FORT HUACHUCA — For two decades, the beloved and feisty Monte served the U.S. Army with dignity and aplomb.
Thursday afternoon, it was time to say goodbye to this majestic equine member of the storied B Troop, the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial), as he was literally put out to pasture to signify that his military service has come to an end.
In a unique ceremony at Fort Huachuca’s stables, the elegant, chocolate-brown quarter horse — decked out in complete tack and accompanied by horse holder and CW4 Ty Riemann, USA (Ret.) — was given accolades as he readied to quit his stint with the Army at the ripe old age of 30.
The ceremony began promptly at 5 p.m. as the sun began to wane and it grew a bit chilly. It was led by Maj. Eddie Gonzalez, commander of B Troop.
Gonzalez and other B Troop members spoke about their moments with Monte, describing a horse who often tested his riders.
Monte began his service with the installation’s B Troop in 2001, Gonzalez said. He was only 10 years old at the time.
“He’s a really great horse,” Gonzalez said in his remarks about the gelding. “He’s part of those great horses like Zeus and like Chili and Cochise, they’re all part of that generation of horses that they got back in the day and they really have put in their amount of work over the years and there are a lot of great memories.”
Gonzalez kicked off the ride down memory lane for those who know Monte. Other members of B Troop on hand for the event chimed in with their own stories of the regal animal.
“He’s a great horse, “ Gonzalez said at the end of his Monte story. “I’m definitely gonna miss this horse.”
B Troop member Pete Criscuolo recalled the championships Monte has won at the National Cavalry Competition, noting how in 2010 the horse was part of a team that came home with a coveted Bolte Cup. At Thursday’s ceremony, Criscuolo presented Gonzalez with a mini Bolte Cup to commemorate Monte.
Lt. Col. Margaret Mills, USA (Ret.), a member of B Troop’s Ladies Auxiliary, said Monte was her “aha horse” because he presented challenges that she overcame.
“He was a good boy, but he would test you,” Mills said. “But I passed. I learned quite a bit from him.”
Riemann, who is the platoon sergeant for B Troop, said Monte was a “commander’s horse,” and he could not ride him until he became a commander. He enumerated the number of commanders before him who Monte “broke.”
B Troop member Randall Link, who is assigned to equine Cochise, said that the latter is Monte’s close friend.
“He’s basically the only horse that Cochise doesn’t bite on a regular basis,” Link said to chuckles from the group. “He actually waits for Monte to come out to the pasture and they actually share a feed bucket.
“I’m sure Cochise will be super sad for the next couple of weeks without Monte there,” Link added.
Once the praise for Monte ended, it was time for the more formal part of his farewell.
It was time to untack Monte. The removal of everything from the saber to the saddle and blanket was done step-by-step by Riemann. Each piece was handed to the horse holder standing on Monte’s right side and then placed on the ground in front of the horse so that he could see that his tour of duty was coming to an end.
After Gonzalez called out the last step in the final untacking, he thanked Monte.
“Monte, old friend, thank you very much for the great memories and for everything you’ve done for Fort Huachuca,” he said.
The B Troop members on hand then saluted Monte and he was led out to the pasture, where Cochise was waiting near the feed buckets. Once Monte entered the enclosed area, he was no longer in service to the Army, Riemann said.
Cochise ambled down to greet his friend. They stood side by side for a few seconds, then Monte headed for the grub.
Riemann said former B Troop member Kelsey Brewer has adopted Monte and would be taking him to her home in South Carolina early Friday.
“He’s got a long trip tomorrow to start him on the next journey in his life,” Riemann said.
With Monte’s departure, Gonzalez said B Troop is down four horses and the unit is looking.
The horses must be geldings of a hearty color, 15 to 16 hands and between the ages of 6 and 12, Gonzalez said.
“(We) definitely want nice, tame horses,” Gonzalez said. “They can have a little spunk, but we don’t want a really crazy horse."
The equines must be medically sound, Gonzalez said, and they’re usually tried out for about two weeks to determine if they’ll fit the bill for B Troop.
Anyone with information about selling or donating a horse to B Troop is asked to contact Riemann at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BISBEE — The county Board of Supervisors appointed Lupe Diaz of Benson to the Legislative District 14 seat vacated by Becky Nutt Friday afternoon.
County administrator Richard Karwaczka explained the process of selecting an appointee from the three candidates — Diaz, Brian McKeighen and Robert Montgomery — and said the supervisors needed to name their selections and give reasons for them. If there was no majority consensus, the process would be repeated until there was.
Supervisor Ann English said she would have preferred to have a work session or an executive session to discuss the three candidates prior to voting.
“Normally, we would have a chance for discussion at a work session or something. We’ve had no chance for discussion between ourselves,” she said.
Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby named Diaz, a member of the Benson council and a pastor, as their selection. English chose McKeighen.
Judd, who served in the state legislature, said she chose him on the basis of his resume and the substantial response from her constituents. She thought he would do the best job.
“All three of the candidates have good skills and would be able to fulfill the role,” said Judd. “But, two submitted resumes and made a good first impression.”
Crosby said, “Two of the three hold elected office. The county precinct committeemen rightly chose you three. And I believe each of you would do the job of state legislator in a manner of which we would be proud.”
Crosby went on to say he would be consistent with the precinct committeemen recommendation and selected Diaz.
English said, “It appears we’re moving toward a consensus pretty quickly here. I recognized and felt all three of these men were conservative Republicans and that’s what they wanted us to consider. All were involved in their communities.
“But, I actually saw a spark of a desire to be a public servant in one of these gentlemen and the desire to initiate legislation that I thought was important for our county and our region. So, my pick was Brian McKeighen.”
With a two-vote consensus, English said it was important to have the full board support the appointee and when the votes were taken, Diaz was the unanimous choice.
Diaz, a Bisbee native, has served as the senior pastor of Grace Chapel Benson since in 1988. He is president of Grace Christian Center Inc., a nonprofit 501©3, and chairs the board of elder meetings. He serves as administrator of Grace Christian Academy.
He served as President on the San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce for two terms
He is the Chaplain to the Republican Legislative District 14, meeting monthly with the State Senators and State Representatives for updates and presentations that govern the state and district.
Diaz was unavailable for comment following his appointment.