Dec 3, 2015
By Agnes Bramfeld
Driving north on Lake Shore Drive, after crossing Indiana 10, you will see a horse pasture on
your right with the imposing and handsome sign inscribed as follows: "In Honor of Sarge
Hudson and His Love of Culver Academies' Students and Horses through the generosity of
the Russell T. Bundy Family."
For those who knew Sarge this will bring a surge of recognition and affection that is deep and
lasting. To quote one of his students during the 23 years he was an instructor and inevitably an
institution in the Equestrian Department and the Black Horse Troop organization: "I remember
what he told me... in an uncharacteristically unguarded moment: 'I get to be around the two
things I love the most: kids and horses - and they pay me for it."
Before what will be an abbreviated biography, I want to share some of the memories recorded by
a group of graduates of the 1970s and other interested persons, who got together in a sort of
There were many stories about Buffalo Bill, alleged to have been a varsity jumper but at the time
an absolutely obese stubborn animal who, when he found himself in water, inevitably would lie
"I have a theory that Sarge loved to wade through wa- ter when Buffalo Bill was in his group, just
to be able yell, 'Miss Sayrah, Don't you let Bill lay down in that mud!' Then he'd silently watch my l
osing battle with unflappable Bill. I'd yell, kick and punch fat old Bill as dropped into the mud for a
lie down and then have off in knee deep mud to drag him out. Bill willingly to his feet and followed.
I think he winked at Sarge, too. Sarge would then spit and declare, 'No bad horses, only. bad riders.
You'll have to polish up that saddle when get back.' But he would be chuckling, I'm sure I saw it.
"We used to bet how many seconds it would take for Bill to roll with someone in the lake on a hot
day. "We went cross country riding one day... Sarge at lead.. .as I was trying to hold on to him (Bill)
because all he wanted was to go back to the riding hall, a branch came out of nowhere and knocked
me off him. As I was recovering, Sarge was right on top of me.. .1 looked up, he spit a load of that
tobacco and said 'Well, well, if it isn't Mr. Zuno' ...smiled and went on. .Oh the memories.
"I hope Mr. Zuno won't mind my including his name in this reminiscence."
There were favorite horses, too. Rabbit "would run full to tilt at any jump you pointed him at, then pop
over from about one foot back, no matter how high. Six feet was no the problem for him.
"Rabbit was my all-time favorite horse. I thought he step was like the war horses in ancient Greek and
Roman rose paintings. He would CHARGE at those jumps!
"Many recalled: "Did I tell you to dismount young man little lady)?" after a fall.
"The longer you set.. .the wider you get."
And then there was the Alibi Book, which contained some very funny reasons as to why people
became separated from their mounts."
Sarge was born John Wilbur Hudson in Florence, South Carolina, in 1921. He was in the United States
Army for 29 years, ahd he became a master farrier in the artillery equitation school at Fort Bragg, was
sent to Italy with the 10th Mountain Division during World War II , returned to Fort Bragg and earned
certification as a veterinarian technician.
He was a platoon sergeant in Korea with the 1st Cavalry Division and served in Iran as advisor to the
shah's cavalry battalion and camel detachment. For the last three years of his service he was command
sergeant major to the U. S. Military Academy Preparatory School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. During his
service he earned the Legion of Merit, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Purple Heart
and the Combat Infantry Badge.
He reported for duty at Culver on Sept. 1, 1969.
Sarge, with his family, lived at the south end of the East Shore and had the good fortune to have
them help him with his responsibilities.
Cindy was the model for horsemanship classes.... "I loved riding classes with Sarge more than anything
I can remember, often with Cindy (Hudson) quietly following Sarge 's directions and showing us how
it was to be done." And Teresa reports, "When Dad started working.. .and students were away for
Christmas vacation, all six of us kids used to help exercise the horses. We used to hit the polo ball
around. There were times when he would give us equitation class, just like in the pictures.
He would have us all trotting around, one behind the other like a row of ducks (his phrase). Then he
would walk out of the riding hall" "Stay trotting till I get back!" - "Twenty minutes later. . . .he might
have come back."
"My dad used to go swimming with us in Lake Maxinkuckee. All three of us girls would ride on his
back as he swam. He would go deep enough that everybody was under water. What a blast!"
There is a story about one of his appearances in the Inaugural Parades. Rev. John Houghton reported,
"I just remember the Vice President nudging the President and pointing in amazement at that guy
going by with all the stripes on his sleeve."
Sarge was gruff and often stern, but many of his students experienced his goodness and his kindness.
One young man who was not enrolled in equitation for another year, was told to just wear his jeans and
tell anyone who asked that his jodhpurs were at the laundry.
Another student recalls, "When I came back from being kicked out, Sarge put his arm around me and
said, 'Which one you want, little lady?' She was able to choose her favorite horse.
"Yes, I fell off and was dumped in the water at the sand pits and Sarge said all the things you all have
talked about. But he read me pretty well, and I could feel the warmth through the gruiffness. One of
the things he told me I will never ever forget, out of the blue, just before going home at the end of
my first year. I don't think I ever told him about my home life but he pulled me aside and told me
that if I needed a place to stay, come to his house. I never did. I wish I had."
His daughter Cindy said, "In later years we used to joke about how you never knew what kind of cars
you would find in Dad's driveway, BMW, Rolls, Mercedes, next to a beat-up pick-up held together with
But everyone would be in the house together, drinkin' Early Times and swappin' lies about 'horses,
dawgs, and wimmen,' in just that order. Everyone was welcome and treated the same."
That was CSM John W. Hudson, known and loved as "Sarge."
Note: Biographical information came from Bob Hartman Boots and Saddles, a wonderful history of
the Black Horse Troop from 1897 to1997
||The number of stripes on Sarge's sleeve turned heads -
including the President's - during Culver's participation in the
Presidential Inaugural parades.
|A young Sarge jumps over a
||Sarges;s daughter and grandosns. L-R Max, John, and Cindy Good and