fredag, december 30, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 1 of 7)

Note: I know this is a long article, but hey, read it anyway - it's one of the better ones. Comments are welcome. And remember: click on pictures for larger versions.

New name, new faces, new challenges: 2011 saw the Beagle Boys arise from hibernation

Dear readers, the webmaster grabs the occasion of 2012 being around the corner to do a status on 2011. The marching team changed its name, got a transfusion of young-blood members, and tried their feet with both well-known as well as wholly new marching challenges. This year was also one of remembering the ones we lost on the field of battle.

by Thorbjørn Hein, webmaster, Lieutenant (r)

A year with a lot of Beagle Boys marching is drawing to an end. From from my personal perspective the string of official events started with a DANCON March in Afghanistan in early January and ended with Moesgaardvandring, Århus, in November. Two loosely scheduled marches in December were no shows because of an extreme hangover and time constraints, respectively.
Left: The author of this article was lucky enough to be in transit in Kabul International Airport just when the Kabul DANCON March was being conducted in January 2011. Here I am with two Danish and an American friend prior to the start. The DANCON March of my own unit took place in October 2010 and you can read an English language photo report here.


New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 2 of 7)

In the time in-between, the highlight as usual must be said to have been the Four Days Marches in Nijmegen.

Nijmegen 2011 was one of the best
Beagle Boy veteran Per Ole Fyhn, a.k.a. P.O.F. DADDY, took care of organizing a team of regular duty personnel from our regiment, The Royal Life Guards, Denmark. The only two marchers not having their full-time job in the Army were Lance Corporal (r) Morten Bargisen and yours truly. No less than 20 marchers in all, we were. To constantly procure liquid marching fuel in the form of cold beer, alcohol bitters, plus loads more beer on top of that, the team had two trusty bike orderlies, one of whom was from the Danish Home Guard.


Right: The Headquarters Company/I Battalion/The Royal Life Guards after the successful completion of the Nijmegen Four Day Marches of 2011. Spot the Beagle Boys yourself.

The Beagle Boys were also represented in a Home Guard team by former guardsman René Lyholm. Most unfortunately René's knee was totalled before he had even broke a sweat on his brow in Nijmegen and he was forced to quit. Fortunately, René has returned in good shape and completed tough marches in the autumn.

This year in Holland really was a fantastic party and definitively one of the best Nijmegen years for me. 13 out 20 our team marchers were first-timers, and yet everybody made it to the finish line. Speaking for myself it was good fun meeting these full-time colleagues of Per's for the first time, most of them young lads.

Left: One of the lads carried a magnum bottle with him during Day 4 and surprised Our Beloved Team Leader: the moment Per Ole had been awarded his medal, as the last one of us, precious champagne was sprayed on him. Luckily there was still enough to go round afterwards.


New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 3 of 7)

Again speaking for myself, Nijmegen 2011 was also a week of getting to know better some of the people that I may have been acquainted with for years in the camp, but only peripherally. Plus, of course, there is the ever joyful feeling of hanging out with the friends, from Denmark and elsewhere, whom you have made already in Camp Heumensoord through a decade of marching. Laughing and toasting with friends also make you think of the ones who are not there.

And at the going down of the sun and in the morning ...
... We will remember them. So goes the final lines of the famous WWI poem "Ode of Remembrance" by Laurence Binyon. A vivid moment for all Danes present in the Beer Tent on Thursday 21 July in the afternoon will be the tribute to fallen Lance Corporal Jørgen Randrup. Randrup stood no chance of survival when he was blasted by an explosive device in Afghanistan on 14 November 2010. The Lance Corporal hailed from The Royal Life Guards, and his colleagues from his regular marching team entered the tent clad in T-shirts with a motif honouring him and to the sound of his favourite tune in the loudspeakers.

Left: Lance Corporal Jørgen Randrup, The Royal Life Guards, Denmark.

Let me underscore that I did not now Jørgen Randrup well; but I imagine I would have after some more years in Nijmegen, just like with the people I got around to talk to this summer. I certainly know who he was, because he was charismatic, tall as a tower, and with the stamina to party to the very morning and then let his long legs bear him through another day of festivity along the route. You noticed him, a picture of how you do military road marching best, in my opinion: spreading good karma, being tough enough to party hard and still walk 40 kilometres a day with a bergen like there is nothing to it.

So it was with a lump in my throat I saw all the flags from the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish teams lined up on one side and being lowered when the late soldier's mates marched in with uncharacteristically solemn faces. Looking around me, I could see his friends, many of whom are my friends, clearly affected. The glossy eyes could not but touch me as well: a considerable number of us have been in Afghanistan, and the feeling of comradeship and a shared loss was strong. None the least for those of us also from The Life Guards. Hugs and a few words were exchanged all around afterwards. It was, all in all, a beautiful tribute, done just the right way. Life goes on, but we do, indeed, remember him and all the others, and we toast them when the first glass of port is lifted at any march.

New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 4 of 7)

For those who do not already know, a friend of mine from across the Atlantic did a very tough endurance run in memory of Jørgen Randrup.

Right: Mr James Armstrong is an American viking who most generously shipped so-called care packages to my Danish colleagues and me during my deployment of 2010-2011, even though James and I have not (yet) met each other in real life. Follow this link to see him struggling in honour of Lance Corporal Jørgen Randrup, or just notice the picture he is holding and the text on his arms before the run.

I think it is worth spreading the word of how the death of this fine soldier made an impact far from his own country. Another person who made a great and positive impact on the lives of a large number of people is the man who made our marching team change its name.

Changing the name: one man down, others have joined us
Bjørn Richard Kærgaard "BRK" Jensen tragically died in a traffic accident on this very day two years ago. In another posting this year, we have stated the background for the name "Marchteam Bjørnebanden" / "March Team the Beagle Boys". The idea to change the name is also the indirect reason that the blog you are reading came to life again after a couple of very silent years. There are few more words to say on that matter: Bjørn is remembered by each posting on this blog and every time our little group do a march together, be it just training or an organized event.

Left: An epic pic of the 2009 marching team in Nijmegen, BRK seen to the far left.







New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 5 of 7)

During a late night over beers at the Fulda March in Germany this year, Morten, Per Ole and I shared the same sentiment when someone brought it up: we should include more people in our circle. I sincerely believe that this is in the spirit of Bjørn. He was always an extrovert, and he was very enthusiastic about the GEMCEEs (our former denomination) being a group, a unit with their own website putting our mark on the Danish marching subculture.
So that night in Fulda the present ones of the old core of Eritrea veterans decided that we should invite some of the "new guys" to be part of our quite informal group. You can see the names and ugly mugs in the section dedicated to that purpose. Let me move on now, because I do not believe that Bjørn should want me to dwell more on the sad parts of this year, but on life on the road! One of his section colleagues from Eritrea took on a great endeavour, for example.

Solo long-distance tours in Spain and Lithuania
Retired Lance Corporal, now an executive in Statoil, Robert K. Steffensen currently takes a break from all the party-harty march trips of the rest of the team, but that didn't stop him from planting a massive Beagle Boys banner on Spanish soil in the spring of 2011. Spain - the ones a little bit interested in hiking will guess where this is leading. Yup, the ancient pilgrimage route known as El Camino de Santiago. Four weeks, 780 kilometres and wham(!), you have an experience for life.

Right: Robert at the highest point of the four-week hike in Spain.

To be honest, most of all this marching hubbub is just that: hubbub, beers, and socialising. Robert turned a new page in the team's history by putting on his rucksack and doing this long hike in solitude, in the company of silent nature and with the privacy that gives room for contemplating one's life and the world in general. There really is a world of difference between that and the throng of 40,000+ marchers crammed together on Dutch roads to the sound of entire towns partying along the route. The present writer has definitively been inspired to undertake El Camino sometime in the future, when the calendar and life's circumstances allow. Quite likely on my own as well. Robert wrote an article about his experience; it's in Danish, but peppered with pictures. Go have a read and a look. Non-Danes are even allowed to use Google Translate. Yes, it's true, go ahead.

New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 6 of 7)

Another quite long-distance solo - albeit in a different manner - trip was conducted by myself: the so-called eXtreme March in Lithuania. Two times 100 clicks in two days, with a merciful 24 hours of relaxation and socialising in between. It was an awesome experience, and come to think of it, the eXtreme and the whole Lithuanian holiday surrounding it was actually the marching highlight of my year. Considering how great Nijmegen 2011 was, that put things in perspective.

Left: Thorbjørn, Max, and Andrius having a walk in the allegorical 200 kilometres long park.

I have already documented the trip in a Danish language article rich in pictures, so now I'll let do with sending the warmest of new year's greetings to the friends I made in those days, and for sure also to the Lithuanian colleagues from Afghanistan whom hosted and partied with me in Vilnius, Siauliai, and Kaunas. Thank you all so much, we'll meet again, and you will always have a bunk in Copenhagen if you want!

Copious clicks done in 2011, even more await in 2012
Apart from these major events and a couple of other organized marches (check this link to see the overview of the ones I did in 2011), we have done as we always do, namely "training" in a, I'd say, very loose and informal manner. A good example was meeting up at Vesterbro Torv in Copenhagen on a late summer Sunday morning and then setting off for Glostrup Stadium to watch a football match between the local heroes versus Per Ole's life-long love relationship of Hvidovre IF; a club which at least the Copenhagen branch of the Beagle Boys have been slowly indoctrinated into following (for the record I will note that my main team will always be F.C. Copenhagen!!!) at live games. You would think 15 kilometres like that would be done in a whiff, but it can take quite a long while when you visit five bars on the way ... That's the way we roll, now and again, at least; skim through this 2007 picture report for grim proof.

New Year's Eve 2011 Status (page 7 of 7)

Right: Three of the four organizers of the March Kopenhagen to Nijmegen (MAKONI): Thorbjørn, Home Guard Captain Jens von Østrup, and Home Guard Staff Sergeant Helge Larsen. Magazine article here.

This signature is the Beagle Boy whom has worn his boots the most this year, on the roads, anyway (giving a well-deserved nod to Per Ole's countless combat patrol exercises in his unit), closely followed by Santiago pilgrim Robert. 11 official marches I have done; more individual events for me than ever before in a calendar year, and being equal to around 1,000 kilometres.

2012 will be even crazier than that, though. Like in 2007, a number of not-quite-right-in-their-heads marching fanatics from all over Denmark and elsewhere will train for and conduct the 650 kilometre trip from Copenhagen to Nijmegen, all in 16 days total, followed up by the "normal" 160 kilometres of the Nijmegen Marches. I am part of organizing the time-consuming ordeal and will thus participate for sure. Per Ole wants to, but his duties with the regiment will be the deciding factor in the end. Here's fingers crossed for the schedule and the powers that be to be indulging for POF Daddy. Also it will be interesting to see how matters will progress with the Dutch Armed Forces considering cutting a considerable amount of support for Camp Heumensoord, centre-piece for the military presence at the Nijmegen marches. Here's all fingers and toes crossed that they will find a tolerable comprise. Support the cause by becoming a "fan" of this Facebook page.

Left: Bling-bling! My finely honed sense for procrastination, the ownership of a professional photo camera, and some cleaning up of the flat had consequences for the blog: my medal and coin collection was elevated from lying in a plastic bag in my Afghan treasure chest to being arranged on the filt board of said chest. A complete overview of the souvenirs earned through a decade+ will follow in the beginning of January.

No matter what, one thing is for sure: if you do some marches yourself in Europe in 2012, it's quite likely that you will run into one or more of us. You be hereby warned!

Finally: happy new year to our increasing amount of readers. Please, if you enjoyed this article or the blog on the whole: spread the word, for example by sharing the link on Facebook. It's extremely satisfying that we have had so many hits since the blog was reinvigorated in August.
See you on the road!

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tirsdag, december 06, 2011

Newsflash: ill tidings for the Nijmegen Marches

Yesterday, a Dutch newspaper reported that Camp Heumensoord, arguably the centre-piece of the Nijmegen Four Day Marches, will cease to exist from year 2013.

by Thorbjørn Hein, Lieutenant, The Royal Life Guards, Denmark

UPDATE, 10 Dec: Please become a fan of the Facebook Page in support of Heumensoord. Go to the page by clicking here.

Oh, but man. I bring the non-Dutch speaking part of the international marching culture bad news here. One of my comrades-in-boots from the Danish roads posted a link to de Gelder on Facebook tonight. Basically, the article quotes Four Day Marches Chairman John William Stein for saying that he expects dire effects on the march from planned cuts in the Dutch defence budget.

A Canadian team passing under the famous Boot Gate
at the entrance of Heumensoord, earley in the morning.
The effects of the cutbacks will be "limited" next year, assesses Mr Stein, but not so for the 2013 march. Then, he fears, there will be no Camp Heumensoord in the woods outside Nijmegen and no pontoon bridge across River Maas at the town of Cuijk on day four. Both camp and bridge are constructed by Dutch Army Engineers.

As a soldier it is hard to imagine how it would be to not be living in Heumensoord during that week. The comradeship between the many service members from all over Europe - indeed, from all over the world - is such a huge part of the experience. I mean, we don't walk six-seven-eight hours just for the spectators and the party out on the route. OUR party only truly begins when we march into the infamous Beer Tent to the cheer and singing of our colleagues.

We can only hope that somehow the Dutch Minstry of Defence will realise just how great a brand the Four Day Marches are for not only the city of Nijmegen, but also for their Armed Forces, and find some of the money for a compromise.

Nijmegen without Heumensoord? No, no, no ...

Source: de Gelderlander

Below: a video shot by Leo, the Dutch Viking, featuring several Beagle Boys: the HQ Coy of The Royal Life Guards, Denmark, doing their traditional Beer Tent Entrance Stunt, july 2011.



Self portrait on the far side of Cuijk, with the
iconic bridge across the Maas, July 2009.



mandag, november 21, 2011

Grand eXtreme 2012, Lithuania: 24 - 27 May

Poster boys!

The great marching organizers in Lithuania have decided upon the dates for next year's 2x100 km eXtreme: 24th to 27th of May 2012.

As can be seen, yours truly has had the honour of getting his ugly mug on the poster along with two Heroes of the Road, Max and Andrius.

Hope to see all you guys and girls in Lithuania soon again.

/Thunder Bear

Important note: on the 17th of February, the organizers made public that the time of the march has been changed into being 24 - 27 May. This blog posting is now edited in accordance.



mandag, november 14, 2011

Kaptajnsaspiranter kastede fjenden i havet (1/5)


Kaptajnsaspiranter kastede fjenden i havet
Hærens Officersskole gennemførte i oktober metodekursus i overvejelser for kaptajnselever. Som en del af det nye VUT-I/L-R (Videreuddannelsestrin 1 for ledere af reserven) deltog 19 reserveofficerer fra hæren på lige fod med deres fastansatte kolleger i et forløb, som både fysisk og i øvelsesscenariet foregik på Bornholm. Med tuschpletter på skjorten og ny viden i hovedet drog hold Hedemann-R hjem efter fem intensive dage, med formodning om, at krigen var vundet, samt forvisning om, at en masse ny lærdom var erhvervet.
Af PL-R Thorbjørn Hein, elev på VUT-I/L-R, Hærens Officersskole
Som elev på det spritnye VUT-I vil overtegnede gerne dele de første godt to måneders indtryk af uddannelsen med bloggens læsere. Den korte version er: Det er knaldgodt, og mine klassekammerater og jeg er privilegerede at være blevet optaget på dette kursus. For den længere version: læs videre.

Oktober: Klippeøen kalder
Det er mørkt, koldt, mandag – og en rigtig god oktobermorgen. På opmarchpladsen bag ved Frederiksberg Slot myldrer det rundt med mestendels premierløjtnanter samt et par håndfulde lærere. Hen ved 100 mand m/k er der at se i øerne af gult lys fra de udvendige bygningslamper, og en del flytter rundt med klassekasser med kontormaterialer, kompendier og kort. Bjørnebandens udsendte reporter og kaptajnselev får pludseligt også stukket en urimeligt tung kasse kopier i favnen af den ellers normalt meget rimelige kaptajn, der er holdfører og primær lærer for Hold Hedemann-R.
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Frederiksberg Slot, hjemsted for Hærens Officersskole.


Kaptajnsaspiranter kastede fjenden i havet (2/5)


Trods presset på de tynde universitetsarme er der hos både skribenten og mine klassekammerater en forventningens glæde: Vi skal til Bornholm, og vores hold skal blandes med Hedemann-1, 2 og 3 under kurset i metode for taktiske overvejelser. På Hedemann-R så vi hinanden online så sent som ugen før – men det er første gang, vi fysisk er samlet siden slutningen af august.

August: seminar og peptalk
Den 23. august var nemlig der, uddannelsen begyndte med et værnsfælles, tredages introseminar for VUT-I/L-R i rammerne af Flyvevåbnets Officersskole (FLOS) i Jonstrup: Reserveofficerer fra hæren og flyvevåbnet, i alt 26 mand og en kvinde, var samlet – klar til alt og rede til resten. Chefen for FLOS, oberst H.C.E. Nielsen, bød de nye elever velkommen til sin facilitet. Snart gik de gode kolleger fra flyvevåbnet andetsteds hen, og vi fra hæren blev introduceret til de kommende 11 måneders uddannelse af chefen for VUT på Hærens Officersskole (HO), oberstløjtnant Lennie Fredskov. Lennie gav en stærkt motiverende peptalk, der understregede, at man fra HO's side har været meget spændte over at forberede den første VUT-I for reserveofficerer i snart ti år.
Allerede på introseminaret blev det slået helt fast, at Hedemann-R er en fuldgyldig del af Hærens Officersskole. Det frydede en gammel gardeofficers hjerte at blive benådet med en gylden prydsgenstand til skjorten. I november deltager en del af os også i HO's traditionelle Velkomstbal.
Det er også helt nyt, at det i det hele taget er HO, og ikke fagskolerne i hæren, der står for VUT-I/L-R. Vi blev fortalt, at omend vores holdfører Thomas også er taktikunderviser på Hedemann-3, vil det til hver en tid, hvor der måtte opstå prioriteringsspørgsmål mellem 3 og R, være R, der er Thomas' primæropgave.
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Kaptajnsaspiranter kastede fjenden i havet (3/5)


Vi blev efterladt med en klar fornemmelse af, at det her kursus er noget, man tager meget seriøst, og ikke mindst, at HO har høje forventninger til vor militærfaglige kunnen og har sat niveauet derefter. En anden ting, der understreger, at HO ”means business” med det nye VUT, er al den tilstedeværelse, vi som elever bliver tildelt.

VUT-I af i dag: masser af tilstedeværelse
På introseminaret blev der distribueret store flyttekasser med kalkepapir, kompendier og de klassiske røde reglementer – af sidstnævnte kun nogle få essentielle i hardcopy, resten på CD-ROM. En essentiel del af vores undervisningsmateriale er imidlertid også en laptop og et headset i udlån. Det er nemlig således, at ud over i alt 20 arbejdsdages fysisk indkommandering, mødes klassen cirka hver anden uge klokken 19-22 – i den virtuelle verden. Forsvaret har investeret i et system ved navn Webex, som muliggør lærerstyret fjernundervisning.
Screenshot fra fjernundervisning. Holdføreren gennemgår sit powerpointshow og kan tegne ”live” på skærmens stregtegninger og kort. Eleverne kan virtuelt række hånden i vejret og få ordet. Det virker overraskende godt og gnidningsfrit.
Taktiklektionerne, vi deltager i, er identiske med dem, vore linjekolleger får af Thomas inde på slottet. Som forberedelse har vi typisk stregopgaver med refleksionsspørgsmål. Disse bliver brugt, når eleverne i løbet af lektionerne bliver sendt ud i gruppearbejde – for det kan man også i Webex. Vi fandt under introseminaret sammen i fem-mands studiegrupper – en sammensætning, der på moderne vis foregik ved at parre forskellige, komplimenterende persontyper – og det er i disse faste grupper, vi med vore divergerende faglige baggrunde bliver meget klogere, end hvis vi hver især sad og boksede med pensum derhjemme. Erfaring- og vidensniveauet, ud fra hvilket der bliver delt, er højt.

Erfarne elever
Det kan nemlig mærkes, at der har været et efterslæb med VUT-I/L-R; gennemsnitsalderen er tæt på 33 år, men nu har det faktum et positivt udslag: Der er virkelig meget at trække på i puljen af erfaring; imellem os er der vel omkring 30 udsendelser i international tjeneste, så eksempler fra den virkelige verden er altid ved hånden, når elementer fra COIN (Counter Insurgency) er tænkt ind i scenarierne.
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Kaptajnsaspiranter kastede fjenden i havet (4/5)


Selvklæbende plast-papir blev smækket op på
mødelokalernes vægge til H og til V. Emnet var
old school Major Combat Operations (MCO), som det anes.
Samtidig giver studiegruppernes blanding af våbenarter et kæmpe udbytte. De der mugbaretter og deres kanonrør bliver for eksempel pludseligt mere interessante for en dum fodtusse, når han skal tage stilling til planer på bataljonsniveau – hvis man ikke allerede havde gensidig respekt våbenarterne imellem, får man det i hvert fald nu. Og traditionel militærfaglig viden er absolut i fokus. Selvom en del af pointen med at uddanne reserveofficerer til ”junior staff officers” er at optimere dem til internationale stabsfunktioner, som ligeledes i fremtiden må vurderes primært at være i COIN-operationer, er vi også tilbage til det, vi begyndte med som løjtnanter: hardcore krig med ildkoncentrationsområder, panserangreb og 77's infiltration i aksen forud for klokken H. Det er skønt! Ikke mindst, fordi vi vist alle har oplevet, at når først rusten blev banket af dén lærdom, er vi altså ikke helt tabt bag en vogn. Det blev bekræftet på Bornholm.

Intenst gruppearbejde mellem linje- og reserveofficerer. Der
kan snakkes meget frem og tilbage om Courses of Action og
Adversary's Courses of Action (det vi i gamle dage kaldte
M'er og H'er, respektivt), men nu er der fem minutter til
fremlæggelse og ting bliver puttet på papir.
Oktober: linjen og reserven i synergi
Vel ankommet til Hotel Ryttergården i Rønne, og fri for de tunge kasser med kopier, oplever Hedemann-R for første gang deres linjekolleger i aktion. Vi er blevet fordelt i de tre faste klasser, skribenten her i Hedemann-3. De første timer går med at stikke en finger i jorden og finde ind i klassens interne dynamik, samt i de arbejdsgrupper, der findes i klassen. Vi har en sund og berettiget respekt for vore professionelle kollegers faglige viden, men bliver taget imod med åbne arme, og langsomt kommer den synergi, som vore lærere og vi selv havde håbet på: Vi kan byde ind med erfaring fra missioner, analytiske evner fra vore civile uddannelser – og som nævnt er rusten banket tilstrækkeligt af de gamle MCO-dyder (Major Combat Operations), så mine kolleger fra artilleriet for eksempel helt konkret militærfagligt er kapaciteter i arbejdsgrupperne.
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Kaptajnsaspiranter kastede fjenden i havet (5/5)

Hedemann-3 med RESOF i OPCON arbejdede ekstra længe
første aften, så vi til gengæld var foran i programmet
tirsdag og kunne se landskamp fra kickoff kl. 20.15.

Ugen byder på 170 siders slideshow i overvejelsesmetodik, med lærerstyret undervisning og store mængder givtigt gruppearbejde. Siden vi er på Bornholm, er der ikke nogen, der kan styrte hjem til familien, når dagenes – lange – tjeneste er slut, så der socialiseres og netværkes på bedste officersvis om aftenerne. HO har sågar arrangeret, at Danmark slår Portugal i fodbold, vist i hotellobbyen på storskærm – det er over norm planlægning.


Det var en god kamp, her nydt af Else-Marie og Nicholas.
Tjek Nicholas' foredragsvirksomhed om Afghanistan ved
at følge dette link: 100patruljer.dk
Hårdt, men godt
En kende udmattede af de mange indtryk og den intense indlæring slutter det hele fredag. Vi er i min arbejdsgruppe ret sikre på, at planen for vores battaljonsangreb ville have resulteret i en succesfuld forhindring af fjendtlige forstærkninger via Rønne Havn. Vi kender hinanden bedre internt i Hedemann-R, og vi har fået nye kontakter blandt vore dygtige kolleger af linjen. Snart efter skal vi nu bruge den nyindlærte metodik ved en hjemmeopgave, som kommer til at koste megen sveden og mange timers hjemmearbejde. Der er i det hele taget meget arbejde forbundet med at være på VUT-I, men HO har skruet et program og en undervisningsform sammen, der gør, at denne skribent er sikker på, at motivationen kommer til at holde hele vejen til juni, hvor vi gerne alle mand kommer til at blive fotograferet i Frederiksberg Slotsgård – som kaptajner af reserven, af Guds og af Dronningens nåde.
/T.H.

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Denne herlige fyr og hans mange anektdoter
om øller, nedgravede oste og gode
venner fra "Staden" oplevede vi onsdag
aften. Det var genialt. 


torsdag, november 10, 2011

Forsvarets uniformer får ny camouflage efter knap 30 år


Det er nu besluttet, at det danske forsvar vil ændre mønstret på den eksisterende M/84. Det nye mønster bliver det såkaldte MultiCam system, der medfører, at den samme uniform slører soldaten godt - om så det er i skov eller ørken.
10. november 2011
Det er snart slut med at se danske soldater i kampuniformer med forskelligt mønster. M/01 ørkenuniformen samt M/84 står til at blive ændret, så der fremover kun vil findes en let og en tung M/11 kampuniform i multi terræn mønster. Ændringen sker efter et operativt behov, hvor soldaterne i Afghanistan færdes i en række forskellige terrænformer.

Foto: FMT
Det nye mønster er et multiterræn mønster også kaldet MultiCam, og det er et koncept, der oprindeligt blev udviklet til US Special Operations Forces (SOF).
Sløringseffekt i forskelligt terræn
Det nye multi terræn slørings system giver sløring, uanset om soldaten bevæger sig i lys sandørken, klippe eller bjerglignende terræn, frodigt bevokset terræn eller i bebygget område.
- Det nyudviklede sløringsmønster gør, at man falder mere naturligt ind i omgivelserne, og det gælder for cirka 80 procent af alle de terrænformer, der findes. Såvel amerikanerne, briterne samt australierne har valgt at gå over til multicam systemet, og det samme vil det danske forsvar gøre, siger major Thomas Nico Jørgensen, som er chef for Udrustningssektionen i Forsvarets Materieltjeneste.
Løbende forbedringer af M/84
- Mange tror, at kampuniform M/84 ikke har forandret sig siden introduktionen i 1984, men det er slet ikke den samme uniform som dengang. M/84 er løbende blevet udviklet med bl.a. membraner på den øverste del af torsoen, langs forsiden på benene, og der er kommet knæbeskyttelse til. 
- I dag er der kun lidt bomuld i uniformen, og dermed suger den ikke så meget vand. Så der er sket en markant udvikling af M/84, og den er i dag på højde med, hvad andre lande bruger, siger Thomas Nico Jørgensen.
- Vi mangler nu de sidste test, som vil vise, om det nye sløringsmønster kan leve op til vores krav, og derefter skal vi have nuværende producent af M/84 til at ændre farven på eksempelvis snører, knapper, bånd og spænder. Der er cirka 12 måneders leveringstid, så overgangen til den ændrede uniform vil forventeligt ske, så ISAF 15 og 16 kan iklæde sig uniformen i 2013.

Kommentar af BB webmaster: tjek videoen nedenfor for eksempler på dette sløringsmønster i terrænet.



onsdag, november 02, 2011

Mønt: Hold 1/DANCON/UNMEE (Challenge Coin Team 1 Eritrea)



English below.

Mens vi venter på reportagen fra Moesgaardvandringen i Århus, fyrer jeg lige et par billeder af sted med Eritreamønten. Jeg tror ikke, man kan finde et billede af den andre steder på nettet. Meget flot stavet, alligevel, af Jydsk Emblemfabrik, eller hvem det nu er, der har lavet den :-) Mønten er fra 2001.

***

While we're waiting for the latest field report from a march (in Aarhus last Sunday), here's a memory from my Eritrea deployment. Note the absurdly embarrassing spelling error on the back! The coin is numbered, as can be seen, and I think the commander got number one. Mine is number three, hooray.

onsdag, oktober 26, 2011

Hollandsk faldskærmsvinge (Dutch Parachute Wings)



English below.

Yup, sådan ser dén ud, her i en ørkenudgave, jeg fik lavet i Kabul International Airport i 2008. Vingen blev taget hos Paracentrum Texel i 2001 (ét spring i rund skærm) og 2002 (ni spring i firkantet skærm).

Mere nedenfor / more below.

lørdag, oktober 22, 2011

Hundrede og én kilometers eventyr (side 1 af 4)



Hundrede og én kilometers eventyr
- en fotoreportage fra vandretossernes frontlinje i Kjellerup

Mange vil tænke, at man må være godt tosset, hvis man ser en pointe i frivilligt at gå 100 kilometer i træk. Hvad må man så ikke tænke om nogen, der går i ring 25 gange for at nå det mål? Det kan kun være for ægte, skør-i-kasketten vandretosser. Bjørnebandens udsendte falder åbenbart i kategorien.

af Thorbjørn Hein, bandit af bjørnearten

Hundrede og én kilometers eventyr (side 2 af 4)


Fri buffet: gå så langt du vil
Faktisk er Kjellerup Special, i år gennemført den 15.-16. oktober og for 19. gang - hvilket gør den til Danmarks ældste ekstremlængdemarch - ikke per definition en 100 km-march.

Hundrede og én kilometers eventyr (side 3 af 4)


(H) Gak og gøgl. Jeg blev introduceret til en tradition ved dette busskur, der ligger godt en halv kilometer fra den lille omgangs mål. Et foto længere ned i artiklen vil afsløre, hvad der er så særligt ved stedet.

Hundrede og én kilometers eventyr (side 4 af 4)

(V) Steen og jeg gjorde holdt samtidig og spiste den udmærkede varme mad, og blev inviteret til at dele rødvin med et par af Steens veninder. Herligt.

torsdag, oktober 20, 2011

Rexen! (The "Rex" - chest emblem of HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's monogram)


Worn on the left shirt pocket of the personnel from The Royal Life Guards and The Guard Hussars. If you're "born" at one of these regiments, you go through a rough hell weekish exercise as the final part of your three months as a raw recruit before being award the coveted symbol. Personnel being transferred from other regiments get the "rex" automatically.

EDIT on 21 October: I should have made a note on the design to begin with, but here goes. The "M" for "Margrethe" is easy to spot, but also note the elegant way the number "2" - for Margrethe the Second - and "R" - for Regina - are woven together. The queen designed this herself upon her ascend to the throne in 1972.

mandag, oktober 17, 2011

Tjenestestedsmærke: Hærens Officersskole (Officers' Academy chest emblem)


Last week had two main events: one week on the island of Bornholm as part of the one-year long Army Captain Course; and 24 hours of marching Saturday-Sunday. An article will follow here on the blog about the march.
Here is the crest of the Army Officers' Academy. It is worn on the left breast pocket of your uniform shirt.

tirsdag, oktober 11, 2011

Report: Beagle Boys looked at German hills and bars

From left: Andreas, Thorbjørn, René, and Thyregod.

Beagle Boys looked at German hills and bars

Some of the Boys put centre of gravity on defusing from an everyday life with lots of military sports, others slept a few hours more during the nights and did more kilometres on the Hessian gravel roads. There was also time for befriending people from as faraway places as Taiwan and Korea.

by Thorbjørn Hein, Lieutenant (r)

søndag, oktober 09, 2011

Strækken ben med blå baret: FN-march i Odense

Kronborg med en hemmelig rygsæk, der for tiden
testes med henblik på eventuel indfasning i Forsvaret.
Oversergent Peter Kronborg og undertegnede smuttede fra henholdsvis Fredericia og København i den årle morgenstund for at vandre 20 kilometer i Odense omegn. Anledningen var den lokale afdeling af De Blå Baretters årlige veteranmarchtur. Michael Thyregod hentede mig på Banegården, tak for det, men gik en kortere rute sammen med sine tre drenge. Sådan, de kan jo lige så godt lære det!

Vejret er efterhånden blevet køligere her til lands, men det var udmærket at gå i, og der var et par fine rast på denne hyggelige, lille tur. Godt tre en halv time efter kl. 9-starten var vi retur på Bellinge Skole, og en time efter det sad jeg i en stillekupé på vej mod København. En god søndag formiddag.

Mere nedenfor.

lørdag, oktober 08, 2011

Geeky doodles from seminar

Attended a great military seminar on international relations and security the last couple of days, with the subject "Northern Africa". Very interesting lectures and discussions with top-notch people from both academia and the military. One lecture, though, was ... well, it left much to be desired, I'm afraid. So some doodling done on the back of the course overview handouts :-)

Thorbjørn



Medal: The Fulda March, Germany

The Fulda March in the state of Hessia, Germany, completed on 1-2 October 2011. 2x42 kilometres in a beautiful and quite hilly autumn landscape. Read a report about the event here.

Offical webpage.

tirsdag, september 27, 2011

Medal: DANCON Half Marathon, Eritrea


DANCON = Danish Contingent. Medal for half marathon organized by the Danish UN unit in Asmara, Eritrea.

Gennemført engang i foråret 2001 af SHIRBRIG-bjørnebanditterne.  På 1:35 time for Thorbjørns vedkommende, husker jeg. Yngre og mere løbeivrig dengang, uden at det er en uhørt imponerende tid. Skal dog siges, at ruten var på grusvej og i relativt kuperet terræn 2.300 meter over havets overflade. Så kunne have været værre.

søndag, september 25, 2011

El Camino de Santiago: 780 km på 4 uger i Nordspanien

Startbyen i Frankrig

Robert tog en udfordring op og udlevede en drøm, da han i foråret 2011 pakkede nogle stumper, kørte til Frankrig og påbegyndte næsten 800 kilometers naturvandring i selskab med sig selv og egne tanker.

af Robert Krogh Steffensen

Med start i København den 15. april tog jeg bussen mod Paris og derefter den startbyen St. Jean Pied de Port.
Ideen til turen blev født, da min daværende svoger året før, havde gået selvsamme tur og da Bertelsen så gjorde det samme over 24 afsnit på DR2 i december, var jeg solgt. Turen skulle prøves! Selve distancen var jeg ikke bekymret for, 780 km på 4 uger er et snit på godt 28 km om dagen, hvilket jo er ”a walk in the park” for en forholdsvis garvet 40 og 100 km gænger som mig. Udfordringen lå i, at jeg skulle gå turen alene.

lørdag, september 17, 2011

Medal: Amagermarchen (The Amager March)



45 kilometers on the island adjacent to Copenhagen, Amager. March done on a sunny 2 May 2009.

Amagermarchen.

onsdag, september 07, 2011

Heins souvenirsamling / Hein's souvenir collection

Klik på billedet for større udgave.Click for larger version.
English below

Opdateret / updated: 07 September 2011.

Kære læser

Mit skinhellige korstog mod sugemedaljer vil aldrig blive opgivet. Dog er jeg skam stadig glad for mine fine souvenirs, som diverse marchdeltagelser har kastet af sig. Der er heldigvis stadig masser af ture, jeg ikke har prøvet endnu, så der vil komme flere til!

Her er et billede af alle andre end de medaljer, jeg har vundet som ganske aktiv håndboldspiller i U20-årene. Jeg fandt for nylig på at bruge en af de smukke kister, jeg har købt i Afghanistan, som opbevaringsmetode til blikket. Håndboldmedaljerne ligger i en fin plastikpose ...

Da alle ved, at mange marchgængere elsker bling, får I altså endnu en blogpost i serien med mærkatet "Medaljer".

Medaljerne er arrangeret i den kronologiske orden, i hvilken de er modtaget. De syv medaljer på sammensat bånd i højre hjørne er dem, jeg har bæringstilladelse til på uniformen.

/Thorbjørn

1. 100 km/24 hrs Dodentocht, Belgium, 1998+2000 (hence numeral 2 on the ribbon).
2. 2x45 km Hærvejsmarchen, Viborg, Denmark, 1999, 2003, 2007 (Urfugl/Black Grouse on ribbon).
3. 4x40 km Nijmegen March, The Netherlands, first-time medal, 1999.
4. 28 km Fur Rundt, Denmark, 1999.
5. 125 km (in three days) Bornholm Rundt, Denmark, 2000.
6. Nijmegen second-time medal, 2000.
7. 40 km The Airborne March, The Netherlands, 2000.
8. UNMEE DANCON Half Marathon, Eritrea, 2001. (No medal for the full marathon we also did! Where's the justice?!)
9. 21 km UNMEE DANCON March, Eritrea, 2001.
10. 100 km/24 hrs UNMEE DANCON March (with 10+ kilos backpack), Eritrea, 2001.
11. UNMEE DANCON Souvenir Coin, Eritrea, 2001.
12. United Nations Medal for peacekeeping UNMEE, Eritrea, 2001.
13. The Danish Blue Berets Peace Prize Medal, Denmark, 2001.
14. Nijmegen March Orderly Medal, 2001 (memorial pin for the discontinued Nijmegen March in 2006 on the ribbon).
15. 2x40 km Slagelsemarchen, Denmark, 2002.
16. Nijmegen March Team Medal (awarded for completing as a team without dropouts; in my possession because I was the team leader that year), 2003.
17. 2x40 km Ringborgmarchen, Denmark, 2007.
18. 14x47 km Souvenir Coin for the March Copenhagen to Nijmegen (MAKONI), 2007.
19. Nijmegen fifth-time medal, 2007.
20. A souvenir coin awarded to me by a US major general "For Excellence", ISAF, Afghanistan, 2008.
21. NATO Non-Article 5 Medal, ISAF, Afghanistan, 2008.
22. Souvenir coin of The Combined Joint Psychological Operations Task Force, ISAF, Afghanistan, awarded at end of tour 2008.
23. Memorial medal on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of The Royal Life Guards, Denmark, 2008.
24. Nijmegen March sixth-time medal, 2008, with ninth-time numeral on ribbon, 2011.
25. 2x25 miles The Royal Air Force 2-Day March, England, 2009, 2010, 2011 (hence numeral 3 on the ribbon).
26. 45 km Amagermarchen, Denmark, 2009.
27. 21 km PRT Chaghcharan DANCON March, Afghanistan, 2010.
28. 21 km Kabul DANCON March, Afghanistan, 2011.
29. The Lithuanian Land Forces Medal for Distinguished Service, Afghanistan, 2011.
30. The Danish Defence Medal for International Service in Afghanistan, 2011.
31. 2x40 km Elfsborgmarschen, Sweden, 2011.
32. 2x100 km/72 hrs eXtreme, Lithuania, 2011.
33. 2x40 km The Road to Radvilos, Lithuania, 2011.
:-) Livsnydermedalje/Enjoyment of Life Medal, bought on the internet and awarded by myself to myself, 2011!

I seem to have lost the cloth patch awarded for the 2004 march in the Ardennes, a tough one of 120 km/24 hours in mountain terrain.

***
Dear reader,

Here's a picture of my souvenir collection. I'm sure everyone is VERY interested in this my shameless bragging ... May I add: "hehe." Concerning right corner down: the seven medals on one line of ribbons are the ones that I am allowed to wear on my uniform as per Danish regulations.

/Thorbjørn

søndag, september 04, 2011

One Danish soldier killed - four lightly wounded

Archive photo: Danish soldiers in Afghanistan

Afghanistan, Helmand Province
A Danish foot patrol between Patrol Baseline and the city of Gereshk was blasted by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) yesterday afternoon, Saturday 3 September. Five soldiers were injured, one of them grievously. All received first aid on the spot and were lifted by helicopter to the field hospital in Camp Bastion. One soldier, hailing from the Guard Hussars Regiment, was beyond saving and was declared dead by a doctor. The four other injured soldiers were only lightly wounded. They are all from Bravo Company's 2nd Platoon.

Read more below.

lørdag, august 27, 2011

Vejen til Radvilos 2x42 km begynder her til morgen



Så er det om ikke længe i dag, at undertegnede går i gang med sin anden march i Litauen inden for blot to måneder. Satser på, at det bliver ikke nævneværdigt hårdt og med masser af spas sammen med de mange flinke mennesker, jeg mødte under eXtreme i juni-juli.

Bedste hilsner fra Baltikum

Thorbjørn

fredag, august 26, 2011

HPRD-holdet 2011


Flere bjørnebanditter har mere end en gang nydt godt af HPRD's arrangering af nijmegenture for enkeltgængere. Her er et fotografi fra dette års åbningsparade for de danske soldater i Heumensoordlejren. Ildsjæl og HPRD's march-primus motor, artillerimajor-R Bo G. Flindt ses kæk i geleddet - som altid klædt i sin trofaste regnjakke!

Han er på sin højre hånd flankeret af ingen andre end Stabskompagniet fra Livgarden (som den opmærksomme læser vil vide, var Stabskompagniet det hold, bjørnebanditterne gik på i år), og på sin venstre af oberstløjtnant Jan, der i år gennemførte Nijmegen for første gang, og dét i fin stil, siger rygterne.

Tak til Bo for billedet. God weekend til alle læsere ønskes fra Marchteam Bjørnebanden.