E-News – August 2020

Troopers Down

Army Major General Edward B. Atkeson. Gen. Atkeson died on July 9, 2020 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. In Vietnam, he commanded the 541st MI Detachment, which was part of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Edward “Ted” Breed Atkeson was born in Newport News, Va. on December 6, 1929 as the second of three sons of Rear Admiral Clarence L.C. Atkeson and Mary Paulding Breed Atkeson. He attended Staunton Military Academy in Virginia from 1944 to 1947, where he was a member of the Howie Rifles in his junior and senior years. Following graduation, he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a BS degree. He later received his MBA from Syracuse University, and a PhD from the University of Luton, England. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and The U.S. Army War College, Class of 1969.

During his distinguished career, Gen Atkeson served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, U.S. Army Europe, and was later a member of the National Intelligence Council under the Director of Central Intelligence. He also served with the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, Department of State, and as a commander of the U.S. Army Concepts Analysis Agency. He received numerous decorations including the Army Distinguished Service Medal and was twice awarded the Legion of Merit. General Atkeson was a fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1973 to 1974. He was also a senior fellow with the Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA) Institute of Land Warfare and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

On December 12, 2011, Gen. Atkeson was honored by the U.S. Army War College Foundation as an Outstanding Alumnus of the War College for significant and lasting contributions through continued service to his country. He was a prolific writer and speaker on military affairs, having contributed over 100 articles to military journals and other professional publications. He also authored four books including: “The Final Argument of Kings: Reflections of the Art of War” (1988); “A Military Assessment of the Middle East 1991-1996” (1992); “The Powder Keg: An Intelligence Officer’s Guide to Military Forces in the Middle East 1996-2000” (1996); and “A Tale of Three Wars” (1997).

Ted is best remembered for his love of country, family, and friends. They will remember him as an avid tennis player who enjoyed a friendly competition, for his many summers in Cape Cod spent swimming and sailing, for his lifelong love of dogs, and as a loyal parishioner and usher at St. John’s Episcopal Church. His favorite hobbies included painting and being the all-around Mr. Fix-It.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Mary “Sally” Donovan Atkeson; son, Peter Lee Connor Atkeson; and daughter, Anne Elizabeth Atkeson. Survivors include his wife, Eve McClure Atkeson of Ft. Belvoir, Virginia; son, George Gordon “Tip” Atkeson II of Mt. Pleasant, SC; daughter, Laura Atkeson Haupfear of Clinton, SC; and brother, George Gordon Atkeson of Essex, CT.

The memorial service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC and burial at Arlington National Cemetery will be announced as soon as details are known. In lieu of flowers, the Atkeson family respectfully requests contributions be directed to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1525 H St NW, Washington, DC 20005 or to the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter Y, 8180 Greensboro Dr., Suite 400, McLean, VA 22102.

Joseph Charles Liberti. Lt. Col Liberti was born in 1941 to Helen and Dominic Liberti in Washington, DC; he passed away on June 26, 2020. He was the Regimental S-2 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the late 1970s until 1980.

His mother Helen was an English teacher, while his father Dominic was fluent in several languages and would subsequently serve as a medic and translator in Patton’s 3rd Army as they liberated Europe in World War II. He attended St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C. and graduated as an English Major from the Virginia Military Institute in 1963.

After graduating from VMI, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army and he married his high school sweetheart, Ms. Wardlee Kennedy. He was assigned to Fort Sill, OK where he learned the finer points of artillery. In 1965, he completed the counterintelligence course at the US Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird, MD, and he was awarded MOS 9666 (counterintelligence (CI) officer).

Joe served two tours of duty in Vietnam, first in 1965-1966 and then in 1968-1969. In his first tour, he served as the operations officer for the 524th Military Intelligence (MI) Detachment in Saigon, performing CI missions. In his second tour, he was Chief of the Counterintelligence Section for the US Army Intelligence Detachment with the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). He would go on to serve as District Senior Advisor for Ba To District, Quảng Ngãi Province, where his responsibilities included everything from coordinating among the US Government, the RVN Government, and local leaders, to managing fire support and air capabilities, and supporting with the special forces. During his deployments in Vietnam, he earned the Combat Infantry Badge and the Aviator Badge; and he was awarded the RVN Gallantry Cross with two stars, the RVN Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Bronze Star for service. In a respite between deployments, he served as the operations officer for the 116th MI Group in Washington, D.C.

After returning from Vietnam, Joe served as a staff officer in the CI Directorate in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (OACSI) at the Pentagon (1969- 1971). The family moved to Kansas in 1972, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and attended the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth. From 1973-1977, as a Major he served as senior MI instructor at the US Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, GA and he also earned his Airborne Badge.

From 1977 to 1980, Joe was stationed in Germany. He was briefly stationed in Pirmasens with the 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion before transferring to Fulda where he became the Regimental S-2 for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. While there, he completed the NATO Electronic Warfare school in Anzio, Italy and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

Joe and his family returned to the US in 1980, settling in Fairfax County, VA. He was appointed to the position of Garrison Commander of Arlington Hall Station where he served for three years. Under his tenure, Arlington Hall was home to both the US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) and the Defense Intelligence Agency. During this period, he also completed studies at the US Army War College. From 1983- 1985, he served in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Joint Reconnaissance Center (where he was the Reconnaissance Operations Officer) and at the National Military Command Center where he was tasked with monitoring and coordinating reconnaissance from hotspots around the world in real time.

After serving his country with honor and distinction for over twenty years, he retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel. Subsequently, he served in senior positions with entrepreneurial companies from 1986 to 1998 that focused on advanced technologies related to security, intelligence, and defense. These included Polaris (later called Sector Technologies), where he was Vice President for Security, as well as OmniSec International, and USATrex International Corporation. He was a Certified Protection Professional, a licensed Private Investigator, and a member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

After retiring for good, Joe and Wardlee relocated to Haymarket, VA, and he focused on his hobbies – he was an avid reader and an expert on military history (Civil War history in particular) – and he and Wardlee enjoyed taking cruises and other trips overseas. Joe was a devout Catholic and was active in his church, where he served as a Eucharistic Minister.

Joe was challenged with lasting health issues stemming from his service in Vietnam. He faced them with the same “aggressive, yet congenial manner” as noted in his Bronze Star citation, with which he previously faced a more tangible adversary.

We will always remember Joe as a patriot, but also as a dedicated father, who, despite his health issues, traveled to New Jersey and struggled through the emotions to read a beautiful Irish prayer at the rehearsal dinner for his son’s Jewish wedding.

Joe will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Blackhorse Association and AmazonSmile
August Incentives Campaign

 

Are you a BHA member who uses Amazon.com? Our guess is you probably are, and if so, we need your support for the Association through the use of an Amazon.com charity program. To encourage your support, new registrants in this program will be recognized through a limited-time, monthly prize drawing. The first drawing will include those who register from July 28 to August 31.

All that is needed is a quick 30-second enrollment in AmazonSmile, which is an Amazon-sponsored charity program where Amazon donates part of its revenue to various charities.

How It Works

We’re asking that you designate “Blackhorse Association Inc” as your charity. If you do, the association will receive .5% of the purchase price of all items purchased by you and your fellow BHA members. This donation from Amazon is done anonymously based on total purchases of our enrollees. When we receive our quarterly payment from Amazon, we’ll put 100% of it into our scholarship fund. As a result, we hope to fund several scholarships a year through a simple act of registration on your part.

If you have family members or friends who have their own Amazon accounts, they too can designate “Blackhorse Association Inc” as their choice; everything will work the same for them as well. They’ll also be entered into the monthly prize drawings.

Please remember that enrolling in the AmazonSmile program has no effect on the purchase price of your items; your price remains the same as before – not higher or lower. The only differences are that Amazon will reward your participation by donating to the Blackhorse Association, and you’ll begin your Amazon purchases on the AmazonSmile webpage. As a result, the Association will get a steady stream of revenue throughout the year that will be used by the children of our members.

Our Incentives For You

We appreciate your help, and when you (or a family member or friend) enroll from July 28 through August 31, this is what you’ll qualify to win in a random prize drawing:

* Five new registrants will win 50%-off coupons to be used on any item in the Blackhorse Store: www.BlackhorseStore.orgopens in a new window.

* One new registrant will win a free clothing item from the Blackhorse Store. For this month’s drawing, we’re offering your choice of any polo, t-shirt, shirt, or sweatshirt. You select it, and we’ll ship it to you for free.

* All new registrants will be entered once into the 2021 Blackhorse 1901 Club drawing. The drawing will be conducted during the 2021 Blackhorse Family Reunion in San Antonio. Although we hope you’ll attend the reunion, you don’t need to be present to win. Five 1901 Club winners will choose a free prize of either a saber, set of spurs, or cavalry hat.

How To Sign Up

* If you’re using a desktop browser or viewing the Amazon website on your phone, click below, log in if needed, get started at the AmazonSmile page, and select “Blackhorse Association Inc.” Please bookmark the new start page.

smile.amazon.comopens in a new window

* If you’re using an Amazon app on your phone or device, open the app and find “Settings” in the main menu (≡). Tap on “AmazonSmile” and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone or device. Search for “Blackhorse Association Inc” and select it.

* Amazon recently announced a new AmazonSmile App that will further ensure your purchases are always credited to the Smile program. So this is a possibility, but not a requirement for you to use as well. After you register, please select “Blackhorse Association Inc.”

Last step: When you receive your registration confirmation email from Amazon, please forward it to our copy editor, Randall Ponder, who is coordinating our AmazonSmile 2020 campaign; he’ll enter your name into the prize drawing. If you have any questions about signing up or anything involving our new incentives program, please contact him as well. His email is RandallPonder@outlook.comopens in a new window.

We thank you, and the college students of our troopers thank you too!

New Command Team at the Blackhorse!

Regimental Commander – Colonel Todd Hook

Colonel Todd Hook was commissioned as an Armor Officer in September 1999, following graduation from Old Dominion University, Norfolk Virginia. His first assignment was with 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin California from 2000 to 2004. There he served as a Tank Platoon Leader in C Troop, the Squadron Fire Support Officer, and Scout Platoon Leader. In May of 2003, he deployed with TF Blackhorse in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Camp Phoenix, Kabul Afghanistan) as the Embedded Tactical Trainer for Reconnaissance with the 3rd Afghan National Army (ANA) Brigade (Mech).

Upon his return from Afghanistan in December 2003, he attended the Expeditionary Warfare School, in Quantico Virginia, from 2004-2005. After graduation, he was assigned to Fort Bliss Texas, where he served in 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division from 2005-2008. While in the Longknife Brigade, he served as the Commander for C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment (ARS), deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2006-2008. Returning in December, 2007, he transitioned to Joint Task Force North, serving in the J3 for plans and exercises and as the Secretary of the Joint Staff, from 2008-2010.

After completing Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth Kansas, COL Hook returned to Fort Bliss, where he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. During his time in the Bulldog Brigade, he served as the Operations Officer for 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 11-12. Returning in August of 2012, he transitioned positions the following February, serving as the Brigade Operations Officer for the next 14 months.

In July of 2014, COL Hook was assigned to III Corps at Fort Hood Texas, serving as the Deputy G3 for Current Operations and in May of 2015, COL Hook assumed command of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. In June of 2016, Thunder Squadron deployed to Afghanistan in Support of Operation Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentential, supporting Train, Advise and Assist with the 203rd ANA Corps and Special Operations Command, returning in February 2017.

After his Change of Command, COL Hook served at the G3 for 1st Cavalry Division, deploying back to Afghanistan and serving as the J3 for the Division’s mission as headquarters, USFOR-A. Upon redeployment in September of 2017, COL Hook continued serving as the Division G3 until July 2018. Upon graduating from the Army War College in June of 2019, COL Hook and his family transitioned to Washington DC, where he served as the Executive Officer to the Chief, Army Legislative Liaison in the Pentagon prior to their move to Fort Irwin California.

COL Hook’s military training and education includes the Basic Airborne Course, the Armor Officer Basic Course, The Joint Firepower Control Course, the Scout Leader’s Course, the US Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School, the Cavalry Leader’s Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, The Center for Creative Leadership, and the Army War College.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2 OLC), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal (Combat Device), Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), the NATO Meritorious Service Meal, and the Combat Action Badge.

COL Hook is married to Major (Ret.) Arpi Sarkisian, and they have two daughters – Rory (11) and Aiden (10).

Regimental Command Sergeant Major – CSM Anthony Walker

CSM Anthony Walker is a native of Shorter, Alabama. He entered the U.S. Army in 1992 and completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Readiness Training at Fort Benning, Georgia as an Infantry (11B). His military education includes Air Assault School, Dragon Gunners Course, Battle Staff Course, Close Marksmanship Course, Equal Opportunity Leaders Course, Basic Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Seniors Leaders Course, First Sergeants Course, and the Sergeants Major Course (Class 62).

CSM Walker has served in numerous leadership and staff positions in the Infantry including Fire Team Leader, Rifle Squad Leader, Bradley Commander, Brigade Operations Sergeant, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Plans and Operation NCOIC, and Operations Sergeant Major.

His assignments include:

Squad Automatic Rifleman, Radio Telephone Operator and Dragon Gunner; Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 1992 to 1994.

Bradley Driver, Rifleman and Team Leader; Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany. 1994 to 1996.

Squad Leader; Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry  Division, Fort Benning, Georgia. 1996 to 1998.

Bradley Commander and Squad Leader, Bravo and Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany from 1998 to 2001; Assistant Brigade Operations Sergeant and Brigade Operations Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany, from 2001 to 2004.

Platoon Sergeant, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (Separate), Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2004 to 2007; First Sergeant, Charlie Company 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (Separate), Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2007 to 2008; First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (Separate), Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2008 to 2010; and Plans and Operations NCOIC, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2010 to 2011.

Operations Sergeant Major, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division from 2012 to 2013; Command Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment from 2013 to 2015; Task Force Senior Enlisted Maneuver Observer, Coach Trainer, Joint  Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2015 to 2017; Brigade Operations Sergeant Major, Observer, Coach, and Trainer, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2017 to 2018; and Operations Group Operations Sergeant Major, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany from 2018 to 2019.

CSM Walker’s operational and combat deployments include Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo (2), Iraq, and Afghanistan (2).

His awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal (2OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (4OLC), Army Commendation Medal (4OLC), Army Achievement Medal (6OLC), Presidential Unit Citation, Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (9th award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NCOPD numeral 5, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon numeral 8, United Nations Medal with Bronze Star, NATO Medal with Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

An Update on the Regimental Heritage Center at Fort Irwin

The following is from Aaron Nelson, the Blackhorse Association Liaison with the Regiment at Fort Irwin.

I just got off the phone with the new director for the NTC and 11th ACR Heritage Center on Fort Irwin. The scheduled opening date is May 7, 2021, which coincides with the 400th training rotation.

The Center for Military History (CMH) had planned to close the museum and reopen it as a heritage center. It was originally intended to be a few displays in an open building that could be accessed only by appointment. The good news is that the Commanding General of Fort Irwin got involved, and it sounds like it will reopen as more of a museum. Heritage Centers aren’t allowed to have artifacts, so everything has to be a reproduction.

The CMH removed all artifacts from the museum and put their own control numbers on items that were kept, and they shipped them off to the land of museum archives. The unwanted items were recovered by the RS-1, and most of those items are now with the Regiment. (See the July E-News for photos of some of the current displays in the Regimental Headquarters and other places.)

The CMH is supposed to make reproductions of all the artifacts and send some back to Fort Irwin. The director knows generally what will be in the new center, but not which individual artifacts; so, he doesn’t know which items will return and which won’t. The CMH is also supposed to rebuild all of the interior exhibits. Since that wasn’t in this year’s budget, they don’t expect that to start happening until December. In the interim, the director is making some portable-type exhibits for display in the center, and that can also be used for ceremonies on post if needed.

The building has been redesigned inside, though the director has a few issues to correct. For example, the ceiling is 16 ft. high, but all of the lighting was installed at 10 ft. As a result, the OH-23 helicopter can’t sit as high as it was.

The good news is that the director sounds as though he really wants to capture everything that was there before, and he wants to add in the “people aspect” to tell a better story at the center. He also stated they plan to have a gift shop inside the center and continue to sell Blackhorse items. The center is required to have an association to handle finances and money, and they are now involved with the Memorial Foundation of Fort Irwin. The shop will most likely be manned by the MCSC, but that isn’t certain yet.

The Heritage Center is on Facebook:
https://m.facebook.com/NTCHertigeCenter/.opens in a new window

A New Book on the Blackhorse In Germany

This book is different. It is not about defending the Fulda Gap (although it touches on that). It is a compilation of stories about what life was like for Soldiers and their families living near the border between East and West Germany; it was compiled by the wife of one of those Soldiers. This book was a labor of love from someone who wanted to capture life in a very different environment and in a different time, than what most who are serving today have lived.

You can find it on Amazon at:
https://www.amazon.com/Freedoms-Frontier-Life-Fulda-Gap/opens in a new window

The editor, Circe Woessner, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Museum of the American Military Family. More about the Museum can be found at:
http://www.militaryfamilymuseum.orgopens in a new window

A Request for Assistance on a History Project

Retired 1st Sergeant Mark Flowers, who has written a number of articles about the 11th

Cav recently, has asked us to forward this to those who served in the Blackhorse both

in Vietnam and Germany. He’s interested in your experiences as a Blackhorse

sandwich. His questions are at the bottom of this article.

If interested, please reply to him at his email below.

Hello, I am 1SG (Ret.) Mark Flowers. I research and write about topics in military history. One of my focus areas is the history of the 11th ACR. I am planning to write a story or series of stories about the links between the Blackhorse in Vietnam and Germany, in particular through the lens of troopers who served with the Blackhorse in both places.

If you’re interested in telling your story, please contact me.

I served with E 2/11 ACR in Germany from 1985-89. My PSG in 1985-86 was SSG Richard Heaton, who also served with India Troop in Vietnam. Also, many of our senior NCOs and commanders were double-Blackhorse troopers, and I believe that your perspective is important to understanding the regiment’s history.

Thank you in advance for helping with this project. I also want to thank you for the example you set for Soldiers like me who served with the Blackhorse in Europe.

I have written several stories about the Blackhorse:

https://fixbayonets.us/cold-war-germany-a-border-ran-through-it/opens in a new window
https://fixbayonets.us/tank-commander-with-a-blackhorse-combat-patch-1971/opens in a new window
https://fixbayonets.us/finding-names-and-faces-vietnam-1967/opens in a new window
https://fixbayonets.us/the-best-damn-regiment-that-you-will-ever-see/opens in a new window
https://fixbayonets.us/the-blackhorse-fights-back-at-suoi-cat/opens in a new window

You can either phone or email me at 541-515-1641 or cavalryscout1985@gmail.comopens in a new window.

I hope to begin writing the first story around August 15, 2020. If possible, I would like to have your response by then, so please get in touch with me and answer the following questions.

Allons,
Mark Flowers

1. When did you serve with the Blackhorse in Vietnam? What was your troop/squadron?
What was your rank and job?
2. When did you serve in the Regiment in Germany?

What was your troop/squadron? What was your rank and job?

3. Did you serve with other units in Vietnam in addition to the Blackhorse? If so, which ones?

4. Were there any lessons learned from Vietnam that you applied in Germany?

5. How did those around you react when they found out you had served with the Regiment in Vietnam?

6. If you compare your service with the regiment in Vietnam and Germany, what were the largest similarities?

What were the largest differences?
7. Did you actively seek to be reassigned to the Regiment? If so, why?

8. What makes the Blackhorse so special for you as a Soldier (e.g., history and traditions, esprit, the people, etc.)?

9. Is there anything else you would like to add to help tell the Blackhorse story?

10. Do you consent to me using your information in an article or articles about the Blackhorse?

11. Would you prefer to remain anonymous, or may I use your name and rank?