Academic journal article Military Review

Fort Robinson and the American Century

Academic journal article Military Review

Fort Robinson and the American Century

Article excerpt

FORT ROBINSON AND THE AMERICAN CENTURY, Thomas R. Buecker, Nebraska State Historical Societ Lincoln, 2002, 242 pages, $40.00.

My lifelong interest in horses and riding led me to review Fort Robinson and the American Century by Thomas R. Buecker. Younger soldiers today might find it hard to comprehend that the Army did not disband its final two horse-mounted divisions until 1943. My father's class at West Point was the last to receive equestrian lessons as cadets, and they were the last to ride horses into combat, the last horse cavalry charge being made by the 26th Cavalry Regiment in the Philippines in March 1942.

Horses were integral components of the early U.S. Army, and Fort Robinson, Nebraska, was synonymous with Army horses; it was the Army's premiere remount station during the years between World War I and World War II. Buecker's superlative book documents the Fort's history, and it complements his first book, Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1899 (Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, 1999). Fort Robinson eventually garnered a reputation for being one of the finest posts in the Army and earned the title "country club of the Army." It was home to the 1st, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 13th Cavalry Regiments, with the lOth having spent the longest service at the fort.

The Army had no real standardized means of acquiring good horses until Fort Robinson's remount service began after World War I. Before then, regimental officers had to purchase horses from private ranchers and breeders, but this system was not reliable. What was required was a standard breed of horse suitable for Army use. World War II might have heralded the end of the mounted services, but Fort Robinson kept providing outstanding horses, later mules, for the U. …

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