Only 812 miles to go…

It was 0145, and the night was the perfect temperature for the start of an 812-mile memorial march.

Special Tactics Airmen pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag before the start of the 2015 Special Tactics Memorial Ruck March at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Medina Annex, Oct.4, 2015. The march covers over 812 miles, ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in memory of fallen comrades since Sept. 11, 2001. Each Airman carries a 50 pound ruck to bring awareness to the service and sacrifice of Special Tactics members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Keith James/Released)

Special Tactics Airmen pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag before the start of the 2015 Special Tactics Memorial Ruck March at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Medina Annex, Oct.4, 2015. The march covers over 812 miles, ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in memory of fallen comrades since Sept. 11, 2001. Each Airman carries a 50 pound ruck to bring awareness to the service and sacrifice of Special Tactics members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Keith James/Released)

Twenty Special Tactics Airmen, their support team and other Airmen from Lackland Air Force Base readied for the first five miles, which would be completed as a team, before the relay march began.

These 20 Airmen aren’t just crazy enough to do this for fun (although some would say it is); they are doing it to honor their fallen comrades. In the world of ground operations, making a movement with a ruck sack on your back is called “rucking.” And rucking they will do, across five states, through large cities and small towns, all while carrying a wooden baton engraved with one of 19 Special Tactics Airmen who have been killed in action since 9/11.

U.S. Air Force Airmen applaud Special Tactics Airman as they ruck on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Oct.4, 2015. The march covers over 812 miles, ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in memory of fallen comrades since Sept. 11, 2001. Each Airman carries a 50 pound ruck to bring awareness to the service and sacrifice of Special Tactics members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Keith James/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen applaud Special Tactics Airman as they ruck on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Oct.4, 2015. The march covers over 812 miles, ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in memory of fallen comrades since Sept. 11, 2001. Each Airman carries a 50 pound ruck to bring awareness to the service and sacrifice of Special Tactics members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Keith James/Released)

It’s no easy feat, carrying 50 pounds on your back for 12 plus miles (rinse and repeat), but ‘easy’ isn’t really something the Air Force’s ground special operations forces think about. In their two year training program, which starts in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and ends at Hurlburt Field, Fla., (much like the memorial march…), they go through hellacious weeks, intense training and a lot of challenges along the way.

So what’s 812 miles? It’s their opportunity to honor their fallen teammates, and your opportunity to join them.

  
If you want to support these Airmen as they carry their lost brothers home, you can follow them as they ruck nearly a thousand miles on our Twitter feed @usafspectactics here: https://twitter.com/usafspectactics

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