By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Military ready to roll in parade
Spouses walk in support of deployed soldiers
horses 1
A Budweiser Clydesdale horse team trainer prepares to lead two horses back into the barn Monday at Bits and Bridle Equestrian Club on Fort Stewart. Pairs of team horses were each given a chance to frolic in the corral. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
Budweiser Clydesdale horse facts:
• Budweiser’s Clydesdale horses each stand 18 hands, or about 6 feet, tall and weigh between 2,000-2,300 pounds.
• Budweiser’s main Clydesdale horse breeding farm,  Grant’s Farm, is in St. Louis. The team being hosted by Fort Stewart is from a farm in Merrimack, N.H.
• Each “hitch,” or team of 10 horses (eight to pull the wagon and two alternates), travels in three 50-foot semi trucks.
• The Clydesdale team of horses marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade today in Savannah travels 320 days a year.
• The Budweiser Clydesdales were first introduced to the public on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. The first Clydesdale team was a gift from August A. Busch Jr. to his father, August Anheuser Busch Sr.
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield leaders and soldiers, along with about 200-300 3rd Infantry Division family members, will show support for troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan by walking in today’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Savannah.
3rd ID deputy commander general-rear Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen will ride in the parade, confirmed Fort Stewart Media Chief Kevin Larson.  Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield will also provide a color guard and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and more than 50 soldiers from the 3rd Sustainment Brigade will march in the parade, Larson said.
In addition to participating in the parade, the military community is playing host to a team of Budweiser Clydesdale horses. The 10 horses, eight of which will pull a wagon in the parade, are being housed until Thursday at the Bits and Bridle Equestrian Club on Fort Stewart, off Highway 144.
Phillips said many service members, including him, have never participated in Savannah’s famous St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
“You can perhaps imagine my surprise when, on arriving at Fort Stewart in September, I began hearing about the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a spectacle of its type second only to the famed New York parade,” the general said. “Well, those of us spending our first St. Patty’s Day here are about to find out for ourselves. This is a special day for coastal Georgia, and we appreciate the welcome our Savannah neighbors extend to us.  Fort Stewart and Hunter soldiers have the day off, so they and their families can enjoy the parade. And (since) no formation is to be held before 9 a.m. on Thursday, no one needs drive back (to post) ‘under the influence.’”
Many of the military family members participating in the popular celebration will be logging more miles for the 3rd ID Run/Walk To and From Iraq/Afghanistan, which began Jan. 23 at Donovan Field. The run/walk will end with the Yellow Ribbon Walk on April 24 at Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.
3rd ID Battalion Family Readiness Groups have formed run/walk teams, and affirm the St. Patrick’s Day parade is another opportunity for them to log another mile or two.
Jacqui Coffman belongs to a 10-person run/walk team. Her husband’s battalion, the 1-64 Armor Battalion, 2nd Brigade, will have at least 30 family members participating in the parade, she said. Coffman is married to Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Ross Coffman, who deployed to Iraq last September.
 “If our unit has about 30, there’s a good 22 battalion-size units participating,” she said.
Coffman said run/walk teams are attempting to log a total of 6,500 miles — the distance to Iraq — or the 7,000-mile distance to Afghanistan.
“There’s no way an individual (alone) can walk the distance to Iraq or Afghanistan there and back,” Coffman said. However, FRG teams can reach the total mile goals, she added.
 “Our unit has logged roughly 3,700 miles as a group. We have about 145 participants. They’re family members from all over the United States,” Coffman said.
Coffman said her team captain, Jill McCabe, collects the mileage and posts it on their run/walk Facebook page.
“It’s a friendly competition — to see which unit gets there and back, first,” she said. “It also is a way to encourage mental and physical wellness.”
Coffman said it is difficult for family members to experience one deployment, and many are going through their second, third or even fourth deployment. The run/walk is a way to “get them out of the house,” to participate in a healthy and positive social activity, she said.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade offered military family members a way to honor their deployed loved ones and to log more miles for the 3rd ID Run/Walk To and From Iraq/Afghanistan, Coffman said.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters