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November 21, 2013 at 11:07am

Words & Photos: JBLM Santa's Castle Ruck March with the 555th Engineer Brigade

Spc. Robert Powell, 14th Engineer Battalion, got into the spirit of the season for a 2.6 mile walk from the 555th Engineer Brigade Headquarters to the American Lake Conference Center. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

It was cold and dark this morning on Able Field behind the 555th Engineer Brigade's headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

But the lights, the music and the spirit were bright and warm.

"We are a giving organization," Col. Nicholas Katers said before beginning the 2.6-mile Santa's Castle Ruck March that ended at the American Lake Conference Center.

"We are giving back to our own."

>>> Santa Claus, also known as Spc. Andrew Cuadrado, led the 15th Annual 555thEngineer Brigade Santa's Castle Ruck March featured more than 1,000 soldiers delivering over 2,500 toys for distribution to children. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The festive march supports Santa's Castle, an organization that has provided gifts to the children of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, activated National Guard and Reservist families experiencing financial difficulty.

Last year Santa's Castle provided gifts to almost 2,000 children in more than 800 families.

>>> Pfc. Dylan Lake's red and green chemical lights helped light the way for the Santa's Castle Ruck March. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"This is an awesome event, a time to give to those who may not have anything for Christmas," Spc. Alex Wilhelm said.

"We are the largest contributor of gifts to Santa's Castle, and we are proud of that."

Each soldier bought and contributed at least one gift to Santa's Castle. Many gave more.

"I bought one of my favorite toys as a little girl," Spc. Tiffany Johnson said as she pulled out a Barbie doll.

"I hope this makes some little girl happy."

>>> Spc. Alex Wilhelm, 110th Chemical Engineers Battalion, was all smiles after completing the Santa's Castle Ruck March. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Col. Nicholas Katers, commander, 555th Engineer Brigade, and CSM Kevin Bryan lead over 1000 soldiers on the Santa's Castle Ruck March this morning. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Capt. Jamie Matthews holds Fedora after the completing the 2.6 mile march from the "Triple Nickel's" headquarters to the American Lake Conference Center. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Attired for the Christmas Season, soldiers attached to the 555th Engineer Brigade bought and contributed over 2500 toys to Santa's Castle. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

See Also

Santa needs your help

July 12, 2013 at 1:18pm

JTF Triple Nickel preparing to return to JBLM

Col. Nick Katers, commander of Joint Task Force Triple Nickel, the Theater Engineer Brigade, meets with his combatant commanders to discuss the progress of the Afghan National Army’s engineer force. Photo credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Garas

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Col. Nick Katers, commander of Joint Task Force Triple Nickel, the Theater Engineer Brigade met with his combatant commanders June 27, 2013, to discuss the progress of the Afghan National Army's engineer force and the future of the ANA's National Engineer Brigade before his unit turns over responsibility to the 130th Engineer Brigade out of Hawaii. JTF Triple Nickel's Headquarters, from the 555th Engineer Brigade, redeploys to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, later in the fall.

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