Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed to Operation MAZURKA in Egypt have walked 457km in a single day to support Defence veterans.
The ADF contingent of 25 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel recently gave themselves the challenge of walking the equivalent distance from North Camp (NC) in El Gorah to South Camp (SC) at Sharm El Sheikh as a fundraiser for the Integrated Service Peoples Association of Australia which provides unconditional support for our Defence veterans from all conflicts.
The Australian Contingent (AUSCON), as part of the Multinational Forces and Observers (MFO), is deployed on OP MAZURKA in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt with personnel from 12 other countries.
Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Mick Chattin was the lead for build–up training, which consisted of seven weeks in which each member was required to complete six sets of 5km endurance marches per week wearing MCBAS (body armour).
“Halfway through, the training started to feel like ground-hog day, with individuals becoming familiar with the Sinai Salt Bush, commenting how it had not grown much,” he said
“The distance and time for this activity was 457 km in 24 hours. The initial response from the AUSCON group was ‘How far in 24 hrs??’
“Most of the team completed the training and were well conditioned for the challenge ahead.
“Unfortunately, due to security measures, the activity was confined to the Camp so that resulted in the distance being covered on treadmills in the gymnasium.”
WO2 Chattin said the row of treadmills ran constantly for the 24-hour period with only short stops to change walkers and all members on Camp were encouraged to visit AUSCON and make a donation towards the activity.
The response was fantastic with an approximate figure of US$960 placed into the tri-service hats.
To no surprise, the slouch hat had received the most money.
At the completion of the walk, North Camp personnel were treated to a Forces Entertainment Tour, which had an impressive attendance and during the concert, two very unselfish AUSCON members offered their slouch hats to go up for auction. To the great enjoyment of the crowd, the hats raised another US$750.
All AUSCON members involved were rewarded for their efforts with impressive blisters, tight hamstrings, sleep deprivation and more importantly, the generosity of nearly US$1,800 from all members who helped to raise money for this worthy association.
Furthermore, the activity served to bring the ADF contingent together and break up their daily routine.
For more information on Operation MAZURKA, go to the operation website at http://www.defence.gov.au/op/egypt.