By Pvt. Kelly Welch, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJuly 24, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - The thermometer read 98 degrees, sweat poured from brows and the ground was as parched and unforgiving as the noncommissioned officers and officers who were yelling instructions. The officers and enlisted endured the daunting heat and rough physical training as part of the initiation into the Order of the Silver Spur.
Troopers with 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division showed their esprit de corps by participating in the Spur Ride July 17 here at Fort Hood.
The Spur Ride is an initiation into the Order of the Silver Spur. Soldiers, including enlisted and officers alike, participated in the initiation that started with a good old fashioned 'smokin' by previously initiated members.
The event kicked off at the 1st Bn, 82nd FA Regt. troop area with the candidates doing pushups, low crawling across the ground, and log carrying, before they had a meal ready to eat dinner.
After dinner, the seven, four-man teams plotted the course of their mission before heading out for an 11.2 mile walk. Starting the mission in full battle gear, the teams stopped at four different stations to perform a task. The stations included weapons training, reacting to an IED, urban combat operations, and reacting to direct fire.
Candidates were thrilled to be asked to participate in such an honored tradition and training that goes along with the initiation into the Order of the Silver Spur.
Cadet Jimmyvan Cogles, an ROTC cadet/student from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedra who is spending part of his summer with 1st Bn, 82nd FA Regt., was honored to participate in the Spur Ride.
"Anyone can go to Airborne School," said Cogles, from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, "but you have to be in the right spot and right time to join the Order of the Silver Spur.
The upbeat attitude to the initiation wasn't limited to Cogles. Capt. Jeff Priest, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery commander and Raleigh, N. C. native spoke of his patient wait to be initiated into the order.
"We are here because we are all ready for it," said Priest. "It's been a long time in coming to bring back the initiation."
Priest is referring to the last initiation ceremony, which took place more than six years ago for this unit.
Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Brown, sergeant major for 1st Bn, 82nd FA Regt. and Albany, Ga. native, brought back the tradition to build morale and motivation, team building skills, and cohesion among battalion officers and NCOs.
"We are very proud to be renewing a long standing tradition," said Brown. "This is a very proud moment for us, for the officers and NCOs who are participating in the ride."
That evening, the teams headed down Battalion Ave. towards the training areas to face more challenges. The exercise took little more than five hours to complete before the teams made their way back to the troop area.
The 27 men and one woman who took part in the Spur Ride will receive their silver spurs and a certificate prior to the Brigade's Rampage training in mid August.