Special Tactics Airmen Walk For Fallen Comrades
(October 13, 2010)
|LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (10/9/2010 - AFNS) -- Fifteen special tactics
Airmen carrying 50-pound rucksacks departed from here Oct. 9 on a mission to
honor the memories of their fallen comrades.
The 860-mile trek, known as the Tim Davis Special Tactics Memorial March, will
stretch across five states and will consist of six teams walking 24 hours a day,
in a relay format.
Airmen and family members join 15 Airmen Oct. 9, 2010, who are starting the Tim Davis Special Tactics Memorial March that will take them from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to Hurlburt Field, Fla. They are marching to honor fallen special tactics Airmen and their journey will cover more than 800 miles as they pass through five states.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios
"We're conducting a walk honoring the guys that we've lost overseas," said
Master Sgt. Kenneth Huhman, the chief of the combat control selection course at
Lackland Air Force Base and the coordinator for the march. "We did it last year
in honor of (Staff Sgt.) Tim Davis, (a fallen special tactics Airman), and we
named it the Tim Davis Special Tactics Memorial March. This year will be our
second year doing it. Our goal is to obviously honor the ones we've lost, to
build awareness of combat control and pararescue, and to let everyone know that
the Air Force has ground troops that actually go into harm's way."
While having the same destination and purpose as last year's event, this year's
walk will incorporate several changes, Sergeant Huhman said.
"We've slowed the pace down a little bit from last year," he said. "One, so that
we're not going so fast, and two, this time we kind of want to make it like a
'Forrest Gump' style. And what I mean by that is anybody who wants to come out
and help us honor our 14 (Airmen) that we've lost is more than welcome to. Or,
(they are welcome) to come out and honor somebody else that they've lost. The
only thing is they'll have to support their own transportation from the
beginning to ... where they end up walking. But, we'd love to have them out
The 14 Airmen being remembered are special tactics Airmen who have died in
Afghanistan and Iraq since the beginning of operations Enduring Freedom and
Iraqi Freedom. The two most recent special tactics Airmen to lose their lives in
the line of duty are Senior Airman Mark Forester, who died Sept. 29, and Senior
Airman Daniel Sanchez, who died Sept. 16.
"These past three weeks have been a hard three weeks for us," Sergeant Huhman
said. "We've actually lost two gentlemen overseas -- combat controllers in
Afghanistan -- in a week and a half to two-week period. So, it's been a little
bit of a challenge, but this year's walk is going to be for them. It's still the
Tim Davis Special Tactics Memorial March, but we're carrying their batons, all
the fallen from last year, to include the two we've currently lost this year."
The batons carried by the marchers symbolize the memories of their fallen
brethren, and will be passed from team to team as the relay progresses, and
retired at the end of the march.
"Each baton has (a fallen special tactics Airman's) name engraved on it and when
(he) passed," Sergeant Huhman said. "We thought of it kind of like a relay. The
way the walk is going to go is there (are) six teams, and everybody walks the
first five (miles), and then (they) relay the whole way, so somebody is walking
24 hours a day -- rain, sleet or snow, but hopefully not snow this time of year.
Those batons are what we pass from one team to the next until they get to the
Sergeant Huhman, who participated in last year's walk, described the challenges
of the 860-mile journey.
"The first three days, I was 'bluesing,'" he said. "Those three days were the
hardest days. We had a nineteen miler and then an eighteen miler, and then a
seventeen miler. But crazily, the entire team started to get stronger as we did
more. I think it was just your body adapting to its environment, and the first
three days, most guys were bluesing, the blisters were really bad, and people
(were) just getting used to walking that distance every day, (after) getting a
couple hours rest."
Even so, the end of the walk was very rewarding, Sergeant Huhman said.
"I can't even put into words how incredible the end was, the reception that we
received there with the family members, the media, (Air Force Special Operations
Command officials) turning out, and pretty much closing the base down to receive
us. It was more than words could say."
Staff Sgt. Robert Parra, a combat control selection course instructor who is
participating in this year's walk, said he is ready to take on the challenge.
"I'm excited to go on the walk for the fallen comrades," Sergeant Parra said. "I
tried to go last year because I do have some close, personal friends who have
been killed in the past couple years and I wanted to give something back to
He said he is well aware of the obstacles he and the other marchers will face
along the way, but even so, he expects it to be a memorable and meaningful
"Aside from the 'wanting a chair' portion, or wanting to stop for the rest of
the day, I think it'll give us a lot of time when we're walking in teams (to
spend) with other combat controllers and pararescuemen," Sergeant Parra said.
"It'll give us that chance to bring up stories from the guys that we lost, and
be able to remember, and be able to laugh, and reflect on things that have
happened. It'll be a good (opportunity for camaraderie) for us. We'll be able to
talk about things that we didn't know about each other, things that we did know
about each other, and be able to recap that."
Airman Sanchez is one of the close, personal friends Sergeant Parra seeks to
"I was very, very close to Airman Sanchez," Sergeant Parra said. "Not only did
we hang out personally, but we were down at the same team, down at the 23rd
Special Tactics Squadron, and I was also one of his instructors at the squadron
level. So we worked together, we played together. He was a very good student, a
very good friend. I could definitely count on him."
While he mourns the loss of his comrade, Sergeant Parra said he is deeply
saddened for the Airman's family.
"Of course, I feel horrible," Sergeant Parra said. "I mean, (he's) a guy I'll
never get to talk to again. I'll never get to experience (with him) the things
that we'll be looking forward to in our lives. I won't be involved in that part
of his life anymore, and he won't be involved in mine. However, I can only feel
sadness for the family, because really it's their loss. I've lost a friend and a
teammate, but they've lost a son, a brother, a nephew."
Sergeant Huhman said reaching out to the families of the fallen Airmen is an
important part of the walk.
"I'm really big on showing the family members that their relatives will never be
forgotten, and we'll continue to honor them," he said. "We like to bring (the
family members) into it too, so that they know they're still part of the
In addition to Sergeant Davis, Airman Forester and Airman Sanchez, the marchers
will honor Master Sgt. William McDaniel, Staff Sgt. Juan Ridout, Tech. Sgt. John
Chapman, Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, Staff Sgt. Scott Sather, Capt. Derek
Argel, Capt. Jeremy Fresques, Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, Senior Airman Adam Servais,
Tech. Sgt. Scott Duffman and Tech. Sgt. William Jefferson.
The march is scheduled to conclude Oct. 21 at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
For more information on the Tim Davis Special Tactics Memorial March, and the
Airmen being honored, visit
By David W. Roberts
Defense Media Activity
Air Force News
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Airmen Trek 860 Miles for Fallen