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Mounted Color Guard under new command

By Amanda Kim Stairrett | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | July 21, 2015

Leading the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard represents a unique opportunity to honor military history and preserve the legacy of the cavalry in a unique and meaningful way, its new commander said last week.

Capt. Casey Wolfe relinquished the CGMCG colors to Capt. Casey Johnson during a July 7 ceremony at the unit’s practice arena at Fort Riley. Col. Thomas Hipskind, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, commander, accepted the colors from Wolfe and passed them to Johnson.

Wolfe took command of the ceremonial 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley unit in July 2013. While serving as a platoon leader for Troop C, 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Dec. 18, 2011, in Afghanistan, Wolfe was wounded by a roadside bomb. He spent 11 months recovering from severe wounds at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. It was there he saw a demonstration by the 1st Cavalry Division’s Horse Cavalry Detachment, which is based out of Fort Hood, Texas. The HCD is one of a handful of active-duty equestrian units across the Army.

“My mom and I both agreed that was a cool job, so I tracked down the commander in my wheelchair after the event and asked him how he got the job,” Wolfe said.

More than a year later and back with the squadron at Fort Riley, the opportunity arose for Wolfe to lead the kind of unit that piqued his interest at BAMC.

“I wanted to do it because I had been told for several reasons that I couldn’t do it,” Wolfe said. “I don’t like being told what I can’t do, and I savor proving people wrong.”

CGMCG officials were concerned about Wolfe’s ability to ride because of his wounds, he said.

“I set out to prove them wrong, starting bareback training on my very first day at the unit,” Wolfe said of one of the CGMCG’s training requirements. “While I never got to the skill set of our demonstration riders, I stunned my doctors and therapist by simply being able to get in the saddle and ride.”

Johnson first saw the CGMCG in action while serving as the assistant operations officer for DHHB, the unit’s higher headquarters.

“It is easy to see that the NCOs and Soldiers of the CGMCG represent a distinguished team of remarkable individuals,” Johnson said. “I have always possessed a profound level of interest in the history of the cavalry and of our nation’s military as a whole.

“As a cavalry officer by trade, I am overwhelmingly humbled by the opportunity that this command affords.”

The CGMCG is unique and special to the division and post because it represents a recognizable facets of Fort Riley life, Johnson said, not only to the Soldiers and civilians who work there, but to the surrounding communities of the Flint Hills region and beyond.

“People are excited to see what it is that we do, whether it be our participation in a parade, a cavalry tactics demonstration or a cavalry charge,” Johnson said. “The outreach conducted by the CGMCG generates countless positive community-based interactions and ensures the continued promotion of the ‘Big Red One’ legacy.”

Johnson’s goal is to lead and represent the NCOs and Soldiers “who do so very much to represent Fort Riley and the division,” he said.

“I want to brag about the tremendous men and women of the CGMCG to anyone who will listen,” he added. “In support of what these Soldiers do, I want to continue to expand the infrastructure and capabilities of the unit to ensure the preservation and growth of one of Fort Riley’s greatest assets.”

Wolfe said leading the unit and the issues that came with it was a challenge, but was also easy because of the cadre of noncommissioned officers at his disposal and the support of the DHHB command team and staff. He said he learned more from the CGMCG’s last two senior NCOs, 1st Sgt. Brandon McGuire and 1st Sgt. James Trunck, in two years then he did in 10 years in the Army.

“There is no course or manual that can fully prepare one to lead the CGMCG,” Wolfe said. “Capt. Johnson has a great wealth of knowledge and resources at his disposal, from trainers to veterinarians, NCOs and even agronomists. At the end of the day, the final decision is his and he needs to weigh the advice of his peers and subordinates against the mission at hand, make the decision and own it.

Never get complacent and continue to challenge the troopers and horses, he added.

“It’s that attitude that has made the CGMCG the best in the Army.” 

Tag CGMCG   Tag Change of Command