A first of its kind event, Goruck held a 3-day Basic Course in Berlin, Germany from October 1, 2022 through October 3, 2022.
Kris from Goruck Europe contacted Alexander of Wndsn Messtechnik to request routes for a three day Berlin specific event. Alexander, a native resident of Berlin and watcher of history as it happened, gladly agreed. The event then took shape quickly and organically.
The first day, October 1, would take place within West-Berlin. The second day would take place within East-Berlin. The third day would trace the route of the Berlin Wall and serve as an act of remembrance for the German participants on German Reunification Day, a federal holiday within Germany. Cadre Fury, US Special Forces, set the tenor and tone for each day’s adventures. Alex would then give information and first hand accounts of the Cold War that were connected to the sites that participants passed on their long march. Cold War history was the topical foundation of this event, frequently referring to Berlin as the famed “Outpost of Freedom” as well as the legendary stories of the American Special Forces detachments that stayed behind once the Cold War had begun.
On the first day in West-Berlin, the theme was freedom and featured easy-going, mostly non-restricted movement by the participants. Participants had only minimal time hacks or punishments for failing to reach the time hacks. (Time Hack is a term for the limited amount of time given to fulfill a specific activity.)
While in East-Berlin on the second day, all of the good vibes of the previous day changed with the exploration of the lack of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. Cadre Fury set a completely different, harsher theme where every movement and activity were tightly controlled, and breaks were only permitted when explicitly announced. (Learn more about this tonal shift in participant Sylvie Zee’s write up.) The day's theme was completed by a special appearance by Heidi, a construction of 2 80-pound and 1 120-pound sandbags that participants had to share in the carry.
Third day was a more reflective day, particularly for the mostly German contingent. Following the line of the Berlin Wall, artifact-rich waypoints were visited. The third day was mostly history-oriented and the physical work was less emphasized.
Throughout the event a lot of distance was made and a lot of PT (physical training) was had. Participants were highly engaged on the various historical topics, providing a great example of ad hoc community building. Along the way Cadre Fury had useful tips for the participants on heat management, as well as advice for handling medical issues in the field. Small team tactics were introduced by Cadre Fury and Alexander on Day 1, as moving through the busy and modern streets of Berlin on a Saturday morning and afternoon as a monolithic group was contraindicated. Participants were asked to move freely in teams of two “pretending” to be tourists, which is somewhat hard to pull off with all that gear.
Meeting before sunrise and starting around sunrise gave some extra special impressions, witnessing it come to life over the course of 6 hours every day. The day’s event would start in the absolute dark, and empty streets. The first day started at Berlin’s Central Station, and the meeting point was absolutely empty, a rarity. Same for the next day at Leipziger Platz with only a police patrol inquiring politely on the group’s intentions. Third day's meeting point was at Bernauer Strasse at the Wall Memorial in the complete dark.
The event came alive with knowledgeable, first-hand accounts of life in the Cold War in Berlin, along with the shifts in tone by Cadre Fury and the shifting physical demands. As a bonus, participants were treated to a tour of the architectural crimes of Berlin.
Shout out to Kris from Goruck Europe, with whom none of this would have been possible. It was his idea to create a Berlin Event around Reunification Day. Great thanks to Cadre Fury and his capable and inspiring leadership through the event.
A comprehensive account with all the good photos can be found in Wndsn's Instagram story highlight.