By Sgt. Khori Johnson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Fifty-six Fort Carson Soldiers proved themselves cavalry by earning their silver spurs when they completed the “Blackjack” Squadron Spur Ride, April 13.
To earn their spurs, Soldiers of 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, endured a week of extensive evaluation of their fundamental Soldiering and scouting skills.
“It’s a tradition that has been around for some years,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Crosby, squadron senior enlisted leader. “It’s kind of equivalent to an infantryman earning his Expert Infantryman Badge. Each Soldier participates in a series of tasks that certifies him … in his craft as a scout or other military occupation within a cavalry organization.”
Earning spurs signifies the squadron’s recognition of a cavalry trooper being a certified leader, Crosby said.
Each Soldier displayed his competence in various disciplines, such as weapon mastery, physical fitness, communications and combat lifesaving skills.
On top of being able to put their knowledge and experience to action, the Blackjack troopers faced other demanding challenges, such as a medical evacuation using a helicopter and a 12-mile foot march with full pack.
“It’s a leader certification, but it’s also been a test of one’s intestinal fortitude,” said Capt. Corey Steiner, commander, Troop C. “There hasn’t been a lot of sleeping; there has been a lot of walking, not to mention the tough weather conditions.”
The cavalry troopers who successfully completed the spur ride stood in formation, each receiving his silver spurs in the front-leaning rest position during a ceremony held at the squadron headquarters.
“It was cool to take part in it all,” said Spc. Jesse Vint, a scout with Troop B. “I felt like I was paying respect to the heritage of the cavalry and taking part in tradition.”
On the day following the ceremony, 31 spouses of Blackjack Squadron participated in their own version of the spur ride at Ironhorse Park.
The spouses divided into teams according to their troop affiliations and competed in various events based on physical training and skill tasks commonly performed by their Soldiers.
“It’s fun to watch my wife experience some of the same tasks that I do during PT on a daily basis,” said Spc. Daniel Harvey, local area network manager, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop.
The morning began with a layout and inventory of a packing list the spouses received prior to the event. They then moved to an obstacle course.
Each team of spouses carried a 30-pound
sandbag from one activity to the next, including a march to additional stations on top of Commo Hill near Ironhorse Park.
At the top of the hill, the spouses completed classes in combat lifesaver skills and weapons familiarization, learning to assemble and disassemble the M4 carbine.
“Everyone did great,” said Jenny Irwin, wife of 2nd Lt. Matthew Irwin, Troop D. “Although (our Soldier’s spur ride) sounded a lot more (grueling), we had fun walking in our husband’s boots for a day.”
Both spur rides resulted in a weeklong effort of serious training for Blackjack troopers and team building for the unit’s Family readiness group.
Editor’s note: Staff Sgt. Christopher Jelle, 3rd BCT Public Affairs Office, 4th Inf. Div., contributed to this article.