1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
This unit was born on a cold winter morning in February, 1901, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas as the Twelfth Regiment of Cavalry, Army of the United States and immediately activated for service to secure the southwestern frontier and quell insurrection in the Philippines. In 1921, after 20 years of hard service, the squadron was deactivated following World War I and its horses and guns lay silent. On 3 January 1933, the Regiment was assigned to the 1st Team and soon reorganized as an infantry regiment in preparations for battle.
The Regiment arrived in Australia on 26 January 1943, and began sharpening its bayonets for the first assault on 29 February 1944, against a ruthless foe on Los Negros Island. After accomplishing its mission in the Admiralty Islands, the regiment continued the island hopping campaign, liberating Layette-Samar from stubborn Japanese resistance. Forged in Fire during 1944, the soldiers of the regiment began 1945 with decisive fury. On 3 February 1945, a “flying column” of Cavalrymen cut a 100 mile swath through enemy territory on the island of Luzon. When the smoke cleared from this bold action, the regiment became known as "First in Manila". On 2 September 1945, with its guns silenced by a hard won peace, the Regiment performed occupation duty in Japan until its colors were cased on 29 March 1949.
On 15 February 1957 the Regiment was reactivated as part of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Polk, Louisiana where the 1st Squadron was redesignated 1st Reconnaissance Squadron. On 3 February 1962 the Regiment's colors were again cased for transfer to the Republic of Korea and reactivated 1 September 1963. Upon arrival to the ROK, the squadron was redesignated the First Battalion and again assigned to the First Team. Later that year, the Battalion returned to Fort Benning, Georgia and prepared for combat in the Republic of Vietnam.
During the Vietnam War the Battalion participated in 12 campaigns and earned three Presidential Unit Citations and three Valorous Unit Awards for action against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. On 5 May 1971 the Battalion returned to Fort Hood, Texas where it deterred communist aggression for twelve years. On 15 June 1983 the Battalion was inactivated and once again, its guns silenced until reactivation on 4 October 1986 at Fort Knox, Kentucky as the 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment. On 16 December 1992 the squadron was redesignated the 1st Battalion and returned back to the First Team.
For another twelve years the Battalion stood "Always Ready" for any contingency around the globe until, January 2004 when the Battalion Deployed to Southwest Asia in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. During the yearlong campaign, the "Chargers" secured the violent Sadr City section of Baghdad, and assured the success of the January 30th elections. Bloodied, but victorious, the Battalion returned to Fort Hood, Texas where it was reorganized as a Combined Arms Battalion, under the Unit of Action TO&E.
In July 2005, the Battalion began an aggressive retraining and equipment reset in preparation for rotation 06-08 of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From July 2005-July 2006, the Battalion conducted individual, small unit, platoon, company, and battalion level evaluations focused on counter-insurgency operations. In September of 2006, the Battalion began deployment operations back to Iraq where only 16 months before its guns blazed in anger. On 3 November 2006, the battalion assumed responsibility for the city of Baqubah in the Diyala Province. During its 15-month deployment, the battalion fought and bled as an element of Task Force Lightning, establishing the first combat outposts within the Multi-National Division North Area of Operations, Defeating Al Qaeda during Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Baqubah and destroying hundreds of terrorist cells from Khalis to Khan Bani Saad and beyond.
As the battalion redeploys the names, Mufrek Circle, Khatoon, Old Baqubah, Buhritz, Tahrir, Khalis, Route Victory, Route Detroit and Route Dover still echo in its turrets. As in 2004, the battalion was charged with securing one of the most violent cities in Iraq and in this pursuit, the battalion emerged victorious. In December 2007, the battalion returned to Fort Hood, Texas to prepare for future contingencies and remains “Always Ready” as the “First Team’s, First String.”
"Chargers, the First Team's First String"