News: 'Saber' spouses earn honorary spurs during special spur ride
Story by Sgt. Brandon Bednarek
FORT BLISS, Texas - Spouses and friends of the 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, gathered at Biggs Park Nov. 14 for a chance to earn their honorary cavalry spurs during the squadron’s annual Spouse Spur Ride.
Dating back to the early origins of Army cavalry, qualified troopers took part in a “spur ride”, or a series of mental and physical challenges that, if successfully completed, would initiate them into the squadron and officially induct them into the Order of the Spur.
“The hallmark of a cavalry unit is mobility,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Gasser, event coordinator and commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “What better way to signify mobility than with spurs, the quintessential item of the horse soldier.”
With the modernization of military technology, the “Saber Squadron” has since traded in their horses for more sophisticated means of travel, but have continued the tradition of conducting spur rides for both troopers and their spouses.
Given a three-hour block to complete the spur ride, spouses split into three-person teams while rotating through three scout-oriented testing lanes.
Starting off with vehicle identification, reconnaissance reports, and call-for-fire missions, spouses then hit the ground running as they assembled/disassembled the M9 pistol and M16 rifle, tossed training grenades, and called up a 9-line MEDIVAC report during the second lane’s obstacle course-like format.
The final event of the ride concluded at the park’s paintball course where spouses engaged stationary targets in a reflexive-fire marksmanship lane, testing their accuracy and maneuverability.
Although a friendly a competition, teams drew inspiration from the Warrior Ethos and ensured the success of all spouses by working together and providing motivation to those that struggled.
When the time expired, all 30 spouses had successfully completed the spur ride tasks and were therefore awarded a lapel pin and honorary spurs, which were accented with red and white ribbon to represent the colors of the squadron guidon.
“It was a lot of fun today, I think the ladies out here had a great time,” said Shawna Novak, wife of squadron commander Lt. Col. Clay E. Novak.
“There were no stresses, or worries,” said Amanda Degeneres, a squadron spouse. “Everyone got to let loose and enjoy themselves for a fun-filled day.”
For Degeneres, the honorary spurs are a way for her to relate to her husband and understand the expectations that are required of a trooper.
“There are many obstacles that the troopers face everyday,” she said. “As a spouse, we have many obstacles as well, we learn to work together with other spouses and overcome them, just like the Soldiers do in their missions.”