White recalls 'Blackhorse,' Vietnam legacies, By Joe Burlas

(EXCERPT) WASHINGTION (Army News Service, Aug. 8, 2001) --- Secretary
of the Army Thomas E. White helped more than 1,200 11th Armored
Cavalry Regiment veterans and family members celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the founding of the regiment at a reunion dinner in
Washington Aug. 4. White served in the "Blackhorse" regiment as a
scout and rifle platoon leader in Vietnam in the late 1960s, as
commander of its first squadron in the early 1980s and as the 52nd
commander of the regiment in the mid-1980s. The 11th Cavalry Regiment
was founded at Fort Myer, Va., on Feb. 2, 1901 by an act of Congress.
A year later, it was in the Philippines fighting insurgents. In the
past century, Blackhorse troopers have chased Poncho Villa during the
Mexican Expedition, fought in Europe during World War II, saw combat
during the Vietnam War, guarded the East-West German border through
the Cold War and battled Iraqis in the Gulf War. Shortly after the
Gulf War, the 11th ACR was inactivated at its home base in Fulda,
Germany, and then reactivated at the National Training Center, Fort
Irwin, Calif. "The Army is seeing a lot of change these days with
Transformation, but the Blackhorse is no stranger to change," White
said. "One of my predecessors, another 1/11th commander, wrote shortly
after the regiment formed that he had 400 horses that had never seen a
trooper, 400 raw recruits who had never seen a horse and four
lieutenants who had never seen a recruit. "Today, the 11th Cavalry is
the Army's premiere maneuver unit as the opposing force at NTC. The
Army strives to match the Blackhorse from day to day." White
recognized his fellow Vietnam Blackhorse veterans as brothers for
demonstrating courage in times of adversity and devotion to country
during a time when patriotism was questioned by a large segment of
American society. "There were no yellow ribbons tied around trees or
parades waiting for us when we got home," he said. Fresh out of the
Armored Basic Officer Course and the U.S. Military Academy when first
assigned to the Blackhorse in Vietnam, White said he had not seriously
considered the Army for a career. However, combat, and the brutally
effective way it wiped away the parade field nonsense, was a defining
period in his life, he said. "Together we experienced days of boredom
interspaced with periods of sheer terror," White said. "Through it
all, we forged bonds of friendship, trust, honor and hope that bonds
us together like no others on earth. Soldiers belong to a unique
brotherhood of war." That sense of brotherhood and accomplishing
missions with other men he could count on helped White decide to stay
in the Army where he knew he made a difference. Before he retired in
1990, White climbed the ranks and earned promotion to brigadier
general. Blackhorse troopers plan to hold another reunion in the
summer of 2003 in Fulda, Germany.