Soldiers from the 144 Cavalry, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division attempted tests of physical and mental endurance Saturday for the prize of standing out among their peers and earning their “silver spurs.” The recognition is awarded to troops who complete a grueling 36-hour event known as the spur ride.
While many soldiers possess golden spurs, which are awarded for being part of a cavalry unit during a deployment, the honor of wearing silver spurs is one of high esteem, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Mingle of the 3-7 Cavalry, 2nd HBCT.
“Earning silver spurs sets you apart from other soldiers, much like the Stetson. The silver spurs is part of the tradition that defines the cavalry soldier,” Mingle said.
While earning the spurs may set soldiers apart from those who have not earned them, Mingle said the spur ride event is more about work as a team than an individual.
“A lot of what these soldiers went through to earn their spurs is based on a team event. Whether it is the multiple lanes that the soldiers had to accomplish as a squad or the obstacle course, it was all done as a team,” Mingle said.
The command sergeant said Saturday’s spur ride was the first the 3-7 Cavalry has put on since 2006.
Lt. Col. Lance Varney, commander of the 3-7 Cavalry, said he didn’t fully understand what earning silver spurs means to a soldier until he completed
the rite of passage.
“I definitely underestimated what it is to earn the silver spurs. Not only is it a grueling event, but the camaraderie, tradition and history behind the entire event truly embodies all that the Cavalry stands, for and I am truly proud to be part of that,” Varney said.
At the conclusion of the 36-hour event, the spouses of the 3-7 Cavalry also were able to earn their spurs alongside their soldiers.
“We really wanted to have a day to show our appreciation to the spouses of the squadron and let them earn their own version of the silver spurs, a necklace charm, and let them have an understanding of what their spouses went through over the last 36-hours,” Varney said.
During the spouses’ spur ride, squadron spouses participated in numerous events, much like their soldiers.
“While we scaled the events back for the spouses, they still were able to do things like the obstacle course, grenade throw, casualty evacuation — just like their spouses did to earn their spurs. The whole event has been really fun for all of the squadron family,” Varney said.
Candy Hankins, wife of 3-7 Cavalry Sgt. First Class Roger Hankins, agreed the event was great opportunity.
“I kind of wanted to see what it was all about, so it was a great idea. All together, it was pretty challenging but really fun, too,” Hankins said.