2ID/RUCD Soldier marches 250 miles with ROK special forces

By Sgt. Ian Vega-CerezoJune 12, 2019

CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - Twelve-mile ruck marches are a staple of U.S. Army combat readiness that can inflame shoulders and cramp legs with a mere mention of the event.

For Capt. Arthur Blue, liaison officer for 7th ROK Corps and captain of defense command, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, 12 miles isn't even a warm-up compared to his most recent undertaking.

Blue, a Winston Salem, North Carolina native, marched 250 miles with ROK Army special forces from 65th ROK Battalion, 11th ROK Brigade, May 23-30, in Jeon Nam-do Province.

The ROK army conducts the 250-mile road march, titled Cheon-ri Haeng Gun, once every two years to exercise their escape and evasion plans.

"I really wanted to do something because as an LNO, I do my best work outside of the desk," said Blue. "This is really the best way to embody the spirit of Katchi Kapshida and it's the best way to show my loyalty and commitment."

During the seven-day march, Blue ate and slept among his ROK Army counterparts, building stronger camaraderie between them.

"They took me in, and they were all great guys," said Blue. "I was with a different team every day and everyone loved the United States, the U.S. military and our presence here. It was a really good experience."

The marches began at 6 p.m. and ended around 7 a.m. each day, said Blue. The paths the Soldiers traveled led the group over mountains and through uncharted terrain.

"We were breaking brush and there were no improved or defined roads," said Blue. "The shortest distance we covered was about 30 miles, and on the last day we did 100 kilometers."

According to his coworkers Blue's participation in the event was unsurprising. Seeking out challenges and pushing himself is just part of Blue's nature.

"Captain Blue is determined, his work ethic is off the charts and he likes to push himself," said Master Sgt. Jason Patrlja, liaison noncommissioned officer in charge. "He didn't do the march for accolades or anything like that, he wanted to test himself. He wanted to see what he was made of, so he trained for it and knocked it out."