FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- Before the sun rose over Fort Irwin, Jan. 7, 300 Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment gathered to participate in a time honored tradition of the Spur Ride.
The Spur Ride is a rite of passage for Cavalry Troopers where they earn the right to wear spurs with their uniform. This tradition goes back to the days of the mounted Cavalry; as new Soldiers proved themselves capable of maneuvering and battling on horseback.
"Over the past 114 years, troopers of the 11th ACR have come before and earned their spurs," said Col. Shane Celeen, commander of 2/11 ACR. "This tradition was upheld again with this Spur Ride. The Spurs are a symbol of the expertise and professionalism that each Cavalry Trooper needs to have."
The spur was more than just a symbol before the Army transitioned from horses to armored tanks; it was something that needed to be earned.
"When new troopers were assigned to a unit during the days of the mounted cavalry, they were given a horse with a shaved tail," said 1st Sgt. Jorge Lopez, 1st Sgt. of H Troop, 2/11 ACR. "This showed the other riders that they were inexperienced at riding and needed extra space while practicing. By the time the horse's tail grew back the Trooper had gained the experience needed to handle his horse and was then awarded his spurs."
The event included tasks such as a saber lane, call for fire mission, 9-line medical evacuation, horse ranching events and a unit history test culminating in a seven-mile ruck march from the Horse Detachment to Fritz Field, here, where the spurring ceremony was held. Each of these events tested the Soldiers on their ability to retain knowledge and adapt and over come in challenging situations.
"Each of the events were fun to do, but the part I thought was the best was the obstacle course," said Pfc. Jason Ramirez.
This event is steeped in the traditions of the Cavalry. Each Trooper strived to obtain their spurs in the past and the 11th ACR will continue to inspire new Troopers to participate in future Spur Rides to keep this tradition running strong.