By Alicia Lacy
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – "Ai-ee-yah!" echoed through the Civic Center Thursday night.
The yell came from about a dozen soldiers at the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce's military affairs committee dinner.
Thursday was the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's second appearance at the dinner but not its last, military affairs committee chairwoman Cindy Sanders said.
"We look forward to a long and happy reunion with the 3rd ACR. Copperas Cove has always been noted for its hospitality to our military and we're proud to do it," Mayor John Hull said before presenting Col. Reginald Allen, 3rd ACR's regimental commander, with a Copperas Cove coin.
During the event, filled with laughter and fellowship, Copperas Cove guests were educated on the 163-year-old regiment.
Allen showed guests what sets the regiment apart from any other in the Army. After asking all the regiment's troopers to rise, they went into a chant, finishing with a thunderous, "Ai-ee-yah!"
"The rest of the Army says hooah; we say ai-ee-yah," Allen said. "It's the Sioux battle cry. What it means is just like hooah, but ... it's hooah with flare."
After a brief history lesson on the regiment, Allen said, "In the United States Army, there is one fully configured and organized armored cavalry regiment – it's the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment. There's no other unit configured exactly like us in the United States Army."
The 2nd and the 11th ACR are the only other armored cavalry regiments left in the Army. The regiment of mounted riflemen's history dates back to 1846 during the beginning of the Mexican War.
The dinners were started in the mid-1950s in Ed Rhode's backyard as a way to solidify the relationship between Copperas Cove and Fort Hood; every year, the chamber hosts eight dinners for the major units at Fort Hood.
Allen's wife, Ingrid, said someone asked her, "Copperas Cove, isn't that the back door of Fort Hood?"
In response, Ingrid said, "I acknowledge that because the back-door friends are the ones who can come to my house anytime. I thank you for being our back door."
Contact Alicia Lacy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7475.