Norwegian Foot March held in Philly

Joint forces engage in military marching endurance exercise

Sgt. Maj. Myles Cappiello, U.S. Army (Ret.) president; Susan E. Satkowski, honorary consul for
Norway in Pennsylvania; and Capt. James Howell, commander of Naval Support Activity Lakehurst, N.J.

Michael Kleiner
Business & Sports Editor
The Norwegian American

Paying homage to the long-standing alliance between the United States and Norway, and to a 108-year-old Norwegian military exercise, more than 90 active duty, reserve, and retired U.S. military personnel participated in a 30K Foot March, Sept. 10 at the Naval Air Station, now a part of Joint Base Maguire/Dix/Lakehurst in Lakehurst, N.J. It was organized by the Special Forces Association, Chapter 19, with the assistance of the New Jersey Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Association.

The Norwegian Foot March debuted in 1915 as a test of endurance for soldiers in the Norwegian Army. The exercise is 30 km (18.64 miles) with a rucksack weighing 11 kg (24.25 lbs). The rucksack is weighed at the start and finish of the march. Participants with qualifying times earned the Norwegian Foot March badge.

As the first Norwegian march began at 12:01 a.m., so, too, did this one. Before, the Norwegian and U.S. national anthems were played. Capt. James Howell, commander of Naval Support Activity Lakehurst and Sgt. Maj. Myles Cappiello, U.S. Army (Ret.) president, Chapter 19, SF Association, spoke of the March’s history and challenges of physical and mental strength and endurance.

More than 90 active duty, reserve, and retired U.S. military personnel at the start of the 30K March
at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 10, the same time Norwegian 30K Marches begin.

Pennsylvania’s Honorary Norwegian Consul Susan Satkowski noted that “holding the Norwegian Foot March across U.S. military bases helps build the connections between the forces of Norway and the United States. They are countries with shared values of democracy. Both are founding members of NATO. Norwegians are forever grateful to the United States as an ally in World War II, and Norway is dedicated to preserving stability in the Far North, an area of the world that has become increasingly strategic.

“In June 2022, the Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement between Norway and the United States was formalized. The agreement provides the means for enhanced cooperation between forces for training, exercises, and preparedness,”  Satkowksi said.

Photos courtesy of Susan E. Satkowski

This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of NorCham Philadelphia. Visit Kleinerprweb.com; beyondthecold.com.