BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - More than 250 Airmen, Soldiers,
Sailors and DoD contractors united Dec. 12, 2015 to ruck march 12
kilometers to honor the 12 fallen Defenders who died during
Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
a portion of the Ruck to Remember was to reflect upon the sacrifices
the Security Forces Airmen made, it was also a time to celebrate
A collage of the 12 fallen Defenders hanging at the start of the “Ruck to Remember,” a 12-kilometer ruck march at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2015. The event was designed to honor the sacrifices these Defenders made and to celebrate their lives. (U.S. Air Force photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau)
“I know that sometimes these events are gloomy or sad,
but that is not what they would have wanted,” said Maj. Met
Berisha, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces commander who
served with two of the fallen. “They wouldn't want us to
hang our heads. They would want us to finish what they
The event had sign posts with the picture
of a Defender who had given their life in defense of their
country to mark each kilometer.
Service members who
made the trek did so wearing body armor, backpacks with
sandbags in them, or just their own two feet. Some ran the
entire course, while others carried unit guidons; but they
all were motivated by something.
12 reasons to
ruck 12K for 12 fallen Airmen
“We are here to
recognize their lives, their families, and the contributions
they made to our nation” said Capt. Faerber, 455 Air
Expeditionary Wing legal office. “It's import for us to
recognize the sacrifices made by our security forces.”
“Today we celebrate those 12 Defenders. We celebrate
their lives and what they stood for,” said Chief Master Sgt.
Matthew Grengs, 455th AEW command chief. “For me, it's
special to be out here with my teammates and have the
opportunity to honor our fallen Airmen.”
“We are carrying on the legacy of strength and determination that
the 12 Defenders left for us to complete the mission,” said Airman
1st Class Aaron Orvedahl 455th ESFS.
Members of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, participate in the Fallen Defenders Ruck to Remember here, Dec. 12, 2015. The 12 kilometer ruck march honors security forces Defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joshua Strang)
“I am doing this for Lt. Helton who passed away in Iraq,”
said Staff Sgt. Devin Jaggers 455th ESFS. “I am representing
his life that he lived and the sacrifices he made.”
“I come out to support any members of any branch who paid
the ultimate price,” said Army Staff Sgt. Enrique Sanchez,
373rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
“I did this to
honor the fallen and to make sure that their memory is never
forgotten,” said Senior Airman Carlie Dickson, 455th
Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
personally came out to honor the 12 in pure security forces
style with a ruck march, something that we do in our tech
school,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Whitney 455th ESFS. “Every
time I see their faces on these pedestals it gives me that
motivation to continue.”
“I think this is a great way
to remember why we are all here in Afghanistan and that you
never know what's going to happen,” said Lt. Col. Monique
Farness, 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron.
“I am here
representing the legacy of Staff Sgt. T.J. Lobraico who
passed in 2013,” said Staff Sgt. Flavio Martinez, Task Force
Crimson. “He never gave up and he led by example; so I am
not going to quit.”
“Part of being in the Air Force
is being on a team and being a good wingman, so you want to
support your family,” said Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth
Olson, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.
“Anytime we get to chance to support those who have
served and sacrificed, I am all for that,” said Capt. John
Perry, 455th AEW plans and programs office. “Those guys
sacrificed everything, and to know that, it keeps me going.”
“I ran this for little cousin who was a Defender and
lost his life,” said Master Sgt. Benito Rodriguez, 455th
Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, who ran the entire
course in his body armor. “I try to do the best I can for
By U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau
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