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    2nd Cavalry Regiment’s Battle of 73 Easting remembered

    2nd Cavalry Regiment’s Battle of 73 Easting remembered

    Photo By Staff Sgt. William Tanner | Col. John V. Meyer III (left,) the 78th colonel of the Regiment, Retired Lt. Gen....... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. William Tanner 

    2d Cavalry Regiment

    ROSE BARRACKS, Germany – Battle is defined as a sustained fight between large, organized armed forces while struggling tenaciously to achieve or resist something. Although this is the very definition of the word, it doesn’t begin to describe what an actual battle is like for a Soldier.

    The sheer force of emotion that hangs like a cloud over every deployed Soldier, threatening at every moment to overwhelm them, should seem like enough to create an everlasting bond; knowing that the only way through their deployment was to fully trust and depend on the Soldier to their immediate left and right.

    This bond is never more evident in Soldiers then when they get together years down the road and share these same experiences with each other as though no time has passed at all. It is this inherited brother and sisterhood that helps Soldiers, past and present, to deal with the truest of battles, life after war.

    In this spirit, Troopers assigned to 2nd Squadron (Cougars,) 2nd Cavalry Regiment came together with veterans to celebrate and commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Battle of 73 Easting at Rose Barracks, Germany, March 10, 2016.

    One of the veterans in attendance was retired Army Lt. Gen. Leonard D. Holder, who was the 65th Colonel of the Regiment and the acting Regimental commander at the time of the conflict. He spoke with a certain reverence as he addressed the present 2nd Squadron Troopers while talking about their predecessors that were under his command.

    “They were great Soldiers and did a wonderful job. They were reliable for the United States and the NATO Alliance for many years,” said Holder. “They showed great poise on the border and great courage in Desert Storm.”

    Holder went on to explain some of the reasons behind him holding his Cougars in such high esteem.

    “It was not a veteran unit in 1990 and very few of us had any combat experience at that time,” said Holder. “But these guys stepped up wonderfully to the challenge before them and they served with great distinction in the desert.”

    There is a tradition of honor that comes with having fought shoulder to shoulder as part of ‘the oldest mounted regiment in continuous active U.S. Army service’ and for those who served during Desert Storm and Desert Shield, the Battle of 73 Easting was no exception.

    According to speakers at the ceremony, despite having been outnumbered three to one, in the middle of the Iraq desert, the Regiment held it’s ground and in the process destroyed 85 tanks, 40 armored personnel carriers, 30 wheeled-vehicles and two artillery batteries. As February 26, 1991 came to a close, these battle hardened Dragoons had fought their way to a victory over two Brigades of the Iraqi Republican Guard’s Tawakalna Mechanized Division in the vicinity of 73 Easting, named after a line of longitude on a map.

    In commemoration of this victory, known as ‘The last great tank battle of the 20th century,’ current leadership, Troopers and alumni gathered for the unveiling of a T-72 Iraqi Tank alongside a bronze plaque, both dedicated to the tremendous battle.

    After removing the tarp covering the tank, retired Army Lt. Col. Timothy Gauthier, a former scout platoon leader with Eagle Troop, took a champagne bottle from 1991, the year of the victory, and broke it on the front of the tank. Christening the monument to the cheers of his 2CR brothers and sisters. He then spoke on the feeling of brotherhood that many war veterans, throughout many lifetimes, have always seemed to share.

    “The camaraderie within the Squadron, as it existed in 1991 and the Gulf War, is something that even if it hadn’t occurred, I think would have been there but probably not to the same degree,” said Gauthier. “Going through an event like that, 73 Easting, creates bonds that can’t be broken.”
    Gauthier described how he and his fellow Soldiers still keep in touch after all of these years.

    “I still talk to my fellow platoon leaders at least once a month by email, 25 years later,” said Gauthier. “We can get together now and it’s like, ‘I haven’t seen you in five years and it feels like I saw you yesterday’ and it’s just amazing.”

    Even years removed from a war, veterans still seem to find themselves drawn back to each other time and time again. Whether it’s to share in the experiences of the ones who lived it or just reminisce about old times, the respect that veterans have for one another is as strong today as it has been through prior conflicts.

    “There is a tremendous amount of respect among my peers, who got out of the Army and served with me at 73 Easting, for what the Soldiers do now,” said Gauthier. “The theme for this Regiment is continuity. That’s the bond. A continuous history of 180 years and I don’t think the character of the Troopers has changed.”

    Gauthier explained further while seeming to hold a sense of gratitude for the present Troopers in today’s Regiment.

    “People come, people go but the Regiment has an effect on people and I think it just comes down to standards,” said a smiling Gauthier. “There’s just something about being in a Cavalry Regiment that is different and special!”



    Date Taken: 03.14.2016
    Date Posted: 03.14.2016 12:07
    Story ID: 192254
    Location: VILSECK, BY, DE 

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