By Sgt. Austan R. Owen August 15, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The sound of grunts, cheering and laughter resounded through the area behind Bravo Troop's building as Family members of the 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, started the afternoon with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test. The praise of "wow, you can do more push-ups than my Soldier" rang out as Soldier's children and spouses struggled to complete one more repetition before time ran out.
The 3-38 Cav. hosted a Family Spur Ride, here, Aug. 9, giving Family members a chance to earn a set of spurs: an effort to build esprit de corps and have a little fun.
"This will be an exciting time for you to experience some of the tasks that we ask your Soldiers to do on a daily basis," said Lt. Col Mark J. Aitken, commander 3-38 Cav., during the opening remarks of the event. "This is also an opportunity for our children to get out there and see what dad does."
"It's all about having fun and a chance to do something you don't do every day," said Aitken as he addressed the eager spur candidates.
Approximately 40 Family members showed up to give it their all in an attempt to earn a coveted set of spurs.
Earning a set of spurs is a long-standing tradition in which new cavalrymen must first prove themselves and their abilities before they are allowed to ride a horse while wearing spurs. Today as Soldiers still must complete a series of tasks before they earn the right to wear their spurs, by first demonstrating their abilities and training.
The Family Spur Ride was less about testing the participant's physical abilities and more about showing the Families some of the scenarios the Soldiers train for as well as creating a bonding experience.
The participants were broken down into teams and each team was scored on how well they could complete a task after a brief demonstration. Tests included a modified APFT, treating and evacuating a casualty, a live-fire range, operating a radio and navigating an obstacle course.
Everyone had their favorite event, for Ryan, son of Pfc. Rick Lemon, 3-38 Cav. it was definitely the physically challenging ones.
"My favorite was the obstacle course and PT test because my dad always comes home and raves about how he had a PT test and I finally got to do it," said Ryan Lemon.
Ryan and his brother Jack both earned their spurs. Ryan plans to frame his spurs and display them in his room. He is proud to have earned his spurs as it represents what his father does for a living.
All the teams that participated finished the courses and were inducted into the Order of the Spur. Team "Awesome" finished with the highest overall score and its members were awarded gold spurs for their efforts.
The overall good time permeated throughout the participants and the Soldiers that watched over their family members.
For Sevec, one of the spur candidates, this event was the perfect opportunity to spend time with his father. Sevec traveled from the East Coast to visit his dad Richard.
"This was interesting and really fun; I liked the confidence course it makes me feel stronger than my dad," Sevec said.
"This is an awesome event for this unit to put on and a great bonding situation for families," said Spc. Richard DeJesus, 3-38 Cav.
Sevec added that he is proud of his father for joining the Army and hopes to do the same someday.
Richard said there might be a little teasing in his family now that his son has a set of spurs and he doesn't. Richard looks forward to earning his at the next unit Spur Ride and hopes to participate in more Family events like this one.
At the end of the event the unit accomplished its goal of having a fun and safe family bonding experience. Aitken awarded the candidates their spurs after publication of the orders.
"Attention to orders, be it known that the following personnel with carbine and saber have followed the cavalry guidon to the very frontier of the free world and have demonstrated the skill, fitness, discipline and cunning of the cavalry trooper and are here by entered onto the role of the order of the spur and are awarded a pair of silver cavalry spurs…."