Blackhorse Association members key to combat spurs effort
By Cpt. Blain Holmes
1-221 CAV IO/PAO
Camp Atterbury, IN- Troopers of the 1st Squadron 221st Cavalry stood tall and proud in the Camp Atterbury sunshine as they prepared to be “inducted” into the order of the combat spur for service during Operation Enduring Freedom 09-10. The “Wildhorse” Squadron recently returned from a 9 month deployment in which it acted as the Security Force for the 11 United States led Provincial Reconstruction Teams while simultaneously conducting counterinsurgency operations as the battlespace owner in Laghman Province. Squadron Commander LTC John Cunningham said of the deployment; “Troopers faced life or death situations on a daily basis over there and although we had many injuries, somehow we managed to bring them all back. Words can’t express how proud I am of their performance and this is a great way to cap it all off.”
The Blackhorse Association played a key role by providing the initial money for the purchase of the Spurs as well as collecting all of the donations received. In addition, Blackhorse Association members donated generously toward the fundraising effort, which allowed every trooper to receive their combat spurs. Squadron Executive Officer LTC Kurt Neddenriep said “We would not have been able to make this possible without the outstanding support we received from the Blackhorse Association and their generous members. And, the Blackhorse Store (Barb and Don Brown) miraculously had them produced, shipped and delivered on time. We are truly grateful.”
All of the approximately 750 Troopers who deployed with the Squadron are eligible to wear the combat spur. It is a tradition that dates back to medieval times when it was used to induce nights into a fraternity of warriors usually based on a deed conducted on the battlefield or during a tournament. It later evolved to the early U.S. Cavalry when newly arrived Troopers were not allowed to wear spurs until they proved their ability to perform with both horse and weapon. Today spurs are awarded two ways: The first when completing a series of complicated tasks that proves the Troopers mettle known as a “Spur ride”, and the second while serving with a cavalry unit during combat operations. The Trooper is normally awarded silver spurs for the “Spur ride”, and gold spurs, such as those awarded to the “Wildhorse Troopers”, for the latter.
Wildhorse! And Blackhorse Forever!
The 1st Squadron 221st Cavalry is the only combat arms unit in the Nevada Army National Guard and also proudly serves as the reconnaissance squadron for the storied 11th Cavalry Regiment headquartered at Fort Irwin, CA. Troopers will return home to their families next week and begin leave before returning to drill status later in the summer.
Caption 1- BG Fank P. Gonzales, the Commander of the Nevada Army National Guard, addresses the troops in formation at Camp Atterbury, IN as they prepare to receive their combat spurs (Courtesy LTC John S. Cunningham).
Caption 2- 1st Squadron 221st Cavalry CSM James Richardson receives his combat spurs from the Squadron Commander, LTC John S. Cunningham (Courtesy LTC John S. Cunningham).
Caption 3- BG Frank P. Gonzales, the Commander of the Nevada Army National Guard, congratulates the Troopers of the Wildhorse Squadron on receiving their combat spurs (Courtesy LTC John S. Cunningham).