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31 Earn Norwegian Foot March Badge; One of the most challenging foreign military badges at Dyess AFB

Norwegian Foot March Badge emblem depicts a military member walking in front of trees. The Norwegian Foot March or Marsjmerket, is one of the most challenging foreign military badges to earn. The coordination with the Norwegian Embassy required for this event is an example of the routine partnership between U.S. military and NATO partners in the North. (Courtesy Photo)

Norwegian Foot March Badge emblem depicts a military member walking in front of trees. The Norwegian Foot March or Marsjmerket, is one of the most challenging foreign military badges to earn. The coordination with the Norwegian Embassy required for this event is an example of the routine partnership between U.S. military and NATO partners in the North. (Courtesy Photo)

Dyess Air Force Base, Texas --

Military members from Barksdale, Dyess, Goodfellow and Shephard Air Force bases, as well as Fort Hood, completed the Norwegian Foot March Nov. 21, 2021 between midnight and 7 a.m.

The Norwegian Foot March, or Marsjmerket, is a physical challenge in which participants ruck 18.6 miles with 25 pounds strapped to their back. Considered by many to be the most challenging foreign military badge, 69 participants attempted the challenge. To earn the badge, you must complete the ruck in four hours and thirty minutes for men, or four hours and fifty minutes for women, with varying times for different age groups.

It was no easy feat to participate in this ruck, however. In the previous march, hosted August 21, 2021, out of 60 members that started, 40 completed the challenge, and 20 qualified for the badge. Participants faced the challenges of wind, blisters, cramping, and fatigue. It was a test of both resilience and stamina.

One of the qualifying members and volunteer coordinators was 1st Lt. Jonah Whitt, who looks forward to participating in the four days march this June.

“With respect to Saturday’s March, I can sum it up into several things: spirit, grit, and respect. Not everyone is going to want to spend their early morning and march 18.6 miles with weight on their back,” Whitt says, “Even making the decision to put themselves in that arena is a testament to their fighting spirit and their willingness to challenge themselves.” 

Upon observing the people who struggled to finish, he commented, “Making the decision to keep pushing through the march, even when in varying levels of discomfort, and ultimately finish, is a testament to their ability to aspire in face of adversity.”

This time, 69 started, 49 completed, and 31 qualified for the Norwegian Foot March Badge. The first participant to complete the ruck was an Airman from the 9th Air Support Operations Squadron with a time of 3:33:17. 

Maj. Jeremy Martin, Judge Advocate of 7th Bomb Wing Legal Office, was the person who started this initiative by connecting Rapid Airmen Development with the Norwegian Embassy. “In order for us to be able to offer the badge, all of our planning had to be coordinated with the Norwegian Embassy,” Martin says, “I am so glad that we were able to share these military traditions with our NATO allies and bring coalition training from abroad to here at Dyess.”

This was one of the qualifying events for a larger rucking initiative, the Nijmegen 4-Days March, which is a 100 mile ruck march over the course of four days in the Netherlands.

This iteration of the Norwegian Foot March is the second of its kind at Dyess, and is part of the Rapid Airmen Development Program, an initiative to consolidate professional development opportunities with the goal of building a community for multi-capable Airmen.

The next Norwegian Foot March will take place in the spring of 2021. For more information about the Rapid Airman Development Program and upcoming events, visit the Air Force Connect App>Dyess>Airman Development.