Fellow BLACKHORSE Troopers!


The attached article ought to make cavalrymen everywhere proud.  A tip of the old Stetson to 1SG Luther Lancaster, a former BLACKHORSE Trooper who is now first sergeant for F Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment, the reconnaissance troop for 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based in Vilseck, Germany and now conducting operations in Baqubah, Iraq.  1SG Lancaster is carrying on the great traditions of the cavalry while deployed, much as our comrades from the BLACKHORSE, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and all the other troops, squadrons, and battalions participating in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM have done through out the campaign. 


Great job, Top!




Guy C. Swan III

Major General, US Army

Chief of Army Legislative Liaison

57th Colonel of the Regiment


Scouts from F Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry, attend a spur dinner and induction ceremony at Forward Operating Base Warhorse. The scouts were being awarded their combat spurs July 29, a rite of passage for cavalrymen.
Spc. David Dyer

Cavalrymen earn their spurs

By Sgt. Kimberly Snow

BA'QUBAH, Iraq (Army News Service, Sept. 13, 2004) -- They strode in with a cowboy's swagger, many sporting the distinctive black Stetsons that set them apart from their fellow Soldiers.

Scouts and guests of F Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment gathered for a dinner and ceremony July 29 to award the men their combat spurs -- an event considered to be a rights of passage for cavalry scouts.

"It's an achievement to be accepted into the ranks of the brotherhood of cavalrymen," said Troop 1st Sgt. Luther Lancaster. "It's a pride thing."

The ceremony, on Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Ba'qubah, Iraq, upheld a tradition rooted in knighthood, where the awarding of gilt spurs signified entry into the ranks and fraternity of the mounted warrior. A squire would perform a task or deed on the battlefield or tournament field in order to earn their spurs.

Today's cavalrymen earn their spurs in much the same manner. They can be awarded to Soldiers serving in a combat zone, or in peacetime to Soldiers who participate in a "Spur Ride" -- a series of tests and tasks led by a spur-qualified non-commissioned officer, designed to test the candidates' initiative, military expertise and endurance.

Each cavalry regiment defines its own criteria for awarding spurs, said Lancaster, who first earned his spurs in 1987 with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Anyone assigned or attached to a cavalry unit during combat actions can also be authorized to wear the spurs, he added.

"There are always bragging rights with the spurs, who you earned them with and where," he said.

Scouts who have earned their spurs prior to transferring to a new unit will usually become honorary spur holders after completing a minimal qualification, usually a written test on unit history, Lancaster said.

F Troop has set the criteria to include a minimum of three months in a combat zone as well as having been in the vicinity -- 30 kilometers -- of combat.

Only two men from F Troop have not yet earned their combat spurs -- only because both have just arrived.

For Pfc. Joshua T. Hawkey, a 24-year-old scout from Tampa, Fla., with 19 months in service and first-time spur holder, the spurs symbolize dedication and honor. Although he looks forward to earning his spurs with another unit by completing a Spur Ride, said he feels that they have earned them here.

"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to have earned them and to wear them," he said. "Hopefully I'm living up to the honor of it."

Both Hawkey and Lancaster said they were happy to see Soldiers who have supported and been involved with the troop also earn the spurs. Among those awarded them that night was Brigade Chaplain Maj. Chip Huey.

"The chaplain was in a couple of battles with us, went out on many patrols with us, just the same as our commo guys or our supply guy," said Lancaster. "He's brought a lot of inspiration to this troop since the beginning."

The chaplain, who was present during one of the troop's fiercest battles and also spent the night of June 24 with the troop when they secured a stadium in Ba'qubah following an insurgent uprising, accompanies the men on missions at least once week. He said he felt honored to be considered part of their team.

"They are just a really unique collection of young men. They go out every day, facing a significant amount of danger, and they face that danger with panache and a grit that's really admirable," Huey said. "So for those of us who are sort of part of their extended family, it's just a privilege to be there with them and to be able to serve with them."

(Editor's note: Sgt. Kimberly Snow is assigned to the 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)