News: 5-1st Cavalry celebrates 180 years of service
Story by Sgt. Michael Blalack
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Soldiers of the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division celebrated the regiment’s birthday in a ceremony at Fort Wainwright March 1.
The “Blackhawks” started off their celebration of the 1st Cavalry Regiment’s 180 years of service with a squadron run followed by a uniform inspection then gathered for a ceremony at Fort Wainwright’s assembly hall.
Operations Sgt. Maj. Vern Daley opened the ceremony by presenting the history of the 1st Cavalry Regiment, which was officially organized by an act of Congress as the United Stated Regiment of Dragoons on March 2, 1833.
Prior to the regiment’s official designation, it had existed for almost a year as a battalion of mounted rangers organized to fight the Black Hawk Indian War.
The 1st U.S. Cavalry Regiment has served the nation continuously since its inception, from guarding the American frontier during the Indian and Mexican Wars to recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
On Dec. 14, 1932, it held its last mounted review as a regiment of horse cavalry, and on Jan. 16, 1933, the 1st Cavalry became the first mechanized unit in the U.S. Army.
The 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment was established at Fort Wainwright as the reconnaissance squadron for the 1-25th SBCT Sept. 28, 2006.
During its 180 years of service the 1st Cavalry has earned more than 100 campaign streamers and decorations – the most of any regular Army unit.
After the unit history presentation, a slide show featured photos of 5-1’s recent training exercises since its return from Afghanistan in early 2012.
Col. Brian Reed, commander of the 1-25th SBCT, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Lewis, the brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer, attended the ceremony, and both praised the Blackhawks for their hard work in maintaining the squadron’s high standards, and reputation of always getting the job done.
Before the ceremony ended, with the soldiers enjoying some birthday cake sliced with a traditional cavalry sabre, 5-1st Commander Lt. Col. Erik Krivda put the event in perspective, noting the distinct position of the 5-1st.
“There are six squadrons in the 1st Cavalry Regiment, but you are the only one still serving on America’s frontier," Krivda said. “The 1st Cavalry Regiment has 180 years of history, and as a member you are now part of that history. Anyone can enlist to be a scout, but only the best, the most disciplined, remain in the formation.
“We are the eyes and ears of the Arctic Wolves, the mounted guardians of our nation’s frontier. We are always out front, sometimes alone, but never afraid.”