News: Nearly 50 endure Spur Ride
Story by Spc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
FORT BLISS, Texas - In order to promote unit cohesion and foster Cavalry traditions nearly 50 “Blackhawk” soldiers of 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division participated in a traditional “Spur Ride,” at Fort Bliss and East Fort Bliss, May 25-26.
The Spur Ride, derived from Cavalry traditions and considered a rite of passage for Cavalry Soldiers, is a Cavalry unit's test of scout-related skills; it consists of a battery of physical and mental tests that evaluate leadership, technical and tactical proficiency and the ability to operate as part of a team under high levels of stress and fatigue, during both day and night conditions.
“The ‘Spur Ride’ challenged leaders both physically and mentally to perform a variety of Warrior Tasks combined with Cavalry traditions,” according to Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley Varner, the “Blackhawk” command sergeant major, who participated in his first Spur Ride in 2006.
The “Blackhawk” Spur Ride consisted of a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle push lead by the Squadron command sergeant major, Spur board, written test, obstacle course, and four different lanes (mock battles from unit's history, react to contact, weapon familiarization and to move as a member of a Fire Team). All of this was followed by an intense 12-mile road march which the Soldiers had to complete within three hours.
The last task was each candidate recited the traditional cavalry poem known as "Fiddler's Green" and "Iron Soldier March.” The event concluded with an old fashion Spur Barbecue.
The “Blackhawks” who are able to complete each of the events to standard then received their Silver Spurs.
“We started the event with 46 candidates; 36 troopers with saber, colt, and carbine in hand following the Squadron Colors, and having demonstrated the skill, fitness, dash and cunning of a United States Cavalry Trooper was inducted into the Order of the Spur forevermore,” said Varner.
According to Spc. John Todd, a scout with Alpha Company, 6-1 CAV and native of Phillipsburg, N.J., the toughest part of the Spur Ride was constantly moving.
“The Spur Ride was strenuous and extremely exhausting there was not one minute during the two days where we could rest,” he said. “But it was all worth it when my NCO [non-commissioned officer] put my spurs on me.”