The Border Legion's Triumphant Return
Written by Jeremy Dobos, BHA Exec. Dir.
For the first time in six years, Blackhorse troopers were
again seen patrolling the Fulda gap area near the former east/west German
border. Over 400 past and current troopers of the Regiment joined with
hundreds of citizens of the city of Fulda, Bad Hersfeld, and Bad Kissingen
to celebrate and renew old friendships and acquaintances.
The reunion, held from the 11th to the 14th of May, was a huge success.
Kicking of the events was a welcome by the Lord Mayor of Fulda, Dr. Riehl.
He welcomed the veterans of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment back and
thanked them for their service and continued friendship. "I would like to
thank the American troopers for what they have done for us here in
he said during the welcome speech. "We lost you as U.S. forces, as human
beings, but most importantly, as our friends."
There were warmth and good feelings all around as the festivities kicked
The first two days involved tours of the former observation posts, nearby
breweries, and former kassernes of the Regiment. A fest tent was also
opened up at the former Sickels Army Airfield on Thursday and Friday night as the
Blackhorse troopers reacquainted themselves with their former German
On Saturday morning, a memorial service was held at OP Alpha, which is now
preserved as a museum, to honor the sacrifices made by both 14th ACR and
the 11th ACR troopers during over forty years of service in the Fulda region.
Blackhorse Association president CSM (ret) John Stephens, BG (ret) Tom
White, and MG (ret) John Ballantyne then dedicated a memorial on the site, now
called Point Alpha.
The ceremony included all the usual frills of a US cavalry function. An
honor guard from the active Regiment at Fort Irwin, led by Staff Sergeant
Stephens, stood tall in their dress greens and black berets. Another
trooper, mounted upon a black steed and dressed in traditional cavalry
blues, completed the scene and there was no doubt that the Blackhorse had
returned to post vigil once again, albeit temporarily.
A banquet on Saturday evening at the Orangerie completed the official
portion of the reunion. COL (ret) Glenn Snodgrass served as master of ceremonies
as the active Regiment, led by LTC Richard Douglass, presented Dr. Wolfgang
Hamberger, former Lord Mayor of Fulda, and Frau Renate Stieber, former
public affairs officer for the Regiment, with the Distinguished Member of the
Regiment award. This award is given only to people who have contributed
immeasurably to the success of the Regiment and its missions.
GEN (ret) Donn Starry, Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, then gave an
inspirational keynote address to the assembled crowd, reminding everyone
that "freedom isn't free." He went on to explain how the Blackhorse Regiment
helped pay for that freedom by its service on the border. There was
hardly a dry eye as the general recounted the constant vigilance that was the
hallmark of border service.
The evening was capped off by a video message from COL John Rosenberger,
the current RCO, who was unable to attend because of current mission
requirements at the National Training Center. Also shown was an outstanding
mini-documentary recounting the 11th ACR's twenty years of service on the
border was shown. The documentary, produced by Blackhorse trooper Tom
Smart and his great team of volunteers, will soon be available for purchase in
the Sutler Store online. This is a definite must if you want to experience
the feeling and greatness of the border legion again.
Fulda 2000 was a great success thanks to the efforts of many outstanding
Blackhorse troopers. Old friendships were renewed and new acquaintances
made, between both the citizens of Fulda and the 11th ACR's troopers, both
past and present. Those who served on the border share a special bond
that can never be broken. The freezing nights spent patrolling the border of
freedom and manning the lonely OPs must never be forgotten. And it is
well that we never forget those stalwart Blackhorse troopers who pulled point
for a nation.