The history of Delta Troop 3/5 Cav

Courtesy of Don Armstrong

The following is the proud history of D troop , of which I was a member from July of 1968 to the end of May 1969.

Most of the following information is from a document supplied to me by Mr. Jim Hines who lives in California and was a member of HH3/5 CAV in Vietnam. I have updated the information with the latest lineage and history from the Center For Military History.

The 3rd Squadron is a descendant of Company C 2nd cavalry. The 2nd cavalry was constituted on 3 March 1855 and organized on 28 May 1855 in Louisville Kentucky. Company C was organized in Pittsburgh Pa. From the start the unit was known as Jeff Davis's own and Jeff Davis's pet in deference to the then Secretary of war Jefferson Davis. The officers in this unit would later gain fame as they left and fought for the South during the civil war/war of northern aggression / southern upheaval. They were Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee, Major William J. Hardee, Captain Edward Van Dorn, Captain Edmund Kirby Smith, Lt. John B. Hood, and Lt. Fitzhugh Lee. For the North there was Major George H. Thomas and Captain George Stoneman. After the unit was formed up they marched to Fort Belknap Texas to relieve the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen which was later redesignated as the 3rd cavalry. They moved between forts Belknap, Mason and Cooper for the next 4 years fighting against the Kiowa and Commanche Indians. In early 1861 the southern officers resigned their commissions and joined the South. In March of 1861 Robert E. Lee was a Colonel of the 1st Cavalry when he joined the South. When Texas seceded from the Union the remaining members of the 2nd Cavalry boarded ships from Indianola Texas and went to New York where they then moved overland to Carlise Barracks Pa.

There first operations of the war included both guarding the nations capitol and setting up a perimeter in northern Virginia. Four companies also participated in the disastrous first battle of Bull Run. ON 3 August the Federal Government redesignated all of its unit so on August of 1861 the 5th Cavalry, part of the Army of the Potomac, came into being.

Unfortunately the unit was lead by a series of Union Generals that were lacking in their ability. There was General George Mc Clellan, Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, And George C. Meade. The unit was involved in the following battles, Bull Run, Peninsula, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Shenandoah and Appomattox. They were in fact at Appomattox for the surrender of Robert E. Lee.

After the Civil war the unit went out west to be in more of the Indian wars. One of their scouts was Buffalo Bill Cody. On July 1869 they had a major fight with the Cheyenne, Sioux and Arapaho Indians at Tall Bulls village at summit springs Colorado. After this the unit moved to Fort MCPherson in 1871 then on to Arizona were it spent 4 years fighting the Apache Indians. From this point they went to Kansas and Oklahoma then Wyoming and Nebraska for several large battles culminating with a battle in the Big Horn Mountains. At this time Colonel Wesley Merritt took command of the regiment. The unit continued moving around the West as the Indian wars continued. They were not at the battle of Pine Ridge, White Clay Creek or Wounded Knee. These battles did bring an end to the Indian wars. During the 22 years of fighting on the frontier 30 members of the 5th Cavalry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The 5th cavalry was then transferred to Texas in 1893 and was still there when the Spanish American war broke out. They moved to Florida but never left until after the war ended. They were then deployed to Puerto Rico until 1900. They then went to the Philippines to fight against an insurrection that had started there. After that they returned to the U.S. for 6 years of duty in the Southwest. They briefly went to Hawaii then back to Fort Huachuca. In 1914 and 1915 they were sent into Colorado and Arkansas to patrol at the scene of some Coal Strikes.

After Pancho Villas' bloody attack on Columbus New Mexico on March 1, 1916, the Regiment now joined in the hunt for him. They stayed in Mexico until 5 Feb 1917 where they then went to Ft Bliss Texas. At the outbreak of the First World War the Army redesignated all the units involved in the border wars into the 15th cavalry Division. Only 2 units every saw action in the war. They were the 6th and 15 Cavalry regiments. After WW I the Division was discontinued but the 3/5 stayed in Texas moving from Fort Bliss to Big Bend country then Marfa Texas and finally Fort Clark. In 1923 the unit became part of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss.

The 5th Cavalry finally got off of their horses on 28 February 1943. They then landed in Australia on July 24, 1943. Their first large battle was the Admiralty Islands Feb 44 to May 44. On Oct 12 1944 they were in the Philippines and fought at San Jose, Tacloban Airfield, Cataisan Peninsula, Mt. Badian Hill, and then up the coast to Tibur on Dec 28 1944. On Jan 8 1945 they loaded up and headed for Lingayen Gulf and on Jan 27 1945 they fought their way into Manila and captured the Agriculture building where many POWs were kept. After this they moved to Santo Thomas and Los Banos and then headed east to San Pablo on April 2, 1945. They then pushed into Bicol Peninsula and Mt Matassana and then Mt Isarong which were all Japanese strong points. On June 26 all units of the 1st Cavalry were relieved and went into training for the invasion of Japan.

The war ended and the 1st Cavalry Division landed at Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, and was the first into Tokyo itself. For the next 5 years they did occupational duty in Japan. During WW II 2 members had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The new campaign credits were New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte and Luzon. On March 29, 1949 the unit was reorganized again with the troops redesignated as companies.

On June of 1950 the Regiment was preparing for an amphibious exercise when the Korean War broke out. They then went over with the entire 1st cavalry Division. They made an unopposed landing at Pohang on Korea's eastern coast on July 18, 1950. Due to the post war cutbacks the unit only had 2 battalions and the entire 1st Cavalry division was now only 3 regiments. They were put on line to help replace the shattered 24 th Division. On 28-29 July in Blocking operations the unit had 275 casualties. The unit acted as the rear guard as all other units pulled into the Pusan Perimeter. The 3rd Regiment was hastily put together in the states and arrived in time for several battles around Taegu. When the battles were over the casualties had been so high that the unit had in effect lost it's combat ability.

On Sept 22 the 1st Cavalry made it's famous mad dash up the peninsula to meet up with the X. Corps who had just landed at Inchon. The 3/5 spearheaded the motor march to Kaesong where the I Corps was assembling for it's march across the 38th parallel. With the 3/5 CAV in the lead the 1st Cavalry entered Pyongang and was the first division to do so. At it's furthest north the 3/5 was behind the 8th Cavalry north of Unsan when 2 Chinese Divisions attacked them. During late November and early December the 8th Army withdrew below the 38th parallel at Imjin River. After furious attacks the line pulled back further to the Han River. Finally on Jan 25 1951 with the 5th Cavalry in reserve the 1st Cavalry attacked as part of the 8th Army. On 29 Jan the 5th Cavalry was now in heavy fighting along the Surwon-Wonju highway. The 23rd infantry was cut off and surround when the 5th Cavalry was sent in as a reliefforce. With it's infantry riding on the tanks they broke through to help the beleaguered 23rd.

On June 1951 the 1st Cavalry and 3rd Division were in operation Pile driver. They slowly advanced against stubborn opposition. At one time it took 16 days to make a 6 mile advance at the cost of 2,000 casualties for the 1st Cavalry. One month later the 1st Cavalry was withdrawn from Korea for R+R. During the fighting in Korea 3 more members of the 3/5 Cavalry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The unit received the following campaign credits: UN Defensive, UN Offensive, CCC Intervention, First UN Counteroffensive, CCC Spring Offensive, UN Summer Fall Offensive, Second Korea Winter, Third Korean Winter.

The following are the awards all of the 3/5 Cav has been awarded in it's long history.

As we have said before one of the reasons the CAV guys have so much bravado and drinking/bragging rights is the fact that they have a long history that they can relate to. I am still trying to find most of the records for D troop during it's time in NAM but I do have the latest update from the Center for Military history for 3/5 history.

Constituted 3 March 1855 in the Regular Army as Company C, 2nd Cavalry.

Organized May June 1855 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Redesignated 3 August 1861 as Company C, 5th Cavalry

(Cavalry companies officially designated as troops in 1883)

5th CAV assigned in December 1917 to the 15 Cavalry Division; relieved in 1918 from assignment to the 15th Cavalry Division; assigned 18 December 1922 to the 1st Cavalry Division; dismounted 28 February 1943 and reorganized 4 December 1943 partly under cavalry and partly under infantry TOE; reorganized wholly as infantry 20 July 1945 but retained cavalry designations.

Inactivated 1 Feb 1928 at Fort Clark Texas.

Activated 1 August 1940 at Fort Clark Texas.

Redesignated 25 March 1949 as Company C, 5th Cavalry

(5th Cavalry relived 15 October 1957 from assignment to the 1st CAV Division)

Inactivated 15 November 1957 in Japan

Redesignated 15 April 1958 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Cavalry (organic elements concurrently constituted)

Squadron assigned 1 July 1958 to the 9th Division at Ft Carson, Colorado

Inactivated 31 January 1962 at FT Carson Colorado.

Redesignated 1 Feb 1966 as the 3d Squadron, 5th Cavalry, and activated at Fort Reily, Kansas.

Inactivated 16 March 1987 at Fort Lewis Washington, and relieved from assignment to the 9th Infantry Division.

Redesignated 16 October 1988 as the 3rd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, assigned to the 3rd Armored Division, and activated in Germany.

Relieved 15 August 1992 from assignment to the 3rd Armored Division and assigned to the 1st Armored division.

Inactivated 15 February 1997 in Germany and Relieved from assignment to the 1st Armored Division.

Campaign Participation Credit


Bull Run; Peninsula; Antietam; Fredericksburg; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Wilderness; Spotsylvania; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Shenandoah; Appomattox; Virginia 1861; Virginia 1862; Virginia 1863; Virginia 1864; Maryland 1863

Indian Wars

Commanche; Apaches; Little Big Horn; Nez Perces; Bannocks; Cheyenne's; Utes; Texas 1856; Texas 1860; Oklahoma 1858; Oklahoma 1859; Arizona 1872; Arizona 1874

Philippine Insurrection

Streamer without inscription

Mexico Expedition
Mexico 1916-1917

World War II

New Guinea; Bismarck Archipelago (with arrowhead); Leyte (with arrowhead); Luzon

Korean War

UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Third Korean Winter


Counteroffensive, Phase I; Counteroffensive, Phase II; TET Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; TET 69/Counteroffensive; Summer Fall 1969; Winter Spring 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Phase VII; Consolidation I

Southwest Asia

Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait; Cease Fire

Unit and Company Decorations

Presidential Unit Citation (ARMY) Streamer embroidered LOS NEGROS ISLAND; Presidential Unit Citation (ARMY) Streamer embroidered DONG AP BIA; MOUNTAIN; Valorous Unit Award Streamer Embroidered QUANG TRI; Valorous Unit Award Streamer Embroidered IRAQ; Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Streamer embroidered WAEGWAN-TAEGU; Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Streamer Embroidered KOREA 1952-1953; Chryyssoun Aristion Andrias (Bravery Gold Medal of Greece) Streamer embroidered KOREA; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966-1968; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1971; Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966-1968

Troop A additionally entitled to:

Presidential Unit Citation (ARMY) Streamer embroidered AP BAU BANG; Valorous Unit Award Streamer embroidered BIEN HOA AIR BASE

Troop C additionally entitled to:

Valorous Unit Award Streamer XUAN LOC

Troop D additionally entitled to:

Valorous Unit Award Streamer embroidered SAIGON; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer embroidered Vietnam 1969; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer embroidered Vietnam 1969-1970; Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal First Class Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968-1969

The 3/5 CAV closed out its history in 1997 after having been a participating unit in Bosnia. I can only add that hoping against recurrent history that they never need to be reactivated.

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