A Brief look at the US Cavalry

Posted on April 1, 2018 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, history, riding.

 

Sargeant Reckless the battle horse

Sargeant Reckless the battle horse

Ever wonder what happened to the famous US Cavalry? They were once the backbone of  authority and protection for citizens living in the wilderness states. Where are they now?

“The last of the 1st Cavalry Division’s mounted units permanently retired their horses and converted to infantry formations on 28 February 1943. However, a mounted Special Ceremonial Unit known as the Horse Platoon – later, the Horse Cavalry Detachment – was established within the division in January 1972. Its ongoing purpose is to represent the traditions and heritage of the American horse cavalry at military ceremonies and public events.” (Wikipedia)

The US still maintains a Caisson Division which remains with the Army’s “Old Guard” Unit. Here are their website facts:

  • “The Old Guard” is the Army’s oldest active Infantry Regiment.
  • The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” is the Army’s premiere ceremonial unit and escort to the President of the United States.
  • Soldiers in the unit represent Soldiers throughout the world in ceremonies in the National Capital Region.
  • The Old Guard’s Soldiers are in Arlington National Cemetery daily rendering final honors for our fallen heroes both past and present.
  • The Old Guard Soldiers are tactically proficient in their soldiering skills.
  • Besides their ceremonial duties, Soldiers in The Old Guard stand ready to defend the NCR in the event of an emergency.
  • The Old Guard companies have deployed overseas in support of Overseas Contingency Operations, and are currently serving in Iraq.

In a recent interview at the Joint Base Myer-Hendersen Hall, Va,  Staff Sgt. Travis Wisely, infantryman with the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (aka. The Old Guard), explained: ” These horses are treated with the same respect as any Soldier in this barn because they work just as long and just as hard as we do. Their standards of professionalism are just as high as the Soldiers that ride them.”  Wisely has adopted some of the horses who have served their country and earned retirement. “I feel so strongly about these horses finding the right owners,” he explained. Then added, “I wish I could adopt the entire barn..”  The Old Guard retires Caisson horses through an adoption program that allows civilians as well as military personnel to provide homes for these animals after their consecrated service. Are they forgotten once they’ve retired?  “Even after they are gone from the stable, their legacies will live on,” said Wisely. “Their careers here with the regiment will never be forgotten.”

One such famous war horse was the well known Sgt Reckless, the marine war horse who retired at Camp Pendleton, Ca. Reckless served in the Korean War and saved many American soldiers by transporting both equipment and wounded soldiers on her back through dangerous battles all on her own.

“..the little sorrel had to carry her load of 75-mm. shells across a paddy and into the hills. The distance to the firing positions of the rifles was over 1800 yards. Each yard was passage through a shower of explosives. The final climb to the firing positions was at a nearly forty-five-degree angle. Upon being loaded, she took off across the paddy without order or direction. Thereafter she marched the fiery gauntlet alone.Fifty-one times Reckless delivered her load of explosives.” (Saturday Eve.Post,1953)

 

Reckless and her combat trainer, Sgt. Joseph Latham.

U.S. Special Forces on horseback in Afghanistan, 2011.
From “Horse Solders: The 21st Century” by Doug Stanton


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