Spur Ride – troops from NATO eFP Battlegroup Poland earn their spurs
Last year, the 278th Armoured Cavalry Regiment of the US Pennsylvania National Guard stationed at NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Poland conducted its third multinational ‘Spur Ride’. Candidates from Croatia, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States completed multiple soldiering tasks while cold, tired and hungry to earn their silver spurs in this cavalry unit rite of passage. The tradition of having to ‘earn your spurs’ reaches back to the beginning of the US Cavalry. When inexperienced Troopers first arrived at their new cavalry assignments, they were assigned a horse with a shaved tail. This led to the nickname ‘shavetail’ for newly assigned, spur-less soldiers. The footage, shot prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, includes troops from NATO’s eFP Battlegroup Poland taking part in the Spur Ride and receiving their spurs.
‘Earn your spurs’. A group of multinational soldiers stationed at NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Poland take part in a US Cavalry tradition that goes back hundreds of years.
--SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) INSTRUCTORS “Move! Behind cover! Crawl! Move!” ‘You’d better run! You’re running so slow! Let’s go! Hurry up! Hurry up, high speed!’ --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) 1st Sgt Dustin Dunn 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “The Spurs have been a tradition of the Cavalry since, well, back to the days of the knights. A Cavalry soldier wasn’t just put on a horse back and, you know, led straight into combat. What they would do is, they would actually save the tail of the horse and that would let the other riders know that this is an inexperienced cavalryman. And then they wouldn’t give them spurs until they’d earned them.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) MSgt Hillbish 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “A Spur Ride is a 72-hour test of mental endurance, physical endurance, obstacle courses, team-building exercises, other things that are designed inherently to exhaust the shavetail, or participant, mentally and physically. “ --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) 1st Sgt Dustin Dunn 278th Cavalry Regiment “Everything that they’re doing is done at a stressful pace, intentionally, so that we can make sure that not only are they confident in their abilities, but they are comfortable in those stressful conditions doing those same common, basic skills.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) CPL Robert Ryzko 15th Mechanised Brigade, Polish Army “When it comes down to real-deal operations, it’s the relationships you build through training, through sweat, through being cold, hungry, tired and sometimes miserable, with the guy and the girl next to you that makes you far more effective and a far more cohesive unit.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) Sgt Maj Jeffrey Empey 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “I wouldn’t so much call it a competition, because it’s not one against one another. There is an aspect of teamwork involved and it’s proving your mettle, yourself and your skills and abilities.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) SPC Shamarr Bell 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “Being able to participate in a Spur Ride in Poland while on deployment makes it even more of an honour. Being able to serve with other militaries, and the fact that they are interested in our Cavalry traditions, it really forms a brotherhood and a bond with the other countries. It’s honestly a great honour to participate with them. They are very good people.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) Sgt Maj Jeffrey Empey 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “We are one team performing one mission.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) CPL Stevens Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, British Army “Getting to know all the Americans, the other nations as well, just spending time with the partner nations that we are going to be living here with is probably the best bit.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) 1st Sgt Dustin Dunn 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “The soldiers won’t get a whole lot of sleep during this event. They’ll actually have very limited sleep, and they won’t have a whole lot of down time either.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) Lt. Monica Spina-Halper Croatian Army “You are tired, you are happy, you are exhausted.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) INSTRUCTOR “Correctly clear and disassemble the M9 pistol down to magazine, receiver, barrel, slide assembly, recoil spring guide and recoil spring. Your administrative time starts now.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) Monica Spina-Halper Croatian Army “If you stay sitting home at your couch, you can’t advance yourself. Just try it, because if you don’t try, you don’t get it.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) CPL Stevens Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, British Army “It’s always good to volunteer for stuff. It’s good to try and push yourself out of that comfort zone. Pick up a challenge. You know, see how far you can go. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I won’t fall at the final hurdle and yeah, tomorrow I’ll get my spurs. “ --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) MSgt Hillbish 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “Someone wearing their spurs, they can very quickly and visually identify that that is a tough soldier who is physically and mentally competent under these stressful conditions, being physically and mentally exhausted and still being able to complete the task.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) INSTRUCTOR “Sir! Before you were 14 troopers from across Battlegroup Poland Taskforce 3278. All volunteers. These troopers requested and were sponsored to be inducted into the rows of The Order of the Spur. Over the last three days we have tested their skill, audacity, cunning, dash and fervour. These few have performed well and have exceeded the standard.” --SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) SPC Shamarr Bell 278th Cavalry Regiment, US Army “Honestly, it felt amazing. I felt like I was a true member of a team and I felt like all of my hard work for the past three days has paid off. My dad was actually in the army, he was part of the 1st Cav. So I know he’s going to be really proud of me, my family is going to be proud of me. And I am proud of myself. Working with the Croatian and the Polish and the British, as well as our own soldiers, it’s a bond, a brotherhood. I couldn’t ask for anything more.’ END
- Date filming
- 01 Oct 2019 12:00
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