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E-News – February 2022

Troopers Down

 

REGGIE (BIM) HANSEN

Blackhorse Trooper Reggie (Bim) Hansen passed away the evening of January 7, 2022.Reggie Hansen lost his battle with cancer after fighting the good fight. He is survived by his wife, sons, their families, and his wonderful grandchildren.

Reggie served a total of ten years of active service.

His favorite assignment was with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. He was in 1st Platoon, Mike Company (Tank Company), 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. He always mentioned how very proud he was being a tank gunner from 1977 to 1981 while stationed at McPheeters Barracks in Bad Hersfeld, Federal Republic of German (FRG) during the Cold War. He served with SFC Brunner as his Platoon Sergeant (PSG) and First Sergeant (1SG) Rudy Beck with whom he maintained a strong friendship with over the years. Reggie was honorably discharged from the military as a Sergeant E-5 at Fort Hood, Texas. He served proudly from 1975 to 1985.

After his separation from the Army, Reggie got his electrician’s license and worked for many years in Alaska along the pipeline, where he lived doing the things he enjoyed, hunting Alaskan big game.

He was a true friend and a good Cavalry Trooper.

May he Rest In Eternal Peace without any more pain, until we meet once more on Fiddlers Green. By his request there will be no funeral services, his body will be cremated and spread on his farm in Maine and in Alaska where he lived.

 

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JAMES HARRISON AARESTAD

JAMES HARRISON AARESTAD Colonel, US Army (Retired). James Harrison Aarestad, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, age 97, died January 13, 2022, at his home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Colonel Aarestad was born on December 3, 1924, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the eldest son of Selmer and Myrthel Aarestad. In World War II he served in the 502nd Bombardment Group (B29’s) of the 20th Air Force; in Korea, the Pusan Detachment of the Korean Military Advisory Group; and in the Vietnam War he commanded the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse). In all, he soldiered in seven campaigns, was decorated five times for valor, and served overseas two and a half years in theaters of war.

His Army career of 33 years began in 1943 at Fort Riley in the Cavalry. From that time, except for WWII, he served as an Armor Officer, mainly in tank and armored cavalry units, commanding from platoon to brigade. As a General Staff Officer, he specialized in operations and strategic planning at the Division and Field Force/Corps level and on the Army General Staff in the Pentagon.

He graduated from the University of Minnesota in the class of 1949. In later years he earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and attended the Army’s Armor and Transportation Schools, the Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.

His assignments took him, his wife Mary-Jo, and daughter Elizabeth to Germany three times during the Cold War. Here he served in the 63rd and 32nd Armor; commanded the 3rd Battalion 33nd Armor (“The Pickles”); then, Chief of Staff, 1st Armored Division; and finally command of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division. His final posting, prior to retirement, was to the staff and faculty of the Army War College where he was the Director of Far East Studies and the National Security Seminar.

Upon retirement from the Army, Col. Aarestad pursued careers in public education, industrial development, and national security. For 13 years he was the Secretary/Business Manager of the Dover Area School District, three years as the Director of Industrial Development for the State of North Carolina, and Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the York County PA Industrial Development Corporation.

Colonel Aarestad’s military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross and two awards of the Presidential Unit Citation. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the U.S. Cavalry Association, the 11th Armored Calvary Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia, the Officers and Society of the 1st Infantry Division, Ends of the Earth (New York City), Cavalry and Guards Club (London), the Army-Navy Country Club, Rotary, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He is preceded in death by his dearly beloved wife of 66 years, Mary-Jo. He is survived by daughter Elizabeth of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; grandchildren Daniel (Emiri), William, Emma (Aaron), and Henry; and two sisters, Rhoda Rodgers of Leawood, Kansas and Karen Teige of Lakeland, Florida.

A Burial of the Dead Rite II will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 26, 2022, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, On the Square in Carlisle with The Rev. Adam Kradle and The Rev. Melissa Wilcox officiating. A reception will immediately follow the service in the church parish hall. Interment service with full military honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery on a later date. Visit www.EwingBrothers.com to send condolences.A Burial of the Dead Rite II will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 26, 2022, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, On the Square in Carlisle with The Rev. Adam Kradle and The Rev. Melissa Wilcox officiating. A reception will immediately follow the service in the church parish hall.

Interment service with full military honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery on a later date. Visit www.EwingBrothers.com to send condolences.

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Colonel Tom L. Stewart

 

Colonel Tom L. Stewart (March 5, 1935 – June 9, 2020) passed away in his sleep early on the morning of June 9, 2020. He was, if nothing else, a United States Army (Air Cav) Officer. More than one person who met him wondered aloud whether Robert Duvall had based his performance in “The Great Santini” on Colonel Tom.

He was happiest with his family gathered around him – preferably next to a Myrtle Beach campfire but a fireplace in a Tyrolean ski lodge did nicely, as well – listening to his tall tales late into the night. A warrior and a scholar, he loved Shakespeare and often quoted extended passages from the bard’s greatest works. The tragedies were his favorite. He could be overwhelming, opinionated, obstinate and ornery. But mostly he will be missed. Especially by the loved ones who survive him: his wife Elizabeth; sisters Billie Sue Jahnke, Nita Gayle Hastie and Shelley Rae Frost; his son Scott and his wife Kalin Berry (with son Hank); his daughter Staci Hatch and her husband Rick and their two sons, Spencer and Sawyer.

Colonel Tom was born in Old Boggy Depot, Oklahoma on March 5, 1935 and grew up near the Oklahoma panhandle in Enid. The son of Basil O. Stewart – one of the last great itinerant farmers roaming the vast midwestern plain – and the iconic Juanita Wike – she’d swat a fly dead, right on the plate of scrambled eggs that she just cooked you – he was fond of reminding you, with that mischievous grin of his, “everyone in town knew me as ‘that Stewart Boy.’” He was a bruiser and in 1953 he went to Oklahoma A&M College on a football scholarship. But Life intervened, he didn’t quite finish, and soon after he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

A clever young man, after a time he got himself into the Army’s Officer Candidate School in Ft. Benning, Georgia. It was there, while finishing at the top of his class, that Colonel Tom met the southern belle who would become his wife: Elizabeth Dawson – forever to be known by him as “Miss Elizabeth.” Army Aviation School followed and he excelled. Turns out that brash young Oklahoma kid knew his way around a helicopter stick and the Army selected him to serve as one of its test pilots on the early prototype to the Cobra attack helicopter.

Colonel Tom spent two combat tours in Vietnam and, as any real combat veteran would tell you in their understated way: “acquitted himself well on the field of battle.” In 1968 he led (from the front) the 1st Armored Cavalry (Air Mobile) Division’s close air support of the marines and soldiers pinned down in the Citadel during the Battle of Hue’, part of the Tet Offensive and one of the longest, bloodiest battles in the entire Conflict. His exploits earned him the Bronze Star for combat gallantry – very rare under normal circumstances and even more so for a helicopter pilot. He dove into a river to save the crew of a downed helicopter while under heavy enemy fire. Later in his career, at the height of the Cold War, he commanded the Command & Control Squadron of the legendary 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fulda, Germany – his proudest professional moment.

In 1988, Colonel Tom retired from the Army to St. Louis, Missouri, which served as his home base for a quarter century and from which he and Miss Elizabeth continually launched epic road trips to the Gulf Coast, Las Vegas and back to Oklahoma – where he periodically returned as the triumphant son to regale his sisters and extended family with tales of misadventure from the wide world across which he’d cut such a mighty swath. Eventually, he and Miss Elizabeth made their way for good to Las Vegas, where he enjoyed his final years in the company of his two children and their families and friends.

The family held a Virtual Memorial Service on June 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific). Watch a video recording of the service here.

Reminder! Regimental Box Tours!

Once again, the Blackhorse Regiment will allow veterans of the regiment, who are BHA members, take a private tour of their old unit, squadrons, and the Regiment; you can go out in the box while the Regiment is maneuvering on a rotation. You’ll be able to spend some time in the TOC, witness the “battle”/ maneuvering, and see some other cool stuff. The Regiment is willing to host another “box ride-along” event March 15-16, 2022. The veteran will have to cover the cost of transportation to Ft. Irwin and lodging at the Landmark Inn on Ft. Irwin.

The Blackhorse Association Regimental Liaison Officer, Aaron Nelson, will be the point of contact for veterans interested in attending. He can be contacted at tnanelson@nullmsn.com, and he can provide any additional information and assistance if necessary. This is a great opportunity to see the Regiment in action and get caught up on what the Regiment is doing.

Blackhorse Fiction by a Blackhorse Trooper Profits go to the Blackhorse Scholarship Fund

Vietnam was not like any war the U.S. had fought before. Old rules didn’t always apply. Old strategies didn’t always work. The demands of the terrain and the complexities of the politics behind the conflict added pressure to an already combustible situation. The young, often inexperienced men who were tasked with mastering this new kind of war had to live or die by their own courage, camaraderie, ingenuity, and, often, by their own luck. Trust was earned. Mistakes could be deadly. And the relentlessness of jungle warfare was not for the faint of heart.

The “RIDERS of the Storm” series follow members of 2nd Platoon, G troop, an Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV) Platoon. The fictional series chronicles the author’s experiences while serving with G Troop. The books take place from fall 1967 through winter of 1968 – a time marked by the North Vietnamese Tet Offensives that saw major invasions by the North Vietnamese Army into South Vietnam. These Tet offensives were calculated to collapse the South Vietnamese regime and expel the American forces supporting it. Due in large part to the actions of the 11th ACR, the offensives were not successful.

2nd Platoon, G Troop consisted of eight heavily armed, tracked vehicles, each carrying a crew of five men — the TC manning a 50-caliber machine gun, driver, two side gunners each with a partially shielded M60, 7.62 mm machine guns, and a scout armed with an M16 rifle and M79 grenade launcher. South Vietnam presented anything but normal conditions, so each track typically operated at less than full strength. The men of Second Platoon lived, bonded, hurt, and died together. They depended on their comrades, their leaders, the armored vehicles they rode and the guns they operated, but most of all they counted on each another. Each Trooper faced twin perils — boredom and the near constant tension and fear of imminent contact — contact nearly always initiated by the enemy.

“RIDERS of the Storm: Invincibles” entwines platoon members’ daily life experiences with the impacts that long separation from loved ones and home have on soldiers’ well- being and ability to focus on the daily dangers. The book deals with the sense of invulnerability young Troopers have when they first experience the dangers of combat: the sometimes-fatal perception that serious injury or death won’t happen to me. “RIDERS of the Storm: Death on Your Shoulder” takes Troopers through the experiences that lead to the realization that war is chaos, and that in the heat of battle no one is safe. The realization that death can touch anyone in the unit changes views of leadership, comradeship, and command. Daily experiences aren’t just about counting the days; now they are largely about surviving them.

The “RIDERS of the Storm” series is available through Amazon Kindle books and is part of the Kindle Unlimited Read program. Look for the third and final installment soon.

All proceeds from the book sales are donated to the 11th ACR Scholarship Fund; please read the series, and tell your friends about them as well.

Allons. Ted Rauh, 1st Lieutenant, G Troop, 2/11 1967-68

VFW Post at Fort Hood is Named For Former RCSM — CSM A. C. Cotton

Command Sergeant Major A. C. Cotton was the 8th Regimental Command Sergeant Major of the Blackhorse. He served as RCSM from 1980 – 1983 with RCOs John Sherman Crow and Fred Franks. Recently, The Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted an installation ceremony on January 7, 2022 for the only current VFW post on an active- duty installation in the United States located on Fort Hood, Texas.

The VFW honored the memory of Command Sgt. Maj. A.C. Cotton, the first-known African American command sergeant major for the 1st Cavalry Division by dedicating VFW Post 12209 in his name.

For more on this historic event and the VFW post named after him, see https://www.dvidshub.net/news/412622/fort-hood-makes-history-welcoming-csm-ac- cotton-vfw-post-12209

Collection Commemorates Major Events in the Regiment Request for Help

As a collector of the TCQC type patches, I find that a patch most often becomes more than that; they become unofficial curators of the history. Each patch is not just a patch, but is artwork that was created to honor 1 to 10,000 people or more! One of the reasons I decided to focus on collecting the TCQC patches was for that reason. You have your SSI’s that are issued to each person, but these TCQC patches are earned by but a few.

Here is a link to my most current list of the patches that I have for the 11th ACR: https://www.blackhorse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/patches.pdf

If you have any information related to any of these 11th ACR patches, I would appreciate it if you could send me the information. In particular, I am looking for dates of use; whether any of the patches were new during the year in which you participated; and if you know of any specific units that participated in any of the years that are listed.

Additionally, as a patch collector, if you have any patches or decals that you want to send me for categorization and collection, I sure would appreciate it!

Please contact me at the email or address below.

Stephen H. Sparks | PO Box 1921 | Martinsburg, WV 25402 | 681-260-4077

Stephen.H.Sparks@nullirs.gov