Keeping with cavalry tradition, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted a spur ride competition May 5-9.

More than 150 soldiers started initially, with only 11 earning their spurs in what Lt. Col. Archie Herndon, commander of the “Spartan” Battalion, called a grueling and challenging individual training competition.

Participants had to pass preliminary events, such as an Army Physical Fitness Test, weapons qualification and a written test covering the history of the battalion, before qualifying for the actual lane events, said Capt. Charles Jones, Spartan plans officer.

There were six lanes: weapons maintenance, reacting to a chemical environment, tactical medical field care, identifying unexploded ordnance, communication procedures and call-for-fire, Jones said. Preliminary events had minimum standards for scoring and lane events were based on a pass or fail.

Despite high standards and challenging events, 1st Lt. Joshua Cotton, a Spartan chemical reconnaissance platoon leader, said he was excited and glad he went through it.

“(The spur ride) was tough and challenging, but being part of a long-standing tradition has been exciting and makes me proud,” he added.

Cotton said he couldn’t have achieved success without the help of others around him.

“I prepared for months, learning from others in my unit by utilizing their individual skill sets,” he said.

In the end, it paid off, Cotton said. He not only received his silver spurs but gained valuable knowledge as well.

“I improved on most of the basic skill level soldier tasks and fundamentals,” Cotton said. “This allows me to improve myself as platoon leader to pass on the knowledge to my soldiers.”

Herndon said all participants, whether they received spurs or not, should be proud to have taken part in some exceptional training. He said never give up and go after it again.

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