1st Cavalry celebrates 96th birthday
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division, the Army’s “First Team” held a 96th birthday celebration on Wednesday morning.
Troops and commanders, both past and present, gathered on the grounds of the 1st Cavalry museum on Fort Hood for the program.
Keynote speaker was Ret. Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip Jandrow, who talked about his time in the 1st Cavalry. Jandrow’s military career spanned more than 33 years, five of those years with the 1st Cavalry division including multiple overseas tours.
“I remember when I put the 1st Cavalry patch on my shoulder, that I was part of something special, a long proud history and tradition of this magnificent division,” Jandrow said. “At the same time, I felt this huge responsibility to live up to this division and not let my troopers, my family, or my nation down.
“When I PCS’ed, I left kicking and screaming, and it took me 10 years to get back to the division.”
1st Cavalry division commander Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III made a few remarks as well, about the 1st Cavalry’s present operations, with approximately 7,000 of the division’s 18,000 troops deployed and serving in places like southwest Asia, the Korean peninsula, Eastern Europe, as well as Central America, the African continent and Afghanistan.
After the ceremony, Thomson talked about his personal ties to the division that date back to his childhood.
“I started out in the 1st Cavalry division in 1974, as a bat boy for the division baseball team. As a young kid, I used to go out to the horse stables and feed the horses,” said Thomson, whose father served in the military. “Back then, I would have never thought that I would be in the 1st Cavalry division, let alone be commanding general.”
As part of the program, a traditional cake-cutting was performed, with the division’s “most seasoned” soldier and the youngest soldier participating.
Sgt. 1st Class David Lindemann, 59, the most seasoned soldier in the division, has assisted with what he called a “classified” number of cake cuttings during his military career, which spans 25 years. Lindeman, who originally hails from Brownwood, will be retiring in about two months.
PV2 Kayla Kramer turned 18 years old on August 23 and has already participated in one cake-cutting for the Army’s birthday. A native of Tampa, Fla., Kramer said she enjoys being in the 1st Cavalry Division and visited the Army recruiter the day after her 17th birthday last year, with her family’s support behind her.
According to Thomson, the 1st Cavalry has spent 20 years of its 96-year existence in combat, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Initially formed as horse cavalry in 1921, the “First Team” had its start in Fort Bliss, where some of its early duties included rough-riding and patrolling the Mexican border. The division has seen combat as a light infantry division, air mobile division, an armored division, and as a motorized division, with over 260 main battle tanks, 420 infantry and cavalry fighting vehicles, 54 self-propelled howitzers, and 48 apache attack helicopters.
During its 96 years, the 1st Cavalry has performed missions throughout World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, to include Iraq and Afghanistan.