The 4 Day Nijmegen March and how to accomplish it.

~Military ~

I will focus on the military side of the event on this page because this is how it started designed by the Dutch Infantry pre-Great War (before WW1) and I experienced it for the first time as a US Army soldier on a USAEUR team in an official capacity. We were all awarded the Army Acheivement Medal by John Marsh Jr for being the fastest US team in the 68th Marches. Our team led by West Point Graduate & Airborne Ranger, 1LT Ron Guilliard.

Starting as a military event in 1909, the 4 Day Nijmegen March expanded annually and included civilians to the point they outnumbered the military 8:1 and to the extent that a limit on the maximum number of marchers (45,000) needed to be imposed since the event was at full capacity. The Nijmegen march is very popular worldwide and citizens of 60 countries attend to march individually each year with over a dozen militaries represented in marching teams. 

A tradition I took part in, back in 1984, was to trade military badges with other armies at the close of the march in Camp Heumensoord. I even met my first girlfriend there who was a member of a Swedish marching team.

As a teenager, I filled the role as the team bicycle orderly, riding the first commercially available mountain bike, the 'Murray Baja' bought from the Vogelweigh Germany post exchange. I had film & video cameras, water, apples, oranges, motrin and first aid supplys.

25 years later I returned to win the marching medal independantly because watching the team get those gold crosses stuck with me all those years...I wanted one too and won it at age 45 in 2009.

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The American hero of 2009, Major Green...independant marcher recovered from leg wounds in Iraq. He had to walk 50 kilometers as opposed to the US Army teams who walked 40 kilometers a day. Teams get a 10 kilometer break in distance since they are required to carry ruck sacks and must finish with nearly every member. Here he is cheered on by 2 Dutch soldiers right behind me. Nijmegen is the only place where uniformed personnel can do something together like this in a supportive, festive environment.
All are focused on the same goal...crossing the finishing line...not easy in boots!

~Exhibits~

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"Never Forget Them" is an organization which represents WW2 US Army involvement in defeating the Nazis. They focus on representing the Airborne Divisions 101st "Screaming Eagles" & 82nd "All Americans" Airborne.

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I am a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, so I am happy to see my unit so loved in Nijmegen...they truly never forgot them and all ages love Americans there.

~World Military Camp & Rest~

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Nijmegen Military Camp set up to support around 5,000 uniformed soldiers along the marches.

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Military station for teams to rest and get medical care for injured feet, I remember this place.

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US 173rd Airborne Marching Team from Italy taking a break along the 40 kilometer team route.

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Belgium Nijmegen Marching Team on break, Military camp or any place along the route in fields.

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Danish team bicycle orderlies follow orderly routes created since the event reached capacity at 45,000 participants. When I was a bike orderly only about 20,000 marchers took part in the 68th International event, I could ride along my team the entire way.

~Military Bands~

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Dutch Military Band along the route taking a break, I took these photos while walking along the route.

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Swedish Military Band, along the route there were military bands from all over the globe.

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German military band set at rooftop entertaining the passing thousands of walkers from 60 countries.

~Individuals = 50 km a day~

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A couple dedicated independant US troops going at it solo for the longer distance, in boots...very hard!

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German Master Seargent, Airborne Instructor walking his 10th Nijmegen, was in the Army since 1983.

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US Air Force Marcher does his 10th Nijmegen March as seen on his banner since 1999, 10 in a row.

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A US and Australian independent soldiers share the miles through the countryside, a unique event.

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Swedish Airborne soldier marches walking 50 km a day. Teams do 40 km & Orderlys do 60 km on bikes.

~Police Teams~

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Teams from Germany were passing me occasionally all four days with thier patch "POLIZEI" visible.

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Dutch Police teams were all around too in sporting uniforms with the graphics "Politie" on them.

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English Police marched the entire distance with thier heavy helmets on...must have been very hot.

~Marching Teams = 40 km a day~

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In 2009 the US Army Europe still sends Nijmegen Teams to march as does the US Air Force and US Marine Corps. This is a proud tradition with the European command going back to the close of WW2, for over 60 years, US teams have marched there!

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Young cadet team from the UK marching in formation to get their medals and enjoy Nijmegen.

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A Dutch Nijmegen Marching Team at about 06:00AM, I used 1/15 a second exposure to get this photo.

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The United Nations Nijmegen Team with Bike Orderly behind (see his gear), same job I had in 1984.

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Finnish Nijmegen Marching Team, marching in formation.
In 1984 bike orderlies could ride alongside teams, now they have different routes.

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I dressed down on the Danish team to the finishing line during the last 10 kilometers. My foot pain was significant, but forgotten...marching with the brothers from my root culture...Scandinavians.

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Crossing the finish line with the Danish Army and a marching band behind us...incredible ending to the event.

~Traditions, trading at Camp Heumensoord~

At the close of the Marches, back at Camp Heumensoord military Camp.

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Trading patches, pins, badges and hats with soldiers from 13 different armies was how we finished up in 1984. We were told in advance "Bring trading material, it's a tradition." I got numerous items in particular from German, Swedish, English, Norwegian, Italian, Swiss and Danish soldiers.

Trading uniforms too, a focus on berets.

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I had an interest when it came to trading uniform components...especially berets. I got a nice sample trading my hats & uniforms for berets from Sweden, England, Denmark, Norway, Holland and Italy. 
Perhaps it was the French side of my family influence expressing itself, but while the other guys wanted caps, uniform coats or web gear, I just wanted berets. I also got one from Luxembourg which was black with a large gold badge.

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