FLOSSENBUERG, Germany - The 2nd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment recently hosted a Spur Ride, a training event that is rooted in cavalry traditions. In early tradition, earning spurs from the horse cavalry was based on learning the fundamentals. Troopers were not issued spurs until they proved that they could use them under combat conditions without hurting the horse.
2/2CR used its Spur Ride to focus on modern fundamentals. In March 2019, 2CR will host the Expert Infantryman Badge and Expert Field Medical Badge tests. To prepare troopers for success, the 2/2CR Spur Ride focused on EIB and EFMB tasks.
Graded by EIB and EFMB holders, the event provided clear standards and a realistic look at each trooper's proficiency. Capt. Will Hatch, an EIB holder himself, served as a lane walker and observed his team throughout the event.
"Giving Soldiers a realistic first look at the testing conditions and standards helps them know where they are," said Hatch. "Now, they know what they need to work on."
The Spur Ride began on the early morning of Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 with troopers conducting the EIB Physical Fitness Assessment. The test serves as a critical event in the EIB and requires a minimum score of 70 percent in the 17-21 age bracket for push-ups and sit-ups along with a four-mile run conducted in under 32 minutes.
Spur candidates formed up the following morning and were divided into teams. Troopers marched roughly 16 miles with 35-pound rucksacks and navigated through nine different stations. Stations consisted of EIB or EFMB tasks, such as clear, load, clear a stoppage and unload an M2, a .50-calber machine gun or treat a sucking chest wound. In addition, they had to know the unit history.
"The EIB and EFMB show mastery of individual tasks in those specialties," said Lt. Col. Christopher L'Heureux, commander, 2/2CR.
Upon arrival at each station, Spur candidates received training on the task, conditions and standards from lane cadre. After receiving initial training, candidates attempted to complete each task to standard, conducting retraining when necessary. Spc. John Oriol, 2/2CR, found that he benefited most from the hands-on and in-depth instruction at the trauma lanes.
"Each lane provided an opportunity for us to develop and grasp the basics of being a true professional at our jobs," said Oriol.
Spc. Ryan Wasson, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2/2CR, highlighted the experience of training under austere conditions and the stress of trying to execute a task under a time limit. He found that the cold and snow, coupled with the overall 16-mile movement meant they had to motivate one another, learn from each other and act as a team.
"If you wanted to learn and finish as a team, you had to work as a team," said Wasson. "A lot of Soldiers found out you are only as strong as your weakest link. We had to rely on each teammate's strengths and motivate each other to the end."
Wasson found that the medical lanes benefited him the most, providing the opportunity to rehearse his skills in a stressful environment.
"When you need to perform tactical field care, you are probably under stress," said Wasson.
Late into the night, 25 teams successfully finished the Spur Ride and were inducted into the "Order of the Spur".
"Using [this] model, our Spur Ride was designed to build expertise, but not just for [infantryman and medical specialist] troopers," explained L'Heureux. "Those Soldier skills are applicable to all. This Spur Ride developed 246 experts, regardless of [military occupational specialty], making the whole squadron better."