Command Sergeant Major Horn Reunion Speaker
At left, Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Don Horn, our guest speaker for the 19th (Daytona Beach) Reunion. Below, CSM Horn circa 1973.
CSM (Ret.) Don Horn has graciously accepted our invitation to be the honored guest speaker at our nineteenth Reunion Banquet on Saturday night, 7 August 2004. CSM Horn will be our first NCO/Enlisted Banquet speaker. Hearing from a distinguished member of the “Backbone” of our Army is long overdue. Being the first NCO selected to address the membership and our guests as the main speaker is a continuation of many “firsts” in the long and distinguished career of this outstanding soldier. Born in 1927 in Ohio, CSM Horn enlisted in the Army in 1945 at the age of 18 and honorably served his country and fellow Troopers for 28 years, retiring in 1973. In addition to numerous stateside postings, he served overseas in Panama, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. These assignments included three combat tours, one in Korea and two in Vietnam as the Regimental Command Sergeant Major (CSM) of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, serving as the top Enlisted Soldier for six Regimental Commanders! CSM Horn was appointed First Sergeant (1SGT) during the Korean War at the young age of 23 with less than six years service as he fought with A Company, 6th Tank Battalion. He would go on to serve in 1SGT/CSM positions for more than 22 years! Serving as the 3rd Squadron Sergeant Major, he was recommended and selected Command Sergeant Major (CSM) on the first list published by the Department of the Army (DA) in 1967 while still serving in Vietnam, and became the first Regimental CSM of the famed “Blackhorse” Regiment in October 1967. During his first tour, he served four Regimental Commanders: Colonels Farley, McFarlane, Holder, and Gorder. His first tour included some of the heaviest fighting in the first half of the conflict including TET ’68. Returning to the States, he was posted to Fort Hood, TX where he served briefly as the CSM of the 2nd Armor Division. In July 1969 he returned to Vietnam at the request of Colonel Don Starry and again served as the Regimental CSM—first under Colonel Jimmy Leach followed by Starry. CSM Horn was the Regiment’s top soldier during the Cambodian invasion in May and June 1970. In July of that year he completed his second tour in ‘Nam and returned to Fort Hood where he retired from active duty in 1973. During his time with the “Blackhorse”, he was the CSM for six of the ten Regimental Commanders to serve in Vietnam and was at the side of Colonels McFarlane (’68) and Starry (70) when they were wounded and was with Colonel Holder (’68) when he perished in a helicopter crash. CSM Horn’s awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with “V” Device and three Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC), Meritorious Service Medal w/OLC, 23 Air Medals, Commendation Medal with “V” Device and three OLC, Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. CSM Horn was also awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and is one of only six enlisted men to be awarded the Gold Medallion of the Order of St. George. In 1987, CSM Horn was appointed by DA as the first Honorary Sergeant Major of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, a position he still holds, serving along with General USA (Ret) Starry, the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. CSM Horn has made his home in Copperas Cove, TX since retiring there in 1973. He has one son and two grandchildren. His beloved wife, Agnes, passed away last month and we of the 11thACVVC offer him and his family our deepest sympathy. Now fully retired, if it does not interfere with his golf game, CSM Horn mows the lawn once a week.