"The lineage and honors of the 158th Cavalry Regiment will not be forgotten," said brigade commander Col. Brian Connelly. "They'll instead be cherished and held as the standard to which all other units should aspire."
The unit's colors were cased during the short ceremony at the National Guard armory. The cased, or furled, colors will go to the Center of Military History in Washington, D.C.
At the deactivation ceremony, soldiers and their families reflected on the history of the cavalry unit, which dates back to the "Governors Guard" in 1877 and was constituted as a parent regiment in 1975.
The unit participated in the Spanish-American War, both world wars and in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It also served during domestic natural disasters and last spring's civil unrest in Baltimore, officials said.
Connelly told the squadron's commander, Lt. Col. Michael Duplechain, "You've got one hell of a unit."
The deactivation is part of structural changes intended to modernize the Army.
About 282 of 329 soldiers were reassigned to other units in Maryland, Duplechain said. Others were transferred to Pennsylvania and other states.
"I believe that those units will benefit from the pride and professionalism that is instilled, enforced and downright demanded from soldiers who served in this squadron," Duplechain said.
Sgt. Maj. Gregory Akers, who has spent his entire career with the cavalry, is choosing to retire.
Born and raised in Crownsville, Akers joined the unit in February 1981 and has been deployed to Bosnia and Iraq, and assisted during snowstorms and hurricanes on the home front.
"This has been pretty much my life," said Akers, who lives in Annapolis.
He will retire in July. "There's not really a place for me to go," he said.
Akers said the regiment was a close-knit family, and that the ceremony was bittersweet.
"It's the end of a chapter, but it's a happy chapter."
Duplechain, the last commander of the squadron, said he will move on to the joint staff of the Maryland National Guard.
He said it was heartening to see former unit members attend the ceremony, citing the lyrics of the Army song: "The Army goes rolling along."