Community leaders, soldiers, veterans and family members from across the country gathered to honor the 1st Cavalry Division during a “Spirit of the Cav” ceremony Friday afternoon at Cooper Field.
Maj. Gen. Paul T. Calvert, the division’s commander, gave remarks during the retreat ceremony that honored the division’s legendary accomplishments for nearly the last century. It also marked the first ceremony conducted after the newly-renovated 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters opened its doors after a three-year renovation.
“The cavalry troopers of the past have built the storied legacy through their honor, courage and valor that each of us still serving strives to continue,” Calvert said.
The 1st Cavalry Division Color Guard lowered the flag while the 1st Cavalry Division Band played the national anthem.
Featuring both uniforms and mounts from different eras, guests were able to see and learn how cavalry troopers were equipped over time from horseback to Black Hawk helicopters.
According to the program, “The 1st Cavalry Division was formally activated September 13, 1921 at Fort Bliss. The division’s early duties included rough-riding and patrolling the Mexican border. The technological progress of 1940s diminished the usefulness of horse-mounted soldiers and the division served as dismounted cavalry in World War II’s Pacific theater.”
During the event, the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment riders charged the field while a squadron of Black Hawk helicopters cut a path through the air. Attendees then joined in chorus to sing the “The Spirt of the Cav” and “The Army Song.” The sounds of cannon fire concluded the ceremony, followed by a meet and greet with the troopers who performed during the ceremony.
For many of the troopers past and present, the event ignited an inspiring amount of enthusiasm, devotion and strong regard for the cavalry, with many faces repeating the phrase “if you ain’t cav.”
One such trooper, Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam from 1st Cavalry Division, took the time to explain what it means to be a cavalry soldier and how it is not bound by the constraints of time served or by age — but rather it is more of a state of being.
“The cavalry is a state of mind,” said Brautigam. “It’s all about being audacious, being ready, being fit and being capable of doing anything anybody asks. When our nation calls, the cav is ready.”