While the memorial is in a quiet serene rose garden on the grounds at the Shrine of Remembrance it is viewed from two major traffic arterioles in the city at the base of Pikes Peak, which forms the scenic background for the location.
The memorial is a result of exhaustive efforts covering two years of work by 3 groups of people, 1ST SGT. (RET) Dave Tessier, who chaired the 1994 national reunion of the regiment at Colorado Springs. Secondly, was the cooperation of the national board of the 11th ACVVC when Alan D. Hathaway was president. Very appreciated were the efforts of the Shrine of Remembrance of Colorado Springs, its CEO, Costas Rombocos and military affairs director, Retired Air Force Colonel, Jim Rix.
The original idea of having a memorial to the Black Horse Veterans was generated at their July 1994 national reunion in Colorado Springs, Co. During that reunion the 11th ACVVC veterans, and their families, and the families of those who lost their lives in Vietnam went to the Veterans Honor Court of the Shrine of Remembrance, near downtown Colorado Springs to hold a Memorial Service. The Shrine of Remembrance had donated a bronze plaque which was unveiled during the reunion memorial ceremony. The plaque was unveiled by ACVVC member Lt. Col. (Ret) Harold Fritz. His actions during the war earned him our nations highest award, the medal of Honor. The serene setting at the Shrine of Remembrance and its Veterans Honor Court led Dave Tessier and other members to think about placing a 11th ACVVC memorial at the beautiful site which honors military and veterans.
Thus started the 2 year effort of obtaining an actually tank used by the 11th ACR in Vietnam. With the help of the Shrine of Remembrance and its distinguished board of Honorary Trustees, a M60 tank was located at Fort Hood, Texas. After complying with numerous legal procedures, the "main battle tank" was authorized as the memorial, the first time a vehicle of this size has been approved for a regimental memorial, or for placement off a military installation.
The tank was transported form Texas to Fort Carson, Colorado, a donation made by the Santa Fe Railroad. Then the tank was refurbished in great detail, which was donated by Fort Carson and took 4 months to complete.
Moving the refurbished tank across the city to the Shrine of Remembrance site, was another challenge, as the 60 ton tank could not be transported over several bridges along the route. But again with the help of the Shrine of Remembrance, Military police, and City Police, the refurbished tank arrived at the site on a cold and rainy morning.
Then the Shrine of Remembrance staff undertook an exhaustive landscaping project to install the tank in a beautiful and serene setting where visitors can come. It is visible to thousands of people each day, who transit the two major roadways near the intersection.
The dedication of a 11th ACVVC Memorial was held on Memorial Day, May 29th, 1995, with a crowd of about 1100 attending. The magnificent memorial at the large bronze plaque was unveiled by Brigadier General Leroy R. Goff III, Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division. He was an Armor Platoon leader in Vietnam with the Black Horse Regiment. Dave Tessier of our National Organization also participated in the colorful ceremony, as did the Army Band and ceremonial color guard and numerous military and civic officials.
The work of developing the memorial site and the significant custom cast bronze plaque was donated by the Shrine of Remembrance and Costas Rombocos, CEO.
The most poignant moment of the ceremony was when the draped flag was removed from the large bronze plaque at the tank, reading "716 lost, but never forgotten" and taps were played from a distant hillside.
The event was so significant that the Colorado State Senate and House of Representatives issued a formal joint citation honoring the 11th ACVVC Memorial.
Today, and for the future the M60 Tank is surrounded by flying flags, rose gardens, and sits on the grassy knoll in Colorado Springs, with Pikes Peak providing the background at the Shrine of Remembrance in Colorado Springs. The Memorial now forever remembers the sacrifices and bravery of every member who wore the Black Horse patch in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The Blackhorse troops are never forgotten by the enemy who have had the unfortunate experience to tangle with what military historians have proclaimed to be, "one of the top combat units of the Vietnam war" as well as "the most elite armored force in modern history." In 1916, Pancho Villa and his band or outlaws were no match for the cavalry in what would become "The last horse mounted cavalry regiment in U.S. history."
Since its creation in 1901, as a horse cavalry
regiment, to its present assignment at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin,
California, Blackhorse Troopers have stood firm against aggression around the world for
almost a century.