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First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary History & Visit to the UK

By: Brianna Adams, BABCPHL Coordinator and Junior at Temple University

Serving the United States since 1774, the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry (FTPCC) has served in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War, making it the oldest mounted military unit in the country. In addition to being the oldest, the FTPCC is also the only troop within the US military that still elects its members and is completely made up of volunteers. On September 26, 2019, the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary will be traveling to United Kingdom to attend a royal reception in London.

The UK and the US have a deep rooted and very strong historic relationship.  The BABCPHL’s mission is to promote the connection between the two countries in our region.  The FTPCC initially came into being after a Committee of Correspondence was elected to determine how to most effectively resist Great Britain. Three of these members, plus one outsider, gathered together to form the “Light Horse of Philadelphia,” later known as the FTPCC. These men also voted that the Troop would be fully equipped and supported by themselves and its members at their own expense, in order to offer the best service to the Continental Congress. The original troop was comprised of ship-owners, traders, importers, and business professionals, who came together for one specific mission – to be the commander’s eyes and ears on the battlefield. In order to achieve this mission, the men had to be flexible, resourceful, intelligent, and courageous. More than 245 years later, the Troop is still an active military unit.

Over the years, the FTPCC has fought in many major battles. In 1776, the FTCPP rode under General Washington and Major General Greene, as they captured Hessians and won the Battle of Trenton against the British. After this victory, the Troop served as a bodyguard as the other troops crossed back over the Delaware River. During the War of 1812 with Great Britain, the Troop served as scouts north of Baltimore, as the enemy ships in the Bay inched closer.

The FTPCC also played a major role in The Civil War. They were the only volunteer cavalry organization that President Lincoln accepted into the first 90 day call up of state militia. During this war, the FTPCC fought in the battle of Falling Waters and performed vital reconnaissance duties in and around Gettysburg.

During World War I, the Troop was sent to Europe, where it saw action in a few battles, such as in the Battle of the Meuse Forest. In World War II, the FTPCC patrolled the Delaware River and the Pacific Coast until 1945, when they were deployed to Europe once again. This time, they served in Belgium and Germany.

Troop members have also served in Vietnam, Korea, Bosnia, Iraq, Grenada, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan as well as on peacekeeping missions in Egypt and Rwanda. Among its notable members include two former Secretaries of the Navy, two former Secretaries of Defense, the first Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, the first Superintendent of West Point and the third man to walk on the moon. Many others have served as ambassadors, members of Congress and mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as well as many prominent generals.

Throughout the centuries, the men of the FTPCC have continued to achieve their mission of being the commander’s eyes and ears on the battlefield in order to defend our Country, no matter how much times have changed. FTPCC has proven to be an essential part of the US National Defense, which uses its strength, volunteerism, and values to continue to grow and succeed in the future.

For updates on the FTPCC’s trip to the UK, visit their website or follow their page on Facebook.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
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  • Cigna
  • Cigna
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  • Duane Morris
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  • HSBC
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • McConnell Johnson Real Estate
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Law Firm of Pepper Hamilton
  • TD Bank
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  • Welsh Government