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It was 95 years ago when members of the First Company Governor’s Horse Guard descended on Nogales, Arizona to defend and protect the United States border.
The First Company Governor’s Horse Guard, which had been granted admission to the Connecticut National Guard, spent two months in Arizona patrolling mountainous trails and inspecting mines and ranches. They were federalized and re-designated Troop B 5th Militia Cavalry and were led by Brigadier General Edward H. Plummer as a part of President Woodrow Wilson’s mission to protect American interests in the region.
The mission to Nogales and surrounding areas has long been a major part of the history and tradition of the Horse Guard. The story of the men who spent months with the Horse Guard in Arizona in 1916 was even turned into a book, Origins and Fortunes of Troop B, in 1921. A lot of the history of Troop B was gleaned from this book, and three men took it upon themselves recently to retrace the footsteps of the Horse Guard from 95 years ago.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” explained Cheshire resident Howard Miller, one of three men who traveled to Arizona. “The book served as our guide. It was quite a wily area.”
Miller served with the First Company Governor’s Horse Guard from 1998 to the end of 2010 and retired as a sergeant.
He also served as the unit’s historian for a decade and was in charge of its weapons. While he worked for the State Library in Hartford, he became interested in cavalry saddles and wanted to find an antique one for preservation. He got in touch with the Governor’s Horse Guard—the first time he had ever done so—and was told the old equipment was not for sale. After some back and forth, Miller was invited to come to one of the drills and, soon after, he enlisted as a recruit.
“The rest, they say, is history,” he quipped.
“A number of us always wondered what the area looks like today,” recalled Miller, in regard to the border region patrolled by the Horse Guard. “We always wanted to make a field trip. Now that I’m retired, I had the time to go.”
So Miller, Captain Leonard Tolisano of Avon, and Corporal John Cantelmo of Simsbury met