The Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, or unit patch, of the 1st Cavalry Division, uses just two colors and minimal imagery to convey the unit’s mission and heritage. Yellow is the traditional color of cavalry, dating back to 1855 when it replaced orange (and the word “cavalry” was used for the first time to replace “dragoons). The color black, on the other hand, is the color of iron and is a nod to the unit’s transition from horses to tanks and armored vehicles. Besides being a symbol of military honor in heraldry, the diagonal stripe also suggest forward movement in battle, embodying the division’s aggressive actions in combat. In addition to acknowledging the division’s origins as consisting of mounted Soldiers, the lone horsehead indicates the unit’s numerical (1) designation.

According to The Institute of Heraldry, the 1st Cavalry’s unit patch was approved on 3 January 1921, some eight months before the unit was activated at Fort Bliss, Texas on September 12. The original design allowed for variations in the colors of the stripe and the horse’s head to indicate subordinate units within the division, but a single design was approved for wear by all divisional elements in December 1934. Although the division went through several redesignations such as 1st Air Cavalry Division and 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), the insignia remained unchanged.

Related Items
1st Cavalry Division Unit Crest (DUI)
1st Cavalry Division Combat Service ID Badge (CSIB)

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