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The 6th Cavalry is a historic regiment of the United States Army that began as a regiment of cavalry in the American Civil War. It currently is organized into aviation squadrons that are assigned to several different combat aviation brigades.


Civil War

The 6th U.S. Cavalry was organized in August 1861, where it took to the fields of the Eastern Theater as part of the Union Army of the Potomac. The regiment took part in sixteen major and minor campaigns and their related battles during the Civil War including; the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, battle of Antietammarker part of the Maryland Campaign, Campaign at Fredericksburgmarker, the 1863 Second Battle of Winchestermarker, Battle of Fairfield which were part of the Gettysburg Campaign, Chancellorsvillemarker (in Stoneman’s raid to the rear of Lee’s army), the 1864 The Wilderness, Siege of Petersburgmarker, The Shenandoah Valleymarker, Richmondmarker Raid—also known as Sheridan’s raid, Trevilian Station, the Battle of Spotsylvania Court Housemarker & the Battle of Cold Harbormarker part of the Overland Campaign and the final 1865 Appomattox Campaignmarker.

Battle of Fairfield

During the Gettysburg Campaign, and overseen by larger events ongoing nearby, on July 3, 1863, Major Starr, who with 400 troopers dismounted his men in a field and an orchard on both sides of the road near Fairfield, Pennsylvaniamarker. Union troopers directed by their officers took up hasty defensive positions on this slight ridge. They threw back a mounted charge of the 7th Virginia (CSA), just as Chew's Battery (CSA) unlimbered and opened fire on the Federal cavalrymen. Supported by the 6th Virginia (CSA), the 7th Virginia charged again, clearing Starr's force off the ridge and inflicting heavy losses. Jones (CSA), outnumbering the Union forces by at least 2 to 1, pursued the retreating Federals for three miles to the Fairfield Gap, but was unable to catch his quarry.
6th Regiment United States Cavalry insignia

"The fight made at Fairfield by this small regiment (6th U.S. Cavalry) against two of the crack brigades of Stuart's cavalry, which were endeavoring to get around the flank the Union army to attack the (supply) trains, was one of the most gallant in its history and no doubt helped influence the outcome the battle of Gettysburg. The efforts of these rebel brigades were frustrated and their entire strength neutralized for the day by the fierce onslaught of the small squadrons. The regiment was cut to pieces, but it fought so well that the squadrons were regarded as the advance of a large body of troops. The senior officer of those brigades was later adversely criticized for allowing his command to be delayed by such an inferior force. Had the regiment not made the desperate stand, the two brigades of Virginians might have caused grave injury in the Federal rear, before sufficient force could have been gathered in their front."

Private George Crawford Platt, later Sergeant, an Irish immigrant serving in Troop H, was awarded the Medal of Honor on July 12, 1895, for his actions that day at Fairfield. His citation reads, "Seized the regimental flag upon the death of the standard bearer in a hand-to-hand fight and prevented it from falling into the hands of the enemy."

His "commander," Lieutenant Carpenter, of Troop H, was one of only three officers of the 6th U.S. Cavalry to escape from the deadly melee at Fairfield. He was an eyewitness and documented Private Platt's "beyond the call of duty" behavior that day. Louis H. Carpenter was brevetted from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel for his actions that day and later during the Indian Wars he won the Medal of Honor.

Post Civil War

1899, Yosemite, F Troop of the 6th Cavalry.
After the fighting stopped, came the Reconstruction era of the United States covering 1865 to 1871. The 6th Cavalry left Maryland, via New York and New Orleans to Texas in October 1865. On November 29, 1865, the 6th Cavalry headquarters was established in Austinmarker where it was part of the Fifth Military District which covered Texasmarker and Louisianamarker under Generals Philip Sheridan and later under Winfield Scott Hancock.

There was little or no fighting during the state of martial law imposed while the military closely supervised local government, enrolled freemen to vote, excluded former Confederate leaders for a period of time, supervised free elections, and tried to protect office holders and freedmen from violence. However the men did face a low level of civil hostility and violence during this uneasy transition period. For reports of soldiers of the 6th Cavalry killed and wounded in various incidents of 1867–68)see the article on the Fifth Military District.

The 6th "Cav" also took part in the Indian Wars and the Johnson County War.

On September 9, 1873 a drunken row among 6th cavalrymen in Hays Kansas resulted in 2 troopers being killed. {See }. The "Fighting Sixth" sailed to Cubamarker during the Spanish-American War and took part in the battle for San Juan Hill alongside of Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders." (In 1900 the 6th was in the Boxer Rebellion).

An 1887 letter from Charles Winters, Troop D of the 6th Cavalry, describes a soldier's experiences during the Apache Wars in New Mexico:
Letter to a friend from Commander Charles Winters, Troop D.
6th Cavalry, Fort Stanton, New Mexico.
Contributed by Janelle Higgins Jones, Smyrna, DE.


The 6th Cavalry, which became part of George S. Patton's Third Army during World War II, had one of the most outstanding combat records to come out that conflict, starting in October 1943 where it embarked on the Queen Elizabeth bound for northern Irelandmarker.

In January 1944, the 6th Cavalry Regiment was disbanded and reorganized into the 6th Cavalry Group and assigned to XV Corps. The unit spent the first part of 1944 in intense basic, small unit, and special combat training. Finally in July 1944, the unit set sail across the English Channelmarker to land at Utah Beachmarker (Sainte-Mère-Églisemarker, Francemarker). Throughout WWII, the Sixth was part of most of the major campaigns, some of which included "Task Force Polk," the engagement in the Ardennesmarker, and the Battle of the Bulge. It was also responsible for the screening and protection of the corps in the Bastognemarker area, defending the Our Rivermarker, breaching the Siegfried Line, and the big job of crossing the Rhine Rivermarker and the drive to the east.

Toward the end of hostilities, the Sixth was left with the detail of mopping up enemy stragglers to its final battle with the capture of Adrof & Mark Neukirchen. The Sixth Cavalry was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Army), for its valor during World War II.

Cold War

On 20 December 1948, the former 6th Cavalry Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 6th Armored Cavalry. The Regiment returned to the United States from Germany in 1957 during Operation Gyroscope, and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Inactivated in 1963, the regiment reactivated four years later at Fort Meademarker, Marylandmarker, where it served through 1971 when it was again inactivated.

In the summer of 1974, the Army decided to implement one of the recommendations of the Howze Board, and created an air cavalry combat brigade. The 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, commanded by Col. Charles E. Canedy, was redesignated as the 6th Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat). While at Hood, the brigade was a test bed for new concepts involving the employment of attack helicopters on the modern battlefield. In the fall of 1990, two of the brigade's subordinate units were deployed in Iraqmarker during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

In late 1995, the 1st and 4th Squadrons were again deactivated, leaving only the 3rd Squadron at Fort Hood.

War on terrorism

On 4 January 2005 2nd Squadron deployed from Germany to Afghanistan absorbing elements from other units to become Task Force Sabre. CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 Black Hawks, AH-64 Apaches and the necessary support elements comprised the aviation task force which deployed to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

In 2005 and 2006 as a part of the Army Transformation, squadrons of the regiment were again reorganized, as the Army eliminated from its rolls those OH-58D Kiowa Warrior units designated as attack battalions in light infantry divisions. Several of these attack battalions were reflagged as squadrons of the 6th Cavalry Regiment, replacing AH-64 squadrons that were then redesignated as Armed Reconnaissance Battalions:

  • 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry - 1st Infantry Division - Fort Rileymarker, Kansas
  • 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry - 25th Infantry Division (Light) - Schofield Barracksmarker, Hawaii
  • 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry - XVIII Airborne Corps - Fort Lewismarker, Washington
  • 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry - 10th Mountain Division (LI) - Fort Drummarker, New York

In 2006, 2nd Squadron deployed with its parent unit, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, from Wheeler Army Airfield to Iraq. The Squadron was recognized with the Order of the Daedalion's 2006 Brig. Gen. Carl I. Hutton Memorial Award for their safety record in preparation for the deployment. The Squadron returned to Hawaii in 2007 having lost only one aircrew to hostile fire.

In 2007, 1st Squadron and 4th Squadron deployed to Iraq. The squadrons along with 1st Squadron's parent brigade, the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, replaced 2nd Squadron and its parent brigade. 4th Squadron returned to Fort Lewis during August and September 2008. In October 2008, 1st Squadron began to return to Fort Carson, being replaced by 6th Squadron.6th Squadron is now taken over operations in Iraq with its parent brigade the 10th Mountain Combat Aviation Brigade.


Cavalry branch insignia
  • Constituted 1861-05-04 in the Regular Army as the 3d Cavalry Regiment
  • Regiment (except Companies A & B) organized 1861-06-18 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker.
  • Company A organized June-October 1861 in Marylandmarker and the District of Columbiamarker
  • Redesignated 1861-08-03 as the 6th Cavalry Regiment
  • Company B organized 1861-08-16 at Camp Scott, Pennsylvania
  • Cavalry companies officially redesignated as troops in 1883.
  • Assigned 1927-08-15 to the 3d Cavalry Division, and stationed at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.
  • A Troop consolidated 1929-10-14 with Troop D, 6th Cavalry Regiment, (organized in 1861) and consolidated unit designated as Troop A, 6th Cavalry Regiment.
  • Relieved 1939-12-01 from assignment to the 3d Cavalry Division, and moved by Road March to Fort Benningmarker, Georgia on 1940-04-11.
  • Regiment moved from Fort Benning by Road March 1940-05-05 to Alexandria, Louisianamarker, and arrived on 1940-05-08.
  • Regiment departed Alexandria, Louisiana on 1940-05-27 via Road March, and arrived at Fort Oglethorpe 1940-05-30.
  • Regiment retraced their steps to Alexandriamarker, Louisianamarker on 1940-08-13, and arrived 1940-08-21.
  • Regiment Road Marched to Ragley, Louisiana on 1941-07-26, and arrived on 1941-10-01.
  • Regiment Road Marched to Chester, South Carolinamarker on 1941-11-06, and arrived 1941-12-01. Regiment immediately returned to Fort Oglethorpe.
  • Regiment performed its last Road March as a Horse Cavalry unit when it left Fort Oglethorpe, and moved to Camp Blandingmarker, Florida on 1942-02-18.
  • Regiment reorganized and redesignated 1942-07-21 as the 6th Cavalry Regiment, Mechanized. Troop B reorganized and redesignated as Troop E, 6th Cavalry, Mechanized.
  • Regiment moved by Road March to Fort Jackson on 1942-11-02.
  • Regiment moved again by Road March to Fort Oglethorpe on 1943-04-16.
  • Regiment participated in Maneuvers at Lebanon, Tennesseemarker from 1943-04-18 to 1943-06-20, and then Road Marched to Fort Jackson.
  • Regiment Staged at Camp Shanks, New York from 1943-10-08 until 1943-10-12, when they deployed from the New York Port of Embarkation for England.
  • Regiment arrived in Tanderagee, Northern Irelandmarker on 1943-10-18, where they prepared to reorganize for their D-Day Assignment.
  • Regiment broken up 1944-01-01 and its elements reorganized and redesignated as follows:

6th Cavalry Group

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop reorganized and redesignated on 1944-01-01 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Cavalry Group, Mechanized with 6th and 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons attached.
  • Group landed in France on 1944-07-09, when they were assigned to the Third Army as “Patton’s Household Cavalry”.
  • Group was recommitted to combat near St. Avoldmarker, Francemarker on 1944-12-01
  • Group entered Luxembourgmarker on 1944-12-31 to locate Germanmarker forces at or near Bastognemarker.
  • Group encountered German forces between the 26th infantry Division and 35th Infantry Division in the lintage-Saar area, where it remained until 1945-01-13.
  • Group entered Germany on 1945-02-25 with VIII Corps, and attacked through Bauler, Waxweilermarker, and Laselmarker; mopped up along the Berlinmarker Autobahn; and protected VIII Corps’ southern flank.
  • Group was located at Sonnenbergmarker, Germany on 1945-08-14
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Cavalry Group, Mechanized, converted and redesignated 1946-05-01 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Constabulary Regiment.
  • Redesignated 1948-02-02 as Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Troop, 6th Constabulary Regiment
  • Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Troop, 6th Constabulary Regiment converted and redesignated 1948-12-20 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Troop A, 6th Constabulary Squadron Converted and redesignated as Company A, 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Former Troop D, 6th Cavalry, concurrently withdrawn from Company A, 6th Armored Cavalry - hereafter separate lineage)

6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized

  • 1st Squadron reorganized and redesignated on 1944-01-01 as the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized. Troop E, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Mechanized Reorganized and redesignated as Troop F, 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized. Regiment remained attached to 6th Cavalry Group, but was moved to Gilfordmarker, Northern Irelandmarker for deployment training.
  • Squadron moved to Englandmarker on 1944-05-13.
  • Squadron landed in Francemarker on 1944-07-10.
  • Squadron entered Luxembourgmarker on 1944-12-25.
  • Squadron enteed Belgiummarker on 1944-12-28.
  • Squadron entered Germanymarker on 1945-02-23.
  • Squadron was at Hildaburghausen, Germanymarker on 1945-08-14.
  • 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized, converted and redesignated 1946-05-01 as the 6th Constabulary Squadron. Troop F Converted and redesignated as Troop E, 6th Constabulary Squadron.
  • 6th Constabulary Squadron. Converted and redesignated 1948-12-20 as the 1st Battalion, 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Troop E Converted and redesignated as Company B, 6th Armored Cavalry.

28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron

  • 2nd Squadron reorganized and redesignated on 1944-01-01 as the 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized. Squadron remained attached to the 6th Cavalry Group, and moved to Guilford, Northern Irelandmarker for deployment training.
  • Squadron moved to Englandmarker on 1944-05-13.
  • Squadron deployed to Francemarker on 1944-07-10.
  • Squadron entered Luxembourgmarker on 1944-12-24, and moved on to Belgiummarker the same day.
  • Squadron entered Germanymarker on 1945-02-24
  • Squadron was at Sonnenbergmarker, Germanymarker on 1945-08-14.
  • 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized, converted and redesignated 1946-05-01 as the 28th Constabulary Squadron.
  • 28th Constabulary Squadron converted and redesignated on 1948-12-20 as the 2nd Battalion, 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

6th Armored Cavalry Regiment

  • Battalions and companies redesignated 1960-06-24 as squadrons and troops, respectively. Troop E Reorganized and redesignated as Troop B, 6th Armored Cavalry
  • Regiment inactivated 1963-10-24 at Fort Knoxmarker, Kentucky
  • Regiment activated 1967-03-23 at Fort George G.marker Meademarker, Maryland
  • Inactivated (less 1st Squadron) 1971-03-31 at Fort George G.marker Meademarker, Maryland.
  • 1st and 2nd Squadrons inactivated 1973-06-21 at Fort Blissmarker, Texas)
  • Regiment reorganized and redesignated 1973-06-22 as the 6th Cavalry Regiment, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. 1st Squadron Redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, and activated at Fort Hoodmarker, Texas (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated)
  • 2nd Squadron redesignated 1974-07-01 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Squadron, 6th Cavalry, and activated at Fort Knoxmarker, Kentucky (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated)
  • 1st Squadron Relieved 1975-02-21 from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division.
  • Regiment withdrawn 1986 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System.
  • 2nd Squadron inactivated 1986-05-30 at Fort Knoxmarker, Kentucky
  • 2nd Squadron activated 1986-07-16 at Fort Hoodmarker, Texas
  • 1st Squadron Inactivated 1995-12-15 at Fort Hoodmarker, Texas
  • 1st Squadron Activated 1996-07-16 in Koreamarker
  • 3rd Squadron Activated [?] in Koreamarker
  • 3rd Squadron Inactivated [2006] and reflagged at 4-2 AVN in Koreamarker



  • Civil War:
  1. Peninsula;
  2. Antietam;
  3. Fredericksburg;
  4. Chancellorsville;
  5. Gettysburg;
  6. Wilderness;
  7. Spotsylvania;
  8. Cold Harbor;
  9. Petersburg;
  10. Shenandoah;
  11. Appomattox;
  12. Virginia 1862;
  13. Virginia 1863;
  14. Virginia 1864;
  15. Virginia 1865;
  16. Maryland 1863
  • Indian Wars:
  1. Comanches;
  2. Apaches;
  3. Pine Ridge;
  4. Oklahoma 1874;
  5. Texas 1874;
  6. Arizona 1876;
  7. Arizona 1881;
  8. Arizona 1882;
  9. New Mexico 1882;
  10. Colorado 1884
  • War with Spain:
  1. Santiago
  • China Relief Expedition:
  1. Streamer without inscription
  • Philippine Insurrection:
  1. Streamer without inscription
  • Mexican Expedition:
  1. Mexico 1916-1917
  • World War I:
  1. Streamer without inscription
  • World War II:
  1. Normandy;
  2. Northern France;
  3. Rhineland;
  4. Ardennes-Alsace;
  5. Central Europe
  • Southwest Asia:
  1. Defense of Saudi Arabia;
  2. Liberation and Defense of Kuwait;
  3. Cease-Fire;


  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for HARLANGE POCKET
  • Valorous Unit Award for KUWAIT;
  • Army Superior Unit Award for 1996-1997;


  1. Buffalo Soldiers - Louis H. Carpenter, on line here.
  2. Longacre, p. 236, indicates that the 6th Virginia conducted the second charge alone.
  3. Carter, William H. Lieutenant Colonel (1851–1920?), "From Yorktown to Santiago with the Sixth U. S. Cavalry", State House Press, Austin Texas, 1989. 329 pages, ISBN 0938349422 & ISBN 978-0938349426. *Note: Lt. Col. Carter, who wrote this book in 1900, was commissioned a second lieutenant at West Point (Class of 1873) and served with the Sixth from 1874 until his retirement as a Major General in 1915. The 1989 book is a reprint. Click here and see item 3.
  4. George C. Platt, 6th United States Cavalry, Troop "H" — See item 1 & eyewitness statement at: here.
  5. Rodenbough, Theophilus Francis, Bvt. Brigadier General, retired & Haskin, William L., Major, retired, The Army of the United States - Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief, published by Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1896, New York. See section: Sixth Regiment of Cavalry by Captain William H. Carter, 6th U.S. Cavalry. This is part of the U.S. Army Center of Military History online.
  6. Foner, E., Reconstruction: America's unfinished revolution, 1863-1877, NY, published by Harper & Row, 1988, see chapters 6 & 7.
  7. Photographs were taken of the 2 dead men; ironically one version was sold as a result of a gunfight between Wild Bill Hickcock and two troopers of the 7th Cavalry-which happened in 1870!
  8. Public Affairs Office, Multi-National Division-North. " Hawaii’s 2-6 Cavalry Wins Hutton Memorial Award". [Press release]. 19 July 2007. Multi-National Corps-Iraq. Accessed 7 March 2008.
  9. Not related to the current 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
  10. Except 1st Squadron.

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