By Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 1st Cav. Div. PAOJune 2, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - Just about every school, sports team, and most every Army unit has a mascot of some sort.
The 1st Cavalry Division's Horse Cavalry Detachment is no different. Although they have many different horses and mules, it was a left-for-dead mutt who captured their hearts and would eventually become their "best" mascot ever.
After six years with the HCD, as the protector of the wagon, "Cpl. Buddy," was promoted to the rank of sergeant in a ceremony by outgoing HCD commander, Capt. Jay Bunte, at the horse stables May 27, on Fort Hood, Texas.
Buddy, an Australian Sheppard/Blue Heeler mix, has a story that is somewhat of folklore.
The story, told by Sgt. 1st Class Filberto Fernandez, the HCD's first sergeant, started in 2004, where a former HCD trooper found Buddy near a highway, left for dead. The former member took Buddy to a veterinarian to be treated for his injuries from being struck by a vehicle. He stayed with the trooper until he was healthy.
When the trooper eventually retired from the Army, he offered Buddy up as a mascot to the HCD. They gladly accepted, Fernandez said.
Back in 2004, their mascot then was a dog named, "Cpl. Deitz."
"Oooh, he was mean dog," Fernandez recalled. "He wouldn't let anyone near the wagon. That little dog would bite you; he'd bite the 'newbies.'"
After the day was done, Cpl. Dietz would move to their Charge-of-Quarters office and not let anyone in to pull their duty either. "He would guard everything like it was his own," Fernandez added. "We just couldn't use him in public."
At one point, Cpl. Dietz had been a sergeant himself, until he was reprimanded for going "AWOL," or absent without leave. After a show, Dietz, just jumped off the wagon and disappeared for a couple of days. When he returned, the HCD issued him an Article 15; punishment that included a reduction in rank.
The next year, Pvt. Buddy then, would come on board and learn the ropes from Dietz, but Buddy picked up the job and was quickly embraced by not only the HCD troopers, but by the public they would perform for.
During normal days, Buddy goes on morning runs with the troopers, with a slight limp from the accident that brought him to the team. Buddy spends most of the rest of the day walking around the horse stables. Troopers, newbies and visitors take a moment to pat his head as he walks by. As a sergeant now, Buddy outranks a vast majority of the members of the HCD. Yet, Pfc. Zachariah Riech of Mt. Vernon, Ill., noted that "all" the animals in the stables outrank all of them as newbies.