Cavalry paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division recently proved themselves worthy to wear spurs.
Paratroopers assigned to the 73rd Cavalry Regiment elements in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Combat Aviation Brigades of the 82nd Airborne Division conducted a Spur Ride on Fort Bragg in late November, ending in a Spur Ceremony on Wednesday, November 28th.
“Any day spent under the shade of red and white guidons is a great day,” said Maj. Shawn McNicol, the Executive Officer for 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division during his opening comments. “However, today is especially significant as we are able to bring together three Squadrons of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment in a single event of comradery and fellowship.”
The tradition of the Spur Ride draws from the heritage of U.S. Cavalry units. When new soldiers arrived to cavalry units, they required extensive training in horsemanship and mounted swordsmanship. These soldiers’ received a horse with a shaved tail, identifying them as a potential hazard and requiring extra space in which to train and operate.
While riding a “shave tail,” new Cavalry soldiers were not permitted to wear spurs, as their undisciplined use would only worsen a problem.
Only after extensive training and evaluation proving their skill at maneuvering a horse and wielding a sword would a Cavalry soldier be presented with spurs and his horse be permitted to grow out their shaved tail.
“The modern-day Spur Ride provides a Cavalry paratrooper a true gut-check; the means to do a personal assessment of their grit and determination,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Hartsock, Commander of 5-73 CAV. “Wearing spurs means a cavalry paratrooper persevered. They were pushed to their physical and mental limits and they emerged victorious.”
Spur candidates, known as “Shave Tails,” underwent the thirty six hour long Spur Ride with minimal opportunity to rest and even less chances to sleep. As temperatures dipped below freezing in the November North Carolina winter, candidates continued to demonstrate their knowledge of Cavalry history, tactics, medical techniques and airborne proficiency.
“As a Cavalry paratrooper, the only thing more memorable than receiving your spurs is placing them on the heel of a candidate you sponsored through their Spur Ride,” continued Hartsock. “The Cavalry community here on Fort Bragg is strong and events like this continue our long and proud history.”
Paratroopers and family members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday Tuesday, November 22 at the brigade’s Dining Facility on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“Today, paratroopers and family members of the brigade are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate as we enter the holiday season,” said Col. Arthur Sellers, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s Commander. “This meal gives everyone an opportunity to fellowship while enjoying the delicious food prepared by our expert culinary team,” he continued.
To prepare the meal, Culinary Specialists from the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, part of the 3rd BCT, began preparing the night before and worked into the early morning on the finishing touches. The paratroopers prepared over 640 lbs. of turkey, 558 lbs. of steamship round, 72 lbs. of shrimp, more than 100 pies, approximately 700 servings of sweet potatoes and approximately 800 servings of green bean casserole to serve during the brigade’s Thanksgiving meal.
The Panther Brigade’s Thanksgiving meal was held Tuesday, November 20th in the brigade’s Dining Facility on Fort Bragg. Honoring tradition, leaders from across the brigade served the meal to paratroopers and their families while dressed in their Army Service Uniform.
Special decorations adorned the dining facility to celebrate the holiday and honor the 50th anniversary of the brigade’s short-notice deployment in 1968 to Vietnam to conduct combat operations. Sent in response to the Tet Offensive, the 3rd Brigade gained the nickname “The Golden Brigade” while fighting the Viet Cong in numerous pitched battles over the course of a year-long deployment.
Culinary Specialists assigned to the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division worked late into the night to prepare for the brigade’s Thanksgiving feast Monday, November 19, 2018.
The paratroopers prepared over 640 lbs. of turkey, 558 lbs. of steamship round, 72 lbs. of shrimp, more than 100 pies, approximately 700 servings of sweet potatoes and approximately 800 servings of green bean casserole to serve during the brigade’s Thanksgiving meal.
The meal offered many of the paratroopers an opportunity to showcase their talents and demonstrate their intense attention to every detail in their culinary creations.