By Spc. Shejal Pulivarti
1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – The tradition of having to "earn your spurs" reaches back to the beginning of the cavalry. The 1st "Centurion" Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, held their first silver spur ride, Nov. 24.
The spur ride is a two-day event where the candidates, referred to as shave-tails, are tested on warrior knowledge through a written exam as well as practical exercises in the field to earn their silver spurs.
The shave-tails maneuvered through an obstacle course consisting of several different events that enforced teamwork and strategic thinking for the assessment phase. "We all get to work together as a team and do the different obstacles and events," said Sgt. Alicia Freeman, combat ground station non-commissioned officer in charge, Company A, 1st BSTB, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
"The actual spur challenge is a 13-mile ruck march that has various warrior skills tasks to accomplish," said Justin, Texas, native Capt. Brian Kammerer, commander, Company B, 1st BSTB, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. "It tests their tactical and technical knowledge on weapons, (improvised explosive devices), first aid, logistics and communications."
The spur challenge had different stations along the 13-mile march that the teams had to reach, approach tactically and successfully complete the task assigned there.
The teams consisted of six to eight candidates, all varying in rank, experience and job skills.
"The spur ride showed me that we could work together – all the different jobs – and we all have different knowledge and skills and we all put all of that together and work through the challenge," said Freeman, a Queens, N.Y., native.
During the process, the shave-tails strip their uniform of rank indicating that everyone is on the same level through the challenge and enabling anyone, regardless of rank, to be the leader.
"It showed me leadership from different Soldiers, ones you normally wouldn't think would step up, stood up and took charge of certain events," said Freeman.
"The spur ride is a leader development program," said Kammerer. "The whole event builds unit cohesion and team building."
After completing an event in the obstacle course, Pfc. Trentis Johnson an administrative specialist for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st BSTB, noticed a common trend in the various stations.
"It's all based on team work," the Tiffton, Ga., native said.
The shave-tails pushed their mind and body to the limit to be awarded the traditional silver spurs worn on combat boots by cavalry units.
"I wanted to surpass the standard and achieve new goals," said Hawthorne, Calif., native Spc. Jamie Kendrick, a human resources specialist for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
"I'll get to wear the silver spur, that's my motivation," said Freeman.
This work, Centurions hold first silver spur ride, by SSG Shejal Pulivarti, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.