Tag Archives: spur ride

“Wearing Spurs Means a Cavalry Paratrooper Persevered”

Cavalry paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division recently proved themselves worthy to wear spurs.

Cavalry paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division ruckmarch to their next lane during a Spur Ride, Tuesday, November 27 on Fort Bragg.

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.

Two Spur Candidates from the 82nd Airborne Division drag a weighted litter during a lane evaluating their medical knowledge Tuesday, November 26 on Fort Bragg.

“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.

Two Spur Candidates from the 82nd Airborne Division carry a weighted rucksack while moving between evaluation lanes Tuesday, November 26 on Fort Bragg.

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.

Staff Sgt. Brittany Wildman, forefront, a paratrooper assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment receives her spurs during a Spur Ceremony on Wednesday, November 28th on Fort Bragg.

“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.”

All American Cav Spouses Earn Their Spurs

Over 70 Cavalry Spouses of the 82nd Airborne Division recently earned the right to be named “Spur Holders.”

Spouses from three of the 82nd’s Cavalry Squadrons; 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment and 1st and 5th Squadrons of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment participated in a Cavalry Spouse Spur Ride February 15th on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“Cavalry is a mindset. It is a culture of embracing risk to protect others from surprise and discover opportunities. All Cavalry Squadrons have that in common with one another,” said Lt. Col. Scott Pence, Commander of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “When we do an event like this with our spouses, it forges a bond between us all.”

Organized by Pence’s squadron, this was the first spur ride involving spouses from the division’s multiple Cavalry Squadrons. The day-long event began at Pike Field with participants dividing into groups and proceeding to stations testing their physical fitness and mental agility. Stations included the Field Leader’s Reaction Course, the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer and the U.S. Army Advanced Airborne School.

“We wanted Cavalry Spouses from across the division to come out here and feel pride in accomplishing difficult tasks,” said Lt. Col John Tackaberry, Commander of the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.  “Events like this build strong bonds within Family Readiness Groups and strong FRGs are the backbone of support for the Cavalry trooper when we are out in the field or deployed.”

The Spouse Spur Ride developed camaraderie between spouses and within the FRG said Mrs. Jennifer Smith, a spouse of a soldier assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 1-17 CAV.  When spouses see events like this, just get out and participate; you will be glad you did and get to know a lot of people you can rely on in the future she continued.