The 61st Cavalry Regiment is a regiment of the United States Army first established in 2004.
The 61st Cavalry traces its lineage to the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 601st was activated 19 August 1941 and deployed to England on 2 August 1942. In North Africa, the battalion participated in the battles of Ousseltia Valley, Sbeitla, Kasserine Pass, Mateur, and El Guettar, for which it was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 37 tanks in 24 hours.
The battalion conducted its first amphibious assault at Salerno on 9 September 1943, with the 36th Infantry Division and 1st Ranger Battalion. It fought through Salerno until 30 September 1943. The 601st conducted its second amphibious assault at Anzio Beachhead where they destroyed 42 enemy tanks and countless enemy personnel.
In Southern France, SSG Clyde Choate of C Company, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near the town of Buyeres, France, on 25 October 1944. During the 16-day battle at Colmar, the battalion succeeded in destroying 18 enemy tanks and dozens of enemy fortification. The 601st was awarded its second Presidential Unit Citation for the battalion's actions and valor. In intense fighting outside of Colmar, Audie Murphy earned the Medal of Honor by single-handedly defeating a German attack atop a 601st M10 Tank Destroyer.
During the latter days of the German campaign, the 601st Reconnaissance Company ranged far ahead of the advancing US forces. It helped keep the disorganized remnants of the German army within the allied zone of advance from consolidating and re-organizing. The 601st earned 10 campaign streamers in WW II and 2 Presidential Unit Citations. After brief occupation duties in Europe, the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion was deactivated.
On 16 August 2004, 1st Squadron 61st, Cavalry Regiment was activated as part of the 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. The activation was part of the Army’s transformation towards a modular force.
In November 2005, the 1st Squadron 61st Cavalry Regiment deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron was assigned an area of responsibility in southeast Baghdad that consisted of over 1,500 square kilometers and over 1 million people. The AO included the restive towns of Jisr Diyala and Salman Pak, as well as several areas where the enemy had been quite active since 2003.
The squadron conducted over 1000 combat patrols and executed numerous raids and search and attack operations. Soldiers of the 1st Squadron 61st Cavalry found and cleared over 200 improvised explosive devices as well as numerous caches.
The squadron detained over 200 insurgents including over 20 division-level high-value targets. The soldiers of the squadron also permanently removed many insurgents from the fight.
The squadron had the highest number of detainees sentenced to long-term incarceration and highest number of high-value individuals killed or captured for a battalion-sized unit for all of Multi-National Division Baghdad.
Beginning in 2007, there were no more RSTA battalions in the US Army, only cavalry units. So, the 1-61 CAV included C Company in 2004–07, which was changed to C Troop (dismounted cavalry) in 2007; A Troop and B Troop remained mounted cavalry.