FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 70 soldiers from the 4th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) embarked on a 50-mile, three-day hike along the Appalachian Trail and across Mount Mitchell to enhance leadership skills, test their individual endurance, build esprit-de-corps, and honor October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oct. 29.
The 50-mile hike coincided with Hurricane Sandy which created strong gusts of wind, snow, sleet, and a dramatic drop in temperature on Mount Mitchell.
Despite the harsh weather conditions, the members of the 4th MISG were not intimidated.
Day one began with a hike from the base camp to the peak of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Although the hike was through very rough terrain and narrow trails and climaxed at the peak during a snowstorm, spirits remained high.
The day concluded at base camp for dinner and preparation for the following day's hike.
During day two, hikers walked along the nearby ridgelines to Green Knob which was still rigorous, because the snow and ice from the previous day made all of the trails slippery and difficult.
Day three completed the hike, with a final walk around the base of Mount Mitchell. Prior to the final hike, Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Breeding shared his family's personal story of breast cancer and how it affects the person diagnosed as well as their whole family. The unit dedicated the last leg of the hike to breast cancer awareness, and some hikers wore pink T-shirts that read "4th MISG (A) 50 Mile Long Walk for Awareness."
The total distance walked, factoring in elevation changes, was 55 miles.
Col. Reginald Bostick, 4th MISG (A) commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Condroski 4th MISG (A) command sergeant major, spoke on various aspects of leadership and motivation during rest stops on all three days. During the 55 miles, the rustic scenery and grueling trails provided ample opportunities for the hikers to reflect and grow both as individuals and as an organization.