*Thanks to GP Cox at Pacific Paratrooper for the idea. His post today is about Dexter, the Last U.S. Naval Horse.
For those of us old enough to remember President Kennedy’s funeral, one of many “Kodak” moments was the caparisoned (riderless horse), commemorating a warrior fallen in battle. The beautifully groomed horse with the empty saddle and the reversed boots was Black Jack. Black Jack was named after General of the Armies, Black Jack Pershing of WWI fame. He was a coal black, Morgan American Quarterhorse and the last one to have the U.S. Army brand burned into his shoulder.
He was born on January 19, 1947 and came to Ft. Myer in Arlington, Virginia on November 22, 1952 from Ft. Reno, Oklahoma. In addition to being the riderless horse for the Kennedy funeral, he was also the horse in the funeral for Presidents Hoover and Johnson and General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur.
Black Jack served a 29 year Army career, and was euthanized on February 6, 1976. His health had declined in his last year and the veterinarian had to get permission from Department of the Army to euthanize him. He was cremated and buried on Sumerall Parade Field on Ft. Myer.
His memorial includes the number 3 over crossed rifles, which is the symbol of the 3rd U.S. Infantry, “The Old Guard”, stationed at Ft Myer, where Black Jack lived. Caisson platoon was responsible for caring for him and still takes care of the horses used in military funerals at Arlington Cemetary.
For more information about Black Jack click here.