“Have fun, learn and build teams,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan P. Tackaberry, commander, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.
These three objectives were Tackaberry’s instruction to nearly 100 cavalry spouses lined up in the rain on Pike Field, Feb. 15.
These three objectives are what Tackaberry hoped would define the first 17th and 73rd Cavalry Regiments’ joint Spouse Spur Ride.
As a matter of tradition, members of cavalry regiments complete a spur ride during which they earn their spurs and induction into the Order of the Spurs.
“The Spurs are earned … a training event like this, in which you do your silver spur test, is usually a two to three-day event where you are tested mentally and physically in order to earn your spurs,” said Capt. Sam Hurchala, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. “It is a rite of passage. If you deploy with a cavalry unit, you get a gold set of spurs.”
The last Fort Bragg spur ride was in November 2017.
“It’s a lot tougher on the spur candidates (then the spouses), and it is all about withstanding adversity as a team. Not everyone makes it through a spur ride,” said Lt. Col. Scott Pence, commander, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div.
The Spouse Spur Ride, modeled after the Spur Ride that cavalry Soldiers participate, involved four lanes or challenges.
During one challenge, spouses were asked to take a physical test and participate in a Combat Life Savers course. During another challenge spouses where asked to master three obstacles on the Field Leader’s Reaction Course.
Spouses also received instruction on exiting an aircraft using a static line and steering a parachute in a suspension harness. The fourth challenge saw spouses participating in a zombie hunt in the mythical town of Fayettenam using the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactics Trainer, which is a collective training simulator that provides a fully immersive virtual environment.
Along the way, the participants learned about the history and unique symbols of a cavalry regiment, such as the Stetson hat, spurs and the legendary afterlife, Fiddler’s Green.
Although their reasons varied, the participants enjoyed the experience.
“It’s like a whole different world here that you get to experience. Maybe not fully, but it is at least a glimpse of what they (our husbands) do when they are gone,” said Shelby Tweedy.
“The best part would be shooting the zombies. It was fun, and I learned about the history of the spurs and why they wear the hats they do,” said Breanna Joel.
Bronwen Pence, who helped to organize the Spouse Spur Ride, hoped that the event would help to build a connection for spouses.
“I feel like sometimes these opportunities are out there and people just don’t come,” said Bronwen. “I would say if you find out about an event with your unit, go out there, put yourself out there because you might have a really great time. You might meet someone new, and we are all Army spouses. We are all in this together.”