Leadership Changes for the Blackhorse Association

A message from Glenn Snodgrass:

Our annual membership meeting on Saturday morning at the June reunion in San Antonio will be more important than usual. Our rejuvenated Association is doing wonderfully, having been led for the last 9 years by a group of dedicated and committed volunteers at every position of leadership. Long-term key volunteers include John Sherman Crow, Don Wicks, Charley Watkins, Gene Johnson, Bob Hurt, Ron Miranda (deceased), Ernie Ford (deceased), Crystal Kruger, Glenn Allardyce, Greg Hallmark, Tom Smart, and Jim Tankovich. We have had some new people join the leadership more recently, including Clint Ancker, Dale Skiles, Dan Caughey, Scott Harrison, Rondo Jackson, and Jeremy Dobos.

I have long felt that in order for our Association to really move forward and continue to grow, we had to get younger leadership that can relate better to the active regiment at Fort Irwin and appeal more to the combat veterans from Iraq in 2005–all while still relating well with the Border-era veterans. Many of our volunteer leaders are Vietnam-era troopers, and it is time for us to turn over the Association to younger leaders.

At the membership meeting, therefore, the proposed slate of officers for 2016-2017 will include four new names. Major General (ret.) Pete Bayer, the 61st Colonel of the Regiment who commanded the Regiment at the NTC and in Iraq, will be nominated as the new President. Other nominees include CSM (ret.) Ricky Pring as VP; Bob Hatcher as Director of Scholarships; and Colonel (ret.) Bob Akam as Director of Fundraising. They will replace long-time veterans Jim Tankovich, Bob Hurt, Don Wicks, and me. Pete and I have already met to begin the transition, trying to ensure that the change will be transparent to the membership – in particular those handling money. To that end, Treasurer Dan Caughey, Memberships Director Dale Skiles, and Reunion Treasurer Tom Smart will stay on for at least a year. Eleven of the current fifteen Officers/Directors/Staff have agreed to stay on for at least a year. Please plan to attend this very important meeting. Here are short biographies of the new leaders to be nominated for our Association.

Peter C. Bayer, Jr. (to be nominated to serve as BHA President)

Pete Bayer proudly served over 29 years as a Soldier in the United States Army and was the 61st Colonel of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment leading the Blackhorse during its combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He spent the majority of his career in operations and training with duty in multiple armor and cavalry units in Germany and the United States, including four post-9/11 operational and combat tours in Kuwait and Iraq. Highlights include service as the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor; G3 Operations Officer of the 3rd Infantry Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq; Deputy Commanding General and Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Army Armor Center; Chief of Staff of I Corps and Multi-national Corps Iraq in Baghdad in 2010; and Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy on the Army Staff in the Pentagon. Pete joined Penske Logistics in 2014 and currently serves as its Area Vice President, Northeast. He and his wife Lhoryn live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Ricky Pring (to be nominated to serve as BHA Vice President)

Ricky was born in November 1959 in Warren, Pennsylvania to George and Kathleen Pring. As the youngest of eight children, he grew up on a farm until his family moved to Kissimmee, Florida in the mid-seventies. Ricky joined the Army in January 1977 under the delayed entry program, and he completed Basic and AIT in one of the first OSUT training courses at Fort Knox, Kentucky in October.

He proudly served his first tour as a Loader/Driver/Gunner and Tank Commander in 3rd Platoon, M Company, 3rd Squadron, 11th ACR. He received multiple awards for gunnery skills and leadership including Top Tank and NCO of the Quarter. However, his most notable accomplishment was meeting the love of his life, Petra Knoth, a month into his assignment and marrying her in January 1980.

After a tour as an OSUT instructor from 1982-84 in A Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Training Brigade, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he returned to Germany serving with the 7th CATC in Vilseck and then 2-37 Armor as a platoon sergeant and company and battalion master gunner. He then moved to D Company, 1-37 Armor and served as the platoon sergeant for the 1st Armored Division CAT Team. The CAT platoon finished second out of 16 platoons in the American team competition. With the international competition canceled due to Desert Storm, he deployed to Saudi Arabia with 3rd Brigade, 1st AD and invaded Iraq participating in battles with two Iraqi armor divisions as well as the Battle at 73 Easting.

He again joined the 11th ACR in 1998 at Fort Irwin, where he served as the 1st Squadron Operations Sergeant Major. From 2001-2004, he was the Command Sergeant Major of 1-13 Armor at Fort Riley, Kansas, deploying to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in support to 3rd Infantry Division, the 101st Air Assault Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the 1st Armored Division.

In 2004, he became the 16th Regimental Command Sergeant Major of the Blackhorse, and he led the Regiment during a highly successful combat deployment to Iraq in 2005. They provided support to rotational units and assisted in deploying the Regiment (minus) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing two squadrons in and around Baghdad and the Regimental HQ as the Multi National Division North West HQ.

Ricky continued to support Soldiers after leaving the Army with A-T Solutions, which provided asymmetric warfare training to the U.S. military, police, and other agencies. He held positions as Deputy Program Manager, Program Manager, and Vice President of West Coast Training Operations.

Robert Hatcher (to be nominated to serve as BHA Scholarship Director)

Bob Hatcher was commissioned a lieutenant of infantry in 1988 after graduating from Marion Military Institute, and he went on to the University of Monetvallo while serving in the Alabama Army National Guard. Bob served in a variety of command and staff positions in the United States, Germany, Korea, Norway, and the Middle East.

He attended the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course and was later assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Irwin from 2002 to 2006. At Fort Irwin, he served as Support Squadron S3 and SPO, Regimental XO, and Deputy Commander. While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Bob served simultaneously as the Regimental XO and the G4/C4 for Multi-National Force Northwest in Mosul, Iraq.

Bob commanded the 64th Brigade Support Battalion and the 3d BCT, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson; and he deployed for 15 months to Baghdad, Iraq. He is retiring in 2016 from the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia, where he served as the Chief of Staff. He and his wife Amanda are extremely active in nonprofit organizations serving military and local communities.

Bob Akam (to be nominated to serve as BHA Fundraising Director)

Colonel (ret.) Bob Akam culminated his 30-year career in November 2014 as the Deputy Director of the United States Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response (SHARP) and Prevention Team.

He hails from Salem, New Hampshire, and his education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Norwich University; a Masters in General Administration from Central Michigan University; and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. Bob is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms Staff Service School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.

In 1986, he served with 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment on the East-West German Border. In Germany, he held positions of platoon leader, company executive officer, and squadron logistical support platoon leader.

Bob commanded Bravo Troop in 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry at Fort Carson, Colorado. He also served as the battalion operations officer for 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor and the brigade operations officer for 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. In 2002, Bob assumed command of 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Irwin, California.

He was selected in 2004 to be the division operations officer for 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad, Iraq and later Fort Hood, Texas. Bob also commanded the United States Army’s Fifth Recruiting Brigade from July 2008 to July 2010.

From 2010 to 2012, he deployed to Afghanistan where he served as the deputy director for operations and future plans and later as the Commander of the Multi-National Brigade in Uruzgan. Prior to his appointment to the SHARP Team, he served as the chief of staff of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

Bob volunteers as an outreach Ambassador and Admissions Representative for Norwich University; is a member of Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve (ESGR); and works with the San Antonio Coalition for Veterans and Families (SACVF).

He is married to Colonel Melissa Sturgeon, and they have one son, Ryan, who is a graduate of Texas A&M University and lives near College Station.