"Titans" spouses earn their spurs
October 16, 2012
Military spouses from the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, completed their first "Spouses' Spur Ride," Oct. 3, earning their spurs after completing a series of physically-demanding tasks similar to those earned by cavalry Soldiers Armywide.
According to Maj. Michael Davis, the squadron's executive officer, the Spur Ride is a rite of passage that is unique to the Army's cavalry community.
"The Spur Ride is a cavalry tradition and it is done throughout the Army," said Davis. "Primarily, it
is conducted for the Soldiers and it consists of common skills tasks, as well as some cavalry tasks to test the Soldiers' knowledge and abilities."
Although the difficulty level for the Spouses' Spur Ride is different from a Soldier's for safety reasons, it is still a rewarding challenge for the spouses that do take it on.
"What we've done is modified it to include the spouses so that we have a more family-oriented
atmosphere which shows them not only a bit of what their Soldiers do, but it shows them some of the equipment that they use in their daily tasks," said Davis.
The spur ride began with the spouses being divided into teams representing each of the four
troops in the squadron. After the initial briefing and safety instructions were given, they proceeded out to the first event, the obstacle course.
The obstacle course consisted of a high crawl underneath low-lying strands of white cloth engineering tape to simulate barbed wire, and slalom through the arm dip bars. They then carried rocks weighing approximately 10 to 15 pounds to simulate a "combat load" through another slalom course in a series of pull-up bars.
Finally, dropping the rocks at the end of the pull-up bar slalom, the spouses had to run towards a ramp where they swung from a rope toward the last obstacle, a woven rope cargo net where they climbed to the top to retrieve a ribbon and then climbed back down to complete the course.
From the obstacle course, the spouses completed a variety of basic Soldier tasks, such as setting
up a traffic control point, basic combat casualty care, and calling in a medical evacuation helicopter using proper radio procedures. Once those tasks were complete, it was on to simulating operations of a vehicle-mounted weapons system onboard a Humvee.
The final events consisted of engaging targets with weapons, such as the M4 rifle and M9 pistol, and crew-served weapons like the M240 and M249 machine guns at the post's Engagement Skills Trainer.
Since there were four teams, each team started at a different event to eliminate overcrowding. One team completed the obstacle course while another completed the basic Soldier tasks, and the other teams each completed the EST and the vehicle-mounted weapon station. All the while, the teams had to move to each event on foot with the exception of the EST, for which the teams were provided transportation.
Every spouse had a different event that they thought was the easiest or hardest event. Heather Hough, whose husband, Spc. Kristian Hough, is in Ares Troop, 3-71 Cavalry, shared hers:
"My hardest event, I would say, was the obstacle course," said Hough, while proudly displaying
a small bruise on her right arm that she received while on the rope swing at the obstacle course. "The easiest event was the traffic control point."
The Spouses Spur Ride ended with a squadron barbecue and award ceremony where, after receiving their certificates, the participants were lined up and "commanded" to assume the pushup position, so that their sponsors could tie-on their newly earned metal spurs to their shoes.
The squadron leadership and its Family Readiness Group contributed a great deal of planning and preparation to successfully execute this event and served as a motivation to get even more spouses to participate next year.
"With all the things going on in the squadron right now, we were challenged resource wise but I think we were able to put on a good event and we are planning another one for next year," said Maj. Davis. "We had 23 ladies get their spurs this time and with word of mouth, I think we'll get more spouses to join in."