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Home : News
NEWS | Feb. 6, 2023

Nebraska Guardsman Wins Danish Contingency March in Kosovo

By Sgt. 1st Class Herschel Talley, Nebraska Army National Guard

CAMP NOVO SELO, Kosovo - Nebraska Army National Guard Capt. Travis Kirchner, 111th Public Affairs Detachment commander, won the traditional Danish Contingency March of 24.27 kilometers Jan. 7. 

Kirchner finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 35 seconds, becoming the first American in recent memory to win.

“The DANCON proved to be just as hard as I could have imagined and even more competitive than I was expecting,” Kirchner said. “Apart from the grueling 15 miles of frequent elevation change, it was an honor to participate in this tradition stemming back from the Danish Defense in the 1970s.”

Since 1972, the DANCON March has been conducted wherever Danish soldiers are deployed. Participants in this march included 545 Soldiers from 21 nations across Kosovo Force Regional Command-East. 

Danish Army Sgt. 1st Class Bo Gjelstrup, who organized the march, said he only had records of four previous DANCON marches in Kosovo, but in that time, no U.S. service member had ever won.

Participants had to carry 10 kg (22 lbs.) rucksacks and their weapons while in uniform. Competitors hiked up a sharply inclining 2 km hill to reach the halfway point before turning around back to Camp Nova Selo.

“Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy running,” said Kirchner, a member of the National Guard’s All Guard Endurance Team. “I enjoy the challenges that running presents and try to stay competitive when it comes to endurance events. However, the DANCON offered a much different challenge than I was prepared for.

“Running in boots and ‘utes‘ with a 10 kg pack for over 24 km was intimidating, but I was ready for the challenge and confident in my legs from putting hundreds of miles on them since I have been in Kosovo.”

The 111th Public Affairs Detachment is deployed to Kosovo to support Operation Joint Guardian.