An Apache pilot and a cavalry scout recently took the reins of the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard.
Chief Warrant Officer-2 Dean Barefield was recently welcomed to the unit, and Sgt. 1st Class Cesar Robles took responsibility of the CGMCG from 1st Sgt. John Wear during a Nov. 30 ceremony.
The Fort Riley Soldiers assigned to the CGMCG provide a link to Fort Riley's historic past, by portraying federal troops on the Kansas plains during the Civil War era, according to information from the unit.
The troopers and noncommissioned officers travel to ceremonies and events across the country to perform mounted demonstrations and represent Fort Riley, the 1st Infantry Division and the Army.
Barefield comes to the CGMCG from Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. He served as an enlisted Soldier for 10 years, earning the rank of staff sergeant in the Military Police Corps.
He was assigned to the Old Guard's 289th Military Police Company, from 2004 to 2006.
It was while serving with the Old Guard, also known as the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, that Barefield heard of the CGMCG at Fort Riley.
The Old Guard's Caisson Platoon has its own horses, which pull caskets on an artillery caisson for official burials at Arlington National Cemetery.
Barefield said the opportunity to command is a privilege and an honor.
"I am very excited to have been blessed with such a rare and unique opportunity as a warrant officer," he said about leading the CGMCG. "I look forward to working with and learning from the Soldiers of the CGMCG, as well getting to know them and their Families personally."
Surprisingly, there are similarities in going from working with the Army's most modern equipment to some of its oldest, Barefield said.
"Both require a sensitive control touch, and both will hurt you if you don't respect them," he said of the switch from piloting helicopters to riding horses.
Barefield, like Robles, did not have riding experience before coming to the CGMCG. Both are working with Ron Roller, the unit's civilian trainer, to improve their riding skills. Barefield said Roller ensured the training was exciting, but challenging to the individual.
"I consider myself physically fit, but riding a horse will put it to the test," Robles said.
Robles, a cavalry scout, comes to the CGMCG from the Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div.
He joined the Army 12 years ago and has served at Fort Riley for five years.
Robles said he learned about the CGMCG at a recruiting event during a battalion formation. His goal is to continue the unit's prestige and tradition, continue to improve community involvement and help Roller implement a rigorous training program to prepare the team for the U.S. Cavalry Association's National Cavalry Competition this fall at Fort Carson, Colo.
The CGMCG has 18 troopers and NCOs, 24 quarter horses, two mules and two Percheron draft horses. The unit is always on the lookout for new members. Robles described potential members as "quality troopers with good work ethic and motivation to exceed the standard and be the face of the 1st Inf. Div."
For more information or to find out how to qualify for the unit, visit www.facebook.com/RileyCGMCG or call 785-239-3179 or 785-307-4843.