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NEWS | July 22, 2021

U.S. Army North Caisson Platoon works hard to train, care for their horses

By Sgt. David Cook U.S. Army North Public Affairs

The mission of the U.S. Army North Caisson Platoon at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is to honor fallen members of the military with funeral honors at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and the surrounding area, which includes approximately 58 counties of Texas.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Fort Sam Houston Caisson Platoon was formed in honor of Army Col. Karen Wagner's death at the Pentagon.

Wagner was previously stationed at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and held a close relationship with the San Antonio area. As a result, the Fort Sill Field Artillery Half Section traveled to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston to conduct her funeral honors.

The Fort Sam Houston community then realized the need for a dedicated caisson platoon in the area and ARNORTH answered the call.

A caisson is a chest or wagon historically used to carry ammunition. It conveys the casket of the fallen military member, drawn by four harnessed horses.

It is one of only two active-duty, full-time caisson units in the U.S. Army. The one most people are familiar with is the Old Guard caisson platoon at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Fort Sam Houston Caisson Platoon also supports the San Antonio community through various events such as parades and mounted Color Guards to highlight the United States Army and its various missions throughout the world.

Regular care for the unit’s horses falls to Caisson Platoon Soldiers, with advice from the contracted herd manager and equine trainers.