News: DLA Disposition Services engages in Texas horse trading
By Jeff Landenberger
DLA Disposition Services
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- When a favorite horse in the caisson unit at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, didn’t measure up to his fellows, DLA Disposition Services helped find him a new home.
The caisson unit there performs more than 100 military funerals a year. Just like their human counterparts, the horses in the unit need to be of similar heights. Tommy, described by members of the unit as a great horse to ride, didn’t grow to the same height as the other horses. While none of them are pure bred, Percheron, a breed of draft horse developed in Northern France known for its size and strength, is the dominant breed in the unit.
Tommy did not grow as tall as expected, standing noticeably shorter than the other horses in the unit. Still, he was a favorite of the soldiers. With his one shortfall being his height, the Army decided Tommy needed a new home.
When the decision was made to let Tommy go, DLA Disposition Services at San Antonio was contacted. David Craft, a disposal services representative there, said the organization uses its website to advertise horses like Tommy to potential riders.
“This is the third horse we have done receipt-in-place for from Fort Sam Houston,” Craft said. “The horses are placed on our website with photos and a brief description of the horse up for reutilization.”
Craft said Mary Rocha and Cindy Gutierrez of the Reutilization, Transfer and Donation staff helped find Tommy a new home. They assisted customers and answered questions from organizations who were interested in the horse. In the end, the Yuma County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office acquired Tommy.
Tommy was only on the website for 30 days when the sheriff’s office picked him up. An experienced horse handler must be present when a horse is loaded on to a customer’s trailer, Craft said. This helps ensure the safety of the horse and the people involved. The Fort Sam Houston caisson soldiers were present when Chief Deputy Leon Wilmot took Tommy to his new home.
The Yuma County Sheriff's Office has a number of certified officers and posse members that are trained to use equines for security, patrols, parades, special details and riot control, Wilmot said.
“All of the officers and sheriff's posse members have to fund their own equipment and maintain our own equines,” he said. “Tommy is owned by the sheriff's office and assigned to me as my designated mount.”
Tommy will have his work cut out for him. At 5,522 square miles, Yuma County is larger than the state of Connecticut. The county is bordered by California to the west and Mexico to the south.
While Tommy may have been too small for his Army mission, Wilmot said his new steed is a little larger than the other horses his office has, but the horse is fitting in with the others.
“I have been training him every week, and he has been a great mount. I look forward to using him in the upcoming details,” Wilmot said.