The Paper Chase - From Ice Cream Stands to Change of
Broadsheet and Tabloid
Newspapers capture the day to day rhythms of public life,
the significant and insignificant, the who - what - when and
where in simple text usually accompanied by photographs with
short captions. Their strength lies not in careful analysis
of an issue but rather in the simple reporting of the facts.
Writing styles vary greatly, evolve over time and reflect
what appeals to the buying public. They are the ideal device
for modern multi tasking, catching up on the news, drinking
morning coffee and helping paper train the puppy. You can
get a lot done with a fifty cent broad sheet.
For historians, newspapers are an wonderful tool. They
capture the start of a big story before anyone realized the
significance of some small event. They contain the thousand
tiny pieces, the names, places, events that make up the tone
and texture of what historians hope to collect and
understand. Only photographs and the clear headed
recollections of first hand event participants rival
newspapers in research value.
There are problems, however. Newspapers are inexpensive,
fragile and tend to hang around in ever growing stacks. This
makes them very disposable. Anyone who has ever missed a few
trips to the paper recycling center knows the volume of just
one month’s accumulation. Luckily, one of the first
commercial micro filming applications in the early 1950s was
applied to the back copies of US major daily papers and the
complete New York Times collection, reduced to film, fits in
a space slightly larger than a large walk - in closet. Even
most small American towns have their weekly paper indexed
and filmed at least back to the end of the 19th century. The
modern trend for newspaper files is digital and on demand.
The same volume of Times data reduced to digital format fits
in a server the size of a suitcase.
Collections of specialty newspapers, religious, fraternal or
trade union publications for example, have not faired as
well. Often printed in limited numbers in small scale shops,
the print runs never approached the sheer numbers that
seemed to guarantee that at least a few copies could be
finally located years after printing. Every now and then, in
a closet, in an attic, in grandpa’s old trunk, a few
yellowed copies of the Brooklyn Jewish World Daily, The
Woodsman’s Gazette or the Steel Worker Forward turn up, hit
E Bay and are reunited to some collection. The paper is
fragile, it does not age well. It yellows, it tears and
finally, it just falls apart but there is always hope that a
few more survivors will be found, scanned and live forever,
easily within reach of a Google search and a historian’s
The Blackhorse Newspaper, the monthly publication of the
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, certainly dates back to the
Vietnam period of the unit, probably to Fort Meade and
perhaps as far back as the first rotation in Germany, on the
Czech border in the late 1950s. Sadly, there appears to be
no complete collection of all back issues.
In 1972, as the Regiment stood down, the Blackhorse ceased
publication in Vietnam. The re-flag of the 14th ACR later
that year marked the return of the 11th Armored Cavalry to
Germany and in 1975, the unit newspaper resumed publication.
The specifics of how the newspaper was revived are unclear,
however the key player was Sp 5 ( SGM Ret ) Larry Whitley,
Senior, a school trained Information and Publication
Specialist. He was assigned to the cavalry in March 1975, to
fill a newly authorized position on the R staff and soon had
the mission of transforming the Fulda Community newsletter
to a full scale unit newspaper. With the command support of
the several Blackhorse senior officers who recalled the
newspaper from Vietnam, Whitley went to work and by early
summer, Volume 1, Number 1 was ready to print.
In Germany, the Blackhorse was formatted in tabloid size, 12
by 24 inches and printed in Darmstadt at the Stars and
Strips facility. Initially consisting of a front page, left
and right interior page and back page, through the years,
the newspaper, like the Regiment, would certainly grow. By
1985, it was not uncommon for the paper to run to a full
sixteen pages filled with large photographs and well written
supporting articles. Color crept in, integrated into the
front page header with a bold red splash recalling the red
and white cavalry flash.
The early editions did not recognize writers, only articles
from outside of the Regiment attributed the source and many
times the focus was on activities in the Fulda Community. As
the newspaper evolved, efforts were made to insure that both
Hersfeld and Bad Kissingen received their share of coverage.
The names of both staff writers and single time contributors
almost always accompanied the later articles. Distributed
free of charge, Blackhorse was one of the many 7th Army unit
and community focused newspapers from that period. Troopers
may also recall “Old Ironsides“ - 1st Armor Division.
“Scout“ 8th Infantry Division and the “Crusader“, 3rd
Infantry Division. For a partial list of similar
publications see Walter Elkin’s great USAREUR web site, in
left margin scroll and select Unit Newspapers.
SSG Larry Whitley in
a 1978 photo that accompanied an article in the
Blackhorse recalling his major contributions in re-establishing the newspaper. He departed Fulda fr a CONUS assignment in February of that year.
The writing styles in
Blackhorse were to the point but not without some hint of
personality. Volume 1, Number 1 dated July 1975 notes that
Colonel John L. Ballantyne was the RCO, the Information
Officer was 1Lt Mark A. Hammer and the Editor was Spec 5
Larry Whitley, Sr. There were staff changes due to normal
personnel rotations and by 1978, Lt Bruce D. Jette was the
PAO with oversight responsibility and the temporary editor
was staff photographer and writer Sp 4 Lee A. Reeder. Later
that year, Sp 5 Lynford Burley, another Army trained
journalist - information specialist was assigned as editor.
The earliest regular Eaglehorse article contributor from
this period was Lt Austin Bay .http://www.austinbay.net/books.html
Colonel (Ret) Jette Ph. D. offered this recollection.
“I had been a platoon leader with the 1st Squadron and about
the time when I could expect an XO position or secondary
staff job, Regiment sent out the requirement for an Lt from
each squadron to join the R - staff. I was selected and
watched as Lt Mike Herrederia from the Eaglehorse and an Lt
from the 3/11 went to the RS - 3 shop. Much to my horror, I
went to the RS - 1. Looking back, I learned a great deal in
the job but it certainly took some getting used to. I had
overall responsibility for the Blackhorse Newspaper, but
really, Larry Whitley and Lee Reeder had it under control.
They had writing skills, knew photography and apparently
learned the rest on the job. I spent a lot of my time
escorting and briefing VIPs visiting the border and
Regimental area plus learning every aspect of a new foreign
language, the V Corps - Regimental interface on military
Lee A. Reeder
http://www.winningwords.com/ , who on two separate
assignments was involved with production of the Blackhorse,
recalled how his involvement with the newspaper began.
“Sometimes you make your own luck and sometimes, you just
get lucky. I had the very good fortune to be offered a
position with the Blackhorse Newspaper shortly after
arriving at Downs Barracks. It was a great thrill for a
nineteen year old trooper with some writing and photography
skills and it all started with my camera.
is my story “
The newspaper maintained a careful balance between
interesting information and operational security with the
level of factual military reporting held at about the level
that any on post German worker reporting back to the East,
could have easily observed. In the early years, there was no
discussion of military crime and punishment however, by the
early 1980s brief articles detailing significant law and
order topics were occasionally seen. As Regimental
commanders arrived and departed, some choose to add
Commander’s Comments, others did not. Cartoons, various
trooper forums and clip art segments were experimented with
as the paper tried to keep current, interesting and on top
of significant issues related to soldier and family life in
Mr. Neil Morrison at the Fort Irwin Museum, believes he has
much of the production run of Blackhorse from the Fulda
years. The copies, first held in the historical files of the
Regimental Public Affairs Officer (Germany) and then turned
over to the museum, have recently been inventoried and it
appears the museum has examples of over 90% of the Germany
The banner and a
composite of images as the Blackhorse Newspaper resumes printing in
Germany, July 1975. The task before us is to try and assemble the
entire collection on line. Mike McGehee gets us off to a great start
with most of the first three years.
Luckily, cavalry troopers being pack rats at heart, we
have Mike McGehee’s personal collection of the first three
years of publication of the Blackhorse at our immediate
disposal. We are missing only four issues and hopefully,
they will turn up in the Fort Irwin collection. Delbert
Richardson from the 2/11 and Lee Reeder agreed to help out
with scans and copies of Blackhorse from their collections
and Walter Elkins, with a huge archive of USAREUR newspapers
starting in the mid 1980s, has agreed to search for anything
still unaccounted for.
We have two goals for this research. At this web site, we
intended to post all articles and images directly related to
the Eaglehorse squadron and a brief outline of other
Regimental news as covered in each edition. With each site
update, we will try to add a new volume, roughly matching a
twelve month publication block. The second goal is to locate
and provide copies of those issues missing from the Fort
Irwin Museum collection. This will allow the home of the
Regiment to have a complete historical file of the unit
newspaper from the long, Cold War period.
Newspapers have a
habit of hanging around in the most unusual places. Geoff Walden
rescued this front page set of the Soviet Red Star paper from the
ruins of Barbara Kaserne in Meiningen earlier this year.
We ask that any troopers visiting the web site who saved
copies of the Blackhorse, from a single issue to a
significant collection, to contact us. Neither the
Regimental Museum or Walter Elkins web site is staffed or
funded to perform industrial volume scanning. We would
prefer to reconstitute our on line collection as much as
possible from individual troopers and then only ask for
outside support when we exhaust all other sources.
Please note that it is difficult to produce a high quality
scan from an old newsprint image.
We also are adding the image and article collection provided
by Erwin Ritter of German articles related to Daley Barracks
that was retained as either a clip file by the Saale Zeitung
or as part of the Partnership File at the BGS Headquarters
at Oerlenbach. We will post those photographs and a brief
translation of the caption or articles as appropriate in
each year folder. This will be an ongoing feature with
updates occurring over several months. Please be patient,
this project is more work than you might think.
German Images and Article Abstracts from the 1960s
Blackhorse Volume 1
Blackhorse Volume 2