A winged spur evoking the days of mounted Soldiers is the focal point of the 17th Cavalry Regiment’s Regimental Distinctive Insignia, often referred to as a unit crest. It is surrounded by a blue ribbon that recalls the American Expeditionary service of units that later became part of the 17th Cavalry Regiment through consolidation and redesignation. The Distinctive Unit Insignia was originally approved on June 1923, oddly enough during a period that the original 17th Cavalry was inactivated; the description and symbolism were updated in 1987 when it became part of the U.S. Army Regimental System.

The17th Cavalry Regiment traces its roots back to 1 July 1916 and Fort Bliss, Texas, where it was organized utilizing over eight hundred Soldiers (including 32 Officers) drawn from the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 14th Cavalry Regiments, a great deal of whom had been called away from the Pancho Villa Expedition (also known as the “Punitive Expedition”).

It remained at Fort Bliss until early July 1917 when it was ordered to the Arizona border in response to unrest due to labor disputes involving the International Workers of the World (“Wobblies”). As a result, this original incarnation of the 17th never saw action in World War I, and it was inactivated in 1921. Thirty years would elapse before the HQ and HQ Troop, 17th Cavalry was redesignated as HHC, 17th Armored Cavalry Group and simultaneously consolidated with the HHC, 17th Armored Group; the remaining Troops in the 17th Cavalry were disbanded at this time.

The 17th Armored Cavalry Group was activated in March 1951 and subsequently reorganized and redesignated the 17th Armor Group, only to be inactivated in 1959 and redesignated as HHT, 17th Cavalry under the Combat Arms Regimental System. In the two years leading up to this, Troops A – M, 17th Cavalry were reconstituted, and 4 May 1959 these Troops were consolidated, reorganized and redesignated as the 17th Cavalry.

Today, the 17th Cavalry Regiment is a part of the U.S. Army Regimental System and comprises five squadrons: the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th. Each of the Squadrons has own lineage and honors, and the Squadrons and Troops within them also have won honors specific to them; the Regiment as a whole earned four Valorous Unit Awards, a Presidential Unit Citation, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in Vietnam, as well a Meritorious Unit Commendation for actions during the First Gulf War.

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