3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment – Campaigns & Decorations

The history behind the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is amazing.

The start came way back in 1845 when the Army saw a need for riflemen on horses. So the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen was authorized and they were formed at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

Throughout the years, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment has been defending and battling forces bent on destroying the freedoms we have in the United States.

Known as Brave Rifles, we are going to look at the various campaigns and the decorations the 3rd Armored Cavalry has attained.

While they were not truly designated as the 3rd Cavalry Regiment until 1883, I am going to still tell you about campaigns even before that date.

Mexican-American War

The 3rd was formed to help those traveling on the Oregon Trail but when the Mexican – American War started, they were dispatched to it.

As they sailed across the Gulf of Mexico many of their horses died, so most of these soldiers became foot soldiers.

These soldiers were involved in several campaigns:

  • The Battle of Cerro Gordo was a U.S. victory
  • The Battle of Cotreras was a U.S. win
  • Also, the Battle of Churubusco
  • The Battle of Molino del Rey
  • The Battle of Chapultepec
  • Battle of Matamoros
  • The Battle of Galaxara
  • and the Battle of Santa Fe

After that War, the 3rd went back to duty on the great frontier.

Civil War

When the American Civil War started in 1861, soldiers from the Army had to pick what side they were on.

The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment had no enlisted men leave for the Confederacy, but they had 13 officers leave, many of whom went on to become Generals:

  1. Joseph Wheeler
  2. John Walker
  3. William Loring
  4. George Crittenden
  5. Dabney Maury
  6. and William Jackson

The 3rd still maintained their stature even though they would now battle against their friends and family.

They fought at:

  • The First Battle of Mesilla with the Confederates victorious
  • The Battle of Valverde where the South again won
  • And the Battle of Glorieta Pass which was a decisive Union victory

From that point, the Regiment performed various reconnaissance missions and fought in several skirmishes.

Indian Wars

Once the Civil War was over, the 3rd was back in the wild west and became instrumental in the Indian Wars. There were small skirmishes but some major campaigns.

  • The Great Sioux War
  • The Battle of the Rosebud
  • The Dull Knife Fight
  • The Battle of Big Dry Wash

Spanish-American War

In 1898, not too long after the Indians were under control, War erupted against Spain. The Regiment was sent

to Cuba, but again most were on foot because horses were left behind.

Most of you have heard about Teddy Roosevelt and San Juan Hill… Well all these soldiers were tasked with taking various hills in the area forcing the Spanish to retreat to their ships where the U.S. Navy would promptly destroy them.

Philippine-American War

No sooner had the troops come home from Cuba and they were on ships crossing the Pacific to the Philippine Islands.

No actual campaigns per say, just fierce jungle fighting from 1899 through 1902. In 1905, they were sent back until 1908 for occupation.

World War I

The entire regiment was deployed to France for World War I but they were tasked with obtaing horses and supplies. Only 1 3rd Cavalry unit saw action… A lot of action. Troop K was in:

  • The Aisne-Marne Offensive
  • The Vesle Front
  • The Oise-Aisne Offensive
  • The Meuse-Argonne Offensive
  • and the March to the Rhine

Dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & Bonus Army

In 1921, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment provided escort for the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and provided the Tomb’s Honor Guard up until 1941.

In 1932, General Douglas MacArthur ordered General Patton to lead the 3rd against Veteran protesters called the Bonus Army in Washington D.C.

World War II

It was time to change horses for armored vehicles. In 1943, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment became the 3rd Mechanized Cavalry Group.

The 3rd MCG was sent to England in 1944, they became a part of Patton’s 3rd Army. These soldiers showed all throughout World War II they were just as competent in armored vehicles as they were on horses.

They were in many skirmishes and battles all throughout World War II in Europe and upon returning home, they were scheduled to invade Japan… But 2 atomic bombs stopped that.

And Lately

Wearing Stetsons and Spurs, members of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment continue to defend us. They have played vital parts in:

  • The Gulf War
  • Peacekeeping operations in Bosnia
  • Operation Bright Star
  • Iraqi Freedom I, III and 2007-2009
  • Operation New Dawn
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • and Operation Resolute Support


The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment has many soldiers who have been awarded top decoration. As for unit decorations, they have:

  • A Presidential Unit Citation for World War II at Bastogne
  • and 6 Valorous Unit Awards for various missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom

Final Thoughts

Yep, Stetsons and Spurs… Blood and Steel!

The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is what I call SUPER Bad Asses.

If you are or have been with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, give us a shout out so we can give you a thanks.

Keep on keeping on Brave Rifle!

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. 7th Cavalry Regiment: Top 12 Facts
  2. Army Spurs: A Brief History
  3. The 20 Coolest Historical Places in the USA to Visit for Veterans
  4. The 173rd Airborne Brigade: 25 Cool Facts
  5. The 23rd Infantry Division: 25 Cool Facts
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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