Discussion Non ACW Cavalry designations

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Arioch

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I realize that my question to the forum is a non ACW one.....I don't know where else to ask this question / clarification.

I've been trying to pin down my Grandfather's service records....this would be the first World War era...

A big part of the problem is a lot of the records from that era were destroyed in the big Vets admin fire in St. Louis after WWII...

Anyway....What I have is he is listed as "SGT (Sergeant) MG Trp 5 Cav"

My question is in regards to 'Troop 5 cavalry'...does that mean he was in the 5th Regiment Cavalry?....or was 'Troop' more of a company designation then?

The reason I ask, is that we (his family) thought he had belonged to the 7th cavalry regiment.

Any help understanding the terminology would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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That should mean that he was in the Machine Gun Troop of the 5th Cavalry Regiment. 'Troop' in this context refers to a specific unit size and is the cavalry equivalent of an infantry company. By 1918, the nominal or theoretical strength of a cavalry regiment's machine gun troop was 145 enlisted men (including 9 sergeants) and five officers. Each cavalry regiment, like the 5th Cavalry, had its own machine gun troop. TL;DR this means that he was indeed in the 5th Cavalry Regiment at one point.

During WWI, both the 5th and 7th Cavalry Regiments remained in the vicinity of the Mexican border, so he might have been transferred or detailed to the 7th Cavalry - it is possible that your grandfather might have served with both units at different points in his career. If possible, could you post the service record you have in this thread so that what else it contains can be seen?
 

Arioch

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@HarlechMan : Thank you so much for this....I just saw your response now (I missed the alert somehow...)

During WWI, both the 5th and 7th Cavalry Regiments remained in the vicinity of the Mexican border, so he might have been transferred or detailed to the 7th Cavalry - it is possible that your grandfather might have served with both units at different points in his career. If possible, could you post the service record you have in this thread so that what else it contains can be seen?
Everything you posted in response, jibes with what my family & I know from word of mouth / family stories. Part of the issue here is that my Dad has now passed as well...he was the source for a lot of this.

Anyway, yes....the story goes that he enlisted in the Cavalry, was stationed on the border 'chasing Poncho Villa' (LOL!..supposedly).

At this point, I'm convinced of his being in the 5th Cavalry and not the 7th. A very lovely and helpful research / customer service rep @ the NARA was able to help, and dig a bit for me...she came up with:

"...The VA FOIA office I referred you to has indicated in our reference systems that they are in possession of the Deceased Veteran's Claim File 11 885 *** indicated in our indexing system for the Thomas ***** referred to in the response. These records were not affected by the 1973 fire.

His VA Index card reads SGT (Sargent) MG Trp 5 Cav enl 5/8/1917 dis 2/17/1919; indicating Machine Gun Troop 5 Calvary. It appears the 5th Calvary defended against incursions along the Mexican border and may have been the source of the Mexican Border Patrol thought. The index cards we have available are not a comprehensive summary of service, though, and it's possible he served in several units during his service. Hopefully his Deceased Veteran's Claim File will be able to reveal more!"


So....here we are...this was where I felt I needed to be clear as to what "Troop" actually meant to the cavalry at that time...because it is the terminology in his records....

As far as the 7th Cavalry rumor / misunderstanding goes, I believe I am beginning to see through that issue. The story goes that he told my Dad that he was a 'Garryowen'....Our understanding was that the 'Garryowen' music was the 7th Cavalry's music dating from Custer's time. What I have subsequently come to understand (after digging around) is that during the time when the US Army was reorganizing the Cavalry units, transitioning from horse to mechanized, they also incorporated the use of that music for ALL Cavalry units in the division...If I'm correct on this, it would account for the music reference being mixed up in this, and thus our incorrect assumption that he was in the 7th Cavalry (darn, silly music...never assume!)

My next step is to file that FOIA request with the VA in Baltimore, just as the NARA rep suggested....

Thank you, again....
 
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