“We’re hoping to have 40-50 members attend,” 6th Cavalry Museum board president and association member Carl Russell said. “We used to hold the reunion in East Ridge. We now have it in Fort Oglethorpe to support the city.”
There are more than 500 6th Cavalry association members, according to Robert Fisak, commander of 6th U.S. Cavalry Association. Membership in the association is open to men and women who are currently serving or who have served in the 6th Cavalry and its affiliated detachments, and their descendents, Fisak said.
Since many World War II-era veterans are now passing on, the association is attempting to increase its membership with veterans who served post WWII, according to Russell. Russell’s father served in the 6th Cavalry prior to 1941.
“He was 15 when he started out. His picture hangs in the museum,” Russell said.
Holding the reunion in Fort Oglethorpe makes sense since it is a historic home of the 6th Cavalry, he said. The 6th Cavalry was assigned to the Army post in Fort Oglethorpe from 1919-1942, according to 6thcavalrymuseum.com. It was a mechanized reconnaissance regiment for General George S. Patton’s Third Army. The 6th Cavalry was established in 1861, according to the museum website.
“So few people know about (the 6th Cavalry),” Fisak said. “We’d like to have more awareness among people in Catoosa and Walker counties and the Chattanooga area.”
The post in Fort Oglethorpe served as the nation’s largest prisoner of war camps during both World Wars and was visited by Teddy Roosevelt, John Pershing, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower (before he became president). The Army closed the post on Dec. 31, 1947.
Reunion activities will include a barbecue dinner at 6 p.m. at Park Place Restaurant on Friday, May 18, and business meetings with different squadrons on Saturday, May 19, according to Russell. A banquet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Constitution Hall. The association also plans to hold a church service at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 20, at Calvary Memorial Baptist. A memorial service will follow at the World War II monument in front of Catoosa Performance Learning Center on Barnhardt Circle. Afterward association members will be served lunch at the museum. Reunion activities are open to the public, except for association business meetings, according to 6thcavalrymuseum.com.
U.S. Army Col. Christopher Downey, an active duty 6th Cavalry commander from Fort Drum, N.Y., will speak at the banquet, confirmed 6th Cavalry Museum executive director Chris McKeever. Downey commands the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division, according to drum.army.mil.
The 6th Cavalry has four squadrons assigned to U.S. military installations across the country, according to McKeever. In addition to the 6th Squadron at Fort Drum, squadrons attached to the 6th Cavalry include the 1st Squadron with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.; the 2nd Squadron with the 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and the 4th Squadron with I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash., according to the museum website.
What: 112th annual reunion of the 6th U.S. Cavalry Association
When: Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20
Where: Fort Oglethorpe
For more information: visit 6thcavalrymuseum.org