The 1st Cavalry Division’s insignia is one of the most recognizable in the world.
It was created in 1921 by Gladys Fitch Dorcy, the wife of the commander of the 7th Cavalry Regiment (part of the 1st Cavalry Division) at Fort Bliss, Texas. The bright yellow Norman Shield that forms the basis of the emblem was cut from the lining of her husband’s worn-out cape. The shoulder patch would become one of the biggest and most visible in the Army—easily seen in the dusty Texas landscape.
The diagonal line is “symbolic of the scaling walls of enemy castles.” The famous horse head can be seen on the patch as well. Perfect for a cavalry unit. Cavalry units have come a long way since 1921. Over time horses became tanks and then helicopters, but the insignia remains the same. This version of the 1st Cav insignia can be seen the tail of the Flying Heritage Collection’s Vietnam-era UH-1D Huey.
Cory Graff is the military aviation curator at Flying Heritage Collection.