E-News – November 2020

 Trooper Down

Thomas H. Spahr

Thomas H. Spahr, 74, of North Huntingdon, PA, died January 18, 2020 at his home. He was born May 23, 1945, in Greensburg, a son of the late Charles and Alice Herold Spahr. Tom was the store manager of Miller Feed Store in Irwin for many years. He was the past president of the Norwin Lions Club and Norwin VFW Post 781; and he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving with Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1966-67. He was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia Miller. He is survived by his wife, Donna Dunkle Spahr; one daughter, Maryah Spahr; one sister, Bonnie Koury; brother-in-law, Bill Miller; sister-in-law, Susan Dunkle; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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Ceremony at Point Alpha 30 Years of German Unity
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg Looks Back
By Jessica Vey.

The annual ceremony on October 3, 2020 at Point Alpha (Geisa) was only allowed to take place with a limited number of participants on the occasion of the “30 Years of German Unity” anniversary. But the celebrations had something special. The keynote speaker was former Defense Minister Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who visited the US camp. In addition, Bishop Michael Gerber preached in an ecumenical service on Saturday.

From the taste of “real GDR chocolate” to the “taste of political life today”, the Fulda Bishop Michael Gerber spanned the whole range in his sermon on the 30th day of German unification at Point Alpha

Point Alpha

Bishop Gerber held an ecumenical service at Point Alpha on the 30th day of German unity. Gerber, born in 1970, started with a flashback. In 1987, at Lake Constance, he experienced how young people from a Schoenstatt group reported about contact with young Catholics in the GDR. And they shared a bar of GDR chocolate with devotion to find out how “the East” tasted. In his encounters in the Diocese of Fulda, he learned a lot about the suffering and the injuries that people suffered from the border. “There are not only ruins of evacuated farms, but also of life plans,” he emphasized. It is all the more unique that the border fell without a shot. That is a reason for great gratitude. Bishop Gerber and the Protestant pastors Henning Voigt and Harald Krüger held an ecumenical service on Point Alpha.

Bishop Gerber and the Protestant pastors Henning Voigt and Harald Krüger held an ecumenical service on Point Alpha.

Gerber celebrated the ecumenical service, to which the Point Alpha Foundation was only able to allow a limited number of people for coronavirus reasons, together with Dean Markus Blümel and the Protestant pastors HenningVoigt and Harald Krüger. Rebecca Göb (vocals) and Ulrich Göb on the e-piano provided the music for the celebration. Since the congregation was not allowed to sing, the believers spoke the song verses of “Now thank all God” and “Great God, how praise you”, according to the chorale melodies played on the instrument.

Point Alpha – “October 3rd is a historic turning point, it is probably the most important holiday in the history of all of Germany,” emphasized the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Point Alpha Foundation, Dr. Stefan Heck (CDU), the importance of the day of German unity. This is the 30th anniversary.

Every year on the eve of October 3rd there is a memorial service at Point Alpha near Geisa. At this historical place (Stefan Heck: “Here freedom is palpable”) many representatives from politics and society came together this year. Both from Hesse and Thuringia. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are not hundreds as usual. There are 170 guests, there couldn’t be more in the vehicle hall in the former US camp. Point Alpha: Ex-Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as the keynote speaker.

Point Alpha: Ex-Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as the keynote speaker.

The keynote speaker was former Defense Minister Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

He was a man who had long since disappeared from the national political stage. The former Federal Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who now works as a management consultant, thanked those responsible: “You gave me the gift of being able to visit a place that is close to my heart in many ways.”

Photo gallery: Ceremony at Point Alpha – “30 Years of German Unity” Photo gallery: Ceremony at Point Alpha - "30 Years of German Unity"

 

Photo gallery: Ceremony at Point Alpha - "30 Years of German Unity"

Photo gallery: Ceremony at Point Alpha - "30 Years of German Unity"

Photo gallery: Ceremony at Point Alpha - "30 Years of German Unity"

More Photos from Point Alpha

The following is from Michael Trost, the longtime Regimental S-5 for the Blackhorse Regiment in the 1980s.

On today’s national holiday on the occasion of 30 years of German Unity, a very well-attended ecumenical service, held by the Fulda Bishop, took place on OP Alpha. This gave me another opportunity to take a few photos in the rear room of Blackhorse Inn, showing all previous commanders of the Regiment to this day.

I found it among other guidons and flags in the rear room of OP Alpha Blackhorse Inn. This room is used as dining room as well as for meetings of the P. A. Support group (P. A. Förderkreis) and discussions with contemporary witnesses. Left side of the old 7th Regt stars & stripes you can see the 14th Cav Battle Guidon.

The preceding paragraph is reference to the 1st Squadron 11th ACR “Battle Guidon.” An explanatory note (below) on this guidon was provided by John Baer, former squadron commander of 1/11 ACR.

Not sure who started the Squadron Battle Guidon but suspect it was in Vietnam. During field exercises it was always in the Squadron’s Tactical CP vice the Main CP. By Army Regulation, it is not authorized as only the Troop-sized units are authorized guidons.

Squadron Battle Guidon

Point AlphaPoint Alpha
Point Alpha

Additional information on Point Alpha can be found at the following pages on the Blackhorse Association website. These two are bulletins from the Point Alpha Foundation and are in German. There’s a lot going on at our former border observation point!

Visit https://www.blackhorse.org/newsletter-point-alpha-stiftung/
Visit https://www.blackhorse.org/newsletter-point-alpha-stiftung-2/

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Request for Assistance from Point Alpha

Mr. Sebastian Leitsch will be the new head of the foundation starting in September 2020. I myself am responsible for the scientific department, and we both want to consolidate the cooperation with the Blackhorse Association. Beyond your assistance all around with the annual Last Border Patrol event, we are especially interested in keeping in active contact with you on all things regarding the work on the former OP Alpha.

Further, one of our new projects is trying to assemble contemporary witness reports on the life with and along the former Inner-German border. That includes all servicemen of the 11th Armored Cavalry.

Mr. Leitsch has asked me to write to you:

“We are urgently looking for the photos of the barrack C, the canteen. We want to renovate the facility so that it looks like the historical appearance of the canteen.

Specifically, we are asking you to request old pictures of the canteen by the veterans.”

Are you able to help us within a short time? We thank you very much right now. With best regards,

Dr. Roman Smolorz Wissenschaftlicher
Leiter Point Alpha Stiftung Schlossplatz 4
36419 Geisa
Telefon: 03 69 67 / 59 64 -25
Fax: 03 69 67 / 59 64 -26
roman.smolorz@pointalpha.com
Visit www.pointalpha.com
Visit http://www.facebook.com/PointAlpha

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From Don Snedeker Author of “The Blackhorse in Vietnam”

I was recently interviewed by a gentleman from the UK who hosts Cold War-related podcasts. The links below are to a couple of podcasts I did. The first covers the book (The Blackhorse in Vietnam), as well as my own experiences as a platoon leader with 2/1 Cav. The second covers my time with the Border Legion and subsequent assignments in Germany.
Visit https://coldwarconversations.com/episode143/
Visit https://coldwarconversations.com/episode146/

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The Blackhorse Association and AmazonSmile Update

Thank you to those BHA members who, in recent weeks, enrolled in the AmazonSmile program and linked their accounts to “Blackhorse Association Inc.” This puts us on the path to achieving our goal of funding two annual scholarships for college children of our troopers. We will periodically update you on our progress.

If you haven’t linked your AmazonSmile account to the Association, we ask that you do so today.

A question was posed to us recently: What could I do if I’m already enrolled in the Amazon program, but I am linked to another non-Association charity?

If you’re open to changing your charity of choice, we would kindly welcome that. All you have to do is find your settings on the AmazonSmile home page and change your charity to “Blackhorse Association Inc.” It’s that simple, and if you change it, we would appreciate it!

For more details on enrolling in the Blackhorse Association – AmazonSmile program, please follow this link.