June 16 (UPI) -- The Royal Danish Air Force demonstrated its Danish Contingent, or DANCON, exercise on U.S. soil for the first time at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., the base announced this week.
DANCON, an irregularly scheduled mission of the Danish military, is a tradition which typically involves an infantry-style march.
On June 5, 60 participants from the RDAF, the U.S. Ninth Air Force 20th Fighter Wing, U.S. Army Central and other coalition forces each carried 22 pounds of equipment in a six-hour march of 15.5 miles, a U.S. Air Force statement on Tuesday said.
The concept employs a detachment of personnel, rather than a formal unit, and previous DANCON participants have been deployed around the world.
DANCON/USA was the 49th DANCON demonstration since the tradition began in 1972, with this year's event the first on U.S. soil.
Danish personnel recently deployed to Shaw Air Force Base as part of the movement of the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, to the United States.
"The purpose of the DANCON is to challenge your physical, mental endurance and determination, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to meet new friends, have a few laughs and a pleasant break in the daily routines," said Lt. Col. John Roland Pedersen, RDAF detachment commander.
It can also be regarded as a team building exercise which encourages interoperability between nations, officials said.
Denmark is an original NATO member, as is the United States.
All personnel who finished the march received an award called the DANCON medal.
The most recent DANCON demonstration occurred in May at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, when about 400 coalition troops gathered to participate in the march.