Children of Deployed Soldiers compete in 2/6 CAV Spur Ride
By Spc. Jesus J. Aranda, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs OfficeMarch 27, 2010
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- The first group of Soldiers of 25th Combat Aviation Brigade departed approximately six months ago, leaving behind their homes and loved ones. In that time life has doubtlessly changed for these family members, but some of the children of the deployed 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25 CAB Soldiers recently took the opportunity to write their own story of heroism and to try on the combat boots of their deployed mothers and fathers during a day filled with military challenges and fun.
So the story goesAca,!A|. more than 40 children of deployed 2/6 CAV Soldiers gathered at Wheeler Army Airfield, March 26, for the 2/6 CAV Spur Ride, a series of challenges and physical trials designed to indoctrinate these young Aca,!A"warriorsAca,!A? into the world of the U.S. Army Cavalry.
No horses were present for these would be troopers; instead, participants were divided into five color coded groups with a 2/6 CAV Soldier serving as the groupAca,!a,,cs team leader and guide.
Aca,!A"We began with a road march down to the gulch, which is approximately a mile-and-a-half road march,Aca,!A? said Capt. James Pascoe, the 2/6 CAV rear detachment commander. Aca,!A"After that we have a round robin of events to test their skills and endurance to keep them motivated and having fun.Aca,!A?
As members of a prestigious group, the 2/6 Soldiers with the knew they could not easily grant membership to the cavalry. So they set to work to devise challenges to root out those not fit to ride.
Aca,!A"The events were put together by the rear detachment Soldiers,Aca,!A? said Grace Hawley, the senior advisor to the 2/6 CAV Family Readiness Group. Aca,!A"They came up with all of the events. They took the task and ran with it. They did an outstanding job.Aca,!A?
Groups circulated the field and surrounding woods upon completion of each of the five preliminary challenges, including a modified Army Physical Fitness Test, individual movement tactics, water balloon grenadier course, combat medical training, and the low-crawl mud pit.
Aca,!A"We modified the APFT by keeping the push-ups and sit-ups and replacing the 2-mile run with other events to challenge cardio in other ways,Aca,!A? said Pascoe.
Instead of a 2-mile run, each participant did 20 jumps of a jump rope, 30 side-straddle hops, and a fire hose drag. Nevertheless, the children remained strong and carried onward.
What the child warriors faced next was a perilous belly crawl through the infamous red Hawaiian mud. Would these small Soldiers turn and run away'
Aca,!A"The mud pit is fun,Aca,!A? said Pascoe. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs an opportunity for kids to get down and get dirty away from their parents and just have some fun.Aca,!A?
The children seemed to be making these challenges out to be fun and games. The 2/6 CAV Soldiers and military spouse aides had other tricks up their sleeves to sort the kids from the warriors, however. The solidarity and cohesion of each team had to be tested to find the true cavalry candidates, Pascoe realized.
Aca,!A"We modeled the water balloon course after a hand grenade course,Aca,!A? said Pascoe. Aca,!A"They like to throw water balloons at each other and our cadre members.Aca,!A?
Strangely, following the events of the water balloon fight, though team members did openly attack one another, each seemed to walk away with more enthusiasm and morale than when they had begun.
Aca,!A"They really want to earn their spurs,Aca,!A? said Hawley.
Before long, each team had completed the intial tasks assigned to them, but the day wasnAca,!a,,ct over yet. A tug-of-war pitted teams against each other for supremacy of strength.
What awaited these young warriors after their might had been tested was not applause and a reprieve from the grueling physical challenge. Instead, all teams were lead on a road march from the challenge site to the Wheeler Army Airfield Fire Department.
Here the would-be troopers endured a downpour of water from the nearby fire trucks. Undaunted and unafraid, the future warriors gritted their teeth, held their mud-caked shoulders square and high and passed through the wall of water as though it were nothing but a light rain. So brave were these heroes that many of the children actually ran back and passed through once more, laughing.
So impressive was their resolve, even the 2/6 CAV commander had no choice but to admit his respect for their unwavering bravery.
Aca,!A"I was very impressed with the motivation level from the kids,Aca,!A? said Pascoe.
It was at the 2/6 CAVAca,!a,,cs hangar on Santos Dumont Avenue that the journey finally came to an end. At long last, these young troopers had proven themselves worthy to wear the U.S. Army CavalryAca,!a,,cs signature cross sabers.
Aca,!A"For each candidate who successfully completes the course we have a T-shirt which has the 2/6 CAV logo and the boyAca,!a,,cs receive cross saber pins to wear and the girls receive a charm bracelet with Kiowas, as well as a certificate to put on the wall,Aca,!A? Pascoe said.
At the dayAca,!a,,cs end the 2/6 CAV family had expanded by over 40, with each candidate passing the trial and becoming an honorary member of the U.S. Army Order of the Spur.
Aca,!A"An event like this offers an opportunity for us to interact with the kids and the spouses of deployed Soldiers, provides camaraderie and just build team unity at here at home while having fun,Aca,!A? admitted Pascoe.
Aca,!A"The kids are having fun and feeling like a part of the unit,Aca,!A? Pascoe said. Aca,!A"Earning their spurs makes them feel like a part of the CAV family.Aca,!A?
No one involved could deny the worth of these young troopers when all was said and done.
Aca,!A"These kids are outstanding and true-CAV Soldiers,Aca,!A? added Hawley.
Lending a hand with the eventAca,!a,,cs activities were members of the 2/6 CAV FRG, the 2/6 CAV Rear Detachment Soldiers, Soldiers of the 209th Aviation Support Battalion and members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, including Aca,!A"Sergeant Major Mac,Aca,!A? Willie Howard and Al Remigio.