UNIT HISTORY

WORLD WAR II

Introduction

With the onset of World War II, the War Department determined that the 1st Cavalry Division (and the 7th Cavalry with it) would give up their horses. They reorganized as an infantry-cavalry hybrid, less horses, on 28 February 1943. The regiment fought in General of the Army Douglas MacArthur's island-hopping campaigns from the Admiralty Islands to New Guinea through the Philippines. On 27 January 1945, the regiment, as part of the "Flying Column" that covered over 100 miles in 66 hours, assaulted from the Lingayen Gulf area of Luzon, freeing 3700 prisoners. At Antipolo, men of the 7th Cavalry earned 41 Silver Stars.

7th Cavalry Regiment was dismounted on February 28, 1943, and started packing up for deployment to the Pacific Theater, still part of 1st Cavalry Division. 7th Cavalry staged at Camp Stoneman, California on June 18, 1943, and departed the San Francisco Port of Embarkation on June 26, 1943. It arrived in Australia on July 11, 1943, where it trained for combat, and then participated in the New Guinea campaign, which began on January 24, 1943, and did not end until December 31, 1944.

7th Cavalry was relieved from duty in this campaign, and moved on to be reorganized under special Cavalry and Infantry Tables of Organization & Equipment on December 4, 1943, and then trained for combat, and participated in the Bismarck Archipelago campaign, which started on December 15, 1943, and did not end until November 27, 1944.

7th Cavalry moved to Oro Bay, New Guinea on February 22, 1944, and moved by Landing Craft to Negros Island to reinforce the units there on March 4, 1944, securing Lombrum Plantation.

7th Cavalry moved on to Hauwei Island, which it secured on March 12-13, 1944. The regiment continued on, and arrived at Lugos Mission on Manus Island on March 15, 1944.

The Leyte campaign started on October 17, 1944, and 7th Cavalry moved on towards the Philippines, and assaulted Leyte on October 20, 1944. 7th Cavalry reached the Visayan Sea in late December, 1944, and reassembled with the 1st Cavalry Division near Tunga on January 7, 1945. Leyte did not end until July 1, 1945, but 7th Cavalry was needed for the Luzon campaign, which started on December 15, 1944.

Deploying again by landing craft, 7th Cavalry landed at Luzon on January 27, 1945, where the regiment engaged until the end of the Luzon campaign on July 4, 1945. 7th Cavalry again reorganized this time entirely under Infantry Tables of Organization & Equipment, but still designated as a Cavalry Regiment, on July 20, 1945 to prepare for the invasion of the main Japanese islands. However, the invasion was not to be. 7th Cavalry Regiment was at Lucena Batangas in the Philippines until September 2, 1945, when it was moved to Japan to start Occupation duty.

The 1st Cavalry Division was first to Tokyo as part of the army of occupation. The 2d Squadron provided the honor guard and escort for General of the Army MacArthur as he entered and took up residence in Tokyo. The regiment remained in Japan for the duration of the occupation until the outbreak of the Korean War. In 1949, the regiment reorganized wholly under infantry tables of organization and equipment, although it retained its cavalry designation.

THE KOREAN WAR

In response to the invasion of the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950, elements of the 24th Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division, and 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Korea as part of the United Nations "police action." The 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment was the first unit of the 1st Cavalry Division to be deployed. On 09 July, the battalion arrived on the east coast of South Korea, with a mission to provide a security force for Yonil Airfield, the main airport just below P'ohang-dong and fire support for the ROK 23d Regiment , while awaiting for the remainder of the regiment to arrive."The 1st Cavalry Division began landing, albeit piecemeal, on Pohang on 18 July 1950. The 2nd Battalion (2/7) and the 3rd Battalion (3/7) Cavalry arrived last, having been delayed enroute by a typhoon. In less than a week, the regiment was in combat on the Taegu-Taejon road. Under COL Cecil W. Nist, the regiment was directed to support other elements of the division already in contact. 1st Battalion (1/7) served as the division reserve in a "clean-up" role.

During this period, the commander of 1-7 Cav was Greek-born LTC Peter Clainos. Clainos was a featherweight boxing champ at West Point and a combat veteran of World War II. During that war he had trained a Greek battalion which fought in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations with the British Commandos. He also commanded an infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater where he won a Silver Star. During its first month of duty in Korea 1/7, as the division reserve, received augmentations, to include artillery and tanks, to bring it to almost double of its authorized strength. This "fat" (for being overstrength) unit was labeled "Clainos' Clouters" for its role in plugging holes in the division line. In one instance the battalion killed, wounded, or captured over 700 men of an opposing thousand-man force. In another instance when 2-7 Cav and its direct support artillery, the 77th Field Artillery Battalion, came under attack, 1-7 Cav came up to support. Between the three units they inflicted more than 2500 casualties and rendered the 10th Division of the North Korean People's Army totally combat ineffective.

During early fall 1950, in the Pusan Perimeter breakout, part of the regiment was formed into Task Force 777, consisting of 3-7 Cav, C Battery, 77th FA Battalion, and seven tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion. The task force's name came from the sevens involved. Also, during this time, LTC William A. Harris, the former commander of the 77th FA Battalion, became the regimental commander. The regiment under Harris conducted the longest advance through enemy terrain during the war with TF 777 as the division's vanguard, advancing 116 miles.

The 7th Cavalry led the division through the "Bowling Alley", through the 13th Division of the North Korean People's Army, and toward Seoul. The unit charged forward, racing across Korea in support of the amphibious assault at Inchon. The regiment, ordered to continue the attack into North Korea, led the way towards the capital city of Pyongyang. During this drive north, 1-7 Cav contacted a strong North Korean "cavalry" force of some 2500, 37 of which were mounted. Clainos sent an interpreter forward to tell them 1-7 Cav was a Soviet unit come to help defend Pyongyang. The deceived North Koreans marched forward, where they were captured and disarmed by 1-7 Cav. One of the captured saddles made its way to the hood of COL Harris' jeep as a reminder of the regiment's mounted past. After leading the division, the regiment passed the division forward into Pyongyang. After Pyongyang's capture, the Seventh seized the key port of Chimnampo.

On 19 December 1950, the United Nations command attached the Greek Expeditionary Force under LTC D. Arbouzis to the 7th Cavalry Regiment as the 4th Battalion (GEF), 7th Cavalry Regiment. Later that month, the regiment fought off the Chinese counterattack as the division rear guard. The 7th Cavalry was the last regiment out of Seoul. On 30 January 1951 at about midnight, the 334th Regiment of the Chinese Communist Forces attacked 4-7 (GEF) on Hill 381. In the space of approximately four hours, 4-7 (GEF) killed some 800 of the 3000 Chinese, much of it in hand-to-hand combat as the Greeks ran out of ammunition. For the regiment's service with the Greek Expeditionary Force during the war, the Greek government awarded the regiment the Chryssoun Aristion Andrias, its Bravery Gold Medal.

The 7th Cavalry continued to serve through the stalemate that marked the last two years of the war. At the cease-fire in 1953, the regiment returned to the Japanese province of Hokkaido, a brief stop before the entire division moved to Honshu in 1954. On 29 June 1957, the last Organizational Day of the Regiment, the active strength of the regiment was reduced to zero as all personnel were transferred to other units. Under General Order 89, Headquarters Eighth US Army, dated 23 September 1957, the 24th Infantry Division reflagged as the 1st Cavalry Division, under the pentomic structure.

Death of the Regiment and Reorganization

GEN Maxwell Taylor, then the Army Chief of Staff, directed the pentomic structure as the structure by which the Army would fight on the nuclear battlefield of the future. Instead of four regiments, each division would instead have five battle groups. With some exceptions such as the armored cavalry regiment, the regiment as the Army had known it since the 1700s was dead. Under the new Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS), lineages and honors would transfer to various battle groups and reconnaissance squadrons. Under CARS, 1-7 (as opposed to 1-7) became a battle group (essentially an oversized battalion task force), while 2-7 and 3-7 became reconnaissance squadrons, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division and the 10th Infantry Division respectively.

After several years, the Army jettisoned the pentomic division as too weak and too unwieldy on the battlefield. In 1963, the battle group was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at the time a straight-leg infantry battalion. At about the same time, the 11th Air Assault (Test) Division was conducting the first applications of airmobility using helicopters at Fort Benning, Georgia, and in 1965, it assumed the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

This is a progressive revision of prior histories, written by:
MAJ Randall R. Stevens
CPT Brian L. Steed.
1LT Francis J. H. Park
James W. Savage,  SGT  "D"  Troop  3-7 (1968-69)
Harry Boudreau, 1st Cavalry Division Historian
Photos: Harry Boudreau, 1st Cavalry Division Historian