Airmen earn coveted spurs

Airman 1st Class Carmen Pontello (left) and Senior Airman Dustin Martin were inducted into the Order of the Combat Spur and awarded their achievement from the U.S. Army  1st Cavalry Division. They were awarded the distinction for support during joint combat operations.  (Courtesy Photo)

Airman 1st Class Carmen Pontello (left) and Senior Airman Dustin Martin were inducted into the Order of the Combat Spur and awarded their achievement from the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division. They were awarded the distinction for support during joint combat operations. (Courtesy Photo)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Two 82nd security forces Airmen from Sheppard deployed at the 455th Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, were inducted into the Order of the Combat Spur from the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division.

Senior Airman Dustin Martin and Airmen 1st Class Carmen Pontello was part of the tradition of having to "earn your spurs," which reaches back to the beginning of the cavalry. When new troopers first arrived at their new cavalry assignments, they were assigned a horse with a shaved tail.

This led to the nickname "Shave Tail" for newly assigned, spur-less Soldiers. These new Troopers were in need of extensive training, especially in the area of swordsmanship from atop a horse. The horse with a shaved tail was given extra space in which to operate since its rider was marked as an amateur.

During this phase of training the troopers were not allowed to wear spurs because this would only serve to compound their problems.

Only when they were able to prove their ability to perform with their horse and saber were they awarded spurs. While the combat spur is normally awarded for participating in combat operations with the calvary division, these Airmen were awarded the combat spur for support of joint operations as tactical automated security system (TASS) operators.

The TASS is an Air Force intrusion and detection system that allows the controller to see where an intruder may try to get onto the installation.

As an operator, they are required to monitor cameras and alarms consistently and should an alarm go off, they dispatch a unit to assess the alarm. The Airmen are part of an eight man team that went to Kuwait this past winter.

Martin, Pontello and fellow 82nd SFS defender, Airmen 1st Class Jeremiah Murrell, were also awarded Army Achievement Medals for their support of U.S. Army operations in Afghanistan.

These airmen have distinguished themselves, the 82nd SFS and Team Sheppard with their actions. They are looking forward to coming home with the rest of their team later this summer.