48 Earn Norwegian Foot March Badge at Incirlik AB

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kaitlin Cashin
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Military members from the 39th Air Base Wing completed the Norwegian Foot March here Dec. 19, between midnight and 6 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.

To earn the Norwegian Foot March Badge, participants 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.

The Norwegian Foot March Badge is widely considered to be the most challenging foreign military badge to earn.

Participants at Incirlik Air Base faced the challenges of wind, blisters, cramping, and fatigue. It was a test of both resilience and stamina.

For this event, 107 Incirlik members started, 74 completed, and 48 qualified for the Norwegian Foot March Badge. The first participant to complete the ruck was Master Sgt. Jose Leal from 39th Civil Engineering Squadron with a time of 3 hours and 27 minutes.

The event was hosted by the 39th Security Forces Squadron. As one of the main points of contacts, Staff Sgt Karen Saenz, 39th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of standardization and evaluations, oversaw a team of 25 volunteers in supporting the March. This required the team to follow strict procedures and be in close contact with the Norwegian Contingency in order to validate each step of the planning process.

“Hosting an event of this magnitude is an honor to showcase the abilities of the Airmen at Incirlik Air Base to continuously stay ‘Ready, Reliable and Responsive’,” Saenz said. “The event definitely challenged every participant’s willingness to continue onward and their mental and physical resilience to finish.”

Capt. Timothy Tran, 39th SFS officer in charge of logistics and readiness, was the person who started this initiative by coordinating 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,” Tran said. “I am so glad that we were able to share these military traditions with our NATO allies and bring coalition training to Airmen and NATO partners here at Incirlik.”

This iteration of the Norwegian Foot March is the first of its kind hosted at Incirlik AB, 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 2024 and is open to all NATO partners and allies assigned to Incirlik AB.

For more information, follow the events on the AF Connect app!