Decorated military horse memorialized in Washington City

WASHINGTON CITY – The Patriot Guard Riders of Southern Utah and other local veterans’ organizations held a memorial service Monday for Sgt. Comanche, an army horse from the United States 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Horse Detachment. Comanche was 22 years old, spent 16 years serving in Fort Irwin, Calif., then continued to serve locally with the traveling Vietnam Wall.

The original Comanche that Gen. George Custer rode in his famous last stand at Little Big Horn | Photo courtesy of Dave Riggs

Comanche was a descendant of Comanche, the horse used by Gen. George Custer in his famous last stand at Little Big Horn and a fellow army veteran. Although it is less common to hear of horses as being honored veterans, the owners and caretakers of Comanche emphasized the role horses play in the army, their ability to serve loyally and honorably and the ranks awarded to these essential animals.

Comanche is no exception to this, as he has been a well-respected, decorated horse and will be missed by everyone who had had the opportunity to serve alongside him.

Doug Hunt was the final caretaker and owner of Comanche, and directed the memorial services.

“This is a military veteran. He is not just a horse,” said Hunt. “He’s been decorated, has medals and was a sergeant in the army for 16 years, more time than a lot of kids have.”

Patrick Arthur, a representative of the Black Horse Association, offered a prayer and ceremony to bless and honor Comanche, his gravesite and those who attended to pay their respects.

The final resting place for Comanche is on the Staheli Family Farm in Washington City.

Photo gallery below

Sgt. Comanche (far right) with other members of the 11th ACR, Horse Detachment, location and date unknown | Photo courtesy of David Riggs
Sgt. Comanche, location and date unknown | Photo courtesy of David Riggs
The honorary passing of the flag at Sgt. Comanche’s memorial, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 26, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Sgt. Comanche’s memorial at Staheli Family Farm, Washington City, Nov. 26, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

Ed. Note:  Comanche’s title is seen in various uses as both SSG and Sgt.  The memorial plaque in his honor refers to Sgt. Comanche, hence its use in this story.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • Char November 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Nice to honor the non-humans who served too.

  • Mike McClure November 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    In my mind, serving in the Military means being a Vet and deserving of respect and honors. I was glad I was able to attend.

  • David Riggs November 28, 2012 at 7:23 am

    My thanks to Doug and Lillian Hunt for allowing the Patriot Guard Riders to take part.

  • Annettie Cannavale November 28, 2012 at 10:22 am

    This is awesome! I didn’t even know horses were used in the Army. Great, heartwarming story.

  • SSG Davis, James July 22, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Comanche was a wonderful horse and had a great personality. Just found out he passed . I was lucky enough and honored enough to be the last 11th ACR rider to ride him at his retirement ceremony at Ft. Irwin. He will be missed. And Thank ‘s to the Wonderful people in ST.George and the Blackhorse Assc. who made his last years a peaceful one. Take Care Comance!!! RIP!!!

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