After their arrival at Camp Mackall, at first the 11th Airborne Division's officers had run with the enlisted men in the morning, but when commanding general MG Joseph May Swing found out that the officers were taking turns as to who would run each day, he got angry and posted the route for the officers’ new run so the enlisted men could watch.
In what became known as General Swing’s famous “Swing Sessions” or “The General’s Walk”, every Friday afternoon the athletic Swing (remember, he played football at West Point) and the division’s two brigadier generals, led the 11th Airborne’s officers on six-mile jogs that often left those who had not yet physically measured up red in the face with heaving lungs, especially after ending on the obstacle course.
For Swing, all his men, officers included, would meet the physical standards and the Brass who could not keep up were quickly bounced to other units. The enlisted men, of course, greatly enjoyed watching the officers struggle in their own “rat races”.
“He always put the 511th officers at the end, because that’s the toughest place to run,” A-511’s 2LT Stephen Cavanaugh recalled. “When it was over, and the rest of the (Division’s) pudgy officers were huffing and puffing, dragging their posteriors, we’d take off and sprint back to our regimental area, Colonel Haugen leading the way, to begin a real run.”
The boys of the 511th PIR enjoyed Camp Mackall's superior facilities when not out on several-day bivouacs or long marches. Out of 12,000 volunteers, only 2,176 remained, having passed (i.e. survived) Colonel Orin Haugen's strict acceptance guidelines. At Mackall the soldiers practiced field problems and got to know the other units in their mother organization, the 11th Airborne Division under Major-General Joseph May Swing.