change, the colors of the 1st Squadron (Reconnaissance), 9th Cavalry were removed from service and the unit was redesignated 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry which for the first time since 1943, was conducting missions as a true cavalry unit. At that time, the unit consisted of one ground troop and two air troops, with a combat power of twenty M3A1 Bradleys, eight AH-1P Cobra Attack Helicopters and twelve OH-58C observation helicopters.

Additional organizational changes were implemented on 16 October as the 2nd Battalion, 33rd Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, stationed in Germany, was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. Immediately upon assignment, it was redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment. The transfer of this unit came about by the participation of the 1st Cavalry Division in the Cohesion, Operational Readiness Training (COHORT) program. Designed to foster esprit de corps and a sense of operational continuity, the main objective of COHORT was have soldiers exposed to the experiences of other operations by the alignment of units in the Continental United States (CONUS) with units stationed overseas.

In exchange for the move of the 2nd Battalion, 33rd Armor, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry was relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division and assigned to the 3rd Armored Division in Germany. This action provided the opportunity to conduct tests of deployment and field exercises in Europe. On 16 December, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry was inactivated and relieved from assignment to the 3rd Armored Division. Their period of inactivation was short lived as on 16 January 1987, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry was reactivated and assigned to Ft. Hood and the 1st Cavalry Division where it has been to the present, filling out the organization structure.

On 16 January 1987, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry was relieved from assignment from the 1st Cavalry Division and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Carson, Colorado. It would not be until the end of the Gulf War and the subsequent reorganization of 11 August 1993, when the 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry, 2nd Armored Division would be reflagged as the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry and assigned to the 3rd (Greywolf) Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, filling out the present organizational structure.

In concert with the divisional changes made in the maneuvering units, the support units were reorganized to fulfill the overall mission objectives. On 20 May 1987, the 1st Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Forward Support Battalion, 4th Main Support Battalion, 493rd Transportation Aviation Maintenance Company were redesignated the 115th Support Battalion (FWD), 15th Support Battalion (FWD), 27th Support Battalion (MAIN) and 227th Transportation Aviation Maintenance Company respectively.

In the summer of 1987, the 1st Cavalry Division deployed on REFORGER '87 with the 2nd Armored Division. With the decline of the role of the Warsaw Pact, the sizes of subsequent REFORGER deployments were reduced, but command and control elements continued to evaluate the need for equipment types and repositioning of "war stocks" along with development of contingency plans to ensure the reliability and effectiveness of combat readiness, should deployment become necessary.

On 16 November 1988 the 4th Missile Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery was redesignated as the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery, assigned as a Separate Battalion to the 1st Cavalry Division and activated at Ft. Hood, TX. The addition of the 4th Missile Battalion provided the added capability of short range air defense for the Division to protect itself against air strikes in the field.

At Ft. Hood, the division through deliberate planning, evolved into the combat unit which would eventually be assigned a major role in Operation DESERT STORM. Along with the constant training of personnel, equipment was updated. The XM-1 tank, renamed the "M1 Abrams", was accepted and issued, along with the M2 Bradley Infantry (BFV) and M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV}. New technology was fielded in the Multiple Launched Rocket Systems (MLRS) and the AH-64 Apache helicopter with its "Hellfire" guided missile. The old reliable Jeep bowed to the Heavy Expanded Multi-purpose Tactical Truck (HEMTT), capable of hauling fuel, ammunition and various cargos, and the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), configured as troop/cargo carrier, light armored personnel carrier, communications equipment carrier and ambulance, both of which proved to be invaluable in the Gulf War.

Along with the hardware technology changes, communication innovations made possible quantum leaps in command and control operations by the fielding of Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) which, essentially cellular telephones for both fixed sites and mobile vehicles, provides secure mobile voice/data and facsimile service. The MSE is augmented by Single Channel Ground to Air Communication System (SINGARS), which provides unprecedented security using frequency hopping technology. The inventor behind this amazing technology of "Frequency Spread" was the incredible and talented actress Heddy Lamar who applied for the basic patent in 1942 and gave the US government royalty free use.

All of this new equipment saw hard operational use at Ft. Hood and by the deployment of brigades to the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, located in the high Mojave Desert of California. This facility encompasses one thousand square miles for maneuver training against the best trained opposing force in the world. The mission of Ft. Irwin is to provide tough, realistic combined arms training at battalion task force level using both live fire and opposing forces. To carry out this mission, the National Training Center has a computerized, live-fire complex with sophisticated targetry, a dedicated, full-time opposing force, a state-of-the-art range instrumentation system that monitors training battles and full-time combat trainers who observe and control units during exercises.

USNS Capella, RollOn RollOff Vessel
This effective training could have not come at a more opportune time in the history of the First Team. On 07 August 1990, a deployment order for the Southwest Asia operations was issued. Plans calling for the Division to deploy by 15 September extended the work day to fourteen, sixteen and in some cases twenty-four hours. On schedule, by mid September more than eight hundred heavy loaded vehicles were loaded at the Ft. Hood railhead to make the trip to the seaports of Houston, Texas and Beaumont, Texas. An additional four thousand two hundred vehicles formed road convoys that left every two hours, around the clock.

On 16 September an Air Force C5A Galaxy, carrying the advance headquarters staff, departed Robert Gray Army Airfield at Ft. Hood. In the final drama, 1st Cavalry Division soldiers assembled for manifest roll call. The moment came; buses were loaded and were driven to awaiting 747s. The planes were boarded and the time for memories had begun.

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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 Jan '13 SpellChecked