On the 29th of May, the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment conducted our annual Lighthorse Squadron Ball. This was a particularly significant event because this was the final social event prior to the divestiture of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and the transformation to the AH-64D as a Heavy Armed Reconnaissance Squadron. The event was bitter-sweet as Troopers enjoyed a night of comradery while saying goodbye to the friends and family they knew so well. The event took place at the Riverfront Marriott located in the heart of historical downtown Savannah, Georgia. A social hour began the evening’s festivities, which became a great way for troopers from the 3-17CAV to mix and mingle prior to the official beginning to the 2015 Lighthorse Squadron Ball. Call to Mess was announced by Lynette Stoudt, local bagpiper from the Savannah Pipe and Drum group, when she played ‘Scotland! The Brave’. Over 295 Cavalry Troopers made their way into the ballroom to begin the formal portion of the 2015 Lighthorse Squadron Ball.
The formal portion of the 2015 Lighthorse Squadron Ball began with opening remarks by 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment Squadron Commander, LTC Geoff Whittenberg. The event proceeded to follow standard military ball procedures with the posting of the National Colors, singing of the National Anthem, and the POW/MIA table. Throughout the duration of the POW/MIA ceremony, Lynette Stoudt played ‘Amazing Grace’. With the accompanying music and the ceremony being read by Master of Ceremonies, MAJ Joshua Teitge, 3rdSquadron, 17thCavalry Regiment S3/XO, the events that transpired were very moving and felt by all. Immediately following, dinner service began. The guest speaker, COL Thomas von Eschenbach, who has served 23 years as an Aviator in the United States Army and was a former commander of 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade from 2009-2011 addressed Cavalry Troopers while they enjoyed their meals. COL Thomas von Eschenbach currently serves as the Director, TRADOC Capability Manager for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Ft. Rucker, AL. He provided fantastic insight on what it truly means to be a Trooper in the United States Cavalry. He ensured, that despite the divesture of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the tradition and legacy of the United States Cavalry will never die.
While the Cavalry Trooper’s continued with their dinner, videos covering The Legacy Flight of the OH-58D, Alpha Troop ‘Silver Spurs’ accomplishments, Bravo Troop’s deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and a photo slideshow of 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment’s spur ride were played. The reactions from the Cavalry Trooper’s, confirmed the high level of pride and comradery within the unit. One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of the Order of St. Michael. CPT Nguyen, 1SG Langley, CW3 Vaccaro, SFC Donovan, CPT Hartley, 1SG Jimenez, CW3 McCann, 1SG Smith, CW2 Buczko, CPT Mayer, 1SG Jackson, CW3 Zeller, 1SG Lopez-Olivera, CW4 Maj, CW3 Shipman, and CW2 Barrier were presented with the award following the completion of the guest speaker’s remarks. Throughout the entirety of the awards ceremony, the AAAA logo was displayed. Additionally, special thanks were given to AAAA during the ball as well as in the program for the support provided.
The Grog ceremony was the final event culminating the formal portion of the ball. After the formal portion of the 2015 Lighthorse Squadron Ball came to an end, Cavalry Trooper’s clad in their Stetson and Spurs, enjoyed the rest of the night socializing, dancing, and celebrating the traditions of the Cavalry and Legacy of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The 2015 Lighthorse Squadron Ball was not only a great success, but also a fantastic way to celebrate the hard work and commitment to excellence of all the Cavalry Trooper’s apart of the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment.
This article was submitted by 2LT Zachary B. Moss