‘Rock Hard’ Soldiers march to daylight
By Spc. Christopher Smythers, 3rd BCT, 1st AD PAO:
While heavy rain in El Paso found many people hiding indoors, a group known as the “Rock Hard” Soldiers, through strength of will, stepped into the darkness of the storm.
The Soldiers of Company C., 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division completed their “March to Daylight” here, Sep. 13.
The Soldiers began their 11½ mile march at 2 a.m. The rain, which had fallen the past week, was absent.
The lull was short lived. Shortly into the march, the downpour resumed.
“I’m not a fan of the rain,” said Pvt. Christopher Johnson, an infantryman with Co., 1st Bn., 41st Inf. Regt., “I knew once it started raining all my gear and boots would be heavier. The march got a little harder. I was hoping it wasn’t going to rain, but, once I was already wet, I was like, ‘Oh well, who cares?’”
As if a long march in the rain wasn’t enough fun, 1st Sgt. Bernie Brooks added a casualty evacuation scenario several miles into the event.
“The last mile we threw in a CASEVAC,” he said. “That made the guys carry a casualty for about a mile. Walking in the rain makes the gear heavy, and on top of that you’re carrying a casualty. It was a good workout for the whole company.”
The “Rock Hard” Soldiers finished their march as daylight began to spread over their wet and tired column. Their pace revealed little of the exhaustion they felt. Every Soldier that began the journey finished with the group.
“The Soldiers see that they can do it now,” said Brooks. The team leaders and squad leaders were out there giving guidance, direction and purpose.”
“I actually enjoyed it,” said Johnson. “I thought it was going to be harder than it was. It was kind of fun.”
“I’m tired, but it wasn’t impossible,” he said. “I thought it was really good training. I tend to doubt myself, but, once I finished it, I thought I could do more.”
“These guys just walked 11½ miles,” said Brooks. “They’re about to get some good food in their bellies, wipe down their weapons then go home and call it a day.”
“The guys are motivated and pumped up now,” he said. “They know they can physically do it. That’s why we call ourselves Rock Hard. We’re the best company in this brigade!”
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