By Cpt. David Jackson, Cdr., 1st Cav. Div. HCDJanuary 20, 2012
PASADENA, Calif. -- The 1st Cavalry Division's Horse Cavalry Detachment rang in 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. by representing the First Team for the ninth time in the 123rd Annual Tournament of Roses Parade Jan 1.
For some Troopers it was their second or third Rose Parade, but for Spc. Will Smith, a fire control repairer and currently the "swamper," or the assistant to the driver of the mule team, or "muleskinner," it was his first Rose Parade.
"I think SGT Buddy [the Detachment mascot] got more attention than me, but it's an honor to be a part of this tradition," Smith, a Fort Worth, Texas native, said.
The five mile parade route was lined with thousands of spectators as the members of the detachment, along with SGT Buddy, represented Fort Hood and Central Texas with class, whooping and hollering to the crowds and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.
This year's parade was just a little more special for one detachment trooper, Spc. Janessa McGrail, a wheeled vehicle mechanic and leatherworker and veterinarian technician at the detachment, who got promoted on Ventura Freeway just before the parade started.
"This year's trip was even more memorable for me," McGrail, a Boston native, said. "Not everyone can say that they got promoted on the highway right before riding in the Rose Parade. I think it helped me 'Yee-Haw' a little louder."
In addition to the parade itself, the horse detachment participated in Equestfest Dec. 30 in Burbank, Calif., which features the best equestrian performers from all across America.
The detachment performed their fast-paced mounted Drill & Ceremony demonstration in front of a sold-out crowd at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center
The detachment's upcoming events include the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo at the end of February and various ceremonies at Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas.
The detachment also does weekly demonstrations at their headquarters just outside the TJ Mills Gate every Thursday at 10 am. These demonstrations are free and open to the public.
For more information on the 1st Cav. Div.'s Horse Cavalry Detachment, check out their website at www.hood.army.mil/1stcavdiv/horsedet or their Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/1st-Cavalry-Division-Horse-Cavalry-Detachment-HCD.