'Longknife' spouses earn their spurs
By Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas - When Christine Tharp saw her husband talk about getting his cavalry spurs, she knew she wanted the opportunity to earn them as well.
So, when 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division got together to put on a Spouses' Spur Ride competition March 6, on Fort Hood, she was "thrilled" to say the least and more than 60 other spouses and family members came out to the competition.
"I was like, 'thank God,'" said Tharp, of St. Johnsville, N.Y. "It's come to 2-12. Then, I found out 1-9 was going to do it. I thought, 'this'll be great; it'll be nice to meet the other wives who are supporting their husbands."
Capts. Daniel Poole and David Sheehan, rear detachment commanders of 1st Bn., 9th Cav. Regt. and 2nd Bn., 12th Cav. Regt. respectively, co-hosted the first-ever event.
Army cavalry, in its tradition, has different decorations and accouterments that are specific to the organization that no other Army units have such as the Stetson, the saber and the spurs, said Poole, of Yucaipa, Calif.
"I think the majority of the - if not all the spouses, know what the spurs mean to their Soldiers, and they've always been around their Soldiers going to 'Spur Rides,' earning their spurs and wearing them with pride."
Poole explained there are two types of spurs: silver and gold. The silver spur, is earned during a Spur Ride, a competition with multiple, grueling events that test a cavalry Soldier's mind and body. Then, the gold spurs or "combat spurs," are earned during deployments such as the ones "Longknife" Soldiers from 4th BCT have earned for actions in Iraq.
Poole said the events were tailored down for the spouses in a series of different courses: a two-mile road march, litter and casualty carry station, rifle qualification, grenade toss with water balloons, land navigation, vehicle recognition, and a weapons simulator.
For Tharp, the collection of stations wasn't as tough as she thought they would be, but still thought the competition was great; however, the station that posed the biggest problem was the land navigation for spouse Michelle Rone, of Fayetteville, N.C.
"Probably because I'm bad with directions," Rone said laughing...
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