FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - “The Army recruits soldiers but retains families,” said Lt. Col. Eric Krivda, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division commander, during a kids spur ride on Fort Wainwright, Alaska, June 26.
The 5-1 CAV hosted a spouses spur ride June 25 and a kids spur side June 26, providing families an opportunity to learn more about what their Cavalry Trooper does.
“You learn a lot of stuff you definitely didn’t know before,” said Samantha Smith, wife of Sgt. Odum Smith of Troop C 5-1 CAV.
While the events weren’t as challenging as the spur ride the Troopers participated in June 20, the spouses did have to complete an obstacle course that included pull-ups, sandbag lifts, low crawling and high crawling. The kids spur ride incorporated physical challenges and fun with rope climbing, a water-balloon grenade course, a water-gun assault course and a ride in a Stryker armored combat vehicle.
“It’s definitely challenging to try doing all this,” said Maia Thomas, 10-year-old daughter of Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Thomas, Troop B, 5-1 CAV’s senior-enlisted leader. “It’s fun running around trying to beat everyone.”
Maia said participating in the event taught her to always have backup because you might need someone to catch you.
Krivda said 5-1 CAV hosted a spouses spur ride in 2012, but realized it would also be a great opportunity to involve the kids.
Children age 6 and younger went through the event with their parents, giving them an opportunity to explain things to them. Noncommissioned officers led the children age 7 and older through the challenges, in teams. The older children were also able to use thermal-vision equipment and other high-tech devices.
“They get to learn as a group and hopefully bond a little more as a team,” Krivda said. “It just brings everyone in and gives both the spouses and the kids a mutual understanding of what dad does every day when he disappears for hours, weeks, or months at a time.”
Even in the heat, everyone at the event had a smile on their face.
Maia said, “It explains why [my dad] is stinky when he comes home.”