By Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes
Winston Churchill once wrote, “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.” The same can be said about the soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Caisson Platoon as they prepares for Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.
Caisson soldiers reported to the horse stables as early as 2 a.m. to prepare the horses for the big day. Next, the soldiers completed multiple tasks ranging from grooming each horse, shining the brass and haircuts for each horse. Finally, the horses and their riders were transported to the parade starting point to wait until the inauguration starts.
“We want to show the public that units like ours, are still in existence,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan English, operations sergeant of the Caisson platoon. “We are the last full-time equestrian unit, so it’s important to represent not only ourselves but the Army as a whole.”
The inauguration gave the world a chance see to The Old Guard’s horses at work. With 15 full-dress horses and rider, it showed just how capable the unit can be, English added.
The caisson soldiers understand the recognition and adoration comes with marching in the inauguration.
“All of our soldiers are excited to be serving in the parade,” said Capt. Austin Hatch, caisson platoon leader. “Whether we are on the side walker detail, helping prepare the horses and tack, or riding in the parade, we are all honored to serve.”
Each horse brings their own personality to the caisson team, but there is one that stands out.
“Waylon is one of caisson’s most unique horses because of his coloring,” said Hatch. “He is a dapple grey color. Waylon used to serve with the black team, but now serves on the white team due to his color change.”
Units like the caisson platoon are far and few throughout the Army, so it’s important for the soldiers to seize this opportunity.
“I didn’t know this unit existed, until I came here,” said English. “Working with this group of guys is the most humbling and gratifying experience in my entire military career. I wouldn’t won’t to carry out this mission with any other group of Soldiers and horses. This has been a mind-blowing experience.”