New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
1 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathan Licurse, a petroleum supply specialist assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, and 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Dorvee, the senior enlisted leader of Company D, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, fist-bump during a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 25 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
2 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Shawn Tabankin, commander of 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, presents a challenge coin to Capt. Nina Skinner, a communications officer with 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, after she completed a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. Skinner received the coin for placing first among the female participants with a finish time of 3 hours and 59 minutes. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
3 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Cloud and Staff Sgt. Chisolm Olajide, both financial management technicians assigned to 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, register participants for a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 25 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
4 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Capt. Dulae Ahn, an operations officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, participates in a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 25 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
5 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Valerie Goodblanket, a military working dog handler, and Army, her military working dog, participate in a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 24 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
6 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army Soldier assigned to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa participates in a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 25 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
7 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Spc. Kqworoziah Hartwell, an intelligence analyst assigned to 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, participates in a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 25 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL
New York Army National Guard unit hosts Norwegian Foot March in Horn of Africa
8 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa stand in line to register for a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022. During the march, participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying 25 pounds of dry weight. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Rector) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and multinational partners participated in a Norwegian Foot March at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 16, 2022.

CJTF-HOA's Task Force Wolfhound, composed of New York Army National Guard Soldiers from the Manhattan-headquartered 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, and augmented by Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, and 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, hosted the event.

“It’s important to conduct this kind of training because it builds rapport and cohesiveness between all of the units and organizations that volunteered to help and participate,” said Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Caba, the Task Force Wolfhound training and foreign liaison noncommissioned officer. “It also strengthens the bonds between us and our foreign partner forces.”

The Norwegian Foot March was first held in 1915 as a test of marching endurance for Norwegian soldiers.Participants were required to ruck 18.6 miles while carrying a 25-pound rucksack in military uniform. Those who completed the ruck within the designated time standard earned a Norwegian armed forces skill badge and a certificate from the Norwegian Ministry of Defense.

The event was capped at 115 participants which included U.S. Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and French, Italian, and Japanese service members. and 98 participants finished within the time standard.

Caba, who has previously completed the event back in New York State, believes the austere location contributed to the event’s difficulty.

“I think the weather and humidity played a significant role,” Caba said. “If you’re considering attempting the Norwegian Foot March, my suggestion would be to adjust to the climate first and foremost.”

As an official event sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, Caba coordinated with the government of Norway to obtain approval to host the march.

“I had to gather a vast understanding of the event standards and build a route,” said Caba, an Island Park, N.Y. resident. “I then submitted the plan to the attaché at the Norwegian embassy in Washington D.C. for approval.”

Many participants found themselves out of their comfort zone while attempting the march.

“I’ve always hated rucking,” said Capt. Nina Skinner, the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, communications officer. “For me it just always meant pain, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.”

Skinner was the first female participant to complete the event, finishing in 3 hours and 58 minutes. Skinner received a challenge coin for her achievement from Lt. Col. Shawn Tabankin, the 1st Battalion, 69th Regiment commander.

“When I joined the 69th, I rucked a little bit in New York City, but I still hated it,” said Skinner, a native of Kodiak, Alaska. “So I went into this expecting to hate it. I honestly grew to like it a little bit, which is surprising. It's a strange love-hate relationship now.”

Skinner, who arrived in Djibouti earlier this year, believes being on deployment contributed to her success.

“Here it had to be all for myself, and it all had to be about self-fulfillment,'' Skinner said. “I wouldn't have done as well, I think, back home, too many distractions to train.”

Task Force Wolfhound is slated to remain deployed in the Horn of Africa until spring 2023 and will continue to host more Norwegian Foot March events for the remainder of their deployment.