Signal, Intelligence and Sustainment Company, 1st Cavalry Division, hosted a Little Six Shooter spur ride for the First Team’s children on Mar. 17 at Fort Hood, Texas. The spur ride helped enhance our family and military relations as well as provide understanding of the significance of the U.S. Army Cavalry tradition of spur rides.
“I think that children of the military sacrifice so much without signing up for it,” said Capt. Briar Hughes, commander, SIS. “They sacrifice their time with their parents and I think bringing them into it makes them feel that they are part of the team.”
Spurs are no longer used by today’s Troopers since the Cavalry traded in horses for M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, though the Cavalry continues to carry on the tradition by testing Troopers on their proficiency of completing their warrior tasks and battle drills.
“Each child works alongside their parents and our mentors to get an understanding of what those warrior tasks and battle drills are,” said Hughes.
After listening to the history of the Cavalry spur rides, children were put into squads and guided by their service member to complete six stations. These stations included Nerf gun rifle qualification, water balloon grenade toss, camouflage face painting, an obstacle course, and radio and casualty care stations.
The unit’s goal was to get kids active and simulate actual events their parents and guardians participate in during a Spur Ride.
“It was great to not sit around and listen to someone explain what my dad does but to get a lot of physical activity in,” said 11 year old William Trivette.
The event hosted over 50 children along with their parents and guardians who were equally thrilled to have a hand in their children earning the coveted silver Spurs.
During the event, smiles beamed across the children’s faces as they used multiple types of manual and automatic nerf guns to hit hanging can targets, use correct posture and form to hurl their water balloon grenades at volunteers, maneuver an obstacle course as well as paint their face in the well-known, army green, brown and tan camouflage colors.
“A spur ride for service members is a physical and mental challenge over a period of hours or days in which Troopers will demonstrate their knowledge of warrior task and battle drills at a high standard that is required to make them a proud Cavalry Trooper,” said Sgt. Maj. Michelle Loftus, chief medial non-commissioned officer, 1st Cavalry Division.
Loftus ran two casualty lanes; one to demonstrate how to properly bandage and care for a wounded Trooper and the other lane showcased different types of carrying techniques used to transport wounded or unconscious Troopers.
In addition there was a Meal Ready to Eat or MRE tasting station for the mini Troopers to try the field meals that service members consume on mission. Many of the children were excited to sit down and partake in what lay waiting for them in each brown package. They were pleasantly surprised that cookies, cornbread and spaghetti among other things could come out of these packages. Many of the mini Troopers said that their favorite part of the MRE was the different drinks.
After completing the spur ride, in true cavalry tradition volunteers placed the Spurs on the children as they were in the front leaning rest position and distributed their certificates for completing the spur ride.
Events like this help build cohesion between families and the military as well as bring awareness to the rich traditions the U.S. Army has. All children were encouraged to “Live the Legend” as all Troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division do.