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Building upon the echoes of the Cavalry's thundering hooves, our history defines where we come from, and propels us forward into the future of tradition and lifelong camaraderie.




In 1904, a few years after the Spanish-American War, a group of men from Syracuse joined together to form a cavalry troop.  The troop became designated as Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, a National Guard Unit.  In 1907, the State of New York built an armory in Syracuse, known as the Jefferson Street Armory, to provide year round quarters for the Troop, with facilities for boarding and exercising horses, conducting mounted drills indoors, and for a minimal amount of small arms fire.

The limited space of the Armory was insufficient to fulfill all the training needs of a troop of horse cavalry.  Also, these "citizen soldiers" were a close-knit organization, in many ways more like a club than a military unit and felt the need for a place other than the Armory, a state building subject to strict military discipline, where they could gather for social purposes, free of military restraint.

The members of Troop D were determined to acquire some land in the country, not too far from Syracuse, to serve the following purposes:
  • To provide a place where the troopers could keep their horses, many of which were owned by the troopers.
  • To furnish a place where troopers could ride for their own pleasure, other than in the course of weekly drill.
  • To provide a clubhouse for off-duty relaxation and comradeship.
  • To furnish an area where mounted and dismounted drill and small unit problems could be held and small arms ranges constructed.


By the efforts of the approximately 60 members of the troop (who called themselves the "Troop D Association") $3,000 was accumulated and was used to buy a farm in the Town of Manlius, known as the Devendorf Farm, which met all the needs of the troop.  After its acquisition, the farm became known as "the Troop Farm," and was adapted by labor and dock facilities by the members to the uses for which it was purchased.  Stable and paddock facilities were developed for the horses, riding trails were constructed, the farmhouse was revamped for a clubhouse, drill areas perfected and small arms ranges were installed.



On March 9, 1916, Poncho Villa led 600 of his infamous Durado Cavalry into invasion of the United States.  This took place at the sleepy little boarder town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 16 Americans.  The raid drew an instant response from President Woodrow Wilson.  The Army and the National Guard were called up for a punitive action into Mexico.  In 1916 Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, under the command of Chester H. King, was ordered to the Mexican border and stationed at McAllen, Texas.  The troops were commanded by "Black Jack" Pershing, accompanied by a young Lieutenant he nicknamed "Bandit" because of his gunslinger approach to the war - George Patton.  After several engagements, including Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry's famed charge across the Rio Grand.  Pershing had chased Villa's forces deep into Mexico, but after about 9 months the General was ordered to withdraw back to the United States in preparation of World War I.

Troop D was then mustered out of service for two weeks, but with the rapid deterioration in relation between the U.S. and Germany, which culminated in the formal declaration of war by Congress April 16, 1917, the Troop was again mustered into Federal Service and sent to Camp Wadsworth, near Spartanburg, South Carolina, where it became Company D of the 104th Machine Gun Battalion, a unit of the 27th Division, NY National Guard.  The troop was sent to Peekskill, New York to guard the aqueduct providing New York City's water supply from possible sabotage.  In the Spring of 1918, the battalion sailed for Europe and served with great distinction in France and Belgium, participating in the Flanders, Ypres-Lys and Somme Offensive Campaigns, including the attack which broke the Hindenburg Line.  Following the Armistice in November 11, 1918, they returned to the United States and the division was mustered out of Federal Service and once again became Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, a unit of the New York National Guard.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Troop D continued to train not only at the Jefferson St. Armory and at the Troop Farm, but at Pine Camp near Watertown, now known as Fort Drum.  The men and their horses were transported by train to the camp where they spent weeks in maneuvers under the command of Captain Hamilton Armstrong.  Through various designations of troop letters or regimental numbers, the troop eventually became know as Troop K, 121st Cavalry.  Training was intense and as their skills as horsemen were sharpened, the became famous as the "Troop K Rough Riders."  Performing in the annual "Cavalry Circus", they won dozens of trophies and loving cups with expert marksmanship and brilliant trick riding, including the legendary pyramid ride and jump.


In the fall of 1940, Troop K joined the newly formed 101st Anti-tank Battalion as Company C.  On January 6, 1941, 105 young men raised their right hand and swore allegiance to defend their country against their enemies.  They were a conglomerate group from all walks of life: college students and graduates, lawyers, mechanics, farmers, clerks, shop foremen and some still in high school.  On January 13, they trudged down the streets of Syracuse, full pack, to the New York Central train station and boarded for the trip to Fort Benning, Georgia and to a life far different from what they had been living.  Basic training was completed by the end of March and the troop was sent to the Carolinas and to Louisiana for maneuvers and finally arrived back in Syracuse on December 6.  The news the next day of the attack on Pearl Harbor shattered the hopes of some of the older soldiers who were to be discharged.  On December 15, the troop became designated Company C, 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion, a new branch of the Army.  Training was intensified first at Camp Sutton, then on to Camp Hood, Texas for Tank Destroyer School.  Because the men of Company C were considered invaluable veterans, many members of the company were dispersed into different services.  Members of company C served with great distinction in France, Germany, Italy, China, Burma, India, New Guinea, Okinawa and 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 left Camp Hood by train for the Boston Port of Embarkation, from which it sailed on February 28th on H.M.S. Britannic, landing at Liverpool, England on March 11th.  From there the troop moved to southern England, in the area of Chudleigh, for a period of intensive training for the invasion of the Continent.

After World War II ended in New York State reorganized its militia, Troop K was not replaced in the National Guard.  The Troop Farm lost half of the original purpose - the military facilities - so some Company C members suggested forming a club opened to all veterans of the original Troop D or any of its successor units.  In 1946, they formed the Cavalry Veterans of Syracuse, Inc., a corporation with express goals of fostering patriotism, providing recreational and social activities for its members, and promoting the spirit of comradeship and respect for which Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry was known.  About a year later, membership was expanded to include people congenial with the Cavalry Veterans and their goals.