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Feature Stories

NEWS | March 4, 2020

Father and son complete Norwegian Foot March together while deployed

By Ms. Wendy Arevalo 1st Theater Sustainment Command

Although going on deployment generally means family separation, for one 1st Theater Sustainment Command Soldier it means more time together.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin Brumfield, human resources systems division chief, 14th Human Resources Sustainment Center, 1st TSC, and his son, Spc. Jonathan Brumfield, are both currently deployed to the same base in the U.S. Central Command’s area of operations.

The elder Brumfield was already on Camp Arifjan when his son, an information technology specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, joined him, in January 2020.

The two have made the most of their shared deployment, even completing a Norwegian Foot March together on Feb. 17, 2020. The Norwegian Foot March is a timed event in which Soldiers carry a 25-pound rucksack 18.6 miles.

“I saw it as a great father and son event,” said Benjamin. “I thought it was a great opportunity to do something with him before retiring.”

At age 43, the event was more of a challenge for him than his son, who is 23 years younger than him.

“We both started off together, but I let him go ahead as he is mentally and physically stronger than me,” said Benjamin. “I thought it was best for him to make the event time. My goal was to finish, whether I made the time or not. I got lucky and made the time.”

Benjamin’s time was 4 hours and 34 minutes, while Jonathan’s was 4 hours and 17 minutes.

Male participants age 34 and under must complete the march in no less than 4.5 hours. Due to his age, Benjamin said he was given an extra 10 minutes.

“Even if I passed or failed, I wanted to at least complete it,” he said. “There were many moments where I just wanted to give up; my legs and feet were in pain, and I was mentally exhausted. I thank my son for inspiring me … as he was in my thoughts until I finished the event.”

Benjamin said as he neared the end of the event, he didn’t think he would finish in time, but then he saw the finish line and realized he was closer than he thought.

“As I walked over a hill, I saw how close the finish line was,” Benjamin said. “I noticed I had 15 minutes to finish before my allowed time, and knowing my son had already completed the march, I jogged to the finish line, making the time with five minutes to spare.”

“I immediately called my son to see if he finished in time and how he did. I was relieved that he made it,” he added.

Jonathan said completing the foot march with his father was an accomplishment.

“It was quite a challenge that tested me both physically and mentally,” said the younger Brumfield. “It made me doubt my decisions up until that point, but the accomplishment of saying that I completed an 18.6 mile foot march (within the time requirement) was a reward on its own.”

He added that he was proud of his father for completing it.

“I know the distance itself could have made either of us quit at any moment,” he said. “Knowing that my dad is becoming older and is still trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle by challenging himself, it makes me proud to have such a great role model.”

Now that the event is completed, both are making the most of their time in Kuwait. They eat dinner together and spend time together on weekends.

“My son and I will go to the Red Cross with our computers and do personal life stuff,” said Benjamin. “I have shown Jonathan college degrees for his career path, give him guidance on finance management, and many other things a father should do for his son, especially now, since he is independent.”

Jonathan said he is grateful to get to spend the deployment with his father, who he considers his mentor and role model.

“It’s not common that we would be at the same place at the same time, considering all the options and locations where we could have been,” Jonathan said. “However, I don’t think of it as a coincidence, and I will use it to my benefit to ask him for assistance whenever there is an opportunity,” he added.