NEWS | Oct. 8, 2015

Special Operations Airmen march to honor fallen comrades

24th Special Operations Wing

The fourth Special Tactics Memorial March started Oct. 4, 2015, in remembrance of the two Special Tactics Airmen who were killed Aug. 26 in an apparent insider attack in Helmand Province, Afghanistan and continues until Oct. 13.

The march began in 2009 in memory of Staff Sgt. Tim Davis, a combat controller killed by an Improvised Explosive Device, Feb. 20, 2009, during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The march is held only when a Special Tactics operator is killed in action that year. In addition, the memorial march honors all 19 Special Tactics pararescuemen and combat controllers who have been killed in action since 2001.

Twenty Special Tactics Airmen started at 2 a.m. at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Medina Annex, Texas. They will trek 812 miles and relay through five states, averaging 12.5 miles per leg. Each two-man team walked approximately 90 miles during the 10-day trek while carrying a 50-pound ruck sack and a commemorative baton engraved with a fallen Special Tactics Airman’s name.

The team made their way through downtown San Antonio at approximately 6 a.m. before heading east across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The 20 team members will reunit in Wynnhaven Beach, Fla., Oct. 13 to march the final 4.6 miles together and walk the final mile from the front gate at Hurlburt Field, Fla., with surviving family members of the 19 fallen Special Tactics Airmen and members of the community. The march will end 6 p.m. at the Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field with a small ceremony.

Event organizer, retired Chief Master Sgt. Steven Haggett, said before the event that the team hopes to rally supporters throughout the trek who want to march beside them for this worthy cause.

“We do this arduous march to commemorate and honor fallen members of Air Force Special Tactics and their families. These warriors gave their lives in defense of freedom and our nation’s security, and so every step of every mile is in memory of that sacrifice,” Haggett said. “We want to educate our fellow Americans about these Special Tactics Airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice and pay tribute in a public way to the families and communities who support these special operators. We hope to show all Americans that while these heroes may be gone, they will never be forgotten.”