April 14, 2005
PIERCE COUNTY, WA – Fort Lewis is laying down the welcome mat for thousands of Soldiers who are relocating to the base.
3,900 Soldiers with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment from Fort Polk, La. and 11,000 of their family members are preparing to move to Fort Lewis and join the Stryker Brigade.
Thursday there was a “Return to Fort Lewis” ceremony for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, the longest active serving cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army. Its history goes back 169 years.
The Soldiers had been stationed at Fort Lewis in 1992, then they were re-assigned to Fort Polk.
Most say they are very excited about the move.
The ceremony marks a new chapter. For many, joining the Strykers means feeling like they’ re part of a family for the first time.
“I’ m am engineer. I’ m usually not part of a family that’ s right here on the same installation. Usually the people I support are at another post,” explained Staff Sgt. Christopher Thompson. “So we are doing our best to become one big family and be able to support ourselves when we go to Iraq.”
Long gone are the horseback days, but the riding infantry’ s symbolism lives on.
“The spirit’ s always there,” said Jack Gillette, who supports the cavalry. “They’ re cavalry, period. Whether they’ re on a Stryker or a horse, they’ re still cavalry and they’ ve still got the spirit.”
“They’ ll be part of a significant transformation of the Army, back to their roots as Dragoons: mounted infantrymen – except their new mount is the Stryker,” he added.
Once the cavalry arrives, they will be reorganized and become part of the Stryker Brigade. That means they’ ll get new equipment, new training, and all of the Soldiers say they are looking forward to that.
The entire move should be completed by Sept. 2005.