News: Last US Army Reserve cavalry unit
Story by Sgt. David McLean
LEWISBURG, Ky. - Stetsons and spurs are the signature items of the U.S. Cavalry. They no longer mount and ride horses, but instead take to the ground and sky in vehicles that make them an essential force multiplier. The troopers of the 2-398th Cavalry Regiment have another signature item of distinction; they are the last cavalry unit in the U.S. Army Reserve.
The last is not to be the least, as this squadron has a vital mission to train soldiers.
They will be taking over the One Station Unit Training (OSUT) mission for the 194th Armored Brigade at Fort Benning, Ga., during part of the 2014 summer cycle.
With the warm Georgia summer still in the distance, the cold weather of December ground brings most of the activity in the state to a halt. Troopers of the 2-398th braved the elements to meet in Lewisburg, Ky., as an entire squadron to discuss their upcoming mission. This is the first time the squadron has met as a whole, as the 2-398th Cavalry is comprised of 10 Troops (companies) that come from Tennessee and Kentucky.
The luncheon featured guest speakers, food and fellowship, as the 2-398th recognized their accomplishments, awarded troopers and discussed the task at hand.
“We are a fully functional reserve force able to take over the mission and capable of doing great things,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Siler, 3rd Brigade command sergeant major. “They will walk away, and we will take over.”
“We're looking forward to seeing a big class come out there in the next few months,” said Siler. “And we are looking forward to seeing the strength of this unit. The Cav is a great place to be, and there are no other Cav organizations in the Army Reserve than what you have sitting here in this room. So be proud of what you are doing.”
At the heart of the 2-398th Cav is the 19D, the cavalry scout.
Some troopers were previously 19Ks, M1 armor crewman, and are now living out the series as 19Ds.
As part of the OSUT mission, the 2-398th must meet two challenges; have both drill instructors and 19D instructors. This task can be complex; as there are strict requirements for both types of instructors and it takes special troopers to carry out the mission.
“I want to tell you something important about you, 19Ds,” encouraged Command Sgt. Maj. Rocci Derezza, 108th Training Command (IET) command sergeant major and special speaker for the luncheon. “There are not many of you left doing your job in the Reserve. You have your first OSUT mission in several years happening this year. You need to go down there and do an outstanding job, and I know you can. You have to be a special soldier to work in a drill sergeant unit that also instructs the cavalry.”
Derezza reemphasized the fact that those classified as 19Ds need to go to Drill Sergeant School to fulfill the overall training mission of the 95th Training Division and the 108th Training Command.
“If you are a track commander, and you are not drill sergeant certified, you need to go to Drill Sergeant School,” said Derezza. “Drill Sergeant School is friendly now. They take care of you, and you will get some excellent training. They don't treat you like privates.”
The 2-398th troopers will begin to cycle in for three-week rotations starting in the Basic Combat Training phase of OSUT Training in April, and they will continue through the specialization training of becoming a cavalry scout until graduation in August.
“They need us, and they (the 194th) want us,” said Siler. “We are ready for the challenges we are about to face.”
The icy roads and frigid temperatures of December could not stop the Cav in the winter, and they are looking forward to starting the mission. They may be the last cavalry unit in the Reserve, but they are professionals ready to accomplish any mission in front of them.
Stetsons and spurs may be the mark of the cavalry, the mark of the 2-398th will be excellence.