Arlington's horsemen not left in the cold

It was only appropriate that on one of Washington, D.C.’s coldest mornings on record, The American Legion should help equip a distinct group of chilly servicemembers with some very welcome cold-weather gear.

Late on the windy, 7-degree morning of Jan. 7, troops of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard) stood at attention inside a barely heated, Fort Myer, Va. horse barn as their commander, Col. James Markert, and Legion Legislative Commission chairman Brett Reistad exchanged greetings. The two men were marking the gifting of new outerwear by the Legion and clothing manufacturer Carhartt, Inc. to the Old Guard’s distinguished Caisson Platoon. This is the platoon whose horse-drawn, casket-bearing artillery wagons render funeral honors at nearby Arlington National Cemetery.

The Caisson Platoon soldiers’ duties include caring for their horses – beginning with a 4:00 a.m. daily feeding – as well as polishing and preserving the tack and other equipment  used in honoring the fallen at Arlington. The same troops ride the ceremonial horses in the funeral processions. As one can imagine, their service-issued barn clothing sees plenty of wear.

Not long ago, a self-employed software consultant and longtime volunteer troop supporter named Leta Carruth noted that the horse caretakers’ cold weather jackets were getting a bit threadbare and appealed to the Michigan-based Carhartt company, which “happily agreed”  to replace the troops’ worn gear with new articles, including jackets, shirts and undershirts. The donation was facilitated through the Legion with the “great assistance," says Carruth, of the Legion’s resident blogger, Mark Seavey.

Carruth, who calls the Caisson Platoon’s horse barns her “second home”, attended the brief ceremony,  then retreated to the platoon’s horseshoe fitting room for a warming cup of coffee and a friendly chat with its resident farriers.

“This has been a good day,” she declared.  Legislative chairman Reistad, a former Old Guardsman himself, agreed.


  1. Lived on Garfield Street in Arlington VA from 55-63 and would bike over to Ft Meyer to help pass the long hot summers. Started hanging out with the Old Guard and the horses. I liked to help them polish tack a skill that paid off in my later career as a mustang. Never a question about the maintenance of my brass or leather! Good memories of great men.
  2. Why does an independent company have to donate to these valiant horseman? Bless them for their kindness. Obama and the rest of the do nothing congress sit around drinking hot coffee and cocoa in their heated offices and send billions to foreign countries that disappears through corruption and they hate us anyway. Is there something wrong with this picture or is just my misconception?
  3. That's what makes this country,,the men and women that stand in harms way the to us old veterns,,we se the love of this great country,,which I love,,thank you car hart for seeing and acting,,I went to my shed and got my old 35 year old car hart out,,need to hide it from my wife,,she thinks its old and worn out,,but I put it on no with pride,,
  4. The horseman and their charges do a fitting service for those buried at Arligton and in other ceremonies around the area. The invoke a spirit of tradition and remeberence of those in the past. There work remains well appreciated by families and freinds in their solemn duties to our fallen veterans on their last rides. I am grateful for the support provided..
  5. I'm with B. Wiser. Since our Government cannot equip the soldiers with needed clothing, at least an American Company can come thru! Very sad!!
  6. Sad that a civilian company has to step-in to provide the proper clothing for soldiers of the U.S. Army. Maybe with the extra money the Army saves from COLA REDUX, they can get back to taking care of soldiers!
  7. Outstanding, Carhartt! You had no reason to donate anything to these troops and command, yet the joy of patriotism called you. To stand for something greater than yourself, is as American as can be. While I am not associated with the 3rd Herd, someday I hope to be escorted to my final resting place by these fine and honorable men. That they may be wearing, by that time, 30 year old Carhartt jackets, will be more of a testimony of the quality of American made pride!
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