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Building upon the echoes of the Cavalry's thundering hooves, our history not only defines where we come from but also propels us forward into the future of tradition and lifelong camaraderie. It serves as a beacon guiding us through the passage of time, instilling in us a deep sense of pride and purpose as we continue to uphold the values and legacy of our founding members. With each stride forward, we honor their legacy while forging new paths that embody the enduring spirit of fellowship and excellence.



In 1904, shortly after the Spanish-American War, a group of Syracuse men came together to establish a cavalry troop, later designated as Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, a National Guard Unit. In 1907, the State of New York erected the Jefferson Street Armory in Syracuse, providing year-round quarters for the Troop. The armory included facilities for housing and exercising horses, conducting mounted drills indoors, and limited small arms practice.

However, the confines of the Armory proved inadequate to meet all the training needs of a cavalry troop. Additionally, the members, considered "citizen soldiers," sought a space distinct from the military discipline of the Armory. They envisioned a place where they could gather for social activities unrestricted by military regulations.

With this vision in mind, the members of Troop D were determined to acquire land near Syracuse to serve several purposes:

  • Providing stables for their horses, many of which were personally owned by the troopers.

  • Offering a space for recreational riding outside of regular drills.

  • Establishing a clubhouse for relaxation and camaraderie during off-duty hours.

  • Creating an area for both mounted and dismounted drills, as well as constructing small arms ranges for training purpose

Through the collective efforts of approximately 60 troop members, who formed the "Troop D Association," a sum of $3,000 was amassed. This fund was utilized to acquire a farm in the Town of Manlius, known as the Devendorf Farm, perfectly suited to meet the troop's requirements. Following its purchase, the farm became known as "the Troop Farm," undergoing transformations by the members to align with its intended purposes. Stables and paddocks were established for the horses, riding trails were carved out, the farmhouse was refurbished into a clubhouse, drill areas were meticulously arranged, and small arms ranges were installed.

On March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa led 600 of his notorious Dorados Cavalry in an invasion of the United States. This incursion occurred in the quiet border town of Columbus, New Mexico, resulting in the deaths of 16 Americans. The raid prompted an immediate response from President Woodrow Wilson, who called upon the Army and the National Guard for punitive action into Mexico.

In 1916, Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, under the command of Chester H. King, received orders to deploy to the Mexican border and was stationed at McAllen, Texas. The troops were under the command of "Black Jack" Pershing, accompanied by a young lieutenant nicknamed "Bandit" due to his aggressive approach to warfare - George Patton. After several engagements, including Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry's renowned charge across the Rio Grande, Pershing pursued Villa's forces deep into Mexico. However, after approximately 9 months, the General was directed to withdraw back to the United States in preparation for World War I.


Troop D was initially mustered out of service for a brief period. However, due to the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Germany, which eventually led to Congress formally declaring war on April 16, 1917, the Troop was reactivated and deployed to Camp Wadsworth, near Spartanburg, South Carolina. There, it became Company D of the 104th Machine Gun Battalion, a constituent unit of the 27th Division, NY National Guard.

Following this deployment, the troop was assigned to Peekskill, New York, tasked with guarding the aqueduct that supplied water to New York City to prevent potential sabotage. In the spring of 1918, the battalion embarked for Europe and distinguished itself in France and Belgium. It participated in significant offensives such as Flanders, Ypres-Lys, and the Somme, notably contributing to the breakthrough of the Hindenburg Line.

Following the Armistice on November 11, 1918, the division returned to the United States. Subsequently, it was mustered out of Federal Service, reverting to its original designation as Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, within the New York National Guard.


Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Troop D maintained its training regimen at both the Jefferson St. Armory and the Troop Farm, in addition to conducting maneuvers at Pine Camp near Watertown, now recognized as Fort Drum. The men and their horses were transported by train to Pine Camp, where they engaged in extensive training exercises under the leadership of Captain Hamilton Armstrong.

Over time, through various reorganizations and reassignments of troop letters and regimental numbers, Troop D evolved into Troop K, 121st Cavalry. Renowned for their expertise as horsemen, they earned the moniker "Troop K Rough Riders." Their participation in the annual "Cavalry Circus" garnered them numerous accolades, with displays of exceptional marksmanship and dazzling trick riding, including the renowned pyramid ride and jump.

1940 marked a significant transition for Troop K. In the autumn of that year, they became part of the newly formed 101st Anti-tank Battalion as Company C. On January 6, 1941, 105 young men pledged their commitment to defend their country against its enemies. These men hailed from diverse backgrounds, including college students, lawyers, mechanics, farmers, clerks, and shop foremen, with some still in high school.

On January 13, they embarked on a journey to Fort Benning, Georgia, leaving behind their familiar lives for the rigors of military training. Basic training concluded by the end of March, after which the troop participated in maneuvers in the Carolinas and Louisiana. They returned to Syracuse on December 6, only to receive the devastating news of the attack on Pearl Harbor the following day.

On December 15, the troop was redesignated as Company C, 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion, a newly formed branch of the Army. Their training intensified, first at Camp Sutton and then at Camp Hood, Texas, for Tank Destroyer School. Recognized as invaluable veterans, many members of Company C were dispersed into various other services.

Members of Company C served with distinction across the globe, including in France, Germany, Italy, China, Burma, India, New Guinea, Okinawa, and with the 8th Air Force.


During the war, three of the original Company C members lost their lives in combat: Lt. Vaughn Martin, Lt. Fred Gorl and Sgt. Bill Peckham (from left to right).

On February 15, 1944, the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion departed Camp Hood via train for the Boston Port of Embarkation. On February 28th, they embarked on the H.M.S. Britannic, arriving in Liverpool, England on March 11th. From there, the battalion relocated to southern England, specifically the area of Chudleigh, for an intensive training period in preparation for the impending invasion of the Continent.


Following the conclusion of World War II, New York State reorganized its militia, resulting in Troop K not being reinstated in the National Guard. Consequently, the Troop Farm lost a significant aspect of its original purpose, the military facilities. In response, some members of Company C proposed the formation of a club open to all veterans of the original Troop D or any of its successor units.

In 1946, they established the Cavalry Veterans of Syracuse, Inc., a corporation dedicated to fostering patriotism, organizing recreational and social activities for its members, and nurturing the spirit of camaraderie and respect for which Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry was renowned. Approximately a year later, membership was expanded to include individuals who shared the values and objectives of the Cavalry Veterans.