FORT HOOD, Texas – Spouses of soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division participated in a Spouse’s Spur Ride, Oct. 8, here on Fort Hood.
The brigade modeled the event after the spur ride, a time honored tradition upheld by cavalry regiments throughout the Army and originating in knighthood, where the awarding of gilt spurs symbolized entry into ranks and fraternities of mounted warriors.
Today, the spur ride is considered a rite of passage for cavalry Soldiers and consists of a battery of physical and mental tests that evaluate leadership, technical and tactical proficiency and the ability to operate as part of a team under high levels of stress and fatigue.
Last week, husbands and wives of soldiers with the Greywolf Brigade experienced some of these tests for themselves. The men and women fired weapons, administered first aid, traversed an obstacle course and completed a mile long foot march in order to develop team building and cohesion as the brigade prepares to deploy early next year.
The day began at 8:00 a.m. at the 1st Cavalry Division Museum and excitement spread as more than 100 people anxiously waited for the event to start.
After welcoming remarks from the brigade’s commander, Col. Douglas Crissman, the spouses loaded onto busses and separated to each of the five events.
At the pistol firing range, soldiers demonstrated how to operate, load and fire a Beretta 9 mm pistol. The spouses were excited and many said they had never fired a weapon before.
“I learned how to shoot a [9 mm pistol]. I had never, ever shot a gun before and it was a challenge for me, but I did it,” said Mindy Fogelberg, a Family Readiness Group leader for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.
At the base’s Warrior Skills Training Center, the participants fired rifle and machine gun simulators. The groups visited the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment’s motor pool and learned how to treat a casualty, use a radio to call for a medical evacuation and participated in a three-legged race. Later, they leapt, crawled, sprinted and hurled their way through an obstacle course complete with tires and a “grenade” toss.
The final event was a mile long foot march through the streets of Fort Hood. The participants borrowed their soldiers’ rucksacks and marched in formation back to the museum, where they received their spur certificate and a pair of model spurs.
Soldiers were enthusiastic about seeing their spouse get down and dirty.
“I just think it’s great to see them know what it’s like to strap on a rucksack, assemble a machine gun and throw a grenade,” said Maj. Dave Norris, the brigade’s fire support officer. “I think all wives ought to do this!”
By participating in events like this one, spouses of soldiers established bonds with each other that will carry through the unit’s deployment next year. These support systems are what keep the brigade running while overseas, said the brigade commander.
“The more fun and self-sufficient they are as a group of spouses, the more effective their soldiers can be at focusing on the mission while deployed,” said Crissman.