FROM WHENCE BLV COME?
How did Camp Blue Lancer Valley
come to have this name?
The purpose of this page is not to relate another myth
pertaining to the naming of Camp Blue Lancer Valley but rather to
present relevant data and historical photos that could have lead
to the designation.
The camp name of Blue Lancer Valley is as charming as its
origin is baffling. All soldiers fortunate enough to have received
assignment at the BLV have little to wonder of this appealing
military sector in addition to the recreation and leisure facilities.
The valley flaunted all its panoramic beauty in all of its year
round glorious majesty. The mountain greenery following the
freshening Monsoon showers in Summer, the warmth of the doe-
brown landscape in the Fall, and its snow white Winter purity was
a sure spectacle to all the privileged who served there. The
Valley’s distance from the single road entry and away from the
local population and life, perhaps lent to its off-the-beaten-path
location. It could be argued that under certain circumstances and
perhaps one day, this hidden Shangri-La could be of resort quality
to some wealthy entrepreneur.
Our Blue Lancer Historian
Evidently a 1957-1963 post Korea war soldier, perhaps our
first Blue Lancer in the locale, was familiar with United States and
British history of the post colonial American era. The year 1957
because the Twelfth Cavalry was assigned duty in Korea to the
First Cavalry Division as the Second Battle Group Twelfth
Cavalry; and the year 1963 because the 2BG12Cav was
redesignated 1stBn12Cav1stCavDiv in Korea.
The Twelfth Lancers
Possibly our historian had knowledge of the existence of a
British unit known as the Twelfth Lancers, who because of their
battle excellence were also known as the Prince of Wales
Lancers during King George III’s reign. Under the reign of Queen
Victoria, the Twelfth Lancers fought in various campaigns and
battles including the Boer Wars in South Africa at the turn of the
last century. While armaments included the lance, the saber was
also the strategic weapon of the cavalry charge.
The 12th Lancers were designated Prince of Wales Lancers by King
George III. Note blue uniform and yellow seam stripe; and that the pennant’s
top-half is red while the bottom half is white. Circa 1776
Typical U.S. Army Cavalry charge scene with drawn sabers. Circa 1865
The United States Dragoon Regiment predated
the Cavalry until 1855.
A post Civil War Buffalo Soldier is portrayed in a cavalry charge with a
guidon portraying the effect of a lance rather than a saber. Still, the guidon
bearer’s position was immediately behind the officer leading the charge who
indeed wielded the drawn saber, in this case a White absent officer. Note that the
guidon's top is red and the bottom is white. Circa 1866
In 1883 the designation troop was installed as was the
designation battalion removed. On February 4, 1885 the guidon
was established with an upper red field bearing the numeral; and
lower white, the troop letter.
The U.S. Twelfth Cavalry Regiment was created on February
2, 1901 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Its job was to patrol
westward expansion, the Mexican Border, and the Lower Rio
Grande Valley. Then in 1916 the 12th was shipped to the Panama
Canal Zone to serve in Corozal until 1921.
On 24 March 1923, the 12th Cav. Regt. was assigned (but not
activated) to the 2nd Cavalry Division until January 3, 1933, when
it was assigned to the First Cavalry Division.
On July 26, 1943 the 12th Cav. Regt. arrived in Australia,
followed by service in New Guinea, The Philippines, and Tokyo
during WWII; and then inactivated on 29 March 1949.
On 15 February 1957 The Twelfth Cav Regt. was reactivated
as the Second Battle Group Twelfth Cavalry.
On October 15, 1957 the 2ndBG12thCav was assigned to the
First Cavalry Division.
On 15 November 1957 the Second Battle Group Twelfth
Regiment was assigned duty in Korea. The 12th was inactivated
on February 3, 1962
Finally, the Twelfth Cavalry was redesignated as the First
Battalion Twelfth Cavalry under ROAD in September 1, 1963 and
assigned to the First Cavalry Division in Korea.
The First Battalion Twelfth Cavalry then occupied the valley
in Korea following the war until July 1, 1965 when it was
reassigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia for mobilization to the
Republic of Viet Nam.
Lest we forget Old Bill
We must not forget all about Old Bill. After all, he was the
mascot of OUR First Battalion Twelfth Cavalry during our tenure
in Korea. Which brings up the question, why Old Bill? Why not
Blue Bill, Vill Bill, Hill Bill, or Pale Bill?
Posted at HHC 1/12 Orderly Room until July 1, 1965.
Note that Old Bill appears to wear the traditional Civil War or the Old West
blue uniform and yellow scarf. The wide brimmed hat was non-regulation but
practical under the western sun
Perhaps Old Bill IS the now evolved BLUE LANCER product
once conceived in the mind of our post Korean War BLV name
initiator. The Twelfth Cavalry was created in 1902 when the
uniform was the brown heavy wool patch pocket General
Pershing outfit. In 1963 when The First Battalion Twelfth Cavalry
was redesignated, the uniform of our day was the greens, khakis,
and fatigues. So it follows then, that now Old Bill is truly out of
uniform, but not in the unreasonable mind of our Blue Lancer
historian or his contemporaries.
The Myth Continues
Perhaps our 1957-1963 blue lancer’s romantic imagination ran
wild with the combination of these varied assessments, fused
them together, and thus produced the name Blue Lancer Valley.
Preposterous and incredible? Perhaps. However, it is as
good as any discussed and published thus far. Conceivably,
Nullo Valley, T-Bone Vale, Hill & Dale, Queen’s Hollow, Dead End
Gulch, or Blue Belly Alley would suffice. After all, do we not hear
of Mickey Mouse Corner, Jackass Pass, Spoonbill, Turkey
Farmers, and the legendary Village Rat Patrol?
The question will continue perplexing us all until some
contemporary evidence—a document, a scrap of paper, a 1/12
trooper’s journal, an initial morning report—comes to light that
truly unveils the origin of the name of Camp Blue Lancer Valley.
SP4 Julio Martinez
The Twelfth Lancers in a cavalry charge near Vet River during the Boer Wars in South
Africa under the reign of Queen Victoria. Circa 1900
Conceivably, our Blue Lancer historian was familiar with the
nearby British Glosters who fought The Battle of the Imjin near
SolmaRi, a few miles east from NulloRi. In speculation, could a
lost Gloster(s), a temporary MIA(s) following the din of battle and
surrender, dutifully escape westward to friendly ROK and
American lines near the valley?
The Dragoon, the Cavalry, and the Regiment
The roots of the cavalry date back to 1833 with the creation of
the United States Regiment of Dragoons. By 1836 two more
Dragoon Regiments were created which predated the Cavalry of
The U. S. Cavalry dates back to the westward expansion of
1855, the Civil War of 1860-65, when the regiment replaced the
dragoon. The cavalry protected the Old West, guarded the
Mexican Border, and protected settlers from Native Americans. In
this interim period the Cavalry underwent several regiment
creations, among which were the 3rd, 4th, and the 5th. In 1866,
the added regiments 1st, 7th, 8th, and the 10th would be the future
nucleus of the First Cavalry Division of September 13, 1921.
Officers led cavalry charges with drawn sabers. Perhaps in
the romantic mind of our historian’s yore, our cavalry simulated
European lancers. Possibly he was one who grew up with the TV
serials of Rin Tin Tin, or cowboy and Indian movies. Those Old
West movies of yesteryear where the mounted cavalry in blue
under the charge bugle call galloped around the bend in a cloud of
dust just in time to save besieged soldiers, broken down
stagecoaches, or damsels in distress from either outlaws or
Photo courtesy Tekawiz.com
The United States Dragoon Regiment of 1836.
The navy blue frock coat and light blue pants of the civil war
extended into the late 1870’s, namely the Old West.
By 1885, the enlisted dress uniform for cavalrymen remained
unchanged until the early 20th century. The troopers serving on
the western plains of the Old West on remote garrisons looked
more like European horse soldiers on parade rather than those of
the Indian fighting cavalrymen on television or Hollywood movie.
Photo courtesy Tekawiz.com
1885 Cavalry enlisted men’s uniform hinting at Napoleonic, Victorian, and
By 1898 the United States Volunteers uniform of the Spanish
American War consisted of khaki trousers with navy blue shirts or
the Teddy Roosevelt uniform being all khaki. And by 1916 the
Uniform had evolved into the WWI uniform highly popularized by
General Pershing (13th Cav) with his expedition into Mexico.
Patched pocket brown heavy woolen shirts or high collared tunics
with riding bloused pants and Smokey Bear hats were the outfits
of the day.