Blackhorse Tales

Blackhorse Tales

Thursday, August 26, 2021

No one would ever confuse the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam with the open plains of Europe or the deserts of North Africa. So when the U.S. Army first went to war in South Vietnam, few thought of a role for armored forces. But the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment changed a lot of minds upon their arrival in 1966. The troopers of the famed Blackhorse Regiment spent the next five and a half years demonstrating their effectiveness on the battlefields of Southeast Asia.

Over 25,000 men served in the unit during its time in Vietnam. Donald Snedeker—historian for the 11th Armored Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia and author of The Blackhorse in Vietnam—carefully collected their stories over the past three decades. The result is Blackhorse Tales: Stories of the 11th Armored Cavalry Troopers at War, the latest title in the AUSA Book Program.

We recently sat down with the author to discuss his work:


AUSA: How does this new book relate to The Blackhorse in Vietnam?

Snedeker: Blackhorse Tales is a companion volume to The Blackhorse in Vietnam. Where The Blackhorse in Vietnam tells the history of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment during its 5 1/2 years in combat, Blackhorse Tales shares the stories of the individual Troopers who fought that war and their families who supported them then and continue to do so today.


AUSA: How did the wartime experience of a cavalry trooper differ from that of other soldiers?

Snedeker: Most of the Soldiers who deployed to Vietnam between 1966 and 1972 lived on fire support bases and base camps, deploying to the field on combat operations for short periods of time only. Most Blackhorse Troopers lived on their armored vehicles in the jungles and rice paddies for months at a time, getting to know the enemy and terrain on an up-close and personal basis.


AUSA: The modern-day cavalry may not have horses, but plenty of other animals are mentioned in the book. Please tells us about some of them.

Snedeker: The American GI at war has always been a sucker for young kids and small animals, and the Blackhorse Troopers in Vietnam were no different. Even in the midst of mortal combat, Troopers rescued animals of all sorts (dogs, snakes, monkeys, chickens, goats, etc.) and made them part of their crews. Combat the Dog was the longest-serving Blackhorse Trooper in the Regiment, serving from when they arrived in September 1966 until redeployment to the States in March 1971.


AUSA: What would the troopers want today’s generation to know about their time in Vietnam?

Snedeker: The 41st Colonel of the Regiment, General Donn Starry, used to say: "The Blackhorse forever!" Today's Troopers are the latest generation to serve in "the best damn Regiment you will ever see." You are now part of the magnificent heritage started in 1901, adding new pages each and every day. Allons!


AUSA: What do you have in mind for your next project?

Snedeker: I am working on a PowerPoint presentation of the history of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment from 1901 up through the National Training Center today.


To order a copy of Blackhorse Tales: Stories of the 11th Armored Cavalry Troopers at War, please visit