Bidding farewell to the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment on Friday, 1st Lt. (promotable) Jason Vaughn said he’s not sure if he or his children will miss the stables more.
“Every day here was very special,” he said as he relinquished command of the unit he led for 18 months. “Sometimes I still can’t believe I had the privilege of commanding this great unit.”
With 31 horses, five mules and two dogs, the detachment brings the traditions and spirit of the 1870s cavalry to public events, parades and ceremonies. In its 42-year history, the detachment has traveled coast to coast, including a presidential inauguration and the Tournament of the Roses Parade.
Vaughn, who is heading to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for the engineer captain’s career course, said he will miss serving with the detachment’s soldiers.
“The sights, the sounds, the smells ... there are so many memories to recount,” he said.
Capt. Elizabeth Rascon assumed command of the detachment, becoming the first woman to do so.
She is returning to Fort Hood after serving in Afghanistan as aide to Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson, former deputy chief of staff of communications for the International Security Assistance Force.
“I’m not focused on being the first female commander, I’m focused on how to be a commander,” Rascon said.
Larry Borth, the detachment’s civilian equestrian trainer and stable master for the past 20 years, said Rascon has the energy, enthusiasm and knowledge to take on the job. He expects her prior experience with horses to cut the typical transition time in half.
Rascon said she grew up in Mesquite riding horses and continued to ride as a member of the U.S. Military Academy’s Equestrian Team.
“Capt. Rascon is going to hit the ground running with a lot of missions to support,” Borth said. “I have no doubt she has the capability to take the reins at full gallop.”
Rascon was commissioned in May 2010 as a transportation officer and deployed to Iraq in May 2011 with the division’s 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
The detachment’s calendar is filled with division ceremonies and community parades this summer, and the young captain said she’s eager to get into the saddle.
“What I’m most looking forward to is leading troopers across the field in my first cavalry charge.”