• BABIL, Iraq - Casualties and Soldiers attempt to move under an obstacle on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu during a "Spur Ride" held by Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment March 18, 2011. Candidates for the "Order of the Spur" must successfully complete a spur ride in order to enter its ranks. Soldiers struggled through six grueling lanes during the all day event. US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston (110318-A-8856R-125)

    Cavalry's elite

    BABIL, Iraq - Casualties and Soldiers attempt to move under an obstacle on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu during a "Spur Ride" held by Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment March 18, 2011. Candidates for the "Order of the Spur"...

  • BABIL, Iraq - Soldiers of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, wearing their full combat uniform and chemical mask, attempt a team push-up during a "Spur Ride" on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu March 18, 2011. The Soldiers completed an all day event that tested their mental and physical limits for a place amongst the ranks of the "Order of the Spur", a cavalry tradition that dates back to its origin. US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston (110318-A-8856R-179)

    Cavalry's elite

    BABIL, Iraq - Soldiers of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, wearing their full combat uniform and chemical mask, attempt a team push-up during a "Spur Ride" on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu March 18, 2011. The Soldiers...

  • BABIL, Iraq - Soldiers of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, receive their "Order of the Spur" certificates in a special ceremony held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu March 18, 2011. The awardees were required to successfully complete a traditional "Spur Ride" consisting of six arduous lanes that tested their basic Soldier skills as well as mental and physical stress limits. The ceremony included a special dinner for the awardees. US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston (110318-A-8856R-203)

    Cavalry's elite

    BABIL, Iraq - Soldiers of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, receive their "Order of the Spur" certificates in a special ceremony held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu March 18, 2011. The awardees were required to...

  • BABIL, Iraq - Soldiers of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, attempt to evacuate casualties from a simulated battlefield on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu March 18, 2011. The Soldiers competed in a traditional cavalry "Spur Ride" to be entered into the coveted "Order of the Spur." The event was held over an entire day and required candidates to work in teams to complete six challenging events. US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston (110318-A-8856R-098)

    Cavalry's elite

    BABIL, Iraq - Soldiers of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, attempt to evacuate casualties from a simulated battlefield on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu March 18, 2011. The Soldiers competed in a traditional cavalry "Spur...

BABIL, Iraq - The average deployed Soldier will find themselves in situations where they are required to push their mental and physical limits. Some Soldiers choose to reach for a point beyond that limit.

Soldiers of the Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, serving on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, recently had the opportunity to join their brothers and sisters in the highly coveted "Order of the Spur," pushing themselves and their comrades during a traditional Cavalry "Spur Ride."

Lt. Col. Timothy Luedecking, commander of RSS, said the purpose of the event was to bring the squadron together, promote friendly competition and motivate Troopers to enhance their familiarity with basic combat functions.

A Spur Ride typically incorporates a series of stations where Soldiers will have to think and work as a team in order to pass to the next obstacle and, once completed, "earn their spurs."

Several teams of eight to 10 candidates began the grueling gauntlet around 5 a.m. After receiving a set of briefings, the teams set out to their respective test sites.

The first of six sites required Troopers to take a written exam based on Cavalry knowledge and basic Soldier skill level tasks. The remaining stations were designed to assess individual and team ability to make decisions and execute tasks under physical and mental stress.

Throughout the day, teams were tested on their radio and communications skills, weapons familiarity that included blindfolded reassembly and functions checks, a Humvee pull and a chemical awareness site.

At each station, teams who failed to meet the standard were afforded the chance to "buy back" their mistakes with group exercises.

"Having to do PT with all our gear and mask on was really tough," said 1st Lt. Sarah A. Barron of the squadron's support operations shop, and a Fairmont, W.V., native. "It's been a lot of fun, and our teamwork is what's getting us through."

A complex medical skills lane required Troopers to successfully move under simulated fire, assess and transport casualties, and maintain accountability of their team and equipment. A sound system provided realistic combat sounds that included machine gun fire and artillery explosions.

"Soldiers at this location have to be able to maintain cover, treat their casualties and keep moving toward the transport site," said Sgt. 1st Class Ileanette Pla, Medical Troop first sergeant, originally from Mineola, N.Y. "After they negotiate the first half, they will have to low crawl underneath another obstacle, where they encounter indirect fire while still keeping control of the wounded."

Each station saw exhausted and muddied Soldiers struggling to keep calm and motivated while being pushed harder by each of the instructors.

"This challenge keeps the history of the Cavalry alive and promotes team cohesion too," said Pla. "At each site the teams really have to come together in order to complete their tasks successfully."

Pla said most of the candidates were performing tasks that are not required of them on a daily basis, and this helps to sharpen those specific skills.

As the sun began to set on COS Kalsu, the teams gathered on the deck of the Support Squadron's headquarters for their hard-earned spur certificates. The official ceremony marked the Soldiers' entrance into a time-honored legacy of the Cavalry's elite.

Page last updated Sat April 2nd, 2011 at 04:35