Almost two hundred miles down. The ST Airmen are crushing the pace, breaking all expectations of time and hours ahead of schedule. It’s become a competition to see who can handle the pain and conquer the challenge of sub-fifteens minute miles.
They say the best time to march is at night, when the air is cool and the roads are quiet.
It’s just the road, their team mate, the flag and their memorial batons, carrying their lost team mate’s memory every step of the way.
But the quiet road isn’t as inspiring as the Americans who come out and and help us honor our fallen Special Tactics Airmen. The American Legion of Schulenburg, Texas, rounded up their 1952 war wagon and American Legion uniforms within fifteen minutes of the call of their early arrival, and escorted the Airmen through the town.
At one point, a man jumped out of his truck, going the opposite way and walked alongside the Airmen for the next nine miles. He is a retired veteran himself, serving as a ROMAD, or radio-operator-maintainer-and-driver, the Vietnam-era version of our Tactical Air Control Party Airmen. He called ahead to the next town, where an entire elementary school poured out to line the road. The children waved and put their hands over their hearts when the flag passed.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how Schulenburg’s chamber of commerce provided local treats for the Airmen…and more than a hundred middle schoolers showed up to show their support. These are the surprises that make the trek feel like it’s America’s journey, not just the Air Force’s ground special operations force walking alone.
Then there was the time when the Airmen who weren’t marching were invited to lunch at the Flatonia Livestock Commission, where a country diner full of great people was tucked away.
For a lot of the ST Airmen, this live auction was the first they had seen, but it didn’t stop them from enjoying the great hamburgers and the even better hospitality in those few hours off the road. At least we knew the beef was as fresh as it gets!
Thanks to all the support throughout the way…eight more days to go !