Salutes & Awards

June 14, 2012

Blackhorse regiment honors distinguished troopers in honorary rolls

Story and Photos by Sgt. Anthony J. Lecours

Col. Antonio A. Aguto, Commander of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, dubs 1st Sgt. Michael J. Spear, Killer Troop, 2nd squadron, 11th ACR, into the Honorary Rolls of the 11th ACR at Fort Irwin May 24.

Just past the double doors of the National Training Center and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Museum, to the right of the Blackhorse Crest and statue, is a glass case. In this case rests a book. This book is not a normal book, not because of its bindings or pages, but rather its history. The book is a living history of the outstanding leaders and troopers that have passed through the ranks of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and into its history.

The Honorary Rolls were established June 8, 2007, as a way to honor troopers after they’ve finished their loyal and dedicated service to the regiment.  No matter where they go, the regiment will always consider them as one of their own.

“It links the leaders of the past to the current leaders,” said Lt. Col. Jimmy Kimbrough, executive officer of the 11th ACR. “It also pays tribute to those who departed from our regiment and into our history.”

The rolls contain the names of three Medal of Honor recipients: Capt. Harold A. Fritz, Cpl. Jerry W. Wickam, and Sgt. 1st Class Rodney T. Yano.  Also listed in the ranks are Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams, Gen. James D. Thurman, former Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, and former Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White.

“One of the great things about the honorary rolls is we also induct people post-mortem,” said Col. Antonio A. Aguto, commander of the 11th ACR. “This allows our great heroes of yesteryear to live on even if we didn’t have a chance to formally induct them while they were alive.”

The signing of Honorary Rolls is the last step in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s induction ceremony.

Not just anyone can enter the books. The vetting process includes nominations and a final vote by regimental leadership.

Inductees are entered into the book during a ceremony normally held at the end of a training rotation. The induction ceremony is conducted so that all will know the next name to be inscribed.  It is a chance for formal acknowledgement of the dedication of the trooper.

The ceremony is rich in symbolism and heritage. First, the commander of the regiment introduces the trooper and explains why he is worthy of induction.  Then the trooper kneels as the commander takes a model 1909 cavalry saber from the command sergeant major and taps the inductee once on each shoulder with the saber.

As the last cavalry sword designed, the 1909 cavalry saber symbolizes the past traditions of the cavalry and signifies the inductee’s recognition by the regiment’s highest ranking officer as worthy of entering the Blackhorse Regiment Rolls.

With that, the commander asks the trooper rise and he then salutes the inductee. The inductee proceeds to the podium and signs the Honorary Rolls, thus signifying that he is hereafter charged to carefully and diligently discharge their responsibilities at any place and in whatever capacity they may serve, to bring great credit and distinction upon military service and to perpetuate the traditions of the regiment.

“It means a lot to me to that the Regiment would put me on their permanent roster,” said one inductee. “Now I’m Blackhorse till the day I die.”




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