Airman Marches, Low-Crawls And Sweats Her Way Into History
(January 25, 2011)
|BAGHDAD (1/19-21/2011 - AFNS) -- PART ONE|
A Brooklyn, N.Y., native was the first female Airman to
complete the Army's 18-hour Spur Ride.
Courtney Beard joined the "Order of the Spur" after
completing a series of physical and mental tests held by the
III Corps, Task Force Phantom, on Victory Base Complex,
Senior Airman Courtney Beard with her spurs and III Corps belt buckle Jan. 16, 2010, on Camp Slayer, Iraq. Airman Beard was the first female Airman to complete the 18-hour Spur Ride, a series of mental and physical tests, held by the III Corps, Task Force Phantom. Airman Beard is a 467th Expeditionary Intelligence Squadron intelligence analyst. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. R. Michael Longoria)
countless people who dropped out, but I made it
through all 18 hours," said Airman Beard, an
intelligence analyst with the 467th Expeditionary
Intelligence Squadron here. "This is an
accomplishment that I will remember for many years
The Order of the Spur is a Cavalry
tradition within the Army, but the order is open to
any service member who serves with U.S. Cavalry
units. Upon successful completion of the Spur Ride,
new spur holders are welcomed with a formal
In addition to the Spur
Ride certificate, Airmen Beard was also presented a
III Corps belt buckle by U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj.
Timothy P. Livengood, of the III Corps Special
"Airman Beard embodied the
warrior spirit and displayed the drive and desire to
not only push her teammates, but also had the
resolve to continue at a point where she believed
she had no more to give herself," said 1st Sgt.
Brian McCutcheon, United States Forces - Iraq, A
Company first sergeant.
explained the hardest part was staying motivated
end and nothing about the Spur Ride was easy.
"I will not look back on this experience, now that it is
done, and have the guts to call any of it easy, because
it absolutely was not," she said. "I took each thing one
at a time. I made sure to stay in the moment and not
concentrate on how many hours were left."
Beard's hard work and dedication to completing a task
come as no surprise to her supervisor.
"She showed that the Air Force is
well beyond the days of just riding a bike and that we
are training just like our brother and sister services,"
said Tech. Sgt. Natasha Carman, the full motion video
operations NCO in charge for Air Component Coordination
Element - Iraq's Collection, Management and
Dissemination. "Airman Beard dominated the Spur Ride,
representing the Air Force well and proving that we are
It all began... Shortly after her
arrival on Camp Slayer from McGuire Air Force Base,
N.J., Airman Beard was sightseeing around the base with
a few of her co workers.
As they drove past the
Flintstone Palace, she noticed a group of Soldiers
marching with rucksacks on their backs. They were in the
midst of a Spur Ride and it grabbed the young Airman's
attention. She instantly made it a goal of hers and
announced it to everyone in the vehicle.
going to do the Spur Ride before I leave Iraq," Airman
Her statement was met with laughter
and disbelief. Comments like 'that's why you're in the
Air Force' and 'you're going to spend your days sitting
at a desk instead' were made but fell on deaf ears
because Airman Beard had already made her decision.
"They surely didn't stop me from doing what my
stubborn mind had already set its self to do," she said.
"I am definitely the type of person that sets her mind
on accomplishing a goal and doesn't stop until that goal
is 100 percent complete."
Her thoughts quickly
switched to how she would prepare for the Spur Ride.
Vigorous exercise? Marching?
"I thought of
various ways to prepare but, the answer was, there is no
way to truly prepare for something like the Spur Ride,"
Airman Beard said.
Not much time had gone by
before her chance to tackle this daunting task was
knocking at her doorstep.
Airman Beard spent the
day and night before stressing out about the big day.
She double and triple checked all of her gear to make
sure she had everything. She even laid out her uniform,
glasses and breakfast, consisting of a Gatorade, a power
bar and a banana.
"I was nervous beyond belief,
but it felt comforting to have complete control of at
least the beginning portion of the Spur Ride," she said.
Part Two |
By USAF SSgt. R. Michael Longoria|
9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force - Iraq Public Affairs
Air Force News
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