The Shoulder Sleeve Insignia worn by the 11th Armored Cavalry Regimen were originally approved for wear on 1 May 1967 and were worn until the Regiment underwent a brief period of inactivation in 1994 (March to October), after which their wear was resumed. In the grant authorizing the insignia, it’s made clear that the rearing black horse refers to the “Black Horse” [sic] nickname of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

What isn’t so clear, however, is how the 11th ACR acquired the nickname “Blackhorse” (or “Black Horse,” as written in the grant of insignia). One of the most inspirational stories behind the nickname comes from what is known as The Great Monterey Oil Fire or The Great Presidio Oil Fire. On 14 September 1924, a lightning strike at the Tidewater-Associated Marine Terminal had set an oil storage tank ablaze; with oil still stored in wooden tanks, the fire was quickly out of control. An exploding tank sprayed burning oil over building and tanks, and soon burning oil was pouring out of the tanks and into the streets of Monterey.

Members of the Regiment fought the blaze using the most rudimentary means imaginable, climbing up wooden ladders propped against blazing oil tanks in order to spray water directly onto the flames. It took five days for the flames to burn out, but in the end the Troopers of the 11th Cavalry had prevented the rolling inferno from reaching the town. Twenty-six were dead, hundreds severely burned or injured—and the legend of the Blackhorse was born.

Related Items:
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia (Unit Crest)
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Combat Service ID Badge (CSIB)

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