LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Members of the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing participated in a cross-country relay that's being hailed as the "Ruck March to Remember 9/11," and involves over a dozen U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard units to honor the Security Forces Defenders that have fallen or become wounded since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
The first leg of the approximately 2,220-mile trek began at the U.S. Air Force Security Forces Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, a part of Joint Base San Antonio, on July 12 and the final leg will arrive at "ground-zero" in New York City on Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the horrific events.
"The initial [physical] start of the ruck march was here at Lackland," said Chief Master Sgt. Domingo Ortega, the top-ranked senior noncommissioned officer assigned to the 149th Security Forces Squadron at the Alamo City ANG unit. "We want people to remember 9/11. Not only the event of 9/11, but those that have gone before us and sacrificed so much for the rest of us for the last 10 years."
Traditionally used as a measure of personal fitness, a "ruck march" is a physical activity where an individual straps on all necessary gear to their person, contained in a rucksack, and then travels a specified distance.
For this special march, the first such event for U.S. Air Force Security Forces, teams have been making their way from sunrise to sunset at a roughly 20-mile per hour pace, with each unit responsible for over 100 miles in distance. Some units even camped in the field along the way.
The participant's movements are being documented via social media with a Facebook
page, as well as Twitter
Chief Ortega said the first leg of the multi-state event lasted over three days. The flag that left the Security Force Center at Lackland will be have passed on from one team to the next throughout the march. "It's important to remember those things, because as every year that goes by people lose the effect and lose focus on why we're in the situation we're in," Chief Ortega said.
While he does not anticipate the ruck march becoming an annual event, Chief Ortega said it could be a recurring "every five years to bring light to the events" of 9/11.