When a cavalryman dies, he begins a long march to his ultimate destination. About half-way along the road he enters a broad meadow dotted with trees and crossed by many streams, known as “Fiddler’s Green”. As he crosses “The Green” he finds an old canteen, a single spur, and a carbine sling. Continuing on the road he comes to a field camp where he finds all the troopers who have gone before him, with their campfires, tents and picket lines neatly laid out. All other branches of the military must continue to march without pause. Cavalrymen though are authorized to dismount, unsaddle and stay in Fiddler’s Green…their canteens ever full…the grass always green, and enjoy the companionship and reminisce with old friends.
No one knows the exact origin of "Fiddler's Green". In the United States Army its concept seems to have been popular among 17th and 18th century sailors, soldiers, and masterless men of Europe, who knew that they would not qualify for Heaven, but trusted that a merciful God would agreed to their credo that, "To live hard, to die hard, and to go to Hell afterwards would be hard indeed."
An article in the 1925 Cavalry Journal may give some credence to its origin in the U.S. Cavalry and the fact that it may have occurred during the Indian Wars. "Fiddler's Green" was inspired by a story told quite sometime back by Captain "Sammy" Pearson at a camp-fire in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming. Having mentioned Fiddler's Green and found that no one appeared to have heard of it, Pearson indignantly asserted that every good cavalryman ought to know of Fiddler's green, and forthwith told this story:
"About half-way-way down the road to Hell there is a broad meadow dotted with trees and crossed by many streams. In this meadow, known as Fiddler's Green, is located an old Army Canteen (where liquor was sold), and near it are camped all the dead cavalrymen, with their tents, horses, picker line and campfires, around which the souls of the dead troopers gather to tell stories and exchange reminiscences.
No other branch of the service may stop at Fiddler's Green, but continue to march straight through to Hell. It is true that occasionally some trooper who has a longing, as most troopers have, for a change of station, packs his saddle, mounts his horse and continues his journey. But none of them has ever reached the gates of Hell; for, having emptied his canteen of liquor, he needs be returned to Fiddler's Green for a refill."
Our Troopers in Fiddler's Green
4/1/1922 - 2/17/2013
Ernest Herman Collier was born on April 1, 1922 at Fort Stotsenberg in the Philippine Islands to William and Feliza DeLeon Santos Collier. The family moved to San Diego in 1929, Ernest was the oldest of ten siblings. His mother, father, two sisters Rachel Collier Tucker and Ophelia Collier and brother Simeon DeLeon Collier preceded him in death. He attended Stockton Elementary, Memorial Junior High, and San Diego High School where he played football, ran track and was Co-Captain of the Track Team. During his time there he was active in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) as an Officer. After graduating from San Diego High he attended Santa Ana Junior College and became a distance runner on the track team; he won many awards and trophies. Ernest was an Assistant Starter at the U.S. Olympic track team beginning in early 1979. He was on the Training Committee for San Diego Otay Mesa Olympic Training and the Official Starter for the California State track Meet. Ernest, affectionately known as (Sarge), was a member of St. Rita*s Catholic Church in San Diego, California. He was the first altar boy at Christ the King Catholic Church at an early age. Sarge participated in many church functions, especially the Friday night Bingo games at St. Rita*s, and was an active member of the Knights of Peter Claver. Ernest enlisted in the United States Army, where he was assigned to the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, known as the Buffalo Soldiers in 1942, and then trained at Fort Riley, Kansas and Fort Clark, Texas for moderate combat duty. His medals and memberships earned over the years have been very impressive. He holds the following medals: American Defense Service Medal, European African Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and the Korean Victory Medal. He was seriously injured for the third time in the battle of Puson, Korea; he was sent to the Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco, California where he was awarded the Purple Heart by General Mark Clark. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1954. He is a life member of the order of Purple Heart (MOPH) #49 and Disabled Veterans Chapter 2, member of the American Legion, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, San Diego, the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association of San Diego and also of Los Angeles, the 1402 Army Engineers Association, the Infantry Association and a life member of the Marine Memorial Association. Sarge was a charter member of San Diego Friends of Allensworth Chapter #12, where he served as an Advisor. He was honored to have one of the original Buffalo Soldiers as part of the Governing body. As a volunteer at the Neighborhood House in Logan Heights, he taught sports and English language to non-English speaking children. He had a giving spirit, always willing to help the less fortunate. Sarge has given many donations to help the needy, or feed the hungry, or whatever the need may be. Each year he donated turkeys to his church to make sure others had a blessed Thanksgiving. His donations were endless. He had outstanding work ethics, never believed in wasting time when there was work to be done. After 22 years of service with the United States Federal Government Civil Service, Sarge retired from North Island, San Diego, California. On February 17, 2013 Ernest (Sarge) Herman Collier departed from this life around 4:45 a.m. at the Veterans Hospital in La Jolla, CA. He leaves his family to cherish his memory. His wife Juanita, nearly 60 years of marriage; daughters Michelle Hearns (Rodney) of Colorado Springs, CO, Evaughn Collier of Richmond, CA; son Michael Dean Collier; sisters Birdie Baldwin of Los Angeles, CA, Tomasa Cline Olidera Collier of San Diego, CA, Feliza DeLeon Collier, Nettie Collier, Mary Agnes Jackson, Adeline Alexander and brother William Collier all of Los Angeles, CA; a “thanks” to niece Julia Collier Veasey who went consistently to the hospital to see Sarge; two caregivers Josie Criollo and Jennifer Henry, who took excellent care of Sarge and Juanita; five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; a host of nieces and nephews, church family and a host of friends. Sarge will be greatly missed and forever in our hearts.
2/27/1925 - 6/24/2016
Juanita M. Nita Collier was born on February 27, 1925 in San Diego, California to James Brown of Florida and Beulah Brown of South Carolina. Juanita passed away on June 24, 2016 in San Diego, California.
a native San Diegan, the second oldest of five childr5en. In August 1988, Nita became the first African American National President of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Ladies Auxiliary. Her husband Ernest affectionately known as “Sarge” her son Eric and her daughter Evaughn preceded her in death.
12/26/1937 - 4/5/2010
James Stevens, affectionately known by family and friends as, “Steve”, Big Steve”, “Papa Steve” and “Tu” was born on December 26, 1937 in Jackson, South Carolina (Aiken County) to Wesley Stevens and Pearlie Mae Jones. Steve joined the United States Air Force in 1956. He served in the Air Force until 1964. His duty stations included Guam, England, New Mexico, Alaska and Montana. It was while stationed in England that Steve met and married his wife of 51 years, Joan Deane Stevens. Steve left his military service in the United States Air Force in 1964 and in 1965 he joined the United States Navy. Steve served onboard the USS Ranger (CVA 61). Steve retired from the USS Ranger on November 17, 1975 as a Hull Technician Petty Officer 1st Class. After his military service, Steve worked as a pipe fitter for a short period of time at NASSCO San Diego. He was then employed as the Resident Office in Charge of construction of (ROICC) at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA. Steve retired from Civil Service in 1998.
Steve was an active member of the 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association, San Diego Chapter Buffalo Soldiers, American Legion Post 310 and VFW. He loved serving his Country and his community and was a friend to everyone he met.
Steve is survived by his wife of 51 years, Joan of San Diego, CA; two sons, James Michael Stevens (Letisha), San Diego, CA; David Anthony Stevens (Sandra), San Diego, CA; daughter, Sheri Kim Stevens-Parker (Tyrone) Murrieta, CA, grandchildren Matthew Stevens, Tyler Stevens, Kristen Stevens, Kristin Parker, Thomas Stevens and Briana Stevens; aunt Elizabeth Spells of Philadelphia, PA and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews in South Carolina. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers, Melvin Stevens and Ordis (Sam) Stevens.
1/5/1940 - 4/21/2012
Eugene Williams, age 72 of San Diego, California died Saturday, April 21, 2012.
He was born in Memphis, Tennessee January 5, 1940 to parents, Robert and Louise Williamson who preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his brother Carl and sister, Anne.
He is survived by Robert “Bully” and Juanita, Ruby, Maurice and Jean, Suzanne, Angela, Julian, Kelly, Jason and Ofelia, Ashley “T” and Joaquin, Nathaniel, Patrick, Shayla K, Kalani, Shayla R, Tianna, Jalynn, Jocelynn and nieces and nephews.
James was born January 13, 1942 in Forrest City, Arkansas to Viola (Keys) Davis and Mack Davis Sr, family of 6 boys 2 girls. He was a graduate of Lincoln High School in San Diego, CA. He was a marine and was honored to serve his country from 10 April 1961 - 19 April 1965. James, affectionally called JR was a member of the Buffalo Soldiers in San Diego, CA and an active member of the American Legion Post #310 for many years. He worked for the San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E) and was a member of IBEW Union #465 until his retirement.
JR relocated back to Kansas City, KS and converted back to a Kansas City Chiefs fan, but made it known his heart was with the San Diego Chargers.
Those that knew JR knew that he truly lived life to the fullest through life's simple pleasures such as fishing, traveling, music and storytelling with family and friends.
He had a natural ability to bring excitement and memorable moments with everyone he would share his time with. He will forever be remembered as a man who was loved by all.