Dad's Memories

101st Cavalry - NY National Guard

- 08 May 98 - 27 December 2002

PoppaEl / Dad / "eldad" - 101st Cav. NYNG - 1936 or 1937

My brother Art was Asst Bandmaster in the 101st Cavalry, N.Y. National Guard when I graduated from NYMA in '31.. I too joined the 101st, and received a specialists rating as Lead Trumpet in the Band ( top rating on the pay scale-that was nice).

The 101st Armory was located on Bedford Ave in Bklyn - just up the hill from Ebbets Field, home to the BROOKLYN Dodgers. The huge Armory had a "tanbark" floor surface for indoor riding, and on Saturday Nites they'd often have Polo matches there, with the Band playing in the Balcony (between "Chuckers") I must say the music resounded in that Armory- Pretty loud stuff.

Armory photo's & map
 © 2000 New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs
and NY National Guard. All rights reserved
 - used with permission -

The Guardsmen had full access to the horses during the week, and were encouraged to ride and keep the horses exercised, riding either indoors, or outside in Prospect Park - close by and having an excellent Bridle Path. Being in the midst of the Great Depression, many of the fellows were Unemployed and took full advantage of "exercising the horses". Art and I would ride in the Park on Sundays -just pick any horse and go- had to take care of the horse on your return.

The horses assigned to the Band were those that would not "spook" easily, several including mine (Blaze) were regularly used in the Polo matches. For mounted Band use our harness included a "Martingale" an extra strap that restricted the horse from "throwing his head" to prevent injury to the Musician Rider.

In addition to the Polo matches, one Annual Event was a Gymkana. This featured precision drill team riding, and an assortment of trick riding etc. One such was a Chariot race (no chariots) where the riders rode two bareback horses -standing on the bareback horses- around the perimeter and thru a Slalom course.With 3 or 4 such damn fool riders in a heat, this was an exciting thing to watch- and for the riders too. Art loved this and rode in the Chariot Run 'till one fall ( there were lots of these) came up with a chipped ankle for him. I watched, thank you -safely in the Balcony- with the Band.

The 101st Annual 2 week trek to Pine Camp in upstate NY was an experience too. We'd ride the horses to a Railroad Siding out in Flatbush - also the place where the Circus unloaded and setup their tents - load the horse into the RR cars, and accompany the horses for the 300 mile ride to camp. One year I had a 27 model T roadster and got permission to drive it to camp--Band Transportation at camp. The model T's gas pedal was a lever on the steering wheel -acted like a Cruise control- set the gas lever and go. We set it at about 40 -not quite top speed- and near midnite woke up bumping thru a field alongside the road. Luckily we did not meet any unfriendly trees or ditches, nothing broke so we got back on the road. Arrived at Pine Camp in time to meet the train and unload.

It wasn't ALL horses with the 101st
Dad & his mule
- Pine Camp 1931 -

Dad & Uncle Art - NYNG 101st Cavalry
- Pine Camp, 1934 -
That "Special Horn" is under dad's bunk

At camp, along with regular mounted Band practise, for daytime recreation the Troop would hold "foxhunts" or "Paper Chases" where one rider (the "Fox") would take off -with a sack of torn paper- and after a 5minute headstart, the Pack would take up the chase, following the trail - and this could get pretty hectic. On one chase, my horse was going great, till part way down a steep sandhill he just dropped, pitched me over his head - and was dead. After some official checking out on this unfortunate incident we returned to the location and buried that nice horse there--found out it requires a BIG DEEP HOLE to bury a horse.

Refreshments at camp affairs included a big galvanized washtub, a large block of Ice, filled with a Canadian Beer, and a generous addition of Lairds Applejack -- POTENT LIBATION. Also lubricated the voices for nitely Campfire Songfests that generated some inventive, and raucus, verses to the seemingly endless "Round Songs"

I stayed in the 101st Cavalry for 7 years 'till Grace & I married in '38 and we agreed there were other things we could do together and I got a discharge, with thanks for time spent in the NYNG.

Came on the photo's below recently and was still able to put names to faces for many of the Bandsmen
the images below are "clickable" to large size images

click to view 600 x 2411 (169 Kb) Image

click to view 600 x 2466 (192 Kb) Image

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