The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division conducted a historical spur ride Sept. 5 and 6 at Fort Riley. The focus of the event was to certify Soldiers on skills to make them effective in combat and ensure they are ready for the next phase of training.
"The spurs don't even really matter to me … It's all about the training," said Spc. Luis Pena, infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Sqdn, 4th Cav. Regt. "The spurs are just an added bonus."
The majority of the spur ride participants were non-cavalry, support troopers in the squadron. Four airmen of the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, who are assigned to provide support to the squadron, were invited to participate and earn their silver spurs.
"It's an honor to be invited out here to take part in this tradition and heritage," said 2nd Lt. Pablo Kruger, joint tactical attack controller, 10th ASOS. "We're all on the same team, so taking part in this tradition is a pleasure and an honor."
The troopers and airmen started their journey with a physical fitness evaluation. Candidates were graded on their personal physical fitness using Army standards from 1946. The unit used the 1946 physical training test because it incorporated aspects of the current Army Physical Readiness Training and was aimed at mission essential battlefield performance. To complete the test, participants completed sit-ups, pushups, squat jumps, pull ups and a 300-meter shuttle sprint.
As evening set in Sept. 5, spur ride candidates were inspected prior to setting off on foot to complete their required tasks. Candidates were inspected on required items such as weapons, night vision goggles and other required items, which they carried in their rucksacks.
After reaching their destination and in the darkness of night, candidates were tested on vehicle identification, first aid, proper weapon assembly and function tests and radio communication. Troopers stopped at various checkpoints along their route where they had to answer questions correctly to proceed.
"I feel good that my platoon and I were able to complete this training," Pena said. "We have shown that every trooper has the necessary skills needed and is proficient." After the troopers and airmen completed their tasks and testing, they ended the expedition at Quarterhorse Field. One hundred and fifty Troopers began the spur ride, and when it was all said and done, only 49 troopers, including the four airmen, earned their silver spurs.
"We felt tested, but our guys pulled through," Kruger said. "The events in this course are the types of things we train for, so we enjoyed the experience and we would love to do it again.
"When we integrate with the Army like this it builds camaraderie and trust between our units and services. It's all about teamwork and trust. Taking part in events like this (builds) our relationship and (makes) everyone stronger as a team."