FORT HOOD, Texas - Five Soldiers dressed in historic uniforms marched past seven cavalry yellow guidons fluttering in the wind during a wreath ceremony held in front of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Memorial here May 16.
This year's ceremony honored Sgt. Douglas Riney, of Fairview, Illinois, who was killed during an attack in Kabul Oct. 19, 2016, and all of the fallen heroes of the 3rd Cav. Regt. who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Col. Kevin D. Admiral, commander of the 3rd Cav. Regt., and Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan Barker, the 3rd Cav. Regt. command sergeant major, placed a wreath on the memorial and unveiled a newly installed stone on the memorial wall in honor of Sgt. Riney.
"We will not forget Sgt. Riney, nor his fellow troopers who now rest on Fiddlers' Green," said Admiral. "But, we have a duty beyond memory and honoring. We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals of which these men and women gave their lives."
The wreath ceremony was one of many events held during Brave Rifles Week, a weeklong celebration of the regiment's 171-year history and traditions.
For Staff Sgt. Justin Lindstrom, a member of the ceremony color guard, wearing the historic uniform for the ceremony and being a part of the regiment's storied history is something he takes pride in.
"I've taken family and friends to the 3rd Cav. Regt. memorial before, but this is the first time I've taken part in a wreath ceremony," said Lindstrom. "I'm grateful to be a part of something this special, and to honor the Soldiers who gave their lives."
For Sgt. Michael Greer, also a member of the color guard, preparing for the ceremony and wearing the historic uniform wasn't something he took lightly.
"I wanted to make sure the uniforms looked historically accurate," said Greer. "I researched how the uniform looked, how to wear the uniform and spent time ensuring each uniform was prepared properly. It was a lot of research, but it really paid off."
The ceremony wasn't the only special event of the week. Events such as a spouse spur ride, regimental sports competitions and a garden party all took place during the week of May 15-18 to promote team building and strengthen the bond of Soldiers. May 19 was a day off for the regiment to mark its 171st birthday.
"Brave Rifles week is a celebration of the unit, its history and its accomplishments," said Lindstrom. "The events build esprit de corps through friendly competitions across the regiment. I've been in the 3rd Cav. Regt. for six years, and celebrating our history means a lot because this is a great unit."
Parts of the 3rd Cav. Regt.'s long history can be seen all around Fort Hood. Above the l stones honoring the fallen at the memorial site, held up by eight beams of steel representing each squadron and the headquarters element, are the words, "Brave Rifles, Veterans - You have been baptized in fire and blood and come out steel."
These words, which are now a part of the regimental accolade, were first spoken during the Mexican War when Gen. Winfield Scott addressed the regiment at Contreras in 1847. Nearly 170 years later, the words serve as a reminder to all of the storied history of the 3rd Cav. Regt.