BUCKEYE, Ariz. –
In a continuous effort to build its esprit de corps and culture, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 492nd Civil Affairs Battalion (CA BN) in Buckeye, Arizona, conducted a road march event as part of a new yearly tradition on Sept. 18, 2022.
This year, in addition to the annual road march, 492nd CA BN Soldiers were given the opportunity to earn the Medaille de Marche Internationale de Diekirch (MID), a permanent and wearable foreign award from the Armed Forces of Luxembourg.
The Rising Phoenix Battalion March is an initial mandatory, battalion-wide 10-kilometer foot march where U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers across the battalion completed a 10-kilometer road march at a pace achievable by all members. The march route featured rest stops in order for Soldiers to conduct leader discussions, emphasize unit culture and build relationships across the formation.
"This is going to turn into an annual event where we recalibrate and build our unit readiness and cohesion as the Phoenix Battalion transitions and sets our intentions for the new fiscal year," said U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Laura Miller, 492nd CA BN commander.
Phase two of the operation was optional and consisted of an additional 10-kilometer foot march. Upon completion of the 12.4 mile-long march, Soldiers became eligible to receive the Marche Internationale de Diekirch award.
"The country and army of Luxembourg has been gracious enough to open up the Marche Internationale de Diekirch to all formations across the world," Miller said.
The March of Diekirch, originally organized by the Luxembourg Army, was first held in 1968. The number of participants in the march on its inaugural debut was only 267. Around 8,000 people now take part in the march every year in order to commemorate the gratitude toward U.S. Soldiers who liberated Luxembourg twice from foreign oppression in 1918 and in 1944.
"We have come together to launch an exciting team-building and morale boosting opportunity," said Paul Binsfeld, Honorary Consul of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Events like this offer an opportunity to reflect and remember that Luxembourg and the United States are steadfast allies and close partners through our joint commitment to peace, security and promoting shared values of respect for human rights and rule of law."
The Diekirch Medal, which commemorates a 14th century Luxembourg king, known as John of Luxembourg (1296 - 1346), King of Bohemia (1310 -1346), is awarded to those who complete the march.
"We believe this is a great opportunity for our Soldiers to experience fundamental aspects of the Army," Miller said. "It's one of the most important things we can do as a unit as we continue to achieve greater goals and expand our unit pride," Miller said.