The motto of the 519th Military Police Battalion Vipers is "Strike Hard," and that's what the battalion did to the gravel roads that wind through parts of Kisatchie National Forest near the ranges on Lookout Road March 15. The battalion participated in a 15-mile ruck march, a physically challenging event that builds cohesion and troop morale while pitting platoons against each other for the best time.

The motto of the 519th Military Police Battalion Vipers is "Strike Hard," and that's what the battalion did to the gravel roads that wind through parts of Kisatchie National Forest near the ranges on Lookout Road March 15. The battalion participated in a 15-mile ruck march, a physically challenging event that builds cohesion and troop morale while pitting platoons against each other for the best time.
Each soldier was required to carry a 35-pound pack, including extra boots, socks and wet weather gear, and each platoon had to carry three filled five-gallon water cans, a litter and two M3 tripods, used to mount heavy
crew-served weapons like the 50-caliber machine gun.
The march began as the first platoon headed out around 6 a.m. with successive platoons following in two-minute increments. As the sun began cresting the horizon, the march was well underway.
"Ruck marches are often individual events but we wanted to do it as a culminating training event," said Lt. Col. Glenn Schmick, commander of the 519th MP Battalion. "We put out the word weeks ago and it was up to each platoon to train for it. Now we'll see how well trained and prepared they really are."
Along the route, signs were posted citing stanzas from the Warrior Ethos or motivational quotes. The message to "Strike Harder" was also posted in signage.
Soldiers employed different techniques to get through the event. Some played music aloud to motivate their group, others used innovative carrying styles to move the required gear down the road. There were platoons that remained together throughout and others that splintered into sub-groups.
The commonality among each group appeared to be a good attitude and high morale, which was one of the goals of the event, according to Schmick. The ruck march was also a way to get the MPs into an ever-ready state of mind, he said.
"This puts us back into a rapid deployment mindset," Schmick said. "Instead of knowing where you're deploying to and training for that, this ensures that we are always ready, no matter the mission."
Schmick was part of the lead group (command group), and the first to cross the finish line. After removing his pack and taking a deep breath, a highly motivated Schmick said, "The weather was good, the hills were high and it was all deliciousness!"
The overall winners with the best time for completing the march was Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.