Legendary Ruck Marches


“Runner to the front,” split the morning air as Bravo Company 1st of the 334th took a ruck march on the historic Hank Aaron trail.

The Hank Aaron trail is a paved path in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and stretches over 20 miles.  Bravo Company did four of those 20 with rucks weighing up to 35 pounds. The trail is named for former baseball slugger Henry “Hank” Aaron.  Starting at Lake Michigan and following the Menomonee river valley, the trail offers views of downtown Milwaukee and Miller Park.  Skaters, bicycles, and runners can all use the path free of charge.

The march started promptly at 0800 near the Old Soldiers home and went two miles to the mid-point in Mitchell Park.  After a short water break, the company reversed its course and headed back.  Passing the Valley Passage Bridge and Miller Park, home of the Brewers baseball team. 

“We want to get Soldiers out of the Drill Hall on weekends.  Sitting around with little to do is not good for morale. We want to get out and do Soldier stuff,” commented Capt. Barry Strain, Bravo Company Commander.  “It’s also a good way to get out in the community and get some PT in,” continues Strain.

Staff Sgt. Smolen, a Best Warrior competitor, was the ruck march leader and pacesetter.  “I really like ruck marching. It’s good exercise and builds Soldier skills.”  Smolen also competes in local mudder runs and ruck marches.

The trail passes the civil war era Soldiers Home and cemetery, “I hope we can coordinate with the cemetery and volunteer  the Company” said Sgt. 1st Class Randall Reinink, acting first sergeant. “I would like to tie current Soldiers with our history.”

Pvt. Sean Williams was the guidon bearer for the march. “It was a good bonding experience.  I haven’t been in the unit long and it felt good having all the experienced noncommissioned officers out there and letting me be front and center with the guidon.”

The march was the brainchild of Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Saffold.  “We did this in my last unit and it always goes over well,” says Saffold.  “We have the time and the equipment.  I would like to try a longer march in the fall on some local horse trails.”


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