JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The U.S. Army North Caisson Platoon, which honors fallen members of the military with funeral honors at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and the surrounding area, recently purchased a custom horse trailer improving mission capability, efficiency and safety.
Serving 58 counties of Texas, the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston-based platoon, previously traveled with multiple trailers and vehicles in order to transport all the horses and equipment for a mission. Thus the need for a specialized trailer was born.
“This project has been going on for well over a year now, and it has several parts that had to get done: designing it, getting the contract done for it and the final piece was pictures for the wrap,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher G. Taffoya, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army North.
Sgt. 1st Class Timothy French, U.S. Army North Caisson Platoon Sergeant, stated that over the last year the platoon, their herd manager and their horse trainer, analyzed their trailers and equipment, as well as talked to their sister platoon, the Caisson Platoon of the 3rd U.S. Infantry "The Old Guard," from Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, Virginia, to discuss current capabilities and structural requirements in order to brainstorm and design a new trailer tailored to their unique needs.
Arriving April 8, 2021, the newly custom-designed trailer can safely transport nine horses and equipment, and includes a rear tack room, a changing room in the front for the soldiers to change into their ceremonial uniforms, and has a three-axle trailer, which increases the overall weight load and safety of the horses.
The additional capability of bringing the horses inside an air-conditioned and climate-controlled trailer between missions to keep them cool decreases the chances exponentially of the horses suffering from any heat injuries.
“In the southern Texas area in the summer heat, the trailer allows us to be on ground and on-site for multiple missions throughout the day,” stated French.
The horse’s health and safety are a huge part of accomplishing Caisson Platoons day-to-day mission.
“Having this trailer is a night and day change for us,” French said. “The efficiency it provides gives us the ability to move in a single trailer, opposed to potentially two, when traveling to a single mission aspect is an efficiency aspect that is just beyond compare.”
Overall, the new trailer allows the Caisson Platoon to more efficiently accomplish their mission while continuing to keep the horses healthy and safe, as well as the Soldiers.
“This has been a group effort not just from U.S. Army North, but also the 502nd Air Base Wing had a hand in this,” French said. “There has been a huge thanks that go out from us here at Caisson, U.S. Army North, to everybody here. It's going to be a night and day change. It's a wonderful trailer, we are happy to have it, and we can't wait to use it.”