Spouses of soldiers assigned to 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, had the opportunity to figuratively walk a mile in their soldier’s boots at a Spouse Spur Ride on March 22.
Decked out in customized T-shirts, bandanas, Army Combat Uniform pants, boots and temporary tattoos displaying the colors and unit of their soldiers, the spouses completed a variety of basic warrior tasks in a friendly competition.
“It gives them an opportunity to come participate and see what we do, not really on a daily basis but at least just get a taste of what we do,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vanessa Pelesasa-Nunez, the sexual assault victim advocate representative with the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop.
Pelesasa-Nunez said her husband, Hector Nunez, found out about the spur ride and was excited to participate in the competition.
Ironhorse’s battalions were broken into groups and competed for a trophy in four graded events: room clearing exercises, Engagement Skills Trainer, Ironhorse history challenge scavenger hunt and an obstacle course.
In true Army style, the day kicked off with a short physical training session. The spouses laughed as they learned the proper formation and some of the exercises their soldiers perform daily.
The participants wore combat helmets and body-armor vests while using simulated weapons to complete a room clearing exercise. A rectangular area was taped off on the floor creating a “glass house,” representing the boundaries of a room. The spouses rehearsed the room entry and clearing procedure before entering the house simulation soldiers use to train.
Nunez said the room clearing was a lot of fun and his team used good communication skills for the exercise.
“It’s something we get to experience that we don’t normally do, so I get a better appreciation of what (soldiers) go through,” Nunez said.
Following the room clearing exercise, the spouses headed to the skills trainer, a weapons simulator with M-4 and M-16 rifles adapted for electronic use on a large projection screen. The participants were graded on accuracy in a variety of scenarios.
Miranda Randall, spouse of a soldier assigned to the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, said she found the skills trainer difficult because she had to be precise.
“When it’s real there’s no hesitation,” Randall said. “You just have to get in and get done.”
The final event took place at the 1st Cavalry Division Museum, where the spouses were given 45 minutes to complete the Ironhorse history challenge scavenger hunt. Participants searched the museum for answers to questions about the unit’s history.
The winning team, spouses from the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and 115th Brigade Support Battalion, received the Spouse Spur Ride trophy.
After presenting the trophy, soldiers and spouses feasted on hot dogs and hamburgers as they cheerfully described their experiences.