Approximately 200 1st Cavalry Division alumni, along with their family members, had the opportunity to see first hand the tools and equipment that make up today’s cavalry during an open house Thursday at various locations on post.
Guided tours, equipment displays, cavalry horse detachment demonstrations and several information booths covering a range of topics were part of the day’s activities. Hands-on activities included the use of simulators for the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, along with a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M1A1 Abrams Tank.
“They will get the opportunity to feel what it is like to be a tanker, an infantryman or a cavalry scout for just one day,” said Command Sgt. Maj. James Light, senior enlisted advisor for the division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.
Vietnam veteran and 1st Cavalry Division alumni J.R. Beard looked upon the displays with some mixed feelings, he said. While Beard said he wished the cavalry was still air mobile, he couldn’t deny that the advancements in technology and the soldiers left him impressed.
“It’s very encouraging to see the spirit of these young men and women have today,” said Beard “They can train so much and not have to be in battle to do their training, to get their experience. That will save a lot of lives.”
The event also gave soldiers a chance to connect with veterans, showing how technology and techniques from previous generations are still being incorporated today.
“It’s funny to watch the interactions, because the soldiers will start to ask more questions than the alumni about what they did during their time and just start to enjoy their stories that the veterans tell them,” said Light.
Those who came before have left their mark in different ways, whether it be the knowledge they left behind or the stepping stones put in place for future generations. But is now the duty of those who currently serve to take what those who served before have left, build on it, and continue their legacy — something that many of the alumni at the open house feel the soldiers are more than capable of.
“And I think they are carrying the cavalry tradition very well,” said Karl Swenson, a Vietnam veteran alumni, “I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for the cavalry.”