It's the custom of cavalrymen the world over to work hard and play hard with equal enthusiasm.
Although Troopers have certainly tended to put a great deal of energy into festivities over the years, they have also striven to exceed the training standards set by the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Reflecting on his years of service with the unit from the 1970s through the 1990s, Hugh Reddit once observed that in the field, First City Troopers tend to be “tactically proficient and technically absent."
In that one phrase, Reddit captured an essential aspect of First Troop culture. Elaborating, he says, “Our men were clever, but they were generally disinterested in technicalities or military nomenclature. There was one First Sergeant, for example, who was very talented as an administrator. Under his leadership, the men scored excellent ratings in almost every testing area. But I wouldn't be surprised if, for years, he never fired a weapon himself, or if he never knew how to operate a tank! He was good enough at coordinating everyone else’s talents that no one thought to ask. He always knew how to spread the guys with technical know-how throughout the unit, so they could raise the standards of everyone else.”
He continued, “When it came to tactics, the same Troopers who seemed impervious to technical details could be brilliant at improvising solutions to field problems. For example, at one annual training exercise, regular army evaluators were so impressed by the unit’s performance of a complicated field maneuver called “Route Reconnaissance and Withdraw to Supplementary Defensive Positions,” that they called it, “The best overall performance of these missions in ten years, with aspects of it the best we’ve ever seen.”