"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
― Benjamin Franklin
The Founding Fathers risked everything in the name of a dream called America. Theirs was a difficult, violent, and honorable calling–independence, that is. At the Independence Day GORUCK Challenge, expect a history lesson as we honor their sacrifice and enjoy the benefits of freedom by living life to its fullest under rucks, shoulder to shoulder with fellow patriots touring your town all the while singing Happy Birthday to America (amongst other festivities). And good news: Sam Adams is certain to make an appearance once you have earned your patch. Happy Birthday America!
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In subsequent historical documents, there are numerous attempts to decrease the mileage requirements of War Department General Order No. 44, citing that it was essentially too hard and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.