US ARMY RESERVE BLUE DEVILS HORSE PLATOON
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 and honor. Our motto is “ Horses first, men second, officers last”.
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.” Their first commander was a 1stLieutenant named John Russell. The BDHP had the honor of meeting him and have 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 below riding "Blue Devil", one of his '48 Olympic Team horses. He is also a 2001 inductee in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
of the platoon have shown in horse shows in The Netherlands,