Cav Week has arrived.
As part of the weeklong celebration marking the Army’s 240th birthday and the 1st Cavalry Division’s 68th annual reunion, the division is hosting several events to honor current and former troopers.
While the event honors veterans of all wars, a special emphasis will be made to remember Vietnam veterans as part of the ongoing 50th anniversary of the war.
Joseph Galloway, who co-authored the 1992 book “We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young,” will be on post Thursday to introduce the 2002 movie based on the book. Current soldiers and Vietnam veterans will get to watch and discuss “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson, with Galloway, a journalist who covered the Vietnam War.
Galloway and a retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore wrote the book, which is an account of the division’s 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment’s battle at Ia Drang in 1965.
The big day for the public will be Friday, when 1st Cavalry Division Museum hosts a static display and an Army birthday cake-cutting at 9 a.m., officials said. The static display of working Army vehicles and helicopters will last until 3 p.m., and 1st Cavalry soldiers will be on hand to answer questions. Soldiers will man a video recorder next to a Vietnam War-era Jeep for anyone wishing to record a video message to honor Vietnam vets.
At 10 a.m., demonstrations by the 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment will take place at the stables near the main gate, and at 7 p.m., the “Spirit of Cavalry” — a pageant celebrating the history of the cavalry trooper — will take place on Cooper Field in front of the division’s headquarters.
Steven Draper, the curator for the 1st Cavalry museum, said Friday will be the busiest day of the year for the museum. He said 1st Cavalry veterans come from around the country to attend the reunion, which rotates every year between Fort Hood and another location.
Draper said he encourages all veterans and the public to attend. Attendees without military IDs will have to register at the Fort Hood visitor’s center near the main gate prior to entering the post.
Cav Week also includes a golf tournament today, and a 1st Cavalry Division Association banquet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, the division commander, will be the keynote speaker. At 9 a.m. Sunday, a memorial will be held at the 76th Street Chapel.
The division’s units are also holding events, including 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which is dedicating a room to Col. Rick Rescorla, a former 7th Cavalry soldier and an “American Vietnam hero whose life was taken on Sept. 11, 2001, as he helped evacuate 2,700 co-workers from the World Trade Center in New York City,” according to a news release from the unit.
His actions are featured in “We Were Soldiers Once,” and his widow, Susan Rescorla, will be on post for the room dedication.