Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division rise from eternal rest as an undead leviathan during the finale event of Ivy Week, the division’s annual celebration of its legacy and tribute to its role at Utah Beach on D-Day.

Military helicopters flew low as thousands of soldiers pushed through a wall of smoke and crested a hilltop in Colorado with the sounds of nearby machine gunfire. In one of the largest annual mass PT events in the military, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division finished its annual Ivy Week on June 14 with huge obstacle course and team fitness event in honor of the division’s mission in the Normandy landings.

Photographs of the annual event released by the division showed — as they do nearly every time the division does one of these — thousands of troops swarming, horde-like, over landscapes and obstacles, often through smoke and water cannons, a visual mix of good Army training and a zombie apocolypse.

Ivy Soldiers assigned to the 4th Infantry Division carry equipment down the side of a hill during the Utah Beach division physical training event, at Fort Carson, Colorado, June 14, 2024. This event was held to honor Soldiers who fought through the challenging obstacles along Utah Beach on D-Day. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Joshua Zayas)
4th Infantry Division carry equipment down the side of a hill during the Utah Beach division physical training event, at Fort Carson, Colorado, June 14, 2024. (U.S. Army Photo/Spc. Joshua Zayas)

The event caps Ivy Week — a play on the “IV” numerals of the division’s name — that honors the unit’s role in D-Day landings. Soldiers from the 4th ID landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, tasked with crossing two miles of terrain, facing both natural obstacles and enemy resistance, to seize German artillery. The division-wide obstacle course mimics those D-Day orders, with a 2.5 mile course and a wide range of team and individual challenges along the way.

“It serves as a powerful reminder of the dedication and determination that Soldiers within the 4th Infantry Division demonstrate every day,” said 4th Infantry Division spokesman Lt. Col. Joey Payton. “This year’s event was named in honor of Utah Beach, where more than 20,000 4th Infantry Division Soldiers embarked to help liberate Europe during World War II.”

Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson make their way through a smoke-covered field during the Utah Beach division physical training event, as an AH-64 Apache flies overhead, June 14, 2024, at Fort Carson, Colorado. This event was held to honor the Ivy Soldiers who helped liberate France during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. William Rogers)
Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson make their way through a smoke-covered field during the Utah Beach division physical training event, as an AH-64 Apache flies overhead, June 14, 2024, at Fort Carson, Colorado. (U.S. Army photo/Spc. William Rogers)

The division holds the division-wide PT event to build morale and demonstrate unit readiness. The event kicked off at 6:30 a.m., with 20 elements of approximately 120 to 250 Soldiers from battalions across the division.

The soldiers were tasked with running 2.5 miles, with 1,000 feet of elevation gain, while carrying an assortment of fuel jugs, kettlebells, stretchers, and a 400-lb. sandbag a they navigated full-height trenches. They then had to low crawl under extensive barbed wire and concertina wire obstacles. Then, they traversed a wall of ocean containers as an AH-64 Apache flew low over their heads and water hoses soaked them. 

A 4th Infantry Division Soldier makes her way through the hedgehog obstacle at the Utah Beach division physical training event, on June 14, 2024, at Fort Carson, Colorado. This year’s division PT event honored the battle at Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, where the division played a central role that aimed to secure a beachhead and advance inland to unite with airborne troops dropped behind enemy lines. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Cecilia Ochoa)
A 4th Infantry Division Soldier makes her way through the hedgehog obstacle at the Utah Beach division physical training event, on June 14, 2024, at Fort Carson, Colorado. Army photo by Pfc. Cecilia Ochoa

“Through sweat and will, soldiers bonded as they pushed their limits together, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose while striving for recognition as the division’s best battalion,” Payton said. “The annual event not only promotes physical fitness but reinforces the division’s commitment to readiness and resilience.”

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Thousands of 4th ID soldiers navigating a concertina wire obstacle on June 14.
4th Infantry Division Soldiers participated in the Utah Beach division physical training event, designed to recreate the experience of landing on Utah Beach during a division physical training event on Fort Carson, Colorado, June 14, 2024. Army photo/Sgt. Matthew S. Connor.

The training event drummed up enough noise that the 4th Infantry Division notified local neighborhoods that the training would create a large amount of noise and that people may see smoke drifting toward the neighborhoods downwind from the training event.

The 4th Infantry Division’s huge obstacle course looked like the zombie apocalypse

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