News: The Spur Ride history continues
Story by Sgt. Vincent Byrd
FORT BLISS, Texas - An Army-wide custom took place here, July 11-13, as soldiers of 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, took part in a traditional ‘spur ride’ in which contestants faced grueling conditions in an effort to earn their spurs under the Order of the Spur.
The wear of the Stetson hat and spurs is a way to distinguish the cavalry trooper soldiers serving in cavalry units as well as those attached to the unit.
The spur ride is a two to three day event where the trooper is tested on basic soldier skills such as land navigation and disassembling and reassembling weapons.
“It’s a tradition that dates back to the civil war,” said Sgt. Bradley Hyatt, a team leader in Troop C, 1-1 Cav., 2nd HBCT, 1st AD.
The purpose of spur ride is to build esprit de corp and make the trooper feel more part of the unit, Hyatt said.
Spurs are no longer used by today’s soldiers since the cavalry traded in their horses for M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, though they continue to carry on the tradition of the cavalry.
“It was a challenging and fascinating experience that made me proud to be a ‘Blackhawk’,” said 1st Lt. Michael C. Powell, distribution platoon leader, Troop D, 1-1 Cav., 2nd HBCT, 1st AD
A written test is also often administered, with questions that cover 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, unit history.
During the spur ride candidates are also often required to recite from memory the traditional cavalry poem, "Fiddler's Green.”
Despite the exhaustion, 52 of the 54 soldiers who began the journey stood at Solo Point and received their spurs.
“It’s a great test to check yourself,” said 1st Lt. Erika Rodriguez, maintenance platoon leader, Troop D, 1-1 Cav.
Rodriguez, the only female candidate to complete the ride, said she wanted to show the rest of the men that she could keep up with them.
Upon successful completion of the spur ride, new spur holders were welcomed with a formal induction ceremony called the ‘spur dinner,’ where each soldier formally receives their spurs and is inducted into the Order of the Spur.
“It was a tough experience and it was highly motivating,” said Cpl. Aston Johnson, Troop D, 1-1 Cav. distribution team leader.
Spouses will have the opportunity to earn their spurs, July 27.
The Order of the Spur is a cavalry tradition of units like the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, that continues to offer soldiers the opportunity to earn their spurs and to honor the cavalry’s rich past and rewarding present.