87th Cavalry Squadron (Recon)
Walt Cross, Master Sergeant, U.S. Army (Retired)
87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
(Mechanized) Unit Insignia
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Armored cavalry consists of troops that ride in armored vehicles. In this case the 87th
Cavalry was the reconnissance battalion for the 7th Armored Division, a part of the XXth
"Ghost" Corps. Because of its quick movement and hard hitting style the division was
known by various nicknames. The press called it "the rattlesnake division", while the
Germans themselves called it "the ghost division". The 87th cavalry served as the eyes
and ears of the division. Their distinctive unit insigina is a silver shield divided down the
middle and the right side (as the bearer of the shield would see it) colored green. It is
charged with a trotting boar hog, tusks exposed with the shield colors again divided but
reversed on the boar. The unit's motto is "Poking Around" which is exactly what the
87th's job was, to poke around and find the enemy. The tusks indicate that although small,
(the 87th consisted of armored cars and light tanks), the unit was dangerous none the less.
My father served in Company F of the 87th, which was the only tank company, the rest of
the unit being comprised of armored cars troops. Dad was gunner and assistant driver of
the M5A1 "Stuart" light tank. This small but fast tank was armed with a 37mm main gun,
a coaxle (moves in the turret with the main gun) .30 caliber machine gun,
and a .50 caliber turrent mounted machine gun.