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Fort Meade, Sturgis SD

Why oh why do all the vehicles I buy have minds of their own? They are all different types yet they all seem to go where they want to go with me along for the ride. All my cars are Herbies. Once again I went out for a simple run to the local Post Office and ended up at a much more interesting place, Fort Meade, an army post built in 1878 and once home for a time to the 4th and 7th Cavalries.

Fort Meade has no high walls surrounding it like people expect. When it was built the commander felt hiding behind high walls was bad for morale and it was safer to be on constant alert instead. Many of the original buildings like headquarters which is now a museum, the post office, barracks, and stables are still there. Many are still in use. The post was decommissioned and has been turned into a VA hospital but still hosts an Officer Candidates School. It was recommisioned for a short time in 2003 then decommisioned again.

Most notable is the former commander of the fort and his wife are responsible for the Star Spangled Banner becoming our national anthem. They felt it was wrong for a 117 year old country to not have what all other countries have and began having it played at the fort every day and then spoke to the state governor about their vision of making it country-wide for the Army. It caught on apparently. 😉

I toured the headquarters museum across from the parade field. It was well worth it. The history of the fort is very interesting. One major was court martialed for peeping at the colonel’s lovely daughter through the living room window. Now he was peeping, but it was out of love for the girl, not perversion. He was convicted and his life ruined but that conviction was much later overturned. This major headed up one of the groups at the Little Big Horn and the colonel may have gone a little over the top on him because the colonel’s son died with Custer and the colonel felt the major could have done more to save them though he was way too busy trying to save his own men and could not.

The lone survivor of Custer’s group was a badly wounded horse named Comanche. He was given the best of care and then brought to Fort Meade and retired. Orders were given that he was never to be ridden again or put to work except for leading all parades. He became a pet of what was left of the 7th Cavalry and moved on to Kansas with them.

The 4th Cavalry stayed at the fort and their last ride on horses was to war games where they surprised and captured the Colorado contingent and won. The horses were then replaced with mechanized tanks. These were used when they joined our forces at Normandy, France.

There was also a group there at one time being trained with gliders to rescue German scientists before the Russians got them. Germany had many of the best scientists during the war.

I highly recommend being at the museum when it closes at 5pm. That is when reveille is played across the street on the parade grounds and you can indulge your own service memories watching men and women in uniform forming ranks while superiors bark at them. I even saw one soldier drop and give 50. Heh heh. They shocked me when they fired off a canon round. As they marched away, they began to sound off and I was once again in uniform myself marching with them.

Last stop was up a dirt road nearby through the Fort Meade Recreational Area to the National Cemetery where soldiers, wives, and children are buried. It is the only one left with those fallen during the Indian Wars.

BTW, in case you wondered, Custer’s body was not buried here or at the Little Big Horn. He was taken back to West Point.

1 comment to Fort Meade, Sturgis SD

  • Tina

    Just a quick note to say hello and what a great website you have. Have enjoyed reading about your adventures on the road and tips.



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