‘Spur ride’ builds cohesion in advance of field training
Capt. John Furr, fire support officer, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., receives his spurs atop a horse from the CGMCG during the squadron’s Spur Ride ceremony. Photo by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire, 2ND ABCT.
Story by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire, 2ND ABCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Troopers with the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division underwent a traditional rite of passage in September to earn their spurs, marking them as true cavalrymen, according to their unit.
To earn their spurs, the troopers had to endure a 48-hourlong gauntlet of individual and group tasks, with eight lanes in all. Exercises in calling for fire, ordering a medical evacuation for a downed pilot, assembling a range of weapons, dealing with a gas attack, recovering a downed vehicle, establishing an observation post, conducting a route reconnaissance, and establishing communications had to be completed successfully in order for the troopers to remain in contention.
"The Spur Ride was focused on basic scout tasks that are vital to ensuring that the troopers are proficient in their areas of expertise," said Command Sgt. Maj. Toney Smith, senior enlisted adviser, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "With some field time approaching, the Spur Ride served as an individual training capstone for the troopers who will soon be putting these tasks to use."
The Spur Ride is a nod to the long and storied history of the U.S. cavalry and is especially important at Fort Riley, long a major center for that arm of the military and the home of the U.S. Cavalry Museum.
"In earlier times, new cavalry troopers were not given spurs immediately upon their arrival," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Powell, commander, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "Once the trooper had proven himself as a professional and an expert cavalryman to the unit, he was awarded his spurs. The Spur Ride is how we keep this tradition alive today."
Given the legacy of the cavalry and its role at Fort Riley, Powell and Smith arranged for the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard to play a role in the Spur Ceremony at the conclusion of the event. Troopers would mount a horse from the color guard, while a spurholder – a trooper who has already earned his spurs – placed spurs on the newly-initiated trooper's boots. The trooper then dismounted as a full-fledged cavalryman.
"(The presence of the CGMCG) made the Spur Ceremony a very special experience for the troopers who earned their Spurs, as well as their Families," Powell said. "It added a sense of how important this event continues to be, as well as how proud we, as a squadron, are of the troopers who gave 100 percent during this event."