As the oldest continuously serving mounted regiment in the U.S. Army—2022 marks its 186th year in existence—it’s no surprise that the 2nd Cavalry Regiment unit has undergone some name changes. But the number of its different designations, 10, is exceeded only by the number of different alcoholic beverages (12) that are used for its “Historic Regimental Punch” (per a history of the unit published by the 2d Cavalry Association.) Since each spirit is linked to a campaign or conflict, you get some idea of the richness of the 2nd Cavalry’s history—and just how fitting its motto of "Toujours Pret" ("Always Ready") truly is.

Established by President Andrew Jackson in 1836 as the 2nd Regiment of Dragoons, the unit fought in the Seminole Wars, the Mexican-American War, and the Utah War before the outbreak of the Civil War. As the 2nd Calvary Regiment, it served in over a dozen campaigns in the Eastern Theater, including bloody affairs such as Antietam and Cold Harbor.

World War I saw the 2nd Cavalry participate in three campaigns—Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne—and four of its troops were the last in the regiment to ever engage the enemy as mounted horse cavalry. Renamed the 2nd Cavalry Group (Mechanized), the unit fought as part of General Patton’s Third Army, conducting highly effective reconnaissance missions and earning fame for rescuing nearly 400 world-renowned Lipizzaner stallions at the war’s end.

In the Gulf War, 2nd Cavalry played a key role in VII Corps’ “end run” into Iraq, capturing over 2,000 prisoners and destroying 159 enemy tanks. Besides deployment to Bosnia in 1997, the 2nd was also initially deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003; in 2010, it made the first of two deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In December 2011, the last name change occurred, with “Stryker” being dropped from the unit’s title—but it will always be known by its Special Designation and nickname, “Second Dragoons.”

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