Brave Rifles – The First “President’s Own”

Troopers from the 2d Squadron Brave Rifles - 3d Cavalry
"AI-EE-YAH!” the Regimental Battle Cry of the Brave Rifles announced their arrival...
It was 1919, World War I was over and those who went  "Over there..." began to return home to the United States.  The 3d Cavalry Regiment came home to Boston with Headquarters and 1st Squadrons moving onto Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont.
Fort Myer would then receive 3d Squadron, but it would be re-designated 2d Squadron when the 3d Squadron was deactivated.   Over the next two plus decades, the troopers of 2d Squadron would  defend the nation's capital and also be called upon to provide ceremonial support - honor guards and escorts for visiting dignitaries, final honors support within Arlington National Cemetery which earned them the title of the "President's Own" for their service.

Escort to First Unknown Soldier

In 1921 when the first unknown was laid to rest within Arlington National Cemetery near the amphitheater, the "Brave Rifles" provided the ceremonial escort.  It was the regimental bugler, Staff Sergeant Frank Witchey, who would sound TAPS at the ceremony.  Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were provided by the 3d Cavalry until 1941.

Display of Skills and Talents

"Brave Rifles" - Saddle Blanket Insignia
Saddle Blanket Insignia
Over the years while at Fort Myer, the troopers of the "Brave Rifles" would delight and entertain the residents of Washington DC with their excellent horsemanship skills and talents during horseshows, polo matches and  the Society Circus.  The latter  is an event that has evolved into today's Spirit of America hosted by the US Army and executed by the US Army's 3d Infantry Regiment - "The Old Guard" and The US Army Band - "Pershing's Own" within the Washington DC area and several US cities.
The "Brave Rifles" would ultimately relinquish their horses and leave Fort Myer in February 1942.  They would head to Georgia - Fort Ogelthorpe first then onto Fort Benning to get mechanized in preparation to deploy during World War II.
"Images of America - Fort Myer" which is based on over two years of research, contains over 200 historical photographs that presents the first one hundred years of this US Army Post with origins during the US Civil War when it was known as Fort Whipple.

Post Author: John Michael

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