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For almost 200 years, the United States Army Cavalry proudly rode into battle on behalf of our country. It's Platoons also represented the Army in thousands of ceremonies, parades and events including the Olympics.
While our modern Army is mechanized, it still maintains the proud tradition and its relationship with the horses. The Blue Devils Horse Platoon is a part of that proud tradition, representing the Army at events and ceremonies throughout the world.
The history of this unit is one of determination, guts, pride and commitment. It was first formed in 1944 in Italy as the 88th Infantry Division was slugging its way up the Italian Peninsula. The Corp Commander at that time was LTG Lucian Truscott, an old cavalryman, who saw some benefit for mounted units to best utilize the terrain they were operating on. He had in his lines a number of captured German horses and he encouraged the divisions to form mounted reconnaissance units with these mounts.
Scattered among the officers of the units involved were ex-cavalrymen. They found as many men as they could who could ride, ex-jockeys, cowboys, and others who had originally been assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division. The 2nd was the last horse cavalry division in the US Army before it was mechanized and became the 9th Armored Division. The 88th ID answered his call and formed a recon mounted platoon that they called the “Blue Devils Horse Platoon” (BDHP). Their first commander was a 1stLieutenant named John Russell.
Welcome To The Blue Devils Horse Platoon...
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A Proud History...
To represent the
United States Army and the United States Army Reserve as a mounted ceremonial and equestrian sport unit. To complete this mission safely with dignity
Horses first, men second, officers last.
The BDHP had the honor of meeting him and having him judge the North American International Horse Show. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and runs the Pentathlon program for the USOC.
LTC Russell has the unique distinction of having ridden both on the last official U.S. Army Olympic Team (London, 1948) and the first "civilian" U.S. Equestrian Olympic Team (Helsinki, 1952). He is shown at left riding "Blue Devil", one of his '48 Olympic Team horses. He is also a 2001 inductee into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
Lt. Colonel Russell Riding "Blue Devil"
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