By Sgt. Karl Williams, 3HBCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.May 26, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - You can find them on e-bay for $20, but some cavalry Troopers are willing to shed blood, sweat and tears to earn them.
They are the Cavalry Spurs.
Recently, at Fort Hood, Texas, 70 spur candidates from 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, tested themselves mentally and physically for 48 hours to earn the right to wear the coveted silver spurs. This was the first spur ride the squadron has held since being activated as part of the 1st Cavalry Division in 2005.
"Before the event, we had only 40 spur holders in the brigade, said Command Sgt. Maj. Lloyd Julius. "But after 48 hours of grueling physical activity, tests of Soldiering skills, and a five-mile road march, we've added 40 officers and noncommissioned officers to the squadron's Order of the Spur."
Having earned his spurs in Korea in 2006, Spc. Edsel Ford, of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, had one piece of advice for the teams.
"Once you start, don't give up."
The troopers were divided up into six-person teams and had to work together to be successful.
"Teamwork among the troopers is very important. It helps to build esprit de corps and strengthen the bonds between troopers in the squadron," said Lt. Col. Cameron Cantlon, the squadron commander.
Following extensive physical training, teams rotated through stations that tested their basic Soldiering skills; including land navigation, first aid and disassembling and reassembling an M4 carbine and performing a functions check. Troopers were also tested on how well they completed cavalry skills such as vehicle identification, reconnaissance and calling for fire missions.
In between events, "spur holders" or "gatekeepers" would have teams members carry logs, answer questions about the history of the U.S. Cavalry or conduct physical training.
"I wanted to do this," said Pfc. Richard Keiter, a cavalry scout with B Troop. "Having combat spurs is one thing - many Soldiers have them now - but earning my "silver spurs" is a huge accomplishment for me. You're not a real cavalryman until you have earned your spurs."
The spur ride ended after a five-mile road march, Friday morning, to the squadron's motor pool on Tank Destroyer Road.
At the end of the two-day test candidates were awarded their silver spurs at a picnic at Fort Hood's 1st Cavalry Division Museum in front of family and friends to celebrate the completion of the rigorous event.
"My husband has always told me he was invincible," said Chelsee Wornham, wife of Spc. Patrick Wornham, from A Troop. "Since he earned his spurs, maybe he is a little invincible."