By Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 1st Cav. Div. PAOMay 24, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - Every year since 1990, members of the 865th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion's Association meet to talk about old times, introduce new family members and just to catch up on new events.
This year, in their twentieth reunion, 35 members, to include wives, daughters and granddaughters, convened April 29, at Fort Hood, Texas.
Many of the 865th members said the tour was a "treat" for them since they haven't been to a military installation since their time with the unit.
"Being here reminds of when I was young," said Howard Antrobus, who served with the unit from 1948 to 1953. Although Antrobus served in many different units, his time with the 865th was his "favorite."
The association meets every year around the United States, but this was the first time it was near a military installation. This year, 865th AAAB Association member Ed McCrea, of Temple, Texas, got to host the reunion. So, it was only natural that a tour of nearby Fort Hood and the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment and museum was put on their itinerary.
"The demonstration was great," Antrobus said. "You just don't get to see things like that very often."
At the HCD, the Cavalry troopers put on a horse-riding demonstration and tour of their facilities. There, both the veterans and the members of the HCD got a chance to benefit from the visit.
For Spc. Kevin Fettel, a HCD trooper from Laramie, Wyo., said even though they perform for many different groups throughout the year, receiving veterans groups always gives them a bigger appreciation of how today's Soldiers live now.
"They tell us what it was like 20 or 50 years ago; it's an eye-opener," Fettel said.
Sgt. 1st Class John Haigler, from Washington, D.C., and Staff Sgt. Robert Edwards, of Portland, Ore., both with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), served as guides during the day. The rest of the day included a tour of the 1st Cav. Div. Museum and lunch at a dining facility.
Haigler, who's served 20 years in the Army, said he felt a certain connection with the retirees and throughout the day also felt a greater appreciation for the sacrifices laid down by the 865th veterans.
"Without their service, we wouldn't have what we have today," he said. "These tours are very important because it shows them that their sacrifices weren't a waste or in vain."