Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conduct a Spur Ride at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, Aug. 26 -28, 2019.

Twenty-seven candidates took their aim at earning their spurs by participating in a series of rigorous events, testing their mental and physical toughness. The events included vehicle recovery, trauma lane, and reacting to enemy contact.

“The Order of the Spur is a cavalry and armor tradition,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Roldan, Noncommissioned Officer in charge of the Spur Ride. “They get tested on their basic
knowledge on cavalry history as well as general Army tasks.”

The tradition of having to “earn your spurs” reaches back to the beginning of the American Cavalry. When green Troopers first arrived at their new cavalry assignments, they were assigned a horse with a shaved tail. This led to the nickname “Shave Tail” for newly assigned, spur-less Soldiers.

“Getting your spurs for a scout is severely significant,” said Roldan. “This tradition goes back many years to the beginning of the cavalry.”

The Iron Ranger’s spur ride kicked off with the candidates conducting a 3-hour physical training session. The purpose of the event was to test the candidate’s physical toughness and their ability to operate as part of a team under high levels of stress and fatigue under both day and night conditions.

“I thought it was going to be somewhat easy,” said U.S. Army Cpl. Carl Latigo, cavalry scout team leader with 1-16th Infantry Regiment. “It was mentally and physically draining.”

The candidates were split into teams and had to finish the events as a unit. Navigating to each lane was no easy feat. The lanes were set-up throughout the training area with the teams trekking at least 30 miles in total.

The teams did not know what to expect from each lane but stayed motivated throughout the entire duration of the spur ride.

“At times I wanted to quit but my team wasn’t going to let me quit,” said U.S. Army Pfc Marcus A. Lynch. “They push me to go the extra mile.”

“I kept myself motivated by helping others that were hurting and giving them guidance,” said Latigo.

As the candidates completed the final charge of the spur ride, 22 of the 27 candidates earned their spurs. After two days of non-stop rigorous testing and “smoke sessions,” a ceremony was held for the newly earned spur holders.

“Definitely proud of earning my spurs with my friends,” said Lynch. “We’ve been through a lot together and I’m proud.”

“This is a huge honor for the trooper to get their spurs,” said Roldan. “This is one thing every scout, once they leave basic training, should strive for.”