News: Stryker soldiers earn silver spurs
Story by Sgt. Kimberly Hackbarth
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., – For a cavalry soldier, earning silver spurs is an induction into a tradition that dates back to the days of horse-mounted cavalrymen.
Young troopers and their horses would leave their homes to train under harsh, battle-like conditions for several days on cavalry history, tactics and skills. Once the team returned, the trooper was awarded his silver spurs as a sign of his ability and responsibility as a cavalryman.
One hundred and forty soldiers, mainly from 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, continued that tradition as they earned their silver spurs Aug. 1 after a two-day Spur Ride event here.
The soldiers, assigned to 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, spent two days on training areas here navigating terrain and applying soldier and cavalry skills through several different lanes.
“It’s important and special to the soldier that earns their silver spurs because it shows they went through a lot of hardship, a lot of trials and tribulations, and just a lot of pain to earn something that’s special and sacred to every cavalry soldier,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Sides, a platoon sergeant with 1st Platoon, C Troop, 2nd Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt. from Spokane, Wash.
Over the two days, Sides watched as spur candidates worked toward earning the spurs he himself received while stationed in Germany in the late-90s. However, on the day of the Spur Ride ceremony, he wore his gold spurs that he earned in Iraq in 2003, which indicate a cavalryman has been to combat.
From troop commanders to the most junior soldiers, cavalrymen of all ranks received their spurs.
Some soldiers sat on a horse saddle and had the spurs placed on their boots.
For Pvt. Zachary Thomas, a cavalry scout with B Troop, 2nd Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., participating is a Spur Ride was something he wanted to do since he signed up to be a cavalryman, he said.
In the pushup position on the sands of Solo Point, here, Thomas had his silver spurs placed on his heels by his sponsor.
“It felt good because it’s finally over with and I finally earned my silver spurs,” said Thomas, an Albuquerque, N.M., native. “I was pretty happy about it.”
At the end of a very tiring day, senior spur holders welcomed the 140 new members into the coveted club of silver spur holders.