Before sunrise, battalion commander, riding his light bay horse and followed by his servant, reached the gate. The servant soldier cut short his distance to hold the bridle of commander's horse. When the CO dismounted, the soldier took the horse away. The lieutenant, to meet the battalion commander, marched forward, stopping about four yards before his commander. Distinctly and loud enough, the officer of the guard recited the formulas. Then leaning forward, the lieutenant whispered, "Sir, would you, please, spare a few minutes of you time?" Commander obliged. Only the guards knew what was divulged. The expression on the commander's face changed from dim to radiant.
Next, they both approached the drill ground in the center of which the base flagpole stood. The commander returned the battalion's solute. Then, climbing the steps, he stood on the platform, facing the units. The flag hoisting ceremonies began. After that, the battalion commander addressed the units:
"Commissioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men, good morning.
(The echo of the reply reverberated across the fort.)
I would like to thank you all for the excellent job you performed last night. It was no less than a surprise attack. In fact, a friendly uncalled for operation. It was implemented in the dark and in most unsuitable garment. Some even had no footwear. Your dedication prevented injuries to the other half of our bodies-horses. You returned the provoked horses to the respective stables unharmed. During this operation, some of you were hurt. Anyway, congratulations, buddies. You excelled as a cavalier."
While the battalion commander was delivering his speech, the battalion vet looked bereft of life. His complexion changed from pale to red. Remembering the 'teeth bites', (the story will be posted later) he furtively looked at the lieutenant. The vet looked revengeful. As to the incident, it seemed that men had kept him in the dark. He, in the heart of his heart, firmly believed that lieutenant 'teeth bite' had a hand in it. He reasoned why this worth-for-nothing individual should poke his nose into the veterinary affairs. Finally, the vet decided to avenge himself at whatever cost.
Afterward, the command 'Prepare for March' echoed.
The military band had not yet started. The master sergeants marched the units forward to get ready for parade. While marching, men started a somehow altered marching cadence:
I don't know, but I've been told, 345
Look to left and what do you see, 345
Shout it out and sing it loud, 345
Battalion Commander, having heard the altered cadence, additionally saw the bruises, sores, limping, and strained looks. Later, units were marched toward the stables for grooming and saddling.
When the area cleared, battalion commander ordered an urgent staff and command meeting to discuss the previous night's event. He had to brief the regiment commander and the latter his higher echelon.