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Runners honor fallen Airmen

By Tony Perez | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office | Nov. 26, 2007

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — At 6:40 a.m., the air was still full of fog, allowing minimal visibility where Adonto D'Amore was warming up in front of the historic Alamo in downtown San Antonio.

He and 17 other security forces members were preparing to run the San Antonio half-marathon. The race took place on Nov. 11. This group of Air Force runners decided to use the competition as an opportunity to show their appreciation for other security forces members who had given their lives on past missions.

"We are all on temporary duty here at Lackland for the Security Forces Basic Officer Course," said D'Amore, who is stationed at McChord AFB, Wash. "A bunch of us decided that we wanted to dedicate this run to all of the security forces members who have died since 2001 in Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Seven security forces members have died since then.

This is the first marathon experience for all but one of the participants.

"So far it seems pretty cool," D'Amore said. "It's going to be a long day."

The group has been TDY at Lackland AFB for more than three months and will continue to be here for another month. The officers are from six different major commands, and several of them are deploying in support of OIF and Operation Enduring Freedom immediately upon graduation of the course.

D'Amore and Jonathon Blount organized the group's participation and received help from a local vendor for special commemorative shirts for the event.

The shirts had the names and dates of the seven fallen security forces members as well as, "In memory of the Security Forces members who have given their lives in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom," written on the back.

The team also had many individuals finish with strong times.

Dan Beaudoin finished 16th in the male 20-24 division with a time of 1:33:00.2, and Joseph Helton finished 17th in the male 20-24 division with a time of 1:33:01.3. 

Meghan Walton was their top female finisher, finishing 33rd in the Female 20-24 division with an overall time of 1:55:07.2.

"We had so much support during the race," D'Amore said. "It was great to see so many people out there who care about people in the armed forces."