Black Jack #4 – 26th Birthday Cake

In January 1975, Nancy Schado held one of her famous Black Jack birthday parties. Here you can see the cake for his 26th birthday in 1975. Each year she held a party for Black Jack at the Caisson Stables of the Caisson Platoon, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Fort Myer, VA.

Black Jack #3 – 1975 birthday card – Mary Lou Retton

Black Jack #3
In 1963, Black Jack captured the nation’s attention during the State Funeral for President John F. Kennedy. He remained a connection to a moment that Americans shared as a nation.

In 1975, the children of Fleming School in Fairmont, WV, sent Black Jack homemade birthday cards to celebrate his 28th birthday. As chance would have it, one of those children would capture the nation’s attention during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Mary Lou Retton became an icon of her own when she won the gold medal in the Women’s individual all-around competition. She scored perfect 10.0 in the vault and floor routines. She also won 2 silver and 2 bronze medals during that Olympiad.

Black Jack Week #2

In 1976, Black Jack celebrated his 29th birthday with style, with Secretary of the Army Martin Hoffman (1975-77) in attendance. Black Jack enjoyed his usual butter pecan cake, prepared by event host Nancy Schado. Many attendees brought treats for the famous horse, in the way of carrots, sugar cubes and apples. Black Jack’s 29th birthday would be his last, as old age was catching up with the spirited horse. He would pass away just two weeks later.

"Black Jack" foaled – January 19, 1947

“Black Jack” was the last of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps issued horses, and the last to be branded with the Army’s “US” (left shoulder) and his serial number “2V56” (left side of his neck). “Black Jack” became well known as the caparisoned horse during the State Funeral for President John F. Kennedy, with reversed boots symbolizing a fallen warrior or leader.

He was foaled January 19, 1947 at Fort Reno, OK. and came to Fort Myer on November 22, 1952. He was named after General of the Armies General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.

He not only took part in President Kennedy’s funeral, but the funerals of Herbert Hoover, Douglas MacArthur, Lyndon Johnson and thousands more in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Black Jack” ended his military career on June 1, 1973, after which he grazed and exercised at the Fort Myer stables. “Black Jack” died on February 6, 1976, at Fort Myer. He is buried at the corner of Summerall Field, the post parade ground, near the post headquarters.

Photo is from Black Jack’s 1970 birthday celebration. To see more photos from the 1970 birthday celebration: