First Strike hits Spur Ride challenge
December 21, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas-Twenty-eight Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, earned their silver spurs Dec. 15 and 16.
The spur ride, a 1st Cavalry Division tradition, tested Soldiers mental and physical ability in a series of tests to evaluate the Soldiers' leadership, technical, and tactical proficiency.
"1-21 FA conducted a Spur Ride because we are part of the 1st Cavalry Division now and I earned my gold and silver spurs when I was in the Cav the first time," said Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Brinton, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt. "I wanted my Soldiers to have the opportunity to be part of that tradition. It stressed their mental and physical capabilities and not everyone was able to complete all the tasks to standard. The ones that didn't are eager to better prepare themselves so they can earn their spurs when we do it again in the second quarter."
The spur ride was split into two days, starting with a five-mile run, leaving 37 of the original 43 First Strike Soldiers in the event. The next day, the participants woke up early with their 35-pound rucksack ready for a five-mile road march and a unit history test.
In the middle of the road march, the Soldiers had to apply a tourniquet, assemble and dissemble an M-16 rifle, complete a mystery event, locate an eight-digit grid coordinate on a map, flip a LMTV tire five times; and in the end, complete the road march.
The mystery event was chosen by the battalion command sergeant major and consisted of push-ups and sit-ups for one minute and a one-mile run all in between the five-mile road march.
The Soldiers who successfully completed the road march and every event to standard received the silver spurs.
Chaplain (Capt.) James Ward, of Stoneville, N. C., said he signed up to support his comrades and it felt great to have successfully completed the spur ride challenge earning his silver spurs.
"Right now I hurt, but it's all good because I have the stories that I can tell," said Ward. "I'm talking in terms about some of the misery that they put us through to be able to get it because there were certain parts that were easier to do but there were ones where I felt I paid my dues and earned it."
Spc. Shannon Carbalho, an orderly room clerk for 575th Fire Support Company, originally from Los Angeles, said she signed up to prove to the "naysayers" who said she was too old she could complete the spur ride to standard.
"A lot of my fellows soldiers said I was too old to do certain things and I wanted to prove a point," said Carbalho. "I feel wonderful and tired. I think the hardest part for me was the timed M-16 assembly event in between the road march."
Carbalho was the only female to finish all stations successfully to earn her spurs.
Staff Sgt. Lamont Barefield, from Philadelphia, already had his gold spurs and wanted to earn the silver spurs.
"I feel pretty good and now that it's over, I feel better," said Barefield. "It was very challenging and I am glad they are continuing the tradition and giving others the opportunity to earn their silver spurs."
For the 28 Soldiers completing the spur ride, they have continued the 1st Cavalry tradition; proving to themselves and showing others that through hard work and perseverance, they earned the right to silver spurs.