Order of the Spur

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Order of the Spur
The Order of the Spur is a Cavalry tradition in the United States Army. For a cavalry trooper (the word for soldier in the cavalry) to join the order of the spur, they must pass a series of tests set by their command culminating in the final test—the spur ride. Once accomplished, the trooper is awarded a stetson and spurs to be worn with their military uniform. A trooper may forgo the tests and join the order of the spur by seeing combat with their cavalry unit. Once inducted into the order of the spur, it is for life and the status travels with the soldier from unit to unit.
The tradition has its roots in knighthood, where the awarding of gilt spurs symbolized entry into ranks -- and fraternity -- of mounted warriors. Usually, the squire aspiring to knighthood had to perform some task or deed on the battlefield or tournament field (tournaments were considered like our training maneuvers) to "win their spurs". The spurs themselves were buckled on during the investiture to knighthood -- usually during Mass or some other religious ceremony (knighthood itself was considered sacramental, if not a sacrament itself). Thereafter, it was the spurs that symbolized that a man was a knight -- not his sword, horse, or armor. No matter how financially destitute, a poor knight would part with everything else before his spurs. The primary act of degradation (removing someone from the knightly class) was to have another knight cut off the offending knights spurs. So much for the mists of time, It is not known when it was started in the US Cavalry.


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