Spartan paratroopers hike Crow Pass
August 26, 2013
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Cool temperatures and light precipitation made for tolerable conditions as paratroopers with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, stepped off on a 26-mile hike along a section of the Historic Iditarod Trail, Aug. 21, 2013.
Connecting the Alaskan towns of Eagle River and Girdwood, the stretch of trail named Crow Pass, led paratroopers on a scenic hike over mountain passes, and across rivers, woods, and valleys.
Rocky terrain, protruding roots, and steep slopes made for challenging conditions as they moved through the wilderness. The Geronimo paratroopers maintained motivation and strength by stopping to rest at 13 checkpoints along the 12-hour journey.
Mountain trekking, river crossings, and wildlife sightings were highlights of the trip for most paratroopers.
Spc. Aaron Kizer, from Atlanta, an infantryman with Comanche Company, 1-501st, said his knees were sore, but the hike was not that bad.
"It was cool because we got to do something outside of base in civilian clothes," said Kizer. "The water at the river crossing was freezing!"
"I always like telling friends and family about things like this," Kizer said.
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Moore, the platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Comanche Co., hailing from High Point, N.C., said it was a great way to get away from the day-to-day schedule and enjoy the outdoors.
"The river was some really cold water, but we made it fun," said Moore. "We saw a moose and a goat!"
The best part, said Moore, "thirty-six guys came out here with me, and 36 guys finished it. It was a good march. It was good for the morale of the troops."
Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Souza, Easy Co.'s maintenance platoon sergeant, hailing from Tracy, Calif., was thankful for the two medics he had assigned to his platoon for the hike.
"The medics have been taking really good care of the guys," said Souza. "Our guys have had a few blisters here and there, and the medics patched them up and got them on their way. They made sure our guys were good to go. I attribute a lot of our success today to them."
"The most challenging part was the beginning when we were climbing the mountain and going down the mountain," said Souza. "But, the scenery helped us kind of forget about the pain, and we drove on."
For energy, the paratroopers carried Meals Ready to Eat, and in addition to assigned medics and satellite phones, the 501st had support elements stationed along the route to aid in any medical concerns, to help with communication issues, and to replenish water supplies.
Paratroopers with 1 Geronimo met the commander's intent for the foot march by training and evaluating physical fitness readiness while promoting esprit-de-corps.
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/112624/spartan-paratroopers-hike-crow-pass#ixzz2d7TT2UwD