News: Manchus march to honor unit history
Story by Sgt. Wayne Diaz
CAMP HOVEY, South Korea – Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division along with supporting personnel and special guests conducted a 25-mile ruck march known as the Manchu Mile at Camps Casey and Hovey, South Korea.
The soldiers, airmen and members of the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Veteran’s Association marched as one to commemorate the Manchus’ historic march, which is now a huge part of the unit’s tradition.
The Manchu Mile is conducted semiannually and differs significantly from other military endurance tests because of its emphasis on brotherhood, cohesion and unit identity.
The history of Manchu Mile dates back to 1900. Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, marched 85 miles during their assault on Tientsin as part of the Boxer Rebellion and the China Relief Expedition earning the nickname “Manchus.”
During the Battle of Tientsin, the regimental commander, Col. Emerson H. Liscum, was killed by Chinese fire and uttered his dying words which became the regiment’s motto: “Keep up the fire!”
In preparation for such an arduous physical task, units of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, conducted weekly ruck marches within their respective companies said 1st Sgt. David Yu, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, and native of Chicago, Ill.
“I don’t think anyone is actually prepared for a 25-mile road march,” said Yu, “It’s all about heart and how bad you want it.”
That intestinal fortitude referred to by Yu is a staple amongst 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment Manchus. Enduring hours of pain and exhaustion while building unit morale is priceless in the quest to earn the Manchu Buckle. The buckle is only awarded to those who complete the road march.
“Completing the Manchu Mile was one of my goals while being stationed in Korea,” said Pfc. Christian Lopez, gunner’s assistant, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1ABCT, “Earning my Manchu Buckle would be a motivating experience that not many soldiers have the opportunity to be a part.”
Some leaders were motivated to participate in the Manchu Mile because of the passion their soldiers displayed.
“Not only is it good way to pay our respect as Manchus, but this is an opportunity to prove to myself that I can complete a challenging task that motivates me as well as my soldiers,” said Capt. Yolanda Wiggins, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, battalion signal officer and a native of Virginia Beach, Va.