Jeeps and calvary coming down countryside road

Photo from Ohio National Guard Heritage Center Collections

A column of the Ohio National Guard’s 107th Cavalry, with horses, motorcycles and scout cars, moves into position during Second Army Maneuvers in Arkansas after the unit was inducted into federal service in 1941. The U.S. Army Armor Branch traces its origin to the cavalry, which was authorized Dec. 12, 1776, by the Continental Congress. The mechanization of the Army during World War II led to the elimination of the cavalry as a basic branch of the Army and the growth of armor as a permanent branch in 1950.

Ohio units part of Armor Branch’s 247-year history

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann, Ohio National Guard historian

The Armor Branch of the U.S. Army traces its origin to the cavalry, which began on Dec. 12, 1776, when the Continental Congress authorized the organization of a regiment of cavalry. While cavalry continued as a separate branch through World War II, the mechanization of the Army during the war led to the elimination of the cavalry as a basic branch of the Army and the growth of armor as a permanent branch in 1950.

The organization of mounted units in the early years of the Ohio Militia were usually centered on call-ups for wartime. Volunteer cavalry and dragoon units were formed during the War of 1812 and Mexican War. During the Civil War, Ohio produced 13 regiments, five independent battalions/squadrons and eight independent companies of cavalry to Union armies.

Permanent troops of cavalry were formed in the Ohio National Guard in the late 1870s, but were short lived due to the high cost of procuring and maintaining horses and equipment. Cincinnati’s 1st Troop was disbanded in 1879, followed by the 3rd Troop, of Shelby, in 1883. Hillsboro’s 2nd Troop was converted to an infantry company in 1882.

However, in 1887 the 1st Cleveland Troop of Cavalry was mustered into the Ohio National Guard, marking a continued presence of mounted units in Ohio ever since. The troop was organized in 1877 as an independent militia company by Cleveland’s socioeconomic elite and became known as the “Black Horse Troop,” reflecting their exclusive use of black mounts.

Ohio’s first mechanized unit was the 37th Tank Company, which was formed in Port Clinton in 1920 as Company H, Tank Corps. The unit would heroically fight in the defense of the Bataan Pennisula in 1941-42 in the Pacific, with many of its members later taking part in the infamous Bataan Death March.

Today, Ohio maintains two mounted regiments — The 145th Armored Regiment, which consists of the 1st Battalion with headquarters in Stow, and the 107th Cavalry Regiment, which consists of the 2nd Squadron with headquarters in Hamilton.

Even though cavalry is no longer a separate branch, units in the Army force structure that primarily perform a reconnaissance mission are designated as cavalry units and maintain the customs and traditions of their mounted predecessors.

Ohio’s cavalry and armor units have earned campaign credit in the Civil War, World War II and the War on Terrorism.

Ohio Cavalry/Armor Units (post-Civil War)

•   1st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (1898)
•   1st Cavalry Squadron (1910-1917)
•   1st Cavalry Regiment (1917, 1919-1921)
•   22nd Reconnaissance Squadron (1939-1940)
•   22nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (1944)
•   37th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (1942-1948)
•   37th Reconnaissance Company (1948-1959)
•   37th Tank Company (1921-1940)
•   54th Cavalry Brigade (1922-1940)
•   107th Cavalry Regiment (1921-1944, 1993-Present)
•   107th Cavalry Group, Mechanized (1944-1949)
•   107th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (1944-1949)
•   107th Armored Cavalry Regiment (1949-1993)
•   137th Tank Battalion (1949-1959)
•   137th Armor (1959-1968)
•   145th Armored Regiment (2007-Present)
•   147th Armor (1994-2005)
•   185th Tank Battalion (1946-1949)
•   237th Cavalry (1963-1968, 1977-1994)
•   637th Tank Battalion (1947-1949)


Soldiers stand at attention in field bearing coat of arms.

Secretary of War approves 145th Infantry Regiment coat of arms

On July 17, 1928, the Secretary of War approved the design and symbolism of the coat of arms for the 145th Infantry Regiment, the ancestor of today’s 145th Armored Regiment.


Commander stands in front of regiment flag in black and white photo.

148th Infantry coat of arms first in Ohio Guard to gain Army approval

The 148th Infantry Regiment became the first Ohio National Guard regiment to have a coat of arms approved by the U.S. Army, on April 21, 1923. By Army regulation, each regiment and separate battalion is authorized a coat of arms that is included in the organizational colors.


Soldiers stand at attention in field bearing coat of arms.

Ohio National Guard lineage goes back to Civil War

On Nov. 17, 1785, the Continental Congress unanimously elected Henry Knox “Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery,” marking the birth of the artillery branch in the U.S. Army, which carries on today as the field artillery and air defense artillery branches.


Soldiers from Battery B, 177th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion stand near their 90 mm Radar Controlled Air Defense gun at Locus Point, Camp Perry, Ohio, circa 1955.