124th Cavalry – Lineage
124th U. S. Cavalry Regiment, 1929
Texas Army National Guard
MOTTO: “Golpeo Rapidimente” (Spanish – “I Strike Quickly” )
FORMATION: Organized from six existing units of the Texas National in Central Texas on 13 February, 1929, the 124th Cavalry is the youngest of the ten combat arms regiments of the Texas National Guard. The lineage of the various units of the 124th generally is traced to Texas cavalry deployed during the First World War for Mexican border security service, including the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Texas Cavalry, 1917. Units of the 124th did state duty to enforce martial law at Borger in 1929, in Sherman in 1930, and in the East Texas oil field disorders when the entire 56th Cavalry Brigade (112 Cav /124 Cav) was ordered there in 1931. With the other units of the Texas National Guard, the 124th Cavalry Regiment (horse) was federalized in November, 1940.
WORLD WAR II: After initial training at Fort Bliss, the 124th was restationed at Fort Brown, Brownsville, Texas and Fort Ringgold at Rio Grande City. The Regiment participated in the Louisiana maneuvers and patrolled the border with Mexico from Brownsville to Laredo. After its sister regiment, the 112th Cavalry was sent overseas, the 124th continued its Mexican border service until it was moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1944. It then was the last horse cavalry unit in the U. S. Army.
MARS TASK FORCE: In 1944 the unit was selected for overseas service in the China-Burma-India Theater to provide reinforcements for Merrill’s Marauders and the Chindits. Leaving its horses at Fort Riley, the 124th was reinforced in Burma by the 613th Field Artillery battalion to form the 124th Regimental Combat Team (Special), part of the “MARS Task Force”. After a killing, 300-mile approach march over difficult terrain, leading a mule supply train, the unit fought the Japanese in Burma and China from 1944 to the end of the war. Their efforts are credited with forcing Japanese withdrawal from northern Burma,allowing for full use of the Burma Road to China. The fighting was characterized by operations deep in enemy territory, extensive use of pack mules, and the use of aerial resupply.
WORLD WAR II CAMPAIGNS “India-Burma” and “Central Burma”.
1st Lt. Jack Knight, Troop F, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the only such award for ground action in the China-Burma-India theater. The unit was demobilized in China on July 1, 1945.
POSTWAR SERVICE: On July 2, 1946 several units of the Texas National Guard were organized in the lineage of the 124th. The 124th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was assigned to the 49th Armored Division and in 1949 became the 2d Squadron of the 124th. Later reorganizations redesignated the 2d Squadron as the 1st and added the 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 124th Armor, elements of the 36th Division.
PENTOMIC DIVISION, 1959: In 1959, the 36th Division was reorganized using the Pentomic Army Division structure. The 1st/124 Armor was assigned as Division Troops as was the 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 124th Armor.
REORGANIZATION, 1963: The 1st Squadron, 124th Armor was retained as organic to the 36th Division in 1963 when the 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 124th Armor was assigned to the 49th Armored Division and redesignated the 2d Battalion/112th Armor. The 1/124 Armor was redesigned at the 1/124th Cavalry in 1963.
RETIREMENT OF THE 36TH AND 49TH DIVISION: When the 36th Division was retired from service in 1968, Troops A, E, and F of the 1st Squadron, 124th Cavalry were assigned as organic to the 71st, 36th and 72d Brigades respectively.
49TH ARMORED DIVISION: In 1973 the units scattered to the separate brigades were reunited in the 1/124, headquartered in Waco. The 3d Battalion 143d Infantry (Airborne) was redesignated as 1/124 Armored Cavalry, retaining the lineage of the 124th Cavalry.
36TH INFANTRY DIVISION: In 2004, the 49th Armored Division was reflagged as the 36th Infantry Division.
CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: 1st Squadron, 124th Armored Cavalry is organic to the 36th Infantry Division (2004) with units in Waco and Grand Prairie.