The 89th Cavalry Regiment was originally constituted on 1 June 1940 in the Regular Army of the United States as the 10th Antitank Battalion. On 15 December 1941, at Fort Lewis, Washington, it was redesignated as the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 899th landed in North Africa on 26 January 1943. The Battalion’s baptism of fire was at El Guettar, Tunisia, 23 March 1943, equipped with the brand new, full tracked M10 GMCs, armed with high velocity, flat trajectory three inch guns. Subsequently, the 899th TDB landed at Utah Beach on D-Day and saw action throughout WWII. Earning campaign participation credits in Tunisia, Rome-Arno, Normandy (with arrowhead), Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. On 7 March 1945 the 9th Armored Division captured a bridge, which crossed the Rhine River at Remagen. The 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion arrived at the bridgehead that afternoon with the 9th Infantry Division and helped secure the bridge, ensuring that the German Army could not destroy it.
On 20 November 1944, SSG Herschel F. Briles led a platoon of destroyers across an exposed slope near Scherpenseel, Germany, when they came under heavy enemy artillery fire. A direct hit was scored on one of the vehicles, killing one man, seriously wounding two others, and setting the destroyer afire. With a comrade, SSG Briles left the cover of his own armor and raced across ground raked by artillery and small-arms fire to the rescue of the men in the shattered destroyer. Without hesitation, he lowered himself into the burning turret, removed the wounded and then extinguished the fire. From a position he assumed the next morning, he observed hostile infantrymen advancing. With his machinegun, he poured such deadly fire into the enemy ranks that an entire pocket of 55 Germans surrendered, clearing the way for a junction between American units which had been held up for two days. SSG Briles was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on that day.
Following the war, the 899th was deactivated on 27 December 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Again at Camp Kilmer, the unit was redesignated as the 899th Tank Battalion on 23 July 1953. Almost 50 years later, the unit was converted and redesignated on 30 March 2004 as the 89th Cavalry Regiment, a parent regiment under the United States Army Regimental System. The 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment can trace its lineage directly back to Company A of the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
The Squadron can take pride in the fact that the original tank destroyer concept called for great mobility (TDs were lightly armored for greater speed) and its personnel had "an aggressive, elite spirit." Tank Destroyer units had a large reconnaissance capability built into their structure, with some self-propelled battalions having an organic reconnaissance company as one of its four line companies. All these abilities contributed to their motto "Seek, Strike, Destroy." During WWII, the Tank Destroyer Battalions served in multi-functional roles and earned a proud combat record.
In tribute to their nickname and the shoulder patch worn by the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion in World War II, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop of the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment call themselves Hellcats.
Today, the primary mission of the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment is to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in order to enable the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) to act decisively at a time and place of its own choosing.
On 13 August 2006, the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment deployed with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) to South Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. During the 15 month deployment, the Squadron secured the main supply route into Baghdad, killed 12 insurgents, captured 198 (including 2BCT HVT #1), and uncovered 57 caches, ensuring that thousands of munitions stayed out of enemy hands. The 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment redeployed to Fort Drum, NY in November of 2007 and began preparations for their next deployment.
Training from 2007-2009 included two rotations to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana as well as a month-long off-post training exercise at Yuma, Arizona where the Troopers honed their skills in Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition. Initially scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in November of 2009, the First Squadron, 89th Cavalry received orders to return to Iraq that October.
The 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment deployed along with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) to Southeast Baghdad on 18 October 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-10. During the deployment, The 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment was partnered with the 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police, following and supporting the Iraqi organization while the Iraqis maintained control of the area Southeast of Baghdad. Through a training Academy called Task Force Nassir, the Squadron trained Iraqi Federal Police NCOs, eventually training the Iraqis to run the academy themselves allowing complete control of Task Force Nassir to be handed over to the Iraqi Federal Police. Alpha Troop, through operation “Golden Warrant,” captured several high value targets resulting in improved security for the local Iraqi civilian population. During Operation Eye Drop, Bravo Troop air assaulted onto land suspected to contain insurgents smuggling weapons and personnel into Baghdad. Charlie Troop conducted Sons of Iraq revitalizing training throughout the deployment, which trained more than 1,000 SOI in basic checkpoint operations, buddy aid, and vehicle search techniques. The combined efforts of the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment resulted in the continued steady decline of sectarian violence throughout the region and contributed to the security and stability of the area. In March of 2010, the Squadron supported the free elections of Iraq. This election signified the first time in the region’s 5,000 year history that one democratically elected government handed over power peacefully to another democratically elected government. In the closing weeks of the deployment, The 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment secured 400 square kilometers of terrain in support of 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division’s retrograde throughout the Wolverine’s operating environment. Initially ordered to Iraq for 12 Months, the Squadron completed their mission and was able to redeploy three months early in June of 2010. Presently, the Troopers of the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment are stationed at Fort Drum, NY training for their next deployment, wherever and whenever it may be.
Detailed information about 1-89 CAV history provided by the United States Institute of Heraldry is available here.