FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 8, 2018) — Re-engaging a history that extends back to 1901, the 194th Armored Brigade activated 2nd Squadron, 15th Cavalry Regiment, during a ceremony May 1 on Brave Rifles Field at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The mission of the 2-15th is to conduct one station unit training (OSUT) to transform new Soldiers into cavalry scouts.
Lt. Col. Wes Wilhite took on the role of squadron commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gareth J. Kilpatrick took on the role of squadron command sergeant major during the ceremony. Col. Scott Allen, commander of 194th Armored Brigade, both performed in the symbolic uncasing of the squadron colors and spoke on the occasion.
“Training Cavalry Scouts is no simple or easy task,” said Allen. “Out of all the branches, we ask the most of our scouts. Patrolling dismounted to establish an observation post to serving on one of four distinct vehicle platforms, a scout’s duties are varied and diverse.”
Cavalry scouts serve within scout teams, squads or platoons in reconnaissance, security and other combat operations, according to the Army recruitment page on the military occupational specialty. They gather vital information for the planning of military missions and the deployment of forces into battle. They conduct terrain, infrastructure, civilian and threat analysis, land navigation and route selection, and provide detailed reports on threat location, capabilities and movement.
“To establish a foundation that will guarantee our scouts will succeed in their first unit of assignment takes a dedicated cohort of professionally experienced cavalrymen,” said Allen. “That’s why we’re so fortunate to have Lieutenant Colonel Wes Wilhite and Command Sergeant Major James Kilpatrick.”
Wilhite, upon his assumption of command, said he did so with an eye toward the historic legacy of the unit.
“Anyone assuming command does so with a dose of humility and a sense of introspection,” said Wilhite, during his remarks. “A few key questions you have to ask in the U.S. Army are ‘Who are we?’ ‘What are we for?’ and ‘What must we do?’ The answers to the first and second question can be found in the unit’s history.”
The 2-15th traces its history back to Troop B of 15th Cavalry Regiment, organized at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, in 1901. The horse-mounted troop deployed to the Philippines, to Cuba and to the Mexican border. Its deployment to France during World War I was the final time it served as a unit of horse Soldiers, and following the occupation duties, it returned to the U.S. and was deactivated.
With the U.S. involvement in World War II, the 15th became a mechanized cavalry group, mounting armored cars and tanks rather than horses. It served as part of the Third Army and Ninth Army and took part in campaigns in Normandy in northern France, in the Rhineland in Germany, and in Central Europe.
“The 2nd Squadron has enjoyed a very brief but colorful existence in the annals of Army history,” said Wilhite. “All of its history is tied to the liberation of Western Europe and maintaining stability in Germany.”
After the war, the second squadron became 17th Reconnaissance Squadron and patrolled the border between West Germany and East Germany and Czechoslovakia.
Between 1952 and 1987, the Army redesignated, inactivated and reactivated the regiment, and elements of the regiment served in Korea, Germany, the U.S. and Vietnam. In 1987, the 15th Cavalry Regiment was reactivated at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as part of the 1st Armored Training Brigade.
Now the 2nd Squadron joins the 5th Squadron, also at Fort Benning, Georgia, to train cavalry scouts.
“In the Army as a professional Soldier, we have all chosen to take the path less traveled by, a path traveled by less than 2 percent of America,” said Wilhite.
Wilhite then related the squadron’s mission of training cavalry scouts with their mission of liberating Western Europe during World War II and maintaining stability after:
“We will cover the front.”
To see photos from this event, visit “PHOTO ALBUM” in the “Related Links” section on this page.
To learn more about the cavalry scout MOS, visit “19D (Cavalry Scout) MOS description” in the “Related Links” section on this page.