The first event of the 2019 campaign season is history and it did not disappoint. The weather on Saturday was fine, if a little windy (more about that later) but the organizers cancelled Sunday's demonstrations due to an approaching storm front. We spent about an hour and a half on Saturday morning doing drill and then performed two demonstrations that afternoon. We had plenty of time to ride around the fort, both inside the historic part and on the grounds outside. If I say so myself, the drill looked really sharp and I appreciate everyone's ability to manage their mounts and look soldierly in the saddle.
Lessons learned. No plan survives contact with reality and two safely issues raised their heads at this event, not related to horses if you can believe it. Here they are:
Fire safety: The unit Safety SOP states: "Campfires will be supervised at all times or extinguished. A bucket of water will be available near the fire." Unfortunately one of our Troopers, who shall remain nameless in writing but whose name will certainly come up around the campfire conversations to come, assumed that "supervised" meant "slept next to" and the wind combined with a well built blaze started a small fire. Luckily, quick thinking by Corporal Thomas stopped the conflagration before there was any damage or injuries. The takeaway is that "supervised" means "awake and tending the fire." I added a clause to the effect that the last person awake on nights we do not have picket watch must extinguish the fire.
Carbine misfires: Yours truly was called out for opening my breach too quickly after the inevitable Sharp's misfire. At NPS events the wait time is 10 seconds, so I will add verbiage to that effect on Captain's Orders for NPS events. I'll consult the Sharp's oracles about whether nor not this should be standard practice in any event and update you as needed.
Mentioned in dispatches: Everyone really pulled their weight at this event and I really appreciate it. Here are some standouts:
-Corporal Thomas for saving the night and reacting to the fire situation in a calm, collected manner. So much so that I didn't even wake up.
-Trooper Sopko for putting the whole thing together and coordinating the thousand details that make an event successful so I can take credit for it all.
-Trooper Amos Moloney and Trooper Rebecca Crispin for getting their partners, Tilly and Finnegan, back into the hobby in good form.
-Trooper Will Drewry for bringing eggs, friendship bread, and for serving as Camp Provost.
-Trooper Joe "LT2B" (Lieutenant To Be) Womack for entertaining the crowds and having a good sense of humor.
-Jan Chayt for sending us tasty friendship bread that added to our breakfast.
-Trooper Dave Mize for his expert and entertaining narration.
-Trooper Mike Riggleman for serving as a dismounted demonstrator, horse holder, and armorer.
-Corporal Harry Moloney and Trooper Mike Scholl for their steady performance and excellent horsemanship.
Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
Scott E. Womack
2nd U.S. Cavalry Company A/9th Virginia Cavalry Company D