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News | May 7, 2024

Wisconsin Guard’s Civil Support Team hosts Norwegian foot march

By Staff Sgt. Amber Peck

More than 90 Wisconsin National Guard service members participated in the Norwegian foot march hosted by the 54th Civil Support Team on the Glacial Drumlin State Trail, April 19.

The Norwegian foot march challenges participants to complete 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) while carrying at least 24 pounds in a rucksack on their back. Depending on age and sex, the time limit for finishing the task ranged from 4 hours 35 minutes to 6 hours.

In attendance was Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, Brig. Gen. Matt Strub, who said that while the military often times provides opportunities for service members to build character, endurance, and fitness, this event mostly helped build readiness.

“This is about doing something more than what you thought you could do, and I just want to congratulate you for stepping up to the challenge,” Strub said.

Out of the 87 Air and Army ruck marchers, 64 completed the event on time, earning themselves both a certificate of completion and a bronze skill badge. However, if it was a service member’s second time completing the march, they earned a silver badge. Anyone who completed five or more Norwegian foot marches earned the gold badge. The quarter-inch foreign badge is worn on the Army Service Uniform and/or the Army Green Service Uniform.

Sgt. 1st Class Levi Parker, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the event, said one of the main reasons for facilitating the ruck march was to give service members the chance to come together and make memories that last through their careers.

“I have had a lot of great opportunities in my career so far, and I want to create those opportunities for others in our organization,” Parker said. “It’s important that we create unique opportunities for training and building esprit de corp and camaraderie throughout our force because ultimately that is what’s going to help us retain the good service members.”

The march was first held in 1915 as a test of marching endurance for Soldiers in the Norwegian armed forces. The goal today is to stimulate the general interest of marching over extended distances amongst military and civilian personnel.