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Tags: arlington | caissons | funerals

Army Can't Put Even One Horse Before the Cart

united states army military funeral

An honor guard unloads the casket of U.S. Army Maj. Paul Syverson during a funeral service at Arlington National Cemetary July 13, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Michael Reagan By with Michael R. Shannon Saturday, 25 May 2024 11:28 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

If you’re interested in learning just how bureaucratic, backed-up, sclerotic, and incompetent the United States military is these days, you have only to look at the situation with horse-drawn caissons for military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Washington Times tells us, "The return of horse-drawn caissons at Arlington National Cemetery is being delayed for months and maybe longer, the Army said Friday, as it struggles to improve the care of the horses, after two died in 2022 as a result of poor feed and living conditions."

Running the numbers, that’s means it’s been two years and two months since the last horse-drawn caisson carried the bodies that deserve this honor to their final resting place.

During that time period deserving families had to make do with whatever second-best funeral the Army cared to offer.

And somehow our multi-billion-dollar Army can’t figure out how to return horses to service.

The man in charge, so to speak, is full of excuses.

"Maj. Gen. Trevor Bredenkamp, commander of the Military District of Washington, said it’s been far more time consuming and difficult than initially expected to get the program going again. And it will take an extended period of time to get enough horses to meet the funeral needs."

Bredenkamp whines that "the Army is struggling to find enough horses to buy and to find nearby locations large enough for the horses to be kept and trained."

Let's put that in perspective.

The Times tells us those busy-beavers at Army stables headquarters currently have 42 horses in its inventory.

To cover the six to eight funerals a day that rate caissons, Buckaroo Bredenkamp needs six squads of six horses to cover the events.

That’s 36 horses and he has 42.

But this is the Army, home of feather bedding and procurement cost overruns, so let’s say he needs 72 horses total.

According to the American Horse Council in 2017 there were approximately 7,246,835 horses in the U.S., but Bredenkamp doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to find 72 for the funerals of our fallen.

Horse drawn funerals ended after two horses died.

"The Army found that the horses had very little grass in their turnout fields and they consumed sand and gravel from the ground while eating the low-quality hay they were fed.

"The fields were littered with construction debris and manure and were only large enough to support six or seven horses, nowhere near the 64 that were using the fields when Mickey and Tony died."

We’re not talking rocket science here.

We’re talking equine science, something that used to come naturally to the Army.

During the 1863 campaigning season, which included the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac had 63,000 horses.

Even a cursory glance at the internet would tell Famer Bredenkamp that during the Civil War the daily ration for an artillery horse — hauling caissons — was 14 pounds of hay and 12 pounds of grain.

And battery commanders were cautioned to not let the horses graze, because they could eat forage that could kill horses.

Exactly what happened with the Arlington horses.

During his excuse-making session with the Times, "He said he would not describe the delay as ‘indefinite’ but repeatedly acknowledged the stumbling blocks to restarting a sustainable program that protects the health of the horses."

And there is the reason for the delay. Anytime some functionary uses the term "sustainable program" you know he’s part of the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) train to oblivion.

Bredenkamp is probably trying to push enough paper to make sure the grain is "sourced" from organic farms run by female or consonant management and trucked to the horses using electric vehicles driven by BIPOC operators.

(He can’t consult any nearby Amish because they’re white, and well, you know . . . )

Meanwhile the bereaved are denied the dignified and solemn funerals their loved ones deserve.

Here’s our suggestion: Bredenkamp can send one of his minions to search Pentagon records to find the order written by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, while he was still a division commander, that outlines in great detail how horses are to be treated.

Or, if he’s really desperate Bredenkamp can try to dig up Lt. Gen. Robert E. Lee’s General Order No. 115 — written during the Sharpsburg Campaign.

He might not like this order though, because it affixed specific responsibility for which officers are in charge of caring for the horses.

And it calls for those neglecting the horses to be punished.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker's bureau. Read Michael Reagan's Reports — More Here.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now With Added Humor!)" Read Michael Shannon's Reports — More Here.

© Mike Reagan

It's been two years and two months since the last horse-drawn caisson carried bodies to their final resting place. During that time deserving families had to make do with whatever second-best funeral the Army cared to offer.
arlington, caissons, funerals
Saturday, 25 May 2024 11:28 AM
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