GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Soldiers from the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team participated in the German army’s Oderlander Marsch on June 14 for the first time since its inception 19 years ago.
The Oderlander Marsch is an annual event in which soldiers from the German, Polish and Czech Republic armies walk or run from Kuestrin, Poland, to Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany. The 40-kilometer march is designed to build unit cohesion and develop and maintain international relationships between the nations involved.
“The march was along the levy of the Oder River. It was grassy, open, very beautiful and pristine,” said Capt. Ryne Klauer, the brigade aviation officer. “After about 15 kilometers we turned inland toward Germany and marched along fields of wheat and several agricultural and rural villages.”
One of the highlights of the day was when Staff Sgt. Anthony Salazar finished first with a time of four hours and 25 minutes.
“Capt. Davison initially wanted us to all stay together, but there were a couple of us who wanted to be competitive about it,” said Salazar, an infantryman with the brigade’s Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment.
After a quick conversation with the officer in charge about his aspirations for more intense competition, Salazar and a few others hit the ground running.
“So from the time they said ‘go’ I ran until I couldn’t run anymore,” Salazar said.
Salazar was the first American to cross the finish line at the Oderlander Marsch and the first overall out of more than 80 participants from four different countries.