CHUNGCHEONG, South Korea For 4th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, an air cavalry squadron that flies OH-58D Kiowa helicopters, the event was a last hoorah before wrapping up its nine-month tour on the peninsula and returning to their home station on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
About 60 troopers of the 4-6 Cav. Redcatchers, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, participated in a Spur Ride, May 21 and 22, in Chungcheong Province, South Korea.
Dirt-covered Soldiers chanted the cavalrys famous Fidlers Green rhyme with each mile to take their minds off the burden of their heavy rucksacks. One Soldier winced in pain as he passed a cavalry sergeant wearing a Stetson hat and silver spurs, grinning without pity at the shave-tails. The nickname referred to green cavalry Soldiers without spurs, whose horses tails were shaved as a warning to others of a new troops inexperience.
The spur ride, a rite of passage in Army cavalry units, is a test of a troopers physical strength, mental toughness and ability to lead. Along with ruck marches and obstacle courses, Soldiers must learn cavalry history and tradition, to include the historic cavalry poem.
Upon completion of the daylong course, candidates earn the right to wear silver cavalry spurs at squadron formations and ceremonies. Spurs can only be worn when assigned to a cavalry unit, and they are often paired with the traditional black Stetson.
The 4-6 Cav. Spur Ride began with a six-mile ruck march around the airfield at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, and continued to a training area, where teams completed lanes run by each of the squadrons six troops (companies).
Events included moving through obstacles, tactical movement under fire, calling in situation reports, learning survival skills and completing team challenges. It was a difficult day for all candidates, but teams lacking enthusiasm or not demonstrating esprit de corps were pushed even harder.
To be a part of the spur ride, the applicants met competitive requirements that included a review by senior leaders. All candidates had spur-holding sponsors to vouch for their suitability.
Candidates competed in a Spur Board at the end of the event, answering questions about the Soldiers Creed, code of conduct, general orders, history of 6th Cavalry Regiment and etiquette regarding spurs and Stetson cavalry hats.
It was great team-building, said Pfc. Tevin Felder, a candidate and aviation operations specialist from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. When I wanted to give up, I kept pushing. It brought the best out of me, and I learned a lot.
I am proud to be among one of the few Korean nationals to have earned the right to wear cavalry spurs, said Pfc. Jun Ho Lee, a Korean augmentee assigned to B Troop and native of Seoul.
Im very happy that I finished the spur ride. Its an honor to wear a Stetson and spurs. I look forward to being a spur-holder for the next spur ride.
During the concluding ceremony, battalion commander Lt. Col. Brian T. Watkins congratulated the successful candidates and reminded them of the importance of teamwork.
You have demonstrated cavalry and leadership skills greater than those expected of others, Watkins said. But you wouldnt be here without your team.