The 158th Cavalry has been part of the 29th Division since its reactivation in 1985 but one of its troops has been part of the 29th Division since the Division’s inception in 1917.
The 158th Cavalry and its ancestral units have been associated with the city of Annapolis for more than 100 years. The 158th traces its history to an independent infantry company known as “The Governor’s Guard” which was raised in Maryland’s capital in 1877. In 1886, the company was merged into the 1st Maryland Infantry (see the 115th Infantry history) as Company G. After the Spanish-American War, the company was reorganized as Company M, 1st Maryland.
Company M was federalized in 1917 and served overseas with the 29th Division’s 115th Infantry during World War One. In the inter-war period, the unit reverted back to its old designation, Company M, 1st Maryland.
The unit was again federalized along with the rest of the 29th Division in February 1941, again, as Company M, 115th Infantry. On D-Day, June 6th, 1994, Company M participated in the great landings on D-Day at Omaha Beach, France.
After the war, the unit was reorganized in Annapolis as the 29th Quartermaster Company. In 1963 the unit was redesignated Company A, 229th Supply and Transportation Battalion. When the 29th Division was deactivated in 1968, Company A was converted to a reconnaissance outfit in the 28th (Keystone) Division and designated Troop B, 1st Squadron, 223rd Cavalry.
When Maryland lost its association with the 28th Division in 1975, the Annapolis unit was redesignated Troop B, 158th Cavalry, and served as a reconnaissance element in Maryland’s 58th Brigade.
When the 29th Division was reactivated in 1985, the 158th expanded to become the division reconnaissance squadron. The unit was renamed the 1st Squadron, 158th Cavalry. Troop B became the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT), and three completely new troops were organized. Troop A was a ground reconnaissance outfit and Troops B and C were helicopter reconnaissance units. The primary purpose of the unit was to perform reconnaissance and surveillance, security, and screening operations; to conduct intelligence and electronic warfare missions, to facilitate command and control in support of 29th Infantry (Light) operations.
In 2001, Troop A was mustered into Federal Service in support of Stabilization Force 10 (SFOR) which began in September, 2001. On 3 September 2006, the Troops were converted to ground reconnaissance and all aviation assets were removed. The Squadron was reassigned to the 58th Brigade Combat Team.
In April 2007, the 158th Cav was mobilized to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. HHT and B Troop deployed to Camp Cropper at Baghdad International Airport on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. Troop A deployed to Camp Bucca, Southeastern Iraq, by the Kuwaiti border. HHT built, operated, and sustained the Iraqi Training Academy where hundreds of Iraqis trained to become correction officers, mid-level supervisors, and wardens. Troops A and B supported detainee operations at their respective locations, securing and caring for approximately 6,000 detainees at Camp Cropper and 20,000 prisoners at Camp Bucca. Just prior to deployment, Troop C was disbanded and the soldiers transferred to Troops A and B. Upon redeployment to the United States, soldiers from Troops A and B were transferred back to Troop C and the Squadron was reorganized to consist of Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, and A, B, and C (LRS), elements of the 58th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.
Other service within the United States include support and security response to the citizens of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and border security along the Mexican border in 2006.
Since 2007, the 158th Cav supported a multitude of state emergencies to safeguard the people of Maryland against Hurricane Sandy and several snow blizzards. In 2013, the 158th Cav participated in a combat training center rotation, Exportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC), supporting the 86th IBCT from the Vermont National Guard. In 2015, the 158th was mobilized under the National spotlight in Operation Restore Order as part of a Joint Task Force in Baltimore, Maryland to improve security and stability in the wake of the riots. The 158th was responsible for Command and Control of 50% of the Control Points within the City of Baltimore.
In recognition of the unit’s long association with Annapolis, the Army recognizes the name, “The Governor’s Guard” and the incumbent Governor of Maryland serves as the unit’s “Colonel-in-Chief”. It is the only unit in Maryland entitled to a “Colonel-in-Chief”. HHT of the 158th is entitled to 6 battle streamers on its guidon for its service in the 115th Infantry during both World Wars. Furthermore, it is entitled to carry steamers embroidered “St. Laurent-sur-Mer” and “Beaches of Normandy” in recognition of the 115th’s Presidential Unit Citation and French Croix de Guerre with Palm, which were awarded for the regiment’s gallant service on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
On November 7th, 2015 the 158th was deactivated at the E. Leslie Medford Annapolis Armory under the final command of LTC Duplechain and SGM Akers. At the time of deactivation, Headquarters and Headquarters Troops was located in Annapolis, A Troop in Cheltenham, B Troop in Easton and C Troop in Hagerstown, MD.
1. Balkoski, Joseph. The Maryland National Guard: A History of Maryland’s Military Forces, 1634-1991. Baltimore, MD: Guard, 1991. Print.
2. Ewing, Joseph H. 29 Let’s Go!: A History of the 29th Infantry Division in World War II. Nashville, Tn.: Battery, 1979. Print.
3. Pictorial History of the 29th Division. S.l.: S.n., 1965. Print.
4. Deactivation Program of the 158th Cavalry Squadron. Annapolis: n.p., 2015. Print.