By Maj. Gabby Thompson
3d Cavalry Regiment Public Affairs
FORT HOOD (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas – 3d Cavalry Regiment unveiled the sign outside the 19th Street Chapel, officially renaming it Lucky 16 Chapel in a brief ceremony Oct. 4, here.
The renaming is part of a holistic endeavor to spread the regiment’s brand throughout their area of responsibility on Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos) to pay homage to their long history, rooted in cavalry traditions.
“By renaming this chapel to the Lucky 16 Chapel today, we pay homage to our shared cavalry lineage,” said Col. Kevin D. Bradley, commander of the 3d Cavalry Regiment. “Whether our troopers gather on the lawn or inside these chapel walls, they will be doing it in the spirit of the cavalry and the Lucky 16,” he said.
With their regimental numbers combined, the 2d Cavalry Regiment, 3d Cavalry Regiment and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment equal 16. A Lucky 16 event occurs when at least two of the regiments are co-located or perform missions together.
The first gathering occurred in 1979 when 2d Cavalry Regiment and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment began a close working relationship in Nuremburg, Germany, beginning a tradition known as the Lucky 13.
Years passed and relationships strengthened and expanded, eventually including the 3d Cavalry Regiment to form the Lucky 16. Only 11 previous Lucky 16 events have occurred since the tradition began in 1979.
“Lucky 16 is about preserving and remembering our history,” said Bradley. “Building camaraderie through stories of past deployments, past gatherings, and strengthening our bond as members of these diverse, inclusive, and adaptive regiments,” he continued.
Several members of all the Lucky 16 regiments were present at the ceremony, including Col. Todd Hook, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Commander and former commander of 3d Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Billy Graham, a former member of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the current deputy chaplain for III Corps, delivered the invocation for the ceremony.
Many others attended the Oct. 4 ceremony also have deep cavalry history, yet one is unique.
Sergeant Major Jaime Rubio, the operations sergeant major for the 3d Cavalry Regiment has served in all three of the Lucky 16 regiments, recently arrived to Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos).
“I am very happy to have served in all of the Lucky 16 regiments,” said Rubio. “I look forward to serving with everyone in the regiment and am humbled to carrying on the traditions of the cavalry, ‘Blackhorse’, ‘Dragoons’ and the ‘Brave Rifles,’ he continued.
Though there has not been an official Lucky 16 gathering since 2019, the next gathering is already in the making. 3d Cavalry Regiment will travel to Fort Irwin next summer for their scheduled training.
“Today is a down payment on May of 2022 where we will reconvene at Fort Irwin on the back side of the regiment’s National Training Center rotation,” said Bradley.
3d Cavalry Regiment staff, leaders and families helped make several improvements inside and outside the newly renamed Lucky 16 Chapel prior to the Oct. 4 ceremony, including landscaping, painting walls and hanging Lucky 16 memorabilia on the chapel walls.
There is also a special room inside Lucky 16 Chapel – a lactation room for nursing mothers- that provides a safe, private space where mothers can bond with their babies during the duty day, further fostering an inclusive environment throughout the regiment.
“…Being a mother and a soldier is something that must be supported if we are to achieve the culture we strive for,” said Bradley.
Chapels and affiliated services are an integral part of soldier support and building cohesive teams in the Army.
“The Chaplain Corps is older than the Army,” said retired Colonel Greg Schannep, a former 2d Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment chaplain.
“You wear the uniform, you do physical training with them, so there’s that automatic bond,” Schannep said. “Sometimes you have to go to them, because they can’t or won’t come to the chapel…so it was a blessing to be able to do that,” he continued. Schannep retired in 2004 after serving 28 years as an Army chaplain.
Cavalry is more than just its meaning. It guides all the Lucky 16 regiments in their daily lives and missions.
“Cavalry isn’t a branch or a unit, it’s a mindset, said Bradley. “It is about bringing all branches, all backgrounds, all experiences under the symbol of the cross sabers to form a lethal, combined arms team capable of tackling the toughest of mission in any terrain on any given day,” he continued.