Spur Ride tests Soldiers' physical and mental capabilities
June 9, 2014
The 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, held a traditional spur ride on Fort Wainwright, Alaska June 5, with nearly 80 Soldiers participating in an effort to earn their spurs under the Order of the Spur, a tradition that reaches back to the beginning of the Cavalry. Earning their spurs identifies Cavalry troopers as experts in their profession of arms.
During the event candidates were put through a series of mental and physical tests to evaluate their leadership, technical and tactical proficiency and ability to operate as part of a team while under high levels of stress and fatigue in both day and night conditions.
"What we do here is a brotherhood, a family tradition," said Maj. Jason Moncuse, 5-1 CAV squadron executive officer. "We bring the fresh guys in who haven't had the opportunity before and put them through simulated scenarios and basically test them and stress them to the point just to show them they have the heart to be a part of the team."
The spur ride is a U.S. Army Cavalry tradition dating back more than 200 years and although the requirements have changed with time, Cavalry Soldiers must still prove themselves in a series of soldiering skills to earn a coveted set of silver spurs.
Moncuse, a combat awarded golden spur holder, said the spur ride gives new leaders the opportunity to prove they have the military knowledge, ability, drive and determination to succeed on the battlefield.
"When I went through, years ago, it was brutal," said Moncuse. "It was a rough time, but boy when you are done it's great to have finally earned your spurs."
For the majority of the challenge, teamwork played an important role, but events like the gas chamber and land navigation tested the will and mental toughness of each Soldier as an individual.
Spc. Paul William Barber, a Cavalry scout with 5-1 CAV, recalled some of his experiences throughout the day.
"There were a couple points I was like 'this really sucks' and I wanted to stop but you just have to drive on, it's only a day - so might as well finish it all," said Barber. "It's a tradition and everybody has got to do it."
During the rough times, whether it was the gas chamber, the cold, muddy water obstacles or the long road march with a full combat load, Barber said his fellow Cavalry spur candidates were his main source of motivation.
"They just kept driving me on right next to me telling me to keep going and not quit," he said.
Upon successful completion of the ride, participants took part in a ceremony where each Soldier formally received their spurs and were inducted into the Order.