FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- In keeping with the traditions of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 42 maintenance troopers stood side by side on Fritz Field, here, ready to undergo rigorous training to become a spur holder on Oct. 16.
The event started with the Army's Physical Fitness Test to demonstrate physical toughness. After tossing and turning on the wet and muddy grass field, the shave-tails stood ready and motivated to begin their 3.5 mile-run.
"There are two things that I want you guys to take away from this. One, I will never leave a fallen comrade. The second, I will become proficient in my warrior tasks and drills, I read that somewhere," said Maj. Robert West, executive officer, Regimental Sustainment Squadron, 11th ACR. With that, the Spur Ride officially begins as the shave-tails sounded off with the Regiment's motto, "Blackhorse."
This was followed by a road march to the post obstacle course where personal courage and teamwork were demonstrated. The next event took the troopers through a long ruck to the Horse Detachment's area where different training lanes were staged to test basic warrior tasks and drills.
The spur board is one of the more crucial parts of training as it tests the trooper's knowledge on the history and importance of what it takes to become a cavalryman.
The evening concluded with a land navigation course. Each team had to find seven points and accomplish different tasks given by current spur-holders at each station. Although this event was challenging for many the spur-holders motivated the new competitors.
These traditions are seen in similar organizations from college fraternities and sororities to corporate networks. Although they may not be as physically challenging compared to the cavalry's spur ride, they teach the incoming member a valuable lesson about continuing a legacy.
"No matter where you go, you will carry the 11th ACR traditions with you and your spurs will be respected by other Calvary Units around the world," said 1st Lt. Chris Hanson, maintenance control officer, RSS, 11th ACR.
Spurs are visible symbols that reflect upon the rich history of cavalrymen. The spurs garnish high regard and represent esprit de corps amongst all 11th ACR Blackhorse troopers.