Cavalry (CAV) is alive and well in the US Army Reserve. Headquartered in Madisonville, Ky., the 2nd Squadron, 398th Cavalry Regiment is one of only two CAV squadrons in the Army Reserve. 2-398th CAV is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 98th Division, 108th Training Command. Their mission is to provide Cavalry Drill Sergeants and Instructors to the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.
On the weekend of 6-8 September, the Cavalry Scouts from the 2-398th Cavalry Squadron conducted a time-honored “Spur Ride” at Fort Knox, Ky. As the original Home of Armor and Cavalry for more than 50 years, Fort Knox is a fitting location.
The Spur Ride, a rite of passage for every CAV trooper, is a skills proficiency test for Cavalry Soldiers that has deep roots in Cavalry history and tradition. There were spur candidates participating from both the Active Army and Army Reserve components.
The Spur Ride, led by 1st Sgt. Mitch Latham, was a demanding 36-hour, non-stop, scenario-based event. The APFT, which was modified to fit the spirit of the ride, led off the experience. The Spur Ride also contained a Cavalry knowledge exam, a combatant vehicle identification exam, heavy weapons proficiency and live fire range, along with multiple Field Training Exercise (FTX) Lanes, all of which were designed to mirror the Cavalry’s reconnaissance and security missions. An arduous ruck march rounded out the successful candidates’ group training at the close of the weekend.
Marching up (and down) hills affectionately named Agony and Misery is one of the highlighted last steps of the 2-398th CAV Squadron’s Spur Ride. This culminating event tested Soldier endurance and esprit de corps. Much has changed on the Fort Knox post over the last twenty years, but two things endure the test of time, Agony and Misery!
While the candidate’s mission was tough, they were excited to receive instruction and participate in team-motivating/building events, while overcoming individual hardships as a group. The group stayed driven and really showed how Soldiers can adapt and overcome throughout the entire weekend. These events demonstrate the passing of the torch to the next generation, who will undoubtedly perform commendably.
The final evening, the candidates participated in the long-standing tradition – a grog bowl ceremony, where the candidates were inducted into the 2-398th Cavalry Squadron’s Order of the Spur. Candidates were awarded their spurs, as all CAV Soldiers are, in the front, lean and rest position. The Cavalry is rich with tradition and ceremony. These candidates will one day be charged with performing similar functions, as many generations have participated throughout the years. No doubt these Troopers will do their duty!
In conjunction with the Spur Ride, the 2-398th CAV passed its colors from one commander to the next. Col. Phillip Taylor, commander of 1st Brigade, 98th Division, led the change of command, saying farewell to Lt. Col. Brian Slaughter and welcoming Lt. Col. Christopher McDavid. Outgoing commander, Slaughter a prior troop commander with 2-398th and former 1st Cavalry Division Soldier, brought a wealth of Cavalry experience to the unit and led the 2-398th CAV Squadron since 2017. His leadership and dedication to the mission have played a significant role in 2-398th CAV Squadron’s success.
Incoming commander McDavid also served with 2-5 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas and with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment while a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard. Both commanders have a rich lineage of CAV pride.
McDavid is charged with leading the squadron by training, resourcing and producing Cavalry Drill Sergeants and Instructors for the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. Each year, the USAMCOE is dependent on the US Army Reserve to help train new Soldiers. Cavalry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, incorporates One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which assimilates both Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at ‘one station’ – Fort Benning, GA.
One of the biggest challenges for the 2-398th CAV Squadron is recruiting hard charging Cavalry Drill Sergeants. Anyone with the heart of a warrior and willingness to train can become a Cavalry Drill Sergeant. No matter the MOS, our mission is to train and produce Cavalry Troopers and Leaders!!
2-398th Stetsons and Spurs POCs:
- MAJ Steve Brock (Executive Officer) 270.207.8018
- CSM Michael Whittenburg (Command Sergeant Major) 606.872.1297
- MSG (P) Clint Halstead (S3 NCOIC) 913.249.5865
- 1SG Mitch Latham (First Sergeant, A Troop, 2-398th Cavalry Squadron) 606.688.1514
- LTC Christopher McDavid (Commander) 615.268.2585
- LTC Brian Slaughter (Former Commander) 615.720.8976