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Calvary hats?

Discussion in 'US Army Forum' started by 1-504 PIR, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. 1-504 PIR

    1-504 PIR

    Jan 5, 2008
    A reserve Calvary unit was shown on the news last night returning from Iraq. Some soldiers were wearing patrol caps and some were wearing the blue Calvary (cowboy type) hats.

    Can someone educate me on who wears these in Cav units? Are they earned? Various MOS within the unit? Some had infantry blue on there hats and some had red.
  2. deadday


    Aug 14, 2007
    Stetsons. You can earn them by participating in a Spur Ride, or by serving in combat. The purist will say that only the 19 series guys (Cav) should have them, but anyone in a Cavalry unit can earn them. Spurs are also authorized and earned the same way, however there are two types. You earn your silver spurs on a spur ride, gold spurs are for combat.

  3. EagleOne716

    EagleOne716 Guest

    Thank you for the information on qualifications for the Calvary Stetsons. I worked with quite a few Cav soldiers (including one of my Commanding Generals). Always wondered the history and standards for the hats and spurs. Quite a tradition.

    I read you signature line. Very moving.

    Take care brother.
  4. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

    Oct 16, 2008
    Missouri, East of KC
    calvary = religious term
    cavalry = military term
  5. deadday


    Aug 14, 2007
    LMAO, I didn't even notice the spelling....:rofl:

    EG1, the Stetsons and spurs go all the way back. The way I was taught, new Cav troopers were not given their spurs until they had some time in the saddle, as a man that was not used to using them could really dig into the horse and injure his mount, or could cause the horse to buck wildly and throw the trooper. After they had proven themselves, they had their first 'Spur Ride' in which they wore their spurs for the first time.

    The Stetsons have always been around, they were worn to keep the sun off the eyes, ears, and necks of the troopers as they chased the indians across the deserts and plains.

    CavHooah has some pretty good info on the history of the Cav and some of the Cav traditions...It's run by a couple of AirCav chopper jocks, but we don't hold that against them...


    eta- the first line in my sig is from a Chris LeDoux song, 'One less tornado in Texas'. Blake, Dev, Dean, and Craig were great men, gone off to the big RP in the sky; the last line is a quote from Rambo-First Blood.
  6. bearshoegun


    May 28, 2007
    I thought the Stetsons could only be worn while in Garrison? But then the reserve SOP is a whole lot more lenient than an Active duty unit.

    Occasions for Wear: Spurs and stetsons will be worn at all cavalry functions, otherwise, they will not be worn outside of the cavalry footprint. Stetsons and spurs may be authorized by the local command, but are not authorized for wear at Army functions not specifically dedicated to cavalry. Wear with civilian attire may be restricted by a local commander, but otherwise the spurs and Stetson may be mixed with civilian attire when rank has been removed.

    The reserve dudes are a funny bunch and dress accordingly. You should of seen some of these boys down range in the Jimmy-Rigged vehicles they would concoct, bless their souls.
  7. Here's a good website to learn about the 1st Cavalry Division's history, etc.
  8. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Actually, the standards are the same, both AR 670-1 and the guidelines for "traditions," but he didn't say it was a reserve unit (the reserves don't have cavalry units, although the guard does). I'd assume it was some guys coming home who were proud of having earned their spurs by being in combat with their unit and who decided to bend the regs and wear them - especially if this was the point where they were meeting their families and such.
  9. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    In our National Guard unit, you buy your own stetson. They're expensive ($100-200), so most guys don't have one. The unit MIGHT restrict wear for those that aren't MOS-qualified or failed their last PT test, but, in general, the whole unit can get them.

    It would feel appropriate to wear a Stetson getting off the plane to meet families. I don't know how the regs would be applied, but no leader worthwhile would say anything against it. They're also often worn to weddings, funerals, unit banquets, and so on. Some cavalry units wear them for morning/evening formations (ours does not). Stetsons are generally NOT worn to formal events of non-cavalry units, such as an ROTC ball or a brigade dining-in. If you transfer out of a cavalry unit, your hat will stay in the closet from then on.

    There are lots of different types of cavalry units (air, heavy, stryker, light, RSTA, etc.), and there are lots of different types of soldiers within cavalry units. We're a RSTA squadron, so we have three line troops ("A" "B" and "C"), a headquarters troop ("HHC"), and a forward support company ("D").
    "HHC" - medics, cooks, signal intelligence, human intelligence, forward observers, and dozens of other jobs
    "A" and "B" - lots of cavalry scouts, a few mortar infantry, and a couple supply guys
    "C" - lots of light infantry, a few mortar infantry, and a couple supply guys
    "D" - truck drivers, mechanics, fuelers, ammo handlers, and dozens of other jobs. D is a Forward Support Company that is permanently attached to us. They train with us and go to war with us, and they are very closely integrated in our unit. However, they are "on paper" assigned to a Forward Support Battalion that they rarely see, so they are not authorized the wear of Stetsons.

    The color of the cord, of course, would refer to branch of the wearer. Blue=infantry, yellow=cavalry, red=artillery, and so on. Rank and branch insignia are on the front, unit crest is on the back. Most units follow very similar traditions, but units are allowed to add their own as well. For instance, a handful of units recognize knots in the cord as signifying combat tours, though most units don't recognize that symbol. A few units also allow badges and such on the side of the hat.

    The spurs are earned two different ways:
    Silver spurs are earned by doing a "spur ride," which is a series of job-related tests of competence.
    Gold spurs are earned by deploying to combat with a cavalry unit.

    Gold spurs usually take precedence...
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  10. EagleOne716

    EagleOne716 Guest

    When I was in Germany I was working at the IG Farben Bldg. (V Corp HQ, Frankfurt). Was working with a 109th MP Company (Palace Guards)..(I was 503d MP Company - 3d Armored Division), one morning. I was sitting there and heard "ka-ching,....ka-ching,...ka, ching.
    I asked him "what the hell is that"?
    He replied (without a moment of hesitation)..."CG's in the building"
    Sure comes the Commanding General...Stetson and Spurs...and yellow scarf.
    Walked by us and said "Good morning's a Cav morning...Gary Owen!!
    If I remember correctly, it was General Craton Abrams. The building was later renamed for him.
    Will always remember that morning....:supergrin:
  11. deadday


    Aug 14, 2007
    fixed that for ya:wavey:
  12. SnowboundinNH

    SnowboundinNH longer snowbound in NH

    Jan 1, 2009
    Left Coast
    I've been out since 94 so haven't followed any changes in Reserve structure, but was a Cavalry Scout in the 5th Cav, Army Reserves before going active, and back to 5th Cav when I got out (86-88 Reserve, 88-92 Active duty, 92-94 Reserves). When did the Reserves get rid of Cavalry?

    I've seen references to Reserves only being support units on different forums, I'm not sure where that idea came from but when I was in we had Armor, Cavalry, Infantry, MP's, and Special Forces all at the Reserve Center on Ft. Devens. Has this changed?
  13. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    All combat arms shifted to the National Guard some time in the late 90's. There are cavalry units in the reserve, in name, but they are units of drill sergeants and instructors who train cavalry soldiers. My unit was cavalry until it was reorganized as an IET unit, which are all designated as Infantry, as far as name and what guidon they carry, but which are MOS immaterial, have female soldiers, etc.

    There is a reserve Infantry Bn. in Alaska, I believe, but I don't know why. All other Infantry, Armor, Artillery and Special Forces are NG units.
  14. What? Me worry?

    What? Me worry?

    May 26, 2006
    I love the smell of napalm in the morning!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  15. The Stetson can be worn by any one in a Cav Unit. Its worn as the unit alows. Its a tradition that has no true set regs. Soldiers normally buy their own Stetsons, and put unit markings on them. Its not an earned thing, you just have to be serving in a Cav Unit.

    When I was in the First Cav it was worn to set events, mostly change of commands or NCO events.

    In my Guard unit we wear them at drill when not in formation and at final formations on Sundays. In Iraq we wear them to meetings and when we feel we need to stand out. Deploying and returning home most wear them that have them, as it keep the hat safe, and stands out.

    Only real rule is that they dont get worn by the soldiers to large command formations (BN/BDE/DIV), yet Officers and senior enlisted may wear them based on the higher comanders intent (those in the front or rear of a formation).
  16. msoprano


    Jun 2, 2005
    There is also no real standard for a spur ride. I've seen some spur rides that were extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. I've also seen spur rides that were more focused on frat house-like ****** baggery.

    I WISH all troopers had to earn their silver spurs before wearing the gold ones. If they were to see combat before a chance at a spur ride, then they'd just have to wait. Just my opinion. GARRY OWEN!
  17. deadday


    Aug 14, 2007
    Mine was a perfect combination of the two....There was plenty of ******baggery and hazing of the ass-pirates, but also some extremely challangeing obstacles to negotiate, and the also PTd us till we were about dead on our feet....can you imagine how hard it is to disassemble/reassemble an M2 when you can barely move your arms? Jesus pin, anyone?
  18. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    Our unit just had it's first spur ride since becoming a cavalry unit. 15 degrees for a PT test, followed by an all-day smoke session, with skills tests, followed by a late-night timed ruck march. Only 4 finished out of the entire squadron.