A 108-pound rucksack is not what you normally carry on a ruck march, but it had the solid weight of satisfaction for Capt. Webster Beary, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion’s (Airborne) staff judge advocate. What made Beary feel good about the three-miler was how he and 63 other Soldiers of the brigade had stuffed their rucksacks with canned and other non-perishable foods to donate to deserving Families in the  brigade for their Thanksgiving holiday.

This year’s ruck march resulted in almost doubling last year’s donations, according to Master Sgt. Alicia Newton, who helped organize the trek around Pike Field just after daybreak on Nov. 20. More than 2,000 pounds of food were collected after the march, which also served as a training event to ensure that Soldiers were meeting the Army physical fitness standard of completing a three-mile march with at least 25 pounds of Army gear.

Beary reaffirmed the title of heaviest rucker for this annual event, a title he also won last year. He had an edge going into the event this year, having recently completed the 61-day Ranger course at Fort Benning, Ga. in September.

“With the privilege of wearing the Ranger tab, I carried a greater responsibility to lead from the front,” Beary said. “I saw a dual opportunity, both to donate a lot of food to a good cause and also to inspire younger Soldiers to strive for excellence in everything they do,” said Beary.

“Ruck marches aren’t fun, especially when it’s cold, drizzly, early and dark, like this morning,” said Pfc. Zachery Davis, a brigade human resources specialist. “But this time, I saw a lot of people who were happy and proud about how it went,” he added.

“It always amazes me how the people of civil affairs community come together to help neighbors and friends. The community is always willing to help, no matter their situation,” said Sgt. Kapil Duhan of the brigade’s Civil Information Management Office.

“I am proud of the effort of my unit and the response from its Soldiers,” said Cpt. Shawn Jokinen, the CA brigade’s headquarters and headquarters company commander. “I am fortunate to be a part of this event and be called commander of this unit.”

Next on the to-do list for the brigade is joining in Fort Bragg’s annual Toy Drop” on Dec. 11.