FORT HOOD, Texas – The 1st Cavalry Division celebrated it’s 100th birthday with a Centennial Parade honoring past a present members of the 1st Cav.
Veterans traveled from all over the United States to attend. Major Travis Payne says an important piece of the celebration was remembering what and who got them to this point.
“Those guys, you know, pave the way for us and how we do, how we operate today,” Maj Payne said. “And, you know, it’s just a big tradition. This whole unit is tradition and pageantry.”
Vietnam veteran Gilbert Paez was a part of the 1st Cav for over 18 years, and says it feels like coming home.
“You go visit mom or your grandparents or something, this is the way it feels to come back to the 1st Cavalry,” Paez said.
Paez says he loves being back and seeing old friends.
“It makes you feel proud that you participated with a group that was doing something and fighting for the United States of America,” Paez said.
Maj. Payne says 1st Cav is one of the first units, and that it has revolutionized since World War I.
“Every war, there’s something that we bring into the fight,” Maj. Payne said. “Like with the aviation, like I already mentioned, and then with the tanks. We’re always the ones bringing in new technology and bringing in a more lethal fight to combat.”
He says he is honored to be a part of the Army division that is known for getting things done.
“Being a part of a unit, especially on the 100th anniversary, is really cool,” Maj Payne said. “We get to represent all those in Vietnam that started, and carry the torch forward.”
He says he’s proud to wear a patch which is instantly recognized.
“1st Cav patch. Everybody knows when that patch shows up, you know, we’re here to get stuff done,” Maj. Payne said.
The 1st Cavalry Division started at Fort Bliss in 1921, and relocated to Fort Hood in the 70s after the Vietnam War.