By Caroline Schaeffer, Special to the Bavarian News October 28, 2013
VILSECK, Germany -- How long does it take to travel from Rose Barracks to a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan? The families of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, are well on their way to finding out.
And when they do, well, they're turning around and coming back.
Jasmine Tucker, a family readiness group leader for the unit, organized a "Walk to Afghanistan" aimed at inspiring spouses and families to exercise by collectively walking 3,927 miles, the distance from Vilseck to Afghanistan and back.
But it's not limited to walking or running; families are swimming, rowing, pedaling, and even dancing their way downrange.
Every Wednesday, families send their weekly miles to Tucker, who keeps both a running total, and the motivation coming.
This is Tucker's fifth deployment as a military spouse, and over those years, she witnessed the impact exercise has on spouses during a long separation.
"It's something to pull women and families out of their houses, so they don't dwell alone and inside during a deployment," Tucker said. "Plus, it's getting them a taste for fitness while doing something active that's not competitive."
Weekly mile contributions have ranged from two to 74 miles. Always full of energy, Tucker serves as a cheerleader to those who may be disappointed at their weekly totals.
"We have a spouse now that emailed that she only did three miles. I said, 'By all means, it's better than nothing!' She was able to set goals because of it," said Tucker. "You can see the positive changes because of it."
Tucker said spouses run for their mental and physical health, for some socialization, but also for love.
"I think they want to shock their husband when they come home. They want to look their best for them."
In one month, FRG families have put in 1,021 miles. Tucker says they are well on their way to reaching their goal.
And when they've "arrived" in Afghanistan, they'll be swimming, rowing, running and dancing their way back.