B Troop – 4th Regiment, U.S. Cavalry (Memorial) graduated three new riders May 22 on Brown Parade Field. Around 60 Soldiers, Family members and friends witnessed them complete an open-field pistol charge down the field with the rest of the horsemen and receive their graduation spurs and certificates.
The newly accepted riders, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Glen McFarland, Capt. Michael Gerson and Chaplain, (Capt.) Eduardo Gonzalez, explained that the biggest reason for joining was the unique opportunity the unit offers. B Troop is a cavalry unit within the U.S. Army which allows military and Civilians to join due to its all-volunteer unit status.
“I joined B Troop because I’ve always wanted to, and admire what they do,” said McFarland. The recent graduate has served as an Army chaplain in multiple units around the world and retires this July.
Newly-inducted rider Gonzalez is currently assigned as the Land War Net officer-in-charge in support of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence Requirements Determination Directorate. Although he’s a New York native, his wife from Texas introduced him to American western culture, which inspired him to join B Troop.
Gerson, U.S. Marine Corps Detachment and Joint Interoperability Test Command, added that for a Marine, the opportunity to join an Army cavalry unit is not only rare, but once-in-a-lifetime.
“Once I joined, the whole camaraderie that went with [B Troop] was just incredible,” he said.
All three graduates attended four months of riding school. During their training, the new recruits learned the basics of stable management and military riding. Once these skills were achieved, the men focused on more advanced military riding techniques such as mounted drill, weapons handling and mounted charges.
Col. Thomas Boone, U.S. Army Garrison commander, stated in his remarks that while the training is structured, “the riding school still retains some of the essence of cavalry training.
“They’ve been taught everything they need to know about taking care of their new ‘four-legged battle buddies,’” Boone said. “They’ve also learned about the organization, the history and heritage of the U.S. Cavalry and mastered the tricky business of handling a pistol and saber while mounted.”
B Troop continues to look for volunteers who can make the commitment of 10 to 20 hours a week. No prior experience with horses is needed. The mounted ceremonial unit also supports the Ladies Auxiliary riders and K Battery, which performs artillery demonstrations.
For more information on becoming a B Troop participant, call 538.2178. B Troop’s upcoming Cavalry Riding School will start in July.