Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division
WAIMEA BAY — More than 80 Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, finished their 12-mile ruck march, here, from Kahuku Training Area (KTA), to complete the physical and tactical aspects of the Spur Ride, on March 9.
“The purpose of the Spur Ride essentially dates back to history where cavalry troopers on their steeds would have to earn their spurs,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Hoch, assistant operations officer assigned to 3-4th Cav. Regt.
Before a trooper could receive his spurs, he had to shave the tail of his horse, and by the time the tail grew back, the trooper would have gained confidence on his cavalry skills, Hoch said.
“It was a rite of passage that you had to prove your worth, prove your cavalry knowledge, to earn your spurs,” he said. “The tradition continues today with the use of HUMVEES and other combat vehicles.”
Out of 141 Soldiers who attempted to meet the prerequisites, only 85 met the standards to participate in the historically important Spur Ride, he said. The Soldiers represented each troop within the squadron, and those who participated comprised seven teams of 11 or 12 Soldiers.
The Soldiers completed a 25-question written exam covering everything from basic reconnaissance tasks to history of the squadron, and then performed a layout on their gear before leaving for East Range to complete 12 obstacles.
After completing the obstacles, a CH-47 Chinook transported the Soldiers from East Range to KTA to perform seven execution lanes, which took 90 minutes each to complete.
During the execution lanes, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Guerra, a native of Rosenberg, Texas, and a section sergeant assigned to Apache Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., found that as a seasoned and experienced noncommissioned officer he had to avoid taking charge too much.
“I allowed the lower enlisted Soldiers to learn and build,” Guerra said. “I kind of stayed back, but not too far, so I could see how they were doing things. I wanted to step in, but overall, I think my team did well.”
One task that Guerra had to take on was keeping a bright pink giraffe safe during the Spur Ride.
“My fellow NCOs in my platoon who are spur holders had me take care of it,” he said, “so it was my battle buddy that went everywhere I went. It’s my motivational item to finish with me.”
For 2nd Lt. Lisa Gallardo, a native of San Antonio, Texas, and maintenance control officer and maintenance platoon leader, Dakota Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., she was glad to be given the opportunity to be part of the Spur Ride.
“I learned a lot during the Spur Ride,” Gallardo said. “I’m a logistician ordnance officer, and Dakota Troop supports all of the combat line troops, and I got to see the other side of the coin.”
She said she wasn’t used to seeing the difficulties cavalry scouts and infantrymen faced on a regular basis.
“It certainly was fun,” she said. “I think that more Soldiers that aren’t combat arms, if they’re in a cavalry squadron, they should do a Spur Ride. It’ll change your mindset.”