The Tigrovi Battalion of the Guards Motorised Brigade and the 173 Airborne Brigade Combat Team…
Eight Croatian soldiers participated in the Spur Ride competition, which was organised by the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard (USA) at Training Range “Bemowo Piskie” in Poland from 22nd to 24th January 2019.
Spur Ride is a traditional competition organized by the units of the United States Cavalry. If a soldier successfully completes the competition, they become a full-fledged member of the U.S. Cavalry and receive spurs as a symbol of belonging. The commander of each cavalry unit sets the rules of the competition, which mostly boils down to tasks that test soldiers’ physical and mental endurance.
The soldiers competed against each other in firing from various types of small arms, bomb throwing, first aid and placing calls for medical evacuation. The competition also included several day and night orienteering marches, during which the soldiers had to carry 16 kilos worth of required personal equipment. They could only get some rest for a few hours during the night in a shabby tent set up on the snow, on the temperature of -10° Celsius. Waking up early in the morning was ardent: an attack on the camp was simulated. At the same time, their motor skills and the usage of a protective mask were tested. After extreme physical strains, the final step before the end of the competition was a history test, which was tailored to each participating nation. The instructors of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment evaluated the participants’ knowledge, endurance, speed and precision in task execution through all phases of the competition and named the best participants at the end.
Out of eight Croatian soldiers who participated in the U.S. Cavalry’s traditional competition, Private Andrej Mujan of the 2nd Fire Squad of the Self-Propelled Multiple Rocket Launcher Battery was named the best competitor. “This is a result of team work. I could not have achieved this result if all competitors had not helped one another and cheered each other on,” Private Mujan said after receiving a commendation and spurs at a traditional ceremony. Private Mujan singled out the night topographic march as the biggest challenge because using a torch had not been allowed except when reading the map. In spite of that, he concluded: “If you have a good knowledge of topography, you can find your way around in daytime and night-time.” As is the custom in U.S. Cavalry, those who ended the Spur Ride competition with the best result wear the spurs on their boots as an integral part of their uniform on Fridays. From now on until the end of his stay in the area of activity in Poland, Private Andrej Mujan will proudly don the spurs on his boots.
The Croatian soldiers in the 3rd Croatian Contingent are a part of Battle Group Poland in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. Battle Group Poland is multinational in character, as it also includes American, British and Romanian soldiers. It has been added to the Polish Land Forces’ 15th Giżycko Mechanised Brigade and its unique objective is joint training and the increase of interoperability among allies.
Text by PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER OF THE 3RD CROATIAN CONTINGENT IN eFPBG-USA
Photo by PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER OF THE 3RD CROATIAN CONTINGENT IN eFPBG-USA & U.S. ARMY SGT ARTURO GUZMAN
Translation by IVA GUGO