Fort Bragg paratroopers participate in first-ever Mike-to-Mike run
Lieutenant Gen. Frank G. Helmick, far left, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg leads a run Saturday down Bragg Boulevard. The general participated in a nearly 10-mile run from the new Iron Mike statute on Fort Bragg to the original Iron Mike statute at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville. The statute, which is a symbol of the Airborne Soldier, was dedicated in 1961, but had to be replaced with a newer model in 2005 because of deterioration to its structure. Fifty-eight runners took part in the Mike-to-Mike mission, which began at 6 a.m. and was completed at an 8:04 per mile pace.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Captain Steven C. Rose, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, was one of 58 participants in the Mike-to-Mike run Saturday morning.

Rose, who will soon transfer from Fort Bragg, said taking part in the run was his thanks to the post.

"I'm getting ready to leave the 82nd and I guess it's like my parting thanks and gift for the time I've been here," Rose said.

Led by Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Rose and other servicemembers ran about 10 miles from the Iron Mike statute on Armistead Street to its counterpart at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum on Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville.

The Iron Mike that moved to the ASOM in June, originally stood on Fort Bragg, and was dedicated in 1961. Because of deterioration, it had to be replaced with a newer model in 2005.

The run was the first of its kind and marked the dedication of the refitted, original Iron Mike at ASOM on Saturday. The statue, a symbol of the Airborne Soldier, had been moved from a storage facility on Fort Bragg, after undergoing refurbishing of its fiberglass shell.

Saturday also marked the commemoration of National Airborne Day and celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Army Parachute Test Platoon's first official jump and the 10th anniversary of ASOM.

Lieutenant Gen. Helmick literally passed a baton that touched the Iron Mike on post, just before the start of the Mike-to-Mike run, to an ASOM official at the end of the run.

The gesture seemed symbolic of the seamless relationship between Fort Bragg and its surrounding community.

Helmick told runners before the start that they were taking part in history.

"This is the first time we've ever done anything like this," said Helmick, calling it something extra special.

"It's great being a part of anything the Paratroopers do, (it) is something special," he said.
The run progressed at a nice, easy pace, Helmick added. It began at 6 a.m. and averaged 8:04 per mile.

It was an awesome opportunity to conduct the Mike-to-Mike mission, Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Rice said. The run also provided an opportunity to dedicate something significant to past, present and future paratroopers, said Rice.

Sergeant Michelle Metzger, a participant and member of the 623rd Quartermaster Co., said it was an honor to make history.

Challenged by the hills, Metzger said she stayed motivated by Helmick's leadership.
She was not the only one.

For Sgt. Michael Holbein, Headquarters and Headquarters Bn., 18th Fires Bde., it had been a long while since he had run nearly 10 miles, he said.

"It absolutely murdered me," Holbein said. "The CG (commanding general) can run."
Helmick, known as an avid runner, seemed pleased with the accomplishment of the Mike-to-Mike mission.

"It was exactly what we wanted to do," Helmick said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16