In addition to physical challenges, the exercise allowed logistic, medical and support elements to put their skills to use planning and coordinating the event.
"We wanted to do something that would get the whole battalion together," said Maj. Stefan Lockton, operations officer for BTB. "We had to choose something that all of them could come together and participate in and, because there are so many different skill sets represented in the battalion, a ruck march made sense as a good team-building exercise."
The brigade's Headquarters Company started walking at 7:45p.m.; the 73rd Engineer Company, 176th Signal Company, D-52 Anti-Tank Company and 184th Military Intelligence Company followed at 15-minute intervals.
"As with any training exercise, especially physical ones, we want to push people out of their comfort zones and really make them challenge themselves," said Capt. Shane Cox, assistant operations officer for BTB.
More than 300 BTB Soldiers followed a route which wound around Fort Wainwright, following the Chena River at times and topping Birch Hill, ultimately returning to the where they started, the Melavin Soccer Field.
Breakfast was provided by the Brigade Support Battalion and was waiting for each company as they crossed the finish line. MICO, the last company to start, walked in at 7:45a.m.
"This was a great experience," said 1st Lt. Tavis Reid, executive officer for the 73rd Engineer Company. "We stayed motivated, we all made it, and we all finished together."
For many of the Soldiers, including Pfc. Kelly Rach, a supply clerk with HHC, the 12-mile road march every Soldier completes in Basic Training was the longest they had ever done.
"It's really motivating to know you can do it," Rach said, "to put a challenge like this in front of yourself and then beat it."