News: 'Dark Horse' Soldiers get their spurs
Story by Spc. Justin A. Naylor
By Pfc. Justin Naylor
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
FORT HOOD, Texas - For Soldiers of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, a pair of spurs is more than just something you wear on your boots.
The spurs are a source of pride, and they show to the world that the Soldiers wearing them have heart. That is why some of the Soldiers of 4-9 Cav. took part in what is known as a "Spur Ride" on Fort Hood, Dec. 11-12.
The "Spur Ride" consists of an Army physical fitness test, in which the Soldier must score a 250 or higher on the 17-21 year old scale. The next day, the Soldiers wake up early for a 6-mile road march. They must complete the march in less than two hours to continue on. The Soldiers then go through various scenarios testing everything from their ability to detect and react to an improvised explosive device to disassembling and reassembling their weapons.
"It is a very exciting adventure as everything continues along," said 2nd Lt. Jen Mui, an operations assistant in the 4th Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt.
"Candidates get a feel for what to do out in a combat situation," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Hoff, a cavalry scout platoon sergeant in 4th Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt.
The Soldiers also get a chance to work with other "Dark Horse" troopers that they would ordinarily not work with, which is a confidence builder, said Hoff.
"If I am in Alpha Troop, and I am going through the "Spur Ride" with someone from Bravo Troop, I am going to know that they are "squared away" over there," said Hoff.
The event is a longstanding tradition for cavalrymen.
Before cavalry troops rode on armored vehicles, they were mounted on horses. The spurs were presented to Soldiers who had mastered riding, swordsmanship and marksmanship. This is where the modern-day "Spur Ride" finds its roots.
"It is important to remember they history, many people have done this before," said Mui.
But, before attempting a "Spur Ride" Soldiers will need one thing.
"Have heart before you come," said Hoff. "You need to get out there and want to do it."
After the two grueling days come to a close, the Soldiers are presented their well-deserved spurs in a ceremony. All the troops of "Dark Horse" are gathered to applaud the Soldiers who conquered the "Spur Ride".
"It is a good feeling to earn what you deserve instead of having it given to you," said Mui.