CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
A noncommissioned officer challenged himself with two tests of hiking endurance, the Norwegian Foot March and the Bataan Memorial Death March.
"The reason I did the Norwegian Foot March was to test my abilities," said Army Reserve Sgt. Jonathan Windborne, with the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, based 1185th Deployment Distribution Support Battalion, under the 595th Transportation Brigade, a surface deployment and distribution capabilities brigade with its headquarters here.
Both events took place within weeks of each other in March and April but this did not seem to stop him. “I did not know they were going to have events like this, till we get boots on ground” windborne said. These events will challenge anyone, but he and many other servicemen and women took on these challenges.
The Norwegian army established the foot march in 1915 as a training regiment for conscripts during WWI in support of Norway's armed neutrality.
The foot march continues to be a part of the Norwegian army's military training and it has become a tradition in the U.S. military, as well. American Soldiers, who earn the Norwegian Foot March badge, are authorized to wear the device on their uniform.
Windborne said he also completed the Bataan Memorial Death March as a tribute.
"I did the Bataan March to have a small taste of what the soldiers and people went through during that time," the sergeant said.
The Bataan Memorial Death March commemorates the events of April 9, 1942, when thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were force-marched for more than 60 miles through the Philippine jungle, where many perished due to harsh conditions.
The Madison, Mississippi, native said after completing both events, his advice to anyone who wanted to take on these challenges to stay determined.
"Never give up no matter how hard it gets."