Catholic Army chaplain sets foot march record

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Father Luke Willenberg, Second Battalion Chaplain of the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, now holds the record for the fastest 12-mile foot march by any soldier ever to graduate from the U.S. Army's elite DeClopper Air Assault School in Fort Bragg, N.C. Father Willenberg broke the previous record last month by a full seven minutes, with a time of 1 hour, 42 minutes.

The foot march was the final endurance test in a 10-day training course that included such tests as time-competitive rappelling from a Blackhawk helicopter and guiding a landing chopper with arm and hand signals. Father Willenberg began the march at 3 a.m. wearing full battle uniform and carrying a 35-pound rucksack.

"I hope I can inspire and motivate some of my Paratroopers by my achievements," said Father Willenberg. "But in the end, it is not about running or foot marching - it is about giving God praise and glory, and striving to be the best we can be in everything we are doing and by doing so bring people nearer to Christ."

Father Willenberg was ordained in 2008 for the Diocese of Providence, R.I. He joined the Army in 2014 and was deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months with the 10th Mountain Division, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016