CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea — The early morning silence was broken with the sounds of about 50 “shave tail” cavalry troopers singing the 1st Cavalry Division song before starting their morning with a physical fitness test.
Members of the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, which are on a rotation to the Republic of Korea, conducted a spur ride for the members of the unit that were not part of the Order of the Spur on Oct. 3.
“The spur ride dates back to the beginning of the first cavalry units where they did it to teach about the horses,” Cpt. Trenishia McElroy, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 215th BSB, said. “Now, it is a tradition where Soldiers deal with mentally and physically challenging events to build camaraderie and to get them their silver spurs.”
Over 50 Soldiers, including the 215th BSB’s commander, Lt. Col. Thomas Chandler, began their spur ride around 4 in the morning with an Army Physical Fitness Test in the rain. From there, they proceeded to do a six-mile ruck march and multiple Soldier tasks and drills. Some of these tasks included urban land navigation, self-recovery procedures, identifying faults, medical care under fire and a spur board, where they were grilled on their knowledge by spur holders. All of this took place within a 24-hour time frame.
Outside of the tradition and the esprit de corps, there are personal reasons that Soldiers want to earn their spurs.
“As a leader in the cavalry, it is expected that I’m out here,” Chandler said. “How could I possibly ask these Soldiers to do this if I’m not out here doing it too?”
Cpt. Jennifer Veldhuyzen, a medical physician with the BSB, had a similar reason.
“I love helping the Soldiers in this unit, but as a physician, my schedule and the Soldiers’ don’t always line up,” Veldhuyzen said. “I wanted to be out here with some of my medics and working through some of the things that they are working through so that I can be part of my Soldiers lives.”
Others have more personal reasons.
“I’m doing this for my grandparents, who have both recently passed away,” Pfc. Joshua Corbin, an ammunition specialist with the BSB, said. “When I joined the Army, I told them that I would participate in high-speed training like this, so I’m challenging and pushing myself and my team so that we can get it done.”
No matter the reasons, whether tradition, sense of duty or a promise, there is one goal.
“It is team building,” McElroy said, “and getting the silver spurs.”