San Jose student delivers cavalry artifact to 11th ACR

On April 22, 2022, Jackson Spilker, a student at San Jose State University, delivered a copy of the Cavalry Drill Regulations, published by the United States Army in 1916, to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment command team at the General Robert W. Cone National Training Center and 11th ACR Heritage Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan M. McLane, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Senior Enlisted Advisor, inspects the Cavalry Drill Regulations manual hand-delivered to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment by Jackson Spilker at the General Robert W. Cone National Training Center (NTC) and 11th ACR Heritage Center.

During that time, Cavalry Drill Regulations was circulated to instill uniformity throughout the Army. It included general provisions for dismounted and mounted movements, individual and collective instruction regarding cavalry, task organization, ceremonies, inspection, and more. The book was obtained by Jackson’s partner, Celeste Gonzalez, who acquired it from a friend’s attic in early April 2022.

“Celeste said they found something that I might be interested in, and what they brought me was the 1916 Cavalry Drill instruction manual,” recalled Jackson. “I asked them where they got it and they said their friend had it in their attic. The actual origin of how the object came about is something we don’t know.”

Jackson, who is currently majoring in history as part of his undergraduate degree, felt that the book was of historical value and needed to be preserved. He took it upon himself to get into contact with those who it may have belonged to.

“I thought it was in pretty great condition for a 106 year old book,” said Jackson. “The inside of the book was labeled ‘11th Cavalry.’ I looked up the unit and saw that the 11th Cavalry was still active and stationed at Fort Irwin.”

In 1916, the 11th Cavalry would have been participating in the Punitive Expedition in Mexico before withdrawing from the country in February 1917. Shortly afterward, the 11th Cavalry was stationed on the west coast at the Presidio of Monterey, California, from 1919 to 1940.

Jackson called the Fort Irwin Visitor Center, and eventually made contact with Colonel Todd W. Hook, the current commander of the 11th ACR, who confirmed that the book would be a great addition to the Regiment’s history exhibits at the General Robert W. Cone NTC and 11th ACR Heritage Center.

Jackson drove over 400 miles to hand deliver the artifact to the 11th ACR, where it will be displayed at the General Robert W. Cone NTC and 11th ACR Heritage Center. Before his departure, Jackson was presented a certificate of appreciation from Col. Todd Hook and Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan McLane, Senior Enlisted Advisor to Col. Hook.

The Cavalry Drill Regulations manual hand-delivered to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment by Jackson Spilker.

“I figured for something this important, this rare, it was only appropriate to take it by hand,” said Jackson. “I wanted to do the best thing I could and do what I felt was right. I have always professed a love for history. This is just another way of proving that to myself.”

The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment currently serves as the Opposing Force, providing a near-peer adversary in a complex and multilayered exercise. In addition to force-on-force armored engagements, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment also conducts dismounted urban operations; electronic and information warfare with drones, jammers, and radar; and mounted reconnaissance as well as all the supporting operations needed to keep a brigade-sized force functional.

A digital copy of the 1916 United States Army Cavalry Drill Regulations can be viewed at the following link: https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=1NxEAAAAIAAJ&pg=GBS.PP1&printsec=frontcover

Jackson Spilker poses with his certificate of appreciation from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment command team, Col. Todd Hook, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan McLane, alongside Kenneth Drylie, the General Robert W. Cone National Training Center (NTC) and 11th ACR Heritage Center curator.

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