173d Units

17th Cavalry

The 17th Cavalry was organized at Fort Bliss, Texas in 1916 as a horse cavalry regiment armed with sabers, pistols, and carbines.  It did not see combat in either World War, however, and in 1951, the Headquarters Troop was combined with the 17th Armored Group and redesegnated as Headquarters Troop, 17th Armored Cavalry Group.  The 17th Armored Group fought with distinction during World War II in Northern France and Central Europe.  The remaining troops of the regiment were disbanded at that time, but Troop E was reconstituted in May of 1959.  It joined the 173d Airborne Brigade on the island of Okinawa in 1963 as the only separate airborne cavalry troop in the United States Army.  Unlike the normal armored cavalry unit, the troop uses jeeps mounted with .50 caliber machine guns and 106mm recoilless rifles instead of tracked vehicles.  In October of 1969, the troop acquired the tracks and men of the 173d Provisional Tank Company (originally Company “D” of the 16th armor) when that unit was deactivated.  The 17th Cavalry plays an important role in the Brigade’s pacification program.  Besides securing Highway 3-A and QL-1, the Cavalry Troopers train villagers of the Hoi An District in keeping hamlet security.  Explaining various tactics and ambush procedures, they also instruct the villagers’ self-defense groups in the use of various weapons.  With its mobility and firepower, the Cavalry can serve as a security, blocking, or reconnaissance and surveillance force when attached to another unit.  When operating separately, the troop runs road-clearing operations, escorts convoys, and conducts mounted and dismounted reconnaissance operations.  The troop is also used extensively as a ready reaction force for the Brigade, capable of heliborne assaulting into a hot spot on a moments notice.  Occasionally, the unit deploys as a separate infantry force for reconnaissance-in-force, raid, or ambush purposes.  Troop E has always lived up to its motto, ”Ahead of the Best.”  Ever since the Brigade moved to Vietnam, the unit has spearheaded new operations and precede the 173d on its frequent moves to new areas of operation.  The troop was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation for actions during Operation Cedar Falls in January, 1967.