THE EAGLE MARCH
The Swedish Para Rangers are awarded the ”Golden Eagle” when they are qualified as Para Rangers. The Golden Eagle is not just an award for parachuting, it is an award that says that the soldier carrying the award successfully has completed a number of tests. The last test is the Eagle March which is a 24 hour test including parachuting, a longer march with field equipment and various tests along the way.
In 1975 the commander of the Para Ranger School, LtCol Torbjörn Elming, introduced the standardised Eagle March as the last test before the soldiers were awarded the Golden Eagle. The main reason was to make it easier to compare different classes and courses, and to simplify the organisation and preparations for the Eagle March. The logistic and safety around the march was also made easier, for the tests along the march route. All officers, instructors and soldiers within the unit are still doing the Eagle March together every year. The international participation increased over the years, and we know that the foreign participants returned home and spoke about the Eagle March and all participants with respect.
In the spring of 1975 Ingvar Krancher and Jan-Erik Pettersson tried Elmings concept for the first time, and since then only small changes have been made.
MORE THAN 70 KILOMETERS IN 24 HOURS
The march is to be completed within 24 hours and includes a parachute drop on Karamossen, first off is a 30 kilometers march in harsh terrain and then a night’s march of the same distance. The weight of the carried equipment was 26 kg plus the individual weapon. Tests along the way included weapon skills, communications and different types of anti-personnel mines. After 11 hours the farm Åsebolet should have been reached, and after the next 11 hours Hammarnäset/Perstorp was the goal. The last part is an individual 10 km land navigation test, with the maximum time limit of two hours. In case of failure during the land navigation, the soldier is required to do the test again the same day. The last test was a live fire test for the soldiers with their individual weapon. For soldiers who are sick or injured, there will be a second chance to be awarded the Golden Eagle.