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New Hampshire Army National Guard Hosts Norwegian Foot March

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Charles Johnston,
  • Joint Force Headquarters - New Hampshire National Guard

CONCORD, N.H. - Sixty-one New Hampshire Guardsmen braved the Scandinavian crucible known as the Norwegian Foot March May 4 in Concord.

Soldiers and Airmen clad in camouflage, combat boots and 25-pound packs navigated a timed 18.6-mile course around the state military reservation for a chance to earn a foreign military badge.

Thirty-nine competitors emerged victorious. Of the 22 who did not qualify in the allotted time, 14 failed to finish.

The origins of the march, known as the Marsjmerket, dates to 1915 when the Norwegian military used it to gauge combat readiness. Guard organizers coordinated the event through the Consulate of Norway in Boston to adhere to traditional rules and guidelines.

Participants earn a bronze badge for completing their first march, silver for a second time and gold if they successfully finish five marches.

Besides the allure of a shiny new uniform bauble, competitor motivations varied. Sgt. 1st Class Rick Frost of the 195th Regional Training Institute was looking for a new challenge.

“I want to do something that I’ve never done before,” said the 53-year-old as he adjusted gear, packed snacks, and drank water near the starting line. “I’m not trying to compete. I like these types of events where it’s just you against you. My goal is to try to finish. I’m not trying to hack with the younger Soldiers.”

One of those youngsters was Pfc. Xavier Glidden of Bravo Battery, 197th Field Artillery Brigade.

“I just want to challenge myself, push myself and see what I can do,” Glidden said. “And honestly, I like rucking.”

Maj. Heath Huffman of the 157th Air Refueling Wing was enticed to compete by the joint Army-Air nature of the contest. An accomplished marathoner and biathlete, he finished first with a time of just under three and a half hours.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Huffman said after crossing the finish. “Smooth sailing.”

But many encountered troubled waters along the 30-kilometer course. They endured blisters, pain and dehydration, resulting in a 36% competitor attrition.

“It wasn’t bad until about halfway through the third lap,” said 1st Sgt. Kenneth Boff of Joint Force Headquarters. “The last two or three miles, really good cramping going on. I dehydrated and stopped sweating.”

Frost battled sore calves and hip flexors.

“It was a little bit harder than I thought it was going to be, that’s for sure,” Frost said.

The 2024 finishers are as follows:

New Hampshire Air National Guard
Maj. Heath Huffman, 157th Air Refueling Wing (1st place)
Senior Master Sgt. Timm Huffman, 157th Air Refueling Wing
Master Sgt. Charles Johnston, Joint Force Headquarters

New Hampshire Army National Guard
Spc. Andrew Blanchard, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Master Sgt. Kenneth Boff, Joint Force Headquarters
Sgt. Jared Booth, 54th Troop Command
Spc. Christopher Brown, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Maj. Robert Burnham, Joint Force Headquarters
Spc. Alexander Cancelada, 54th Troop Command
Spc. Chase Cotnoir, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. 1st Class David Day, 54th Troop Command
Spc. Jillian Douzanis, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. Cordell Drabble, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Spc. Patrick Elder, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. 1st Class Rick Frost, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. Ryan Gray, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Capt. Brent Hallenbeck, Medical Detachment
Sgt. Erik Hauck, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Cadet Cyrus Hull, 54th Troop Command
Spc. Tristan Mayville, 54th Troop Command
Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities , Joint Force Headquarters
Staff Sgt. Kevin Miller, 54th Troop Command
Staff Sgt. Nathan Monroe, Recruiting and Retention Battalion
Pfc. Jacob Morris, 54th Troop Command
Spc. Christian Nepa, 54th Troop Command
Staff Sgt. Brendon Norton, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. Patrick Ogarr, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Master Sgt. Rachel Robak, 54th Troop Command
Lt. Col. Joshua Roberts, Joint Force Headquarters
Staff Sgt. Stephen Rondeau, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Capt. Harrison Schwartzman, Joint Force Headquarters
Pfc. Stephen St. Laurent, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. Stephen Tewksbury, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Sgt. Nicholas Theberge, 197th Field Artillery Brigade
Pfc. Decian Ulricson, Recruiting and Retention Battalion (3rd place)
1st Lt. Christian Urrutia, Joint Force Headquarters (2nd place)
Capt. Miguel Velez, Medical Detachment
Pfc. Huynh Vo, 54th Troop Command
Sgt. Tyler Whiting, 197th Field Artillery Brigade