From its official inception on December 12, 1776 as the 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons, the Armor branch of the United States Army—including progenitor branches such as Cavalry and Armored Forces—has produced some of the most brilliant minds in the fields of military tactics, strategy, and doctrine. Perhaps not coincidentally, many of them were also among the most flamboyant and sometimes controversial commanders of their day.

In the Revolutionary War, for example, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee brilliantly carried out many of the types of missions now associated with Cavalry—scouting and reconnaissance, hit-and-run raids, harassment of enemy troop movements, and skirmishing engagements—in addition to serving as an able battlefield commander with a penchant for clever ruses and subterfuges. Lee personally designed the fancy Cavalry uniforms for the independent Legionary Corps he commanded from 1780 until the war’s end; they featured plumed helmets and dark-green jackets very similar in appearance to those worn by Banastre Tarleton’s British Legion. Whether this was Lee’s intention is unclear, but the confusion caused Loyalist militia leader Dr. John Pyle to mistake’s Lee’s Legion for Tarleton’s, a mishap that led to his defeat at what became known as Pyle’s Massacre or the Battle of Haw River in February, 1781.

Lee’s penchant for acts of derring-do and bold maneuvers were mirrored in the careers of two Cavalrymen who, strictly speaking, cannot be said to have served in the Cavalry branch of the U.S. Army because they fought for the Confederate States of America: General J.E.B. Stuart and General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

While both are considered among the greatest Cavalry commanders of all time, Stuart is often remembered by the general public as much for his eye-catching attire—an ostrich-plumed hat, red-lined cape, and bright yellow sash—as he is for his numerous successes in carrying out Cavalry missions such as screening actions, foraging, scouting, disrupting enemy supply lines, and intelligence gathering. Forrest, on the other hand, could well be considered the father of the type of mobile warfare that formed the basis for much of mechanized warfare doctrine in the 20th century, but his roughly two-year formal association with the Ku Klux Klan—whose beliefs he later disavowed—made his name anathema to all but the most devoted military historian for many years after his death.

Atop the pantheon of Armor branch luminaries, however, is General George S. Patton. He began his Army career in the Cavalry, but he found his true calling when he was ordered to establish the American Expeditionary Force’s Light Tank School in early November, 1917, and less than a year later was placed at the head of the U.S. 1st Provisional Tank Brigade, which was finally sent into action in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel on September 12, 1918. He was wounded during the Meuse-Argonne offensive later, and while recovering he was promoted to Colonel in the fledgling Tank Corps.

Following the war, Patton was an ardent supporter of tanks being employed as independent forces capable of creating openings in enemy lines and fortifications that could then be exploited by infantry, and on more than one occasion proved that his doctrines regarding armored warfare were sound by achieving signal successes in large-scale training maneuvers. His successes in the Allied campaigns in Africa, Sicily, France, and into Germany are almost legendary.

But Patton, like Stuart, tended toward the flamboyant. The pair of pistols he wore—a single-action, ivory-handled Colt .45 “Peacemaker” and a .357 Magnum revolver he called his “killing gun”—were not exactly standard-issue weapons. He also sported riding pants, knee-high cavalry boots, and a highly polished helmet, all immortalized by George C. Scott in the eponymous movie centering on the General who is arguably the greatest commander to ever emerge from the Armor branch of the Army.

Important : The Bullion shoulder straps are custom hand embroidered per order and would take about 10 business days to be ready. As such, past 24 hours of placing the order, the bullion shoulder straps are no longer cancelable.

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