E-News — December 2023

Trooper Down

Jonathon Ray Reed

Jonathon Ray Reed, 74, of Pennsboro, West Virginia, departed this life on October 24, 2023, at his residence following a courageous battle with cancer.

John was born December 13, 1948 in Pennsboro, WV a son of the late Francis and Geneva (Mossor) Reed. For 45 years, John worked as an over-the-road truck driver; he started in 1970 for Cook Motor Lines. Over the years, he had worked for several companies and also owned and operated his own truck. For the last nine years, John volunteered at “The Gym” in Harrisville, WV and he greatly enjoyed his time interacting with people and watching the kids play sports. He was a member of the 1st Assembly God Church in Harrisville and was a graduate of Pennsboro High School with the class of 1967.

John was a proud veteran of the United States Army. He served his country during the Vietnam War era from 1968 to 1969 with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and he cherished the relationships that he had with his comrades.

He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Dixie (Carroll) Reed; daughters Amy Walls (Richard) of Fairview WV, Penny Nicholson (Roger) of West Union, WV, and Regina Flesher (Jeff) of the Holbrook Community in Ritchie County, WV; grandchildren Rick Walls, Savannah Walls, Amber Cunningham, Taylor Lantz, Mikayla Kirby, Elizabeth Franjie, and Lauren Flesher; eleven great grandchildren; and daughter-at-heart Yuxiao Li of Boston, MA. John is also survived by his brother Roy Reed of Reedsville, OH and sister Jeanie Leeson of Vienna, WV.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Lewis Reed and his mother-in-law Marie Carroll.

A Blackhorse Gathering in Arkansas

Your editor was remiss in not recognizing several people, in addition to Dave and Beate Cowan, who were instrumental in making this September, 2023 event a huge success. In particular, Dale and Beate Lawless were tireless in their support of the gathering, as well as a number of ladies who helped provide salads and desserts. There were two generous benefactors who funded the beer, but they wish to remain anonymous. Nevertheless, we give a huge Blackhorse THANK YOU to all of those who helped.

A Thanksgiving Greeting from Germany

Hello to our friends,

This year we celebrate Thanksgiving again in our clubhouse.

As always, we have a lot to do and many more ideas to maintain and further strengthen German-American friendship, especially here in the Fulda region.

We also think of our friends in the USA — not only on Thanksgiving — but we realize that Thanksgiving is a special day when we can express that as well.

Let joy and abundance be the blessings you celebrate this Thanksgiving.

We do not want to miss wishing you and your families a great Thanksgiving 2023.

Many greetings and ALLONS!

German-American Friendship-Cultural & Sportsassociation KONTAKT Fulda/Germany
Blackhorse Museum Fulda

Winfried Jäger

A Thanksgiving Greeting from Germany

A Blackhorse Fight in Mexico – 1916

From the U.S. Cavalry Journal, January 1917

From the U.S. Cavalry Journal, January 1917

From the U.S. Cavalry Journal, January 1917

From the U.S. Cavalry Journal, January 1917

From the U.S. Cavalry Journal, January 1917

From the U.S. Cavalry Journal, January 1917

Goats (the four-legged kinds) and the Blackhorse

Courtesy of Don Snedeker

In mid-1914, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the 11th Cavalry to the Colorado coal fields to restore order between striking coal miners and coal mine guards. The following article was printed in the Trinidad, CO Chronicle-News on May 6, 1914, shortly after the Regiment arrived in the strike zone (the “war rumors” refer to a potential border clash between the United States and Mexico).

Goats (the four-legged kinds) and the Blackhorse


Five decades later, the 11th Cavalry again had a goat for a mascot — this time in Vietnam (from Blackhorse Tales):

The 409th Radio Research Detachment was always known to be unique amongst the units of the Regiment. Therefore, it is no surprise that they had a unique mascot – not a dog or a monkey but a goat. Homer the Goat joined the “Longknives” (the 409th’s nickname) in late 1966. He was a gift from a grateful South Vietnamese Special Forces camp commander in appreciation for some work done by John Clark (409th, 1966-67). Homer was quickly integrated into the detachment. Soon, however, the troopers became concerned for the goat’s well-being. Noting that he seemed a “bit edgy” (one trooper recalls that he was “quite horny” and humped everything in sight, including the first sergeant’s leg – while in formation), they decided that what he needed was a wife. The reception menu following Homer’s nuptials featured his favorite delicacy – cigarette butts. John Stanley (1966-67) recalls that Homer “could guzzle about four beers standing on his hind legs … He was quite the goat … We took good care of him.”

Oh Little Observation Post

From John Hooten (L Troop, 3/11 ACR): I came across this a number of years ago. I was at OP India in the spring of ’76 when the DDR started removing the old double- apron, barbed-wire mine field for the closing mesh single fence. It was really loud when they started cranking off the charges to blow the old mines.

By Robert J. McCartney
The Washington Post
December 25, 1988

OBSERVATION POST INDIA, WEST GERMANY — A small Christmas tree in the mess hall is the only reminder of the season for the 66 soldiers at this U.S. Army outpost on the front line of what is left of the Cold War.

Outside, the clouds hang low and a steady drizzle falls on an observation tower, blue metal barracks and a tank shed perched high on a wooded bluff. The jagged black line that cuts across the valley below is the fence, covered with electronic sensors, built by East Germany to keep its citizens on their side of the border.

Somewhere not far beyond that fence are Soviet and East German tanks. If they ever invaded, it would likely be right here in what is called the Fulda Gap. The terrain is relatively open, and nowhere else does the Warsaw Pact jut so far west.

The men here of Lima Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment watch the border around the clock, and Christmas will be pretty much like any other working day. The dreary surroundings, isolation and monotonous work take a toll on morale. There are gripes about the lack of housing and transportation. Everybody here would rather be home for the holidays in the United States, or at least back at the squadron’s headquarters barracks in the pleasant West German town of Bad Hersfeld, 24 miles away.’

But, as the soldiers say over and over, with more than a touch of pride, “Somebody’s got to do it.” They feel privileged to stand guard in the face of a living enemy. They enjoy the excitement of driving 60-ton tanks through the Hessian countryside. They feel a sense of accomplishment when they radio back a report each time they see a Soviet helicopter patrolling on the other side.

Their friends back home, they say slightingly, are “still working at McDonald’s” or “still hanging out at the bowling alley.”

In addition, there seems to be less risk this Christmas than ever before that the tanks on the other side will come their way. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has announced that he will remove six
armored divisions from the Warsaw Pact’s front lines in Eastern Europe and trim the Red Army by 500,000 troops in the next two years.

“It makes you feel more secure about being here. It makes you feel safer,” Pfc. Charles Graviss, 20, a tank driver from Bowling Green, Ky., told a reporter Thursday.

Because of Gorbachev, several soldiers said, their parents do not telephone quite so often with anxious questions about whether their boys are going into combat.

“I think it makes my mother feel better than it does me,” said Sgt. Kenneth Bacon, 23, a tank gunner from Cincinnati. This will be his first Christmas away from his wife and two daughters, but he was not complaining. “I’m kind of a patriotic person. That’s a lot of the reason why I joined the Army. If we weren’t here, maybe there wouldn’t be any Christmas,” Bacon said.

These soldiers have two overall missions: watching the border, and taking out their M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles to practice maneuvering, scouting and shooting.

The soldiers normally live in the Bad Hersfeld barracks, but they spend about 50 days a year at border outposts such as this one. They come for several weeks at a time to patrol the frontier by foot and in jeeps.

Their main job on such outings is to watch for any indication that the other side is building up its forces for a possible attack. Nobody here could remember ever seeing any sign of such an intention.

Instead, they report mostly on the East Germans’ efforts to make the border “leakproof,” such as by installing new sensors or putting up additional fences. The Americans gather information on the frequency of East German patrols, appearances of Warsaw Pact Hind-D and Hopflight helicopters, and of East German military vehicles.

The Americans are not supposed to speak with or otherwise acknowledge the presence of the East German border soldiers they see. But it was clear that there is a bit more contact than regulations technically allow. Several soldiers reported exchanging obscene gestures, and, in one case, a cautious smile, with their counterparts on the other side.

“They do the same thing we do, which is looking. They’re more worried about their people going out than our people coming in,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Kregel, 41, of Harlingen, Tex., the outpost’s noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

The heavily fortified border and its clear purpose make a deep impression on U.S. soldiers, especially newcomers. Officers and enlisted men said they felt sorry for their many comrades-in-arms who never get a chance to see the frontier.

“Until I saw the border, I never knew you could do something like that to another person — keep them penned in. It made me feel like I joined the Army for a purpose, not just to cook,” said Pvt. John Hubbard Jr., 20, a chef from Dexter, Mich.

Second Lt. Christopher Kolenda, 23, of Omaha, the outpost’s officer in charge, added, “You get a real awakening when you see that guy on the other side, and he’s got that rifle and it’s loaded.”

The soldiers sleep here in crowded quarters, four or six to a room. But the facilities are much better now than a decade ago, when troops here lived in Quonset huts and had their meals sent up in large green metal cans. Now they have a sauna, weight machine and game room featuring pool and table tennis.

After years of watching television only on videocassettes, they have recently gotten a satellite dish and can receive U.S. Armed Forces Network (AFN) television live.

On Christmas Day, the cooks are to serve up turkey, roast beef, ham and shrimp cocktail. Any celebration will be sober, as no alcoholic beverages are allowed at the camp, and there will be no let- up in patrols, guard duty or other surveillance.

But Kregel, who appears to be the outpost’s principal taskmaster, hinted that discipline would be relaxed a bit. “What the Christmas party probably will consist of” for the troops, he said, “is not getting harassed so much.”

The Regiment Returns from the Philippines

From Don Snedeker

In the spring of 1904, the 11th Cavalry Regiment returned stateside after two years in the Philippines. The Regiment was based at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. This article appeared in the August 11, 1904 edition of the Des Moines Register.

The Regiment Returns from the Philippines


The Regiment Returns from the Philippines

Blackhorse Get-Together!

Tom and Terri Morrison will be hosting a Blackhorse mini-get-together on March 23, 2024, 1–5 p.m., in Glendale, Arizona.

We will order pizza for lunch and B.Y.O.B.

Please RSVP if you’re attending, as it will help us with the planning.

Ron Krueger

Wreath Laying – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Arlington Cemetery – February 2, 2024

The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment will be represented by Regimental Troopers past and present to honor the 11th Cavalry Regiment’s birthday with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony will be Friday, February 2, 2024 at 11:15 a.m. This annual event started in 2015 and has grown in tradition as it enters its ninth year.

For more information, please contact the event coordinator, Guillermo Guillén (11th ACR from June 2001 to June 2006) at guillermo.guillen.03@nullgmail.com.

Please forward this information to other Troopers that you are in contact with who are not receiving the BHA’s E-News.

Below is a list of instructions from Arlington National Cemetery:

  • Privately owned vehicles and commercial buses are not authorized to drive to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Parking is available at the Visitor’s Center paid parking lot. Please be aware that the parking lot reaches capacity early during peak tourism months from March through September.
  • To minimize delays that would prevent your group from making its scheduled time, we recommend that your travel plans include additional time for unexpected traffic congestion, unfamiliarity with area roadways, parking, and unloading.
  • Lastly, it will be February in the National Capital Region. Please dress for cold weather.

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Do you have items of interest that are related to the Blackhorse? Please send them to Clint Ancker, Director of Communications, at banditsix@nullaol.com.

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