Thomas John Sprague
Tomas J. Sprague, 51, of Hamilton, NJ, passed away on April 23, 2016 with his family and friends close by his side. Tom was born on February 28, 1965, and he was a lifetime resident of Hamilton Township, New Jersey. Tom graduated from Hamilton West High School in 1983; he graduated from Ryder University in 1989 with a BS in Biology.
After graduation, Tom was commissioned as an Armor Officer and attended the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, KY. He then served with 3/11 ACR in Bad Hersfeld, Germany. While assigned to the Workhorse Squadron, he served as a Scout Platoon Leader in I Troop and as XO of M Company while the unit was deployed along the East-West German Border. While there, he proudly earned his spurs and qualified on both individual and unit gunnery exercises with both the M3 Bradley and M1 Abrams, patrolled the Border, and served in numerous field training exercises and gunneries. Tom served as M company XO and was selected to serve as S-4 of 3/11 ACR during unit deployment to Kuwait, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for conspicuously meritorious service.
Upon leaving the Regiment in 1991, Tom returned to his home in New Jersey and worked as a logistics manager for DHL, Inc. for over 20 years
Tommy was a devoted husband, father, and son. His family and devotion to the Lord meant everything to him. He was active in his church and enjoyed sharing and teaching the word of God. He positively affected many young people while serving as a Sunday-school teacher; “It’s all about grace”.
Tom is survived by his wife of 26 years, Cheri (La Jimodiere) Sprague; his daughter Abigail; his father, Tom Sprague; mother, Ruth Voorhees and step-father, Mark Voorhees; and his brother, George Sprague.
Tom was interred on May 3, 2016, at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the American Brain Tumor Association at www.abta.org.
Command Sergeant Major (ret.) Leslie K. (Ken) Smith
Ken passed away on May 11, 2016 at 11:00 P.M. from sepsis and kidney failure from the overall effects of the Vietnam War and Agent Orange exposure.
Ken was born in Yonkers, New York, on December 31, 1943. Following high school
graduation, he joined the Army as an Armored Reconnaissance Specialist (Scout) but in his first assignment to Ray Barracks, Friedburg, Germany, with 2-32 Armor, he was made a tank driver. Thus began Ken’s love of scouting and tanks.
He was reassigned to Fort Meade, Maryland and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and he deployed with the Regiment to an area north of Saigon where he saw heavy fighting with K Troop. Ken would return in 1971 where he served as a Cavalry Platoon Sergeant in E Troop until wounded for his 4th time. After recovery from his wounds, Ken then went on to serve as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Ken was then assigned to Amberg Germany where he performed the same peacetime duties with a cavalry platoon for five years. Returning to Fort Carson, he was promoted, served as a tank company first sergeant, and returned to Amberg where he served as First Sergeant of Company M and Headquarters Troop. He then returned to his family at Fort Carson, graduated from the Sergeants Major Academy, and served as the Command Sergeant Major of the 4th Battalion 68th Armor (Silver Lions) before retiring. During his career he earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with V, four Purple Hearts, and four Army Commendation Medals. He also received the Combat Infantryman’s Badge from his first Vietnam tour.
After retirement on August 31, 1989, he had a second career as a rural mail carrier, and when he finally retired, he enjoyed his involvement with several veteran’s groups and friends.
He leaves behind Linda, his wife of over forty years and two adult sons.
A viewing was held on May 18 and the Memorial Service was on May 19 at the Shrine of Remembrance in Colorado Springs. Ken will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery where he will join his father and others he served with at some future date.
Blackhorse Veterans at Ken Smith’s Memorial Service, in front our tank, in Colorado Springs.
Services for Richard B. Moeller, 65, of Many, Louisiana were held on January 31 at the Beulah Baptist Church, with burial following in the Beulah Cemetery with full military honors. Officiating the services was the Rev. Kenneth Leach, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church. Mr. Moeller was born to Virgil Frederick Moeller and Sybil B. Towers Moeller on December 9, 1949 in Concord, Calif. He entered into rest on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at Christus Highland Hospital in Shreveport. He served in the U.S. Army for over 19 years. Richard was a Driver/Mechanic who worked in Border Operations for 3rd Squadron, 11th ACR in Bad Hersfeld for over three years (1976 through 1979) under SSG Mark Clark and later under SSG Pocaigue.
After retiring from the Army, he was a truck driver, and he received an award for one million accident free miles. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Anita Moeller; sons, Klaus Moeller and wife, Renee, Alfred Moeller and Lisa Roberts, Heinz Frohwerk and wife, Anne; daughters, Elfriede Lochbaum and Margarete Krips and Thomas; sister, Debbie Dennis and husband, Paul; and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Blackhorse Association Gives Back
by Capt. Dawne Divine, 11th ACR Public Affairs
The Blackhorse Association generously donated 60 Regimental Ball tickets to junior enlisted Soldiers currently assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, California.
The donation was orchestrated by Colonel (ret.) Glenn Snodgrass, Blackhorse Association President. According to Col. Snodgrass, this year was a year for charitable giving. The Blackhorse Association received a record number of charitable gifts from its members and public donors.
Col. Snodgrass reached out to U.S. Army Colonel Kevin Jacobi, commander, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, for additional gift ideas to the Regiment. Over the past several years, the Blackhorse Association has presented Regimental Windbreakers to the winners of each enlisted and NCO of the Quarter Boards.
“This year and in the years to come, we would also like to support an 11th ACR troop event or activity in addition to the Windbreakers,” said Snodgrass. “Helping Troopers attend Regimental events strengthens bonds and builds life-long memories.”
The Regimental Ball is a very important event that occurs once a year. The event is a great way to redefine Blackhorse camaraderie, honor military traditions, and have a little fun. This year, the 11th ACR held its Regimental Ball at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on March 12, 2016.
Although it may not seem like much, attending a military ball can easily cost an individual hundreds of dollars, and many junior Troopers with families cannot afford to attend the event. The Blackhorse Association donated over $5,000 to send Troopers and spouses to the event.
“This is the first Ball that I have gone to,” said Pvt. Christopher Williams, E Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. “Not knowing much about the Blackhorse Association, I was honored to receive a free ticket from the association. Their generous gift has made me want to learn more about who they are.”
The Blackhorse Association is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to serving Blackhorse Troopers and their families. It was founded in 1970 by the 39th Regimental Commander, Colonel George S. Patton.
The primary purpose of the Blackhorse Association is to honor 11th ACR Troopers who gave their lives in service to the Nation; to strengthen Regimental bonds; to proclaim Regimental traditions; to support Regimental troopers; and to maintain an educational scholarship program for children of the Regiment.
Command Sergeant Major Ashmead Departs
Command Sergeant Major Carl Ashmead, Command Sergeant Major of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, has departed the Regiment and is currently on terminal leave prior to retirement from the Army after 28 years of active service to the nation. His assignments included: 2nd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, HHC 75th Ranger Regiment, HHC 25th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion 5th Infantry, 1st Battalion 87th Infantry, 2nd Battalion 22nd Infantry, 3rd Squadron 71st Cavalry, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, and his culminating tour with the Blackhorse.
He has participated in five combat deployments to include the Operation JUST CAUSE Invasion of Panama in 1989, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 01-02, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 03-04, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 05-06, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 09-10.
His many decorations and awards include the Bronze Star Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters), Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), Good Conduct Medal (Seventh Award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrow Head Device, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citation with oak leaf, Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman Badge, Combat Infantry Badge (2nd Award), Master Parachutist Badge with Bronze Star, Belgian Parachutist Badge, and the Belgian Commando Badge. CSM Ashmead is an honorary member of the Orders of Saint Barbara and Saint George, and he is a Primicerius in the Order of Saint Maurice.
The Blackhorse Association wishes CSM Ashmead best wishes for a well-deserved retirement.
Acting Regimental Command Sergeant Major James Gandy
An Article from the magazine “Wargaming” featuring a Blackhorse Veteran
Military Appreciation Month is an important month for us here at Wargaming. We want to spotlight those employees that served in the military and celebrate them throughout the month of May. This time we speak with Nicholas Moran, aka The_Chieftain, Director of Militaria Relations at Wargaming America.
When did you join the military, and which branch did you join?
I joined the Irish Defense Forces Reserve in September of 1997 and the US Army National Guard in November of 2000.
Where did you go?
In the U.S. Army, I was deployed in Iraq between 2004 and 2005, and Afghanistan between 2009 and 2010. For training, I’ve been anywhere from Yakima, Washington to Bovington, U.K — Fort Meade, South Dakota (we went on a field trip to Mount Rushmore), to Fort Dix, New Jersey. Most of my time was spent in Fort Knox, KY, and Fort Irwin, CA.
What was your assignment?
In Ireland, I was a Cavalry trooper, and in Iraq, I led a Tank Platoon. When I served in Afghanistan, I became a Troop Commander/Assistant Squadron S-3 (Operations officer) and I’m currently the S1 (Administrative Officer) for a training unit with the rank of Major.
What were some of your most memorable experiences?
The Army is fantastic for experiences, many of which fall into the “I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it for myself” category. This varies from the radio call where I stated “I am in high-speed pursuit of a blue Opel Kadett Wagon, Northbound on Rte. Nissan” as I was weaving through traffic in my tank, through the fun of going through an airport security checkpoint, and putting 300 rounds of ammunition and my rifle through the metal detector while my knife had to go in checked baggage. (I go into detail on that elsewhere.)
Then there was the traffic accident in Iraq where a local townsman ran into my tank, claiming he didn’t see the 68-ton, 10-meter long, three-meter tall hunk of metal, the elation of nailing a very difficult Tank/Track Commander’s (TC) engagement with the 25mm and coax on the Bradley (the 120mm on the tank is pure awesomeness, but the 25mm is a sheer hoot to fire).
I’ll always remember the feeling of riding around from the TC’s hatch of the tank. Especially when my tank was just another vehicle in rush hour commuter traffic.
Basic Training and OCS will both forever be burned into my memory, as will my passionate detestation for the Fitness Test — the two-mile-run in a 6 AM deluge in Fort Knox was easily the most memorable of those (which in fairness, I passed).
I’ve eaten on the dirt floor of an Iraqi farmer’s house, and the wooden paneled environment of the Royal Armored Corps Officers’ Mess in Bovington.
Plus being as cold as I’ve ever been in my life, and so hot I could almost feel my skin melting. I’ve certainly learned an appreciation for life’s luxuries, such as warm showers, or sitting in traffic with the windows down and radio up. And all of this is only a part of the nearly 20 years of experiences I’ve had while wearing Army green.
Were you awarded any medals or citations?
I won’t go into the full list, but the top two individual awards are a Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and Meritorious Service Medal. Also at the unit level a Valorous Unit Award (for Iraq) and Meritorious Unit Citation from Afghanistan.
What did you do in your downtime?
I was something of a loner, so I spent most of my free time either playing computer games (Civilization and Total War got a lot of play, as did Combat Mission) or watching movies. Or sleeping. Bought DVDs. Occasionally card games, and wargames including entire Warhammer 40K armies that were brought with us to Afghanistan.
What’s your job at Wargaming, and has your military experience helped?
My official title is “Director of Militaria Relations.” In practice, this means that I’m the liaison between the company and the wonderful world of the military. Given that the flagship product is World of Tanks, it was a natural progression to using my real-world tank experience to bring my experience as a tanker to players through my “Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch” videos. It has also provided a “working knowledge” of how tanks are supposed to function and feel, which is something I believe the developers of our products have been paying some attention to.
Being an armor officer has also made working with the Army much simpler. For example, we were given full access to the Sullivan Cup tank crew competition because the Army was fairly confident that I knew how not to get myself hurt working around tanks, and similarly, the military connection has made my showing up at installations such as Anniston Army Depot (Home of the Army’s Center of Military History) or Fort Benning (home of the Army’s Armor and Cavalry Museum) for research trips very easy. I think it’s also good that players who are veterans know there are people in the company they can contact who can relate to them well.
Nick standing next to the symbol of the 11th ACR, “Blackhorse,”
Northeast Blackhorse Mini-Reunion
Veterans of the Blackhorse Regiment are holding a Northeast Mini-reunion from July 7-9, 2016 in Beaver Falls, PA. If you will be in the area and would like to attend, please confirm your attendance by June 2, 2016 by contacting Darryl Wolfe at 724-494-0478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tentative schedule for the weekend is below:
Lodging: (mention “11th ACR Reunion” and get the discounted $85.02 per night)
Hotel contact info: Microtel by Wyndham
2801 Darlington Rd
Crawford’s Camping Park
251 Hodgson Rd.
Darlington, PA 16115
Who: Anyone interested in the direction of the 11th ACR Northeast Reunion. Where: Probably a local favorite, The Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe.
5:00 PM – Sailing and dinner (sold out)
10:00 AM – Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall
(Free admission is offered to military members serving on active duty or in the Guard and Reserve; veterans; and retired military.)
1:00 PM – DAV will be available at the banquet hall to answer questions and give guidance on the VA system.
616 Centennial Ave.
4:00 PM – Silent auction items will be displayed and let the fun begin. Raffle tickets and other games will be activated throughout the evening.
5:30 PM – Dinner will be served.
6:30 PM – Special guest speaker: yet to be named.
7:00 PM until 11:00 PM – Socializing and dancing, then hall clean up. We must be out of the hall by midnight.
Places of interest:
The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium
National Aviary: 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Carnegie Museum of Natural History: 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
BG (ret.) John “Doc” Bahnsen Recognized as West Point Distinguished Graduate
The link below will take you to an excellent short piece on Doc Bahnsen’s recent recognition as a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy and his continuing contributions to West Point. Included is a short interview on Fox News with BG Bahnsen that is well worth watching.
The Regiment Honors the Fallen
The Blackhorse Association honored our Fallen Heroes at the Santa Ana,
California Cemetery during the annual Tri Cities Memorial Day Ceremony on
Monday, May 30, 10 a.m. Troopers from the 11th ACR, Regimental Support Squadron Provided the 21 Gun Salute.
The Changing of Flags
As we do every year, the Blackhorse Association donated a new American Flag to Point Alpha, and the previous one was returned. The letter below records the ceremony, which included former Blackhorse Troopers.
A High School Remembers
In late May this year, Garinger High School in North Carolina added three names to its memorial for those graduates of the high school who died in Vietnam. Among the names added was that of Specialist Four Steve Kerley, who died while serving with the Blackhorse Regiment.
A crowd of 300 witnessed the ceremony, which included a huge 40×60 foot U.S. flag deployed by the Charlotte Fire Department; flag presentations to the families of the fallen with flags folded at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.; an honor guard from the Garinger Army ROTC and the United States Marine Corps; a bugler who played taps; and a volley by the honor guard. Amazing Grace was played on bagpipes by retired General Ernie Brockenman. The ceremony was presided over by Marine veteran Larry Walker and Pastor David Gales. Photos are below.
Reunion! Reunion! Reunion!
It’s not too late to register for and make plans to attend the Blackhorse Association Family Reunion, June 16-18. This reunion promises to be the largest so far. Come share some great Blackhorse fellowship with your fellow troopers in San Antonio. It’s a
great city, and the Reunion will be on the River Walk and very close to the Alamo. There will be Blackhorse memorabilia available in the Blackhorse Store and some interesting pieces out for the Silent Auction. But most important, it’s a chance to visit with old friends and share our common heritage. Join us! Details are available at www.BlackHorse.org.