Black Jack (horse)

A coal-black Morgan-American Quarter Horse cross, Black Jack served in the Caisson Platoon of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). Named in honor of General of the Armies John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, he was the riderless horse in more than 1,000 Armed Forces Full Honors Funerals (AFFHF), the majority of which were in Arlington National Cemetery. With boots reversed in the stirrups, he was a symbol of a fallen leader.

Early life

Black Jack was foaled January 19, 1947, and came to Fort Myer from the cavalry remount station at Fort Reno, Oklahoma, on November 22, 1952. Black Jack was the last of the Quartermaster–issue horses branded with the Army's U.S. brand (on the left shoulder) and his Army serial number 2V56 (on the left side of his neck).[1]


Black Jack served a long and respectable military career. Among the highlights were that he participated in four state funerals:[1]

Army Major General Philip C. Wehle was the Commanding General of the Military District of Washington during those state funerals, except for LBJ. At that time Army Major General James Adamson served as Commanding General. It was just after that funeral that Black Jack went retired.[3]

Death and burial

Black Jack died after a 29-year military career on February 6, 1976. He was cremated, with his remains laid to rest in a plot at Fort Myer, Virginia, on Summerall Field; his final resting place lies 200 feet (60 m) northeast of the flagpole in the southeast corner of the parade field. He is one of four horses in United States history to be buried with Full Military Honors, the others being Chief, Sergeant Reckless, and Comanche.[4][5]


  1. "The Old Guard - 1/3 Battalion HHC Caisson Platoon". Archived from the original on 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  2. Elsen, William A. (January 25, 1973). "Ceremonial Group Had Busy 5 Weeks". The Washington Post. p. D3.
  3. Associated Press (February 7, 1976). "Black Jack, Famous As Riderless Horse At Funerals, Dies". The New York Times. p. 48.
  4. Belcher, Nancy Hoyt (July–August 2004). "Guarding History and Tradition". EnCompass. 78 (4).
  5. "Cavalry Horse : History of Horses. HAIL TO THE CHIEF".
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