Mobile Man in Kennedy's Funeral Procession

Mobile Man in Kennedy's Funeral Procession

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Arthur A. (Andy) Carlson now lives on the western shore of Mobile Bay.  But in 1963, he was a 19 year old PFC in the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry--the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.  They are the soldiers who conduct military funerals and other ceremonial events.

There was no practice required for this unit in order to conduct the funeral of slain President John F. Kennedy.  They did it everyday at Arlington.  "It was just bigger," says Carlson.

Carlson drew the duty of walking the caparisoned horse Black Jack during the funeral procession.  It proved to be a tall order.  The stallion had already shown he was too spirited for a rider, so the only job he was suited for was the ceremonial riderless mount at funerals for high ranking officers and heads of state.

Carlson said a loud noise and the crowds of the funeral made Black Jack antsy.  Controlling the horse was difficult.  The soldier says once standing at parade rest in front of the White House, the horse fidgeted and stepped on his foot.  Carlson said he maintained his military order, but thought his toe was broken.  In the end, the horse had simply ruined his shiny dress shoe--but his foot was still pretty sore.

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