JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Paratroopers with the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division “Spartan Brigade,” held a team building exercise by conducting the Norwegian Foot March overnight, May 20, 2021.
Paratroopers that volunteered for the event completed an 18.6-mile march with 25 pounds of weight. Completion times varied with age but held close to the 15 minutes-per-mile paratroopers are used to.
Tracing its roots to 1915, the Norwegian Foot March aimed to provide a realistic experience to civilians and new military recruits of serving in the field. Throughout the next century the event evolved into a foreign-service badge earned by completing the event to standard.
Approximately 170 Spartans took part in the march, split into multiple groups. 130 of them finished within the allotted time.
“We do this for the morale of the unit,” said Staff Sgt. Jess Wagoner, an intelligence specialist with the 1-40th “Denali” Cavalry Squadron. “It forces our guys to show what they can bring to the table.”
Upon completion, paratroopers received an official badge that can be worn on their Army Service Uniforms. And if the march itself isn’t hard enough, paratroopers also have to continue the next day carrying out their regular duties.
“I do this to surpass my limits and find out who I am,” said Spc. Alexander Foley, a paratrooper volunteering for the march. Foley said he has done similar marches before but this was his first Norwegian Foot March and he was looking forward to earning the unique badge.