MILITARY MATTERS: Fort Benning battalion ruck marches to help feed the needy

Updated: Nov. 27, 2020 at 8:35 PM EST
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FORT BENNING, Ga. (WTVM) - Doing a ruck march is part of training on Fort Benning, but in this case, it’s what is in the ruck sacks that matters.

These members of the 2nd battalion 1st SFAB, just back from deployment, filled theirs with non-perishable food items they collected or donated, to help the less fortunate.

“We have instructed our soldiers to carry at least 35 pounds. That’s a common weight in their ruck sack for soldiers to do the proficiency march, things like that,” said 2nd Battalion 1st SFAB Commander Ltc. Isaac Rademacher.

Some soldiers had twice that weight in their rucks because part of this Foundation Day Frontier Battalion food march was a competition between the soldiers.

Sgt. Maj. Christopher Williams, CSM of 2nd Battalion 1st SFAB, described it as, “Roughly over a 7 and a half mile foot march, and they’re going to be graded on a couple things: the fastest time and the most weight.”

Some walked, others ran with their rucks. At the same time, there was also a family fun march with spouses, children, and pets participating in a one mile route around a lake on Fort Benning.

“A lot of our youngsters have put a few pounds of food in their backpack and they’re making the trek to also contribute,” Rademacher said.

For the 174 people in this battalion, it’s a pause in training to help others in the holiday season.

“We’ve got stay physically fit, go to stay ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, but at the same time, let’s do something that makes us all feel good,” Williams said.

And after the ruck march, they delivered more than 4,300 pounds of canned goods and more to Feeding the Valley in Columbus. The overall amount equaled to 3,500 meals.

Rademacher added, “We feel the love from Columbus, so we wanted to take an opportunity and give something back as we head into the holiday season.”

They were helping one of the local food banks that’s been depleted during the coronavirus pandemic through a food march that was a team effort by families of the Frontier Battalion.

“If you can’t be with your biological family during this time, that extended army family is phenomenal,” Williams said.

On behalf of these families from Fort Benning, Navy Federal Credit Union also gave a $1,500 check to Feeding the Valley.

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