Fort Stewart spouses test their Soldier skills, earn spurs
May 7, 2009
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> - More than 20 spouses and one mother of a Soldier assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team took part in the squadron's first Spouse Spur Ride at Fort Stewart, April 30.
The Spouse Spur Ride is a variation of the Cavalry Spur Ride, which is designed to test Soldiers' physical and mental endurance in a series of tasks. Additionally, the event allows spouses to bond with one another and gives them an opportunity to experience a day in the life of their Soldier.
"It is important for spouses to see what their Soldiers do because (family members) are part of the team," said Lt. Col. Robert Reynolds, 6/8 Cav. Commander. "It's a team effort, and even though they don't wear a uniform, (spouses) play a very important role in supporting Soldiers."
With many dressed in support of their Soldier, the Spouse Spur Ride started like any typical Army day as the 6/8 Cav. family members formed up for physical training.
After breaking a sweat, participants then learned the value of teamwork and had to complete a series of physically and mentally challenging tasks such as a timed obstacle course, evacuating "casualties" to safety, and low crawling through the mud.
Furthermore, the spouses received hands-on preliminary marksmanship instruction at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. The EST provides initial and sustainment marksmanship training in a simulation room.
"(The EST) allows the wives to see some of the weapons we use, and how we use them," Lt. Col. Reynolds said.
Various other events were held throughout the day, to include a Meal, Ready-to-Eat cook-off and a simulated grenade toss course.
Though the event was designed for spouses, a special consideration was made for one Soldier and his mother. Lisa Kiorstein, mother of Spc. Anthony Gonzales, said it was important to take part in the Spur Ride because it illustrated just how hard her son works on a day-to-day basis.
"The training is not as easy as I thought it was going to be," Kiorstein said. "I really felt like I was part of the Army for a minute."
After completing the Spouse Spur Ride, participants were awarded certificates of achievement and, of course, spurs.
Amy Williams, spouse of 1st Sgt. Christopher Williams, Troop B , said she was proud of her hard-earned spurs and said the Spur Ride helped unite spouses within the squadron.
"(The Spur Ride) was just a lot of fun," Williams said. "We will all know each others names at the next event instead of introducing ourselves a thousand different times."
With the success of the event, the squadron plans on conducting another Spouse Spur Ride in the future.
"We will have a lot of new Families coming in this summer and fall," Lt. Col. Reynolds said. "We will do it again so that the new Troopers and their wives have an opportunity to do this."