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    16th Engineer Bn., 1st SBCT surge in style for Santa Ruck

    16th Engineer Bn., 1st SBCT surge in style for Santa Ruck

    Photo By David Poe | Soldiers from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division “Ready First”...... read more read more

    FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES

    12.05.2018

    Story by David Poe 

    Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office

    When you open Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, a search for “authorized holiday accessories” will come up empty. There’s no mention of sleigh-belled hats, reindeer antlers, decorating military-issued ruck sacks to look like Christmas trees, or droopy white beards being authorized in uniform either.

    Soldiers from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, stuck to tradition and snubbed uniform regulations in the name of morale during their Santa Ruck on East Fort Bliss Dec. 5. Hosted by the brigade’s 16th Engineer Battalion, Santa Ruck was a four-mile team ruck where Soldiers and families loaded their rucks with donations for Operation Santa Claus, a nonprofit, to benefit Fort Bliss and El Paso-area kids to help make their holidays a little more special this season.

    Although the event is always open to the military community here, this year marked the first year that the battalion’s parent 1st SBCT formally lined up to march with the engineer battalion en masse.

    From the head of the monstrous procession of Army green and holiday cheer, marked with baby strollers and scampering kids and family members marched with their Soldiers, Lt. Col. Jake Cecka, the 16th BEB commander, said whether it was the march, or the costumes, or the Perry Como Christmas music that played, almost eerily, across the 1st SBCT footprint as the holiday parade rolled on, all of it was to remind troops and families having a tough time making ends meet this season that they are not alone.

    “We’re doing this in honor of the Soldiers and the families who are working to provide,” he said. “We’re here on the march so that we’re actively doing something.”

    While participation was in the name of others, local agencies also came out with subject matter experts to be available to volunteering Soldiers and their families who had gathered outside 1st SBCT headquarters for the festivities. Cecka credited Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony L. Hunsaker, his battalion’s senior enlisted leader, for the resurgence of Santa Ruck last year.

    When you open Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, a search for “authorized holiday accessories” will come up empty.

    But, so will a search for “fun,” “friendship,” “good cause” and “teamwork,” and that’s what mattered Dec. 5. For one morning they didn’t do it with AR 670-1, for no other reason than that it was fun, and did they did it together.

    “It’s a great morale boost,” said Cecka, clad in his floppy Santa hat and BDUs as he looked back over the sprawling brigade behind him. “You can hear them laughing and having a good time back there and joking. You can click a button and donate anonymously, but showing up means something.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.05.2018
    Date Posted: 12.26.2018 13:41
    Story ID: 305128
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 

    Web Views: 72
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    16th Engineer Bn., 1st SBCT surge in style for Santa Ruck