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Jul 28 2022

4 Days March from the Inside

Nijmegen, The Netherlands – Friday 22 July, marching down the Via Gladiola, I forgot about my sore feet as I proudly marched alongside my Allied International Marching Team (AIMT) colleagues, wearing our newly won medals, and carrying the flag of Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS).

Having done this march once before, 12 years ago, I had a little bit of an idea of what to expect and questioned whether 38-year-old me would be as good as 26-year-old me. By the end of Friday, I found out.

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Sgt Samantha Crowe and TSgt Ashely Gentry lead JFCBS AIMT 2 through the streets of Nijmegen on the last day of the 4 days March 2022.
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Sgt Samantha Crowe when she was a MCpl marching the last day of the 4 days March with her team from 22 Wing North Bay in 2010.

As a Canadian, I noted significant differences when you compete to be on a team within the Canadian Contingent compared to being on a team comprised of individuals from a number of different nations but, importantly, all working at the same HQs. In Canada the team train together every week and you get to know each other inside out before the event. At JFCBS our schedules are very busy and hectic so you often train on your own and only when you can with the team. It is an interesting experience getting to know your team in the throes of the event. You push each other in different ways and a bond between team members quickly establishes itself as you confront the excessive heat and rain as the weather changes its mood, the muscle pain, the inevitable blisters, the uncomfortable heat rash that endlessly itches and your skin being persistently chafed.

This year JFCBS AIMT had two teams of 12. If someone needed to slow down we all did, if someone needed to keep going we all did, if we needed medical supplies we all stopped until we were all ready to resume marching. But, there was no way we were not going to finish and earn, not only our individual medals, but also the team medals. If we had to carry a team-mate on our backs that was what was going to happen.

My 38-year-old self was happy to see us finish faster than my 26-year-old self with a few extra blisters and a new group friends that will last forever.

Story by Sgt Samantha Crowe,  JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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