By Anna StaatzJanuary 23, 2009
WASHINGTON - Fourteen of the 1st Infantry Division's noncommissioned officers and Soldiers, most of whom had never been to Washington D.C., much less to a presidential inauguration, honored the nation's new commander in chief Jan. 20 by marching in the afternoon parade.
The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard was the only mounted Army unit to participate in the inaugural parade and was by far one of the largest events most of the color guard's Soldiers had participated in. However, three of the horses - Trooper, Cyclone and Chicote - had marched the route in previous inaugural parades.
"These horses do all the work, really, and we just hang on," said Staff Sgt. Randy Hubbard. Hubbard, the CGMCG's platoon sergeant. He said he was proud of the job his Soldiers did in the parade. "There are a lot more crowds, a lot more tight, confined spaces here than we usually run into," Hubbard said. Inauguration day began early for the Soldiers and horses.
Most of the 1st Inf. Div.'s troopers were up around 3 a.m. After making the trek from Fort Belvoir, Va., to the equestrian center in Maryland where the horses were stabled, the CGMCG fed and saddled horses before loading them up to await a police escort into the capital city. Once in the city, the unit wove through a maze of security, spectators and chaos to line up for the parade route.
The parade had more than 70 elements and lasted more than two and a half hours. After a late start, it concluded well after 7 p.m. "I never thought ever, that I'd get to come to an inauguration and be a part of it," said Sgt. James Reimers. The CGMCG prepared both its Soldiers and horses for the parade with several practices in Topeka, Wichita and Junction City.