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Tag: cavalry

Aug.
21st

4/2’s Cav soldiers earn their spurs

Pfc. Brian Watts unloads his gear from a bus after finishing the 36-hour "spur ride," an ages-old tradition in which new cavalry soldiers earn their spurs by completing a series of grueling physical and emotional challenges. (Dean J. Koepfler/The News Tribune)
Pfc. Brian Watts unloads his gear from a bus after finishing the 36-hour "spur ride," an ages-old tradition in which new cavalry soldiers earn their spurs by completing a series of grueling physical and emotional challenges. (Dean J. Koepfler/The News Tribune)

Pfc. Brian Watts’ uniform was still dripping when he stepped off the bus. His body ached. His eyelids felt heavy. And tucked under his right arm was a brown stick horse with a plush head.

“His name’s Fred,” the 21-year-old Georgia native said Friday, his sentences interrupted by laughs. “They gave it to me in the beginning, and I had to keep up with him the whole time. I’m supposed to gallop with him everywhere I go. But it’s over and done with, so I’m not galloping anymore.”

That pretty much summed up the previous 36 hours for Watts, a human resources specialist with Fort Lewis’ 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. He and 46 others had just finished one of the cavalry’s oldest traditions, a “spur ride” that tests their skills and ends with the soldiers receiving a set of silver spurs they can wear on their boots.

The test is physically and mentally taxing, but also a source of humor. Any scolding from the experienced soldiers running the courses was delivered through a wide smile. Newbies tried to stifle laughs while doing push-ups amid a barrage of water balloons or being called “spur maggots.”
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