Gary Owen

The 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century. Its official nickname is “Garryowen”, in honor of the Irish drinking song Garryowen that was adopted as its march tune.

The regiment was constituted on July 28, 1866 in the regular army as the 7th Cavalry. It was organized on September 21, 1866 at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of an expansion of the regular army following the demobilization of the wartime volunteer and draft forces. From 1866 through 1871, the regiment was posted to Fort Riley and fought in the Indian Wars, notably at the Battle of the Washita in 1868.

Throughout this period, the cavalryman was armed with Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolvers and single shot Springfield carbines, caliber .50–70 until 1870 and caliber .45–70 until 1892. Sabres were issued but not carried on campaign. The Seventh was the only US cavalry regiment of the period to have a band, as the infantry regiments did. The band adopted “Garry Owen” as their favorite tune and thus gave the Seventh their nickname among the rest of the Army.

Although the Seventh is best known for its catastrophic defeat at the Little Bighorn under General George Custer, the regiment also participated in at least one victory: the capture of Chief Joseph’s Nez Perce at the Battle of Bear Paw in 1877. The Regiment perpetrated the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890, the end of the Indian Wars.

The 7th Cavalry Regiment continued to train as horse cavalry right up to World War II, where they dismounted on February 28, 1943, and started packing up for deployment to the Pacific Theater, still part of 1st Cavalry Division.

After WWII, The 7th Cavalry fought in the Korean War’s bloodiest battles. When the 1st Cavalry Division attacked north, the 7th Cavalry was in front, smashing 106 miles behind enemy lines in an historic 24 hours. Three more Presidential Unit Citations were added to the colors. After the Korean War, 7th Cavalry was used mainly in a reconnaissance role. It received the M14 rifle, along with various other new weapons and equipment (including the Patton tank). Also, a few OH-13 recon helicopters were used by the reconnaissance squadrons.

Three battalions, the 1st, 2nd, and 5th served during the Vietnam War as the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, often referring to themselves as the “Garryowen Brigade”. These troopers were armed with the new M16 rifle, the M203 grenade launcher replacing the M79 grenade launcher. Claymore mines, and Bell UH-1B helicopters were also used extensively. Seven men earned the Medal of Honor while serving with the 7th Cavalry in Vietnam.

Pictured are LTG Hal Moore and CSM Basil Plumley,

Honorary Commander and Command Sergeant Major
of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, respectively. At their
rear is Joseph L. Galloway, the author of
They Were Soldiers Once…and Young.
They are all heroes of the battle for LZ X-ray
(Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, 1966).

In 1963 the 3rd Squadron became the divisional cavalry squadron for the 3rd Infantry Division and was stationed at Ledward & Conn Barracks Schweinfurt West Germany. The Squadron consisted of two ground troops, two aviation troops and a headquarters troop.

On November 16, 1992, the Squadron was inactivated in Germany and relieved of assignment to the 8th Infantry Division.

On February 16, 1996, the squadron was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and activated at Fort Stewart, Georgia as the Division Cavalry Squadron and became the “Eyes and Ears” of the Marne Division, the “Iron Fist” of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The Squadron has been involved in several deployments since then including Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait, Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd Squadron was reassigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division in 2004 and as the Brigade’s Armored Reconnaissance Squadron. Combat operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom III began on February 4, 2005 when the Squadron arrived at Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah located in southeast Baghdad.

The 1st Squadron and 4th Squadron fought in Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991. The 1st Squadron was the divisional cavalry squadron for the 1st Cavalry Division and assigned to the Division’s aviation brigade. The 4th Squadron was also the divisional cavalry squadron for 3rd Armored Division. Ground troops were armed with the M3A1 Bradley CFV. Air Cavalry Troops were equipped with AH-1F Cobras and OH-58C scout helicopters.

The 1st Squadron served in the 1st Cavalry Division’s 5th Brigade Combat Team (BCT) during its first deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from April 1, 2004 to April 1, 2005. The 1st Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry Regiment, commanded by LTC William R.Salter, distinguished itself by extraordinary valor and gallantry while executing combat operations in the Al Rashid District of Baghdad, Iraq. The Squadron defeated a surge of enemy attacks and neutralized insurgent and terrorist elements within its Area of Operations (AO) through a combination of constant day to day interaction with the populace, adaptable tactics and the tenacious fighting spirit of its troopers.

The 3rd Squadron fought in the Iraq War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and as the “Eyes and Ears” for the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the “Iron Fist” for the XVIII Airborne Corps. The unit was engaged with the enemy earlier and more often in the war than any other unit. The 3rd Squadron was the spearhead and the screening force for the main elements of the 3rd Infantry Division.

As part of the Army’s modularity program, the 3rd Infantry Division converted the 1-3 Air Defense Artillery battalion to become 5th Squadron, 7 Cavalry Regiment, an Armored Reconnaissance Squadron out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. The 5th Squadron deployed to Iraq in in 2005, 2007, and 2009. During OIF V, the Squadron suffered 6 KIA and numerous wounded.

The 7th Cavalry has a distinguished lineage that brings great honor to the United States Cavalry.


The following information was reprinted with permission from