In March of 1906, in one of his final acts as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Lieutenant General John C. Bates signed into effect General Order No. 44 which dictated, “Throughout the year all companies, troops, and batteries will make at least one practice march each week, which for the infantry shall not be less than 12 miles.” Bates retired from active service in April 1906 having reached the mandatory retirement age of 64. He was the last Army Chief of Staff to have served in the American Civil War.
In subsequent historical documents, there are numerous attempts to decrease the mileage requirements of War Department General Order No. 44, citing that it was essentially too hard and “discouraged enlistments”. Fortunately, for those of us who yearn for a challenge, the 12 mile ruck march remains the standard in Special Forces and in the military on a whole.
Following the footsteps of our infantry ancestors plus our own Special Forces inspiration, here’s a challenge for those of you who seek such things - The GORUCK 12-Miler Star Course, the first rucking series of its kind:
Finishers earn the 12-Miler patch, which will never be for sale.
You and your team of 2-5 (including you) show up at the Start Point. A GORUCK Cadre will issue you a list of waypoints. The route you and your team choose will be your own, so choose wisely. The minimum distance possible will be just over 12 miles. You can expect to see some of the best sites in your city.
Prior to starting the clock, we’ll ensure that you make a successful comms check with our remote support team via text message. At each waypoint, you’ll be responsible for texting a picture of your team. This will serve as verification of your mileage, and by the end you’ll have a great album of photos to document the experience.
NOTE: This is not a Cadre-led event and there are no push-ups or smoke sessions.
Register as an individual, ruck as a team (you are responsible for forming or finding a team of 2-5 ruckers)
Includes: the opportunity to earn the finisher’s patch, and a cold one or two at the end point.
If you come in under 5 hours, you and your teammates earn the patch. If you don’t, there’s always next year.
Everyone earns a beer (and a hug) at the finish. We’ll see ya there.
Barbarossa (red beard) retired out of 5th Special Forces Group after 21 years of service. All of his 18 years in Special Forces was at 5th, with the exception of 3 years as cadre at Special Forces Assessment & Selection helping build future Green Berets. He currently lives in Savannah with his family, sharpening his cocktail making skills on a daily basis.
Raised in Oregon, Burl is a Marine Raider with over ten years in the Marine Corps. He is always down for a hard workout and enjoys playing with his little girl, shooting guns, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.