DVIDS – News – Courage and determination define Norwegian marching at Camp As Sayliyah

Despite their busy schedules, Task Force Liberty soldiers assigned to help at-risk Afghans continue their movement took time to conquer the Norwegian ruck march here recently.

The walk requires participants to complete the 18.6-mile movement on foot under cover of darkness while carrying at least 25 pounds. The qualifying time depends on gender and age group.

A total of 128 of the 189 participants crossed the finish line within the given time.

Among the finishers was Spc. Samantha Short, an assistant noncommissioned officer in the combat office of the Nebraska National Guard’s 734th Sustainment Support Battalion. In the weeks leading up to the walk, Short prepared by combining running and ruck walking. She also gave her body time to heal between sessions.

“I work 12 hour days, so some days I couldn’t train because I was so tired,” Short said. “The other days, I trained with other soldiers. The most important thing in preparation is having the motivation to do it.

Maj. Mark Osmack, the 35th Infantry Division Civil Affairs officer in charge, is new to Camp as Sayliyah as part of the 35th Inf. Division’s mission to support the Afghan evacuation mission. Still, he went on the march because he thought it would be a fitting start for this deployment.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to take on the challenge because a lot of people have done much harder things. I think of them – the Afghans, my parents – they have all done much harder things,” he said. said “It was the best way to set the tone for the deployment. Whether it’s 18.6 miles or helping our travelers get to their destination, it’s going to happen whether we’re ready or not.”

While Short and Osmack knew they would complete the full 18.6 miles, Sgt. Joshua Sacra did not. The recently promoted religious affairs specialist assigned to the 29th Infantry Division intended to show up for moral support and cover a few rounds with the TFL chaplain. Yet, in the end, he also crossed the finish line.

“While walking, we were, like, ‘Well, we’re here. We might as well finish,'” he said.

Whether they felt prepared for the march or not, the three soldiers said their bodies began to ache as the march progressed.

“The first round was the worst, but it was in the third round that I realized how far it was. I had no choice but to finish, even though everything was hurting me”, Shorts said.

Osmack said he started having pain about 15 miles in, despite the cheers and cheers from onlookers.

“I kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other,” he said.
Still, Short said she was happy to have completed the walk.

“It’s not as bad as it looks. Once you did it and you realize it wasn’t that bad,” she said. “Once you get over the fact that it hurts, you realize it’s all in your brain.”

Thanks to this effort, Short was the first female soldier to cross the finish line. The three soldiers can also claim bragging rights for completing a march that few have not attempted – something Short says she is proud of.

“Not only were we able to do it, but also do it overseas,” she said. “I spent some time thinking about what it’s like for the Norwegian army, and it was cool to show that [the American military] could also do something equally invigorating and stimulating.

Date taken: 03.01.2022
Date posted: 03.02.2022 08:11
Story ID: 415583
Location: QA

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