While the U.S. Army Center of Military History traces the 104th Cavalry regiment’s lineage to 1874 and the creation of the 8th Infantry Regiment, some of its subordinates units have their origins wars dating back to the founding of the nation. For example, Troop A, 1st Squadron, also known as First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, earned credit for participation in seven Revolutionary War campaigns dating back to the Battle of Trenton in 1776; Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry fought in the War of 1812 and Mexican War; and Troop C, 1st Squadron took part in the Spanish-American War.

The unit was designated a Cavalry Regiment in the Pennsylvania National Guard in June 1921 and assigned to the 21st Cavalry Division. It was broken up in 1944 and its elements reorganize and redesignated, and following an almost bewildering procession of redesignations and reorganizations it was finally designate as the 104th Cavalry Regiment under the United States Army Regimental System in 2005. The Regiment’s 1st Squadron is assigned to the 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and its 2nd Squadron is a part of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Both Brigades are part of the 28th Infantry Division in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

The 104th Cavalry Regimental Distinctive Insignia (RDI), sometimes called a "unit crest," pays homage to its history and the various roles its units have played over the decades. The yellow shield and horse’s head are obvious references to Cavalry; the blue bend in the middle represents Infantry; the “keystone” image in the lower left quadrant is the Divisional insignia for the 28th Infantry; and the Maltese Cross symbolizes some of the subordinate units’ participation in the Spanish-American War. “Over Under or Through,” the unit motto, is emblazoned in a semi-circle on the rim of the insignia.

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