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1-94 FA boosts morale with ‘Kilomathon’

Published: 04:13PM March 22nd, 2012
1-94 FA boosts morale with ‘Kilomathon’

Maj. Ryan McCormack, TF 1-94

TF 1-94 Soldiers line up March 20 at the start for the TF 1-94 Desert Dash Kilomathon.

AL ZARQA, Jordan — In the high desert of Al Zarqa, Jordan, a brisk wind and temperatures near 50 degrees failed to temper the enthusiasm of nearly 80 Task Force 1-94 Soldiers as they lined up to begin the TF 1-94 Kilomathon at the Joint Training Center.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, part of 17th Fire Brigade, are currently deployed to support U.S. Army Central operations and the Jordanian Operational Deployment Program. JODP trains Jordanian infantry battalions to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Over the last 8 months, TF 1-94 has engaged in joint partnership training with a Jordanian Army infantry battalion, sharing U.S. doctrine on company-level tactics, battalion staff planning, and counter-insurgency operations.

The Kilomathon, an FMWR sponsored event, gave Soldiers an opportunity to test their running endurance over either a 10 or 26.2 kilometer course through the Jordanian countryside – a welcome respite to the monotony of day-to-day training.

Excitement for the Kilomathon built for several weeks, as Soldiers looked forward to a run in the countryside rather than the half mile track at the JTC.

Captain Michael Lavway, TF 1-94 fire direction officer, noted, “Running the JTC loop gets pretty boring quickly. This will be the first time I’ll get a chance to see some of the area around JTC and I am looking forward to it.”

Planning for the Kilomathon took several weeks, and required solid coordination throughout the entire battalion as the support requirements were considerable. Besides preparing the barbecue, the 26.2 kilometer run required multiple water points, medical stations, as well as force protection. Sgt. 1st Class Brian Toth, TF 1-94 S6 NCOIC, said, “It was great how everyone pitched in to help. Everyone participated, either by running or supporting the run. It was truly a battalion-wide effort.”

The race route alternated between paved roads, sand, and rocky trails. In addition, there were challenges to the course unique to running in Jordan. According to Maj. Ryan McCormack, TF 1-94 executive officer, “What added a significant challenge to the course was running through the wadis and avoiding Beoudoin camps in the desert valley.” Also, numerous hills provided significant elevation changes that tested the endurance of even the best runner.

While almost every Soldier participated in the 10K run, the 26.2K (16.2 miles), pushed runners to their limit. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Travis Ericson, targeting officer, noted, “This was the longest distance I’ve run, but it was great to be able to accomplish this with my fellow Soldiers.”

Following the Kilomathon, TF 1-94 held a FMWR-sponsored barbecue, serving runners a lunch of brats, hamburgers, wings, and hot dogs. The Kilomathon proved that even in austere conditions, Soldiers will rise to the challenge, one kilometer at a time.