November 12, 2013
Down to the Wire races to deliver the latest Equine and Equestrian news to Counter-Canter Culture
According to the Monterey Herald News, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Allan A. MacDonald is still “PO’d” the Army ended the cavalry.
Cavalryman Sgt. Allan MacDonald and his horse, Comanche II. (DAVID ROYAL/The Herald)
During Veteran’s day celebrations on November 9, MacDonald was honored as one of the last living horse cavalrymen by the Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse nonprofit at the Marina Equestrian Center. MacDonald, 90, was the stable sergeant for Gen. Douglass MacArthur in Japan and also served in Turkey, the Philippines, Australia and Korea.
The whole story can be found here:
The Monterey Herald News also mentions that though the US Army dismounted the cavalry during World War II, there have still been rare instances of instances of horses being used in modern warfare. U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers rode horseback with the Afghan Northern Alliance in the early weeks of the Afghanistan War, experiencing intense combat. Their story was memorialized by a statue created in their honor by Douwe Blumberg that stands in front of One World Trade Center across from Ground Zero.
Just 39 days after the Al-Qaeda attack on the world trade center, a group of soldiers were dropped onto a farmer’s field in Afghanistan. According to Wikipedia, ” Once they arrived in-country, they needed transportation suitable to the difficult mountainous terrain of Northern Afghanistan. The men were offered horses by the Afghan tribes they were supporting, and although only two men had any significant experience on horseback, they readily accepted. Capt. Will Summers, Special Forces team leader, said “It was as if The Jetsons had met The Flintstones.”
Blumberg, a horse trainer for over 18 years, was inspired by a photo of the modern soldiers on horseback to create the statue. “It depicts a Special Forces Green Beret on horseback leading the invasion into Afghanistan. He is holding field glasses in one hand. An M4 with an attached grenade launcher is slung under his shoulder. An outline of a wedding band is visible under the glove of the soldier’s left hand. Blumberg said, “That’s my way of tipping my hat to wives, marriages and strain on families. It’s to acknowledge the stresses caused by multiple deployments.”
“The small, Afghan ‘Lokai’ horse shows ‘Tersk’ breeding, indicating a horse of Eastern European heritage descended from horses brought in by the Soviets in the 1980s. In the Afghan culture, the soldiers only ride stallions into battle. The horses could be difficult to control, and the statue depicts the horse rearing back. The horse tack depicted by Blumberg is traditional to the Aghani people. A tasseled breast collar helps keep the flies off the chest and legs. The statue’s base reflects the steep, precipitous slopes the soldiers often traveled on horseback.”
This story is also recounted in the 2009 book, “Horse Soldiers”