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Air Force Special Tactics 830-mile march for fallen culminates with memorial ceremony

Airmen participate in a memorial march to Hurlburt Field, Fla., Oct. 13, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kai White)

Airmen participate in a memorial march to Hurlburt Field, Fla., Oct. 13, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kai White)

Hundreds of Special Tactics Airmen and Special Warfare trainees gathered early morning, Feb. 22, 2019, at the Medina Annex in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to begin an 830-mile ruck march across five states in tribute to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, along with 19 other Special Tactics Airmen, who have been killed in action since 9/11. The ruck march is projected to average about 12 miles per leg, alternating between the ten teams of two throughout the day ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 4, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST. The 830-miles event will take over 11 days averaging 70 miles each day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew Patterson)

Hundreds of Special Tactics Airmen and Special Warfare trainees gathered early morning, Feb. 22, 2019, at the Medina Annex in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to begin an 830-mile ruck march across five states in tribute to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, along with 19 other Special Tactics Airmen, who have been killed in action since 9/11. The ruck march is projected to average about 12 miles per leg, alternating between the ten teams of two throughout the day ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 4, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST. The 830-miles event will take over 11 days averaging 70 miles each day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew Patterson)

A Special Operations Surgical Team member with the 24th Special Operations Wing bandages a Special Tactics Airman’s foot during the Special Tactics Memorial March, Feb. 27, 2019, in Louisiana. Twenty Special Tactics Airmen ruck from the Medina Annex at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to Hurlburt Field, Fla., to pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, who was killed in Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2018, and 19 other Special Tactics Airmen who have been killed in action since 9/11. The ruck march takes Special Tactics members across five states and 830 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ridge Shan)

A Special Operations Surgical Team member with the 24th Special Operations Wing bandages a Special Tactics Airman’s foot during the Special Tactics Memorial March, Feb. 27, 2019, in Louisiana. Twenty Special Tactics Airmen ruck from the Medina Annex at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to Hurlburt Field, Fla., to pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, who was killed in Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2018, and 19 other Special Tactics Airmen who have been killed in action since 9/11. The ruck march takes Special Tactics members across five states and 830 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ridge Shan)

Hundreds of Special Tactics Airmen and Special Warfare trainees gathered early morning, Feb. 22, 2019, at the Medina Annex in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to begin an 830-mile ruck march across five states in tribute to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, along with 19 other Special Tactics Airmen, who have been killed in action since 9/11. The ruck march is projected to average about 12 miles per leg, alternating between the ten teams of two throughout the day ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 4, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST. The 830-miles event will take over 11 days averaging 70 miles each day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew Patterson)

Hundreds of Special Tactics Airmen and Special Warfare trainees gathered early morning, Feb. 22, 2019, at the Medina Annex in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to begin an 830-mile ruck march across five states in tribute to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, along with 19 other Special Tactics Airmen, who have been killed in action since 9/11. The ruck march is projected to average about 12 miles per leg, alternating between the ten teams of two throughout the day ending at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 4, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST. The 830-miles event will take over 11 days averaging 70 miles each day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew Patterson)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- Twenty Special Tactics Airmen will culminate their 830-mile Special Tactics Memorial March for fallen brethren on March 4 with a memorial ceremony hosted by Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlbert Field.

The ruck marchers will finish their journey along Highway 98/Miracle Strip Highway joined by senior leaders, comrades and community members.

The team will reach the front gate of Hurlburt Field at approximately 12 p.m. EST prior to the ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Special Tactics Training Squadron Annex.

Several Gold Star families will also be in attendance.

The march was planned to pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, a Special Tactics combat controller, who was killed in Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2018, and in honor of the other 19 Special Tactics Airmen who have been killed in action since 9/11.

Historically, Air Force Special Tactics plans a memorial march when a member is killed in action. This is the fifth Special Tactics memorial ruck march since it originated in 2009 as the “Tim Davis Memorial March.”

The ruck began Feb. 22 at Medina Annex, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where Special Tactics Airmen begin their training together. These future operators then become combat ready upon graduation of the Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field. Ultimately, the march route mimicked the training passage our Airmen endure.

The journey took the Airmen across five states and 830 miles.

A memorial baton inscribed with each of the fallen Special Tactics Airman’s names was carried throughout the way to honor the fallen:

Master Sgt. William McDaniel of Greenville, Ohio, Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 22, 2002

Staff Sgt. Juan Ridout of Oak Harbor, Wash., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 22, 2002

Master Sgt. John Chapman of Windsor Locks, Conn., Special Tactics Combat Controller, March 4, 2002

Senior Airman Jason Cunningham of Camarillo, Calif., Special Tactics Pararescueman, March 4, 2002

Staff Sgt. Scott Sather of Clio, Mich., Special Tactics Combat Controller, April 8, 2003

Capt. Derek Argel of Lompoc, Calif., Special Tactics Officer, May 30, 2005

Capt. Jeremy Fresques of Clarksdale, Ariz., Special Tactics Officer, May 30, 2005

Staff Sgt. Casey Crate of Spanaway, Wash., Special Tactics Combat Controller, May 30, 2005

Senior Airman Adam Servais of Onalaska, Wis., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Aug. 19, 2006

Tech. Sgt. Scott Duffman of Albuquerque, N.M., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 18, 2007

Tech. Sgt. William Jefferson of Norfolk, Va., Special Tactics Combat Controller, March 22, 2008

Staff Sgt. Timothy Davis of Aberdeen, Wash., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Feb. 20, 2009

Senior Airman Daniel Sanchez of El Paso, Texas, Special Tactics Combat Controller, Sep. 16, 2010

Senior Airman Mark Forester of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Sep. 29, 2010

Tech. Sgt. John Brown of Tallahassee, Fla., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Aug. 6, 2011

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Zerbe of York, Pa., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Aug. 6, 2011

Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell of Long Beach, Calif., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Aug. 6, 2011

Capt. Matthew Roland of Lexington, Ky., Special Tactics Officer, Aug. 26, 2015

Staff Sgt. Forrest Sibley of Pensacola, Fla., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Aug. 26, 2015

Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin of Hookstown, Pa., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Nov. 27, 2018

The ruck marchers were composed of 10 teams of two Special Tactics Airmen. Each team rucked an average of 12 miles per leg and alternated teams. Each day, the teams rucked a combined 70 miles to complete the 830-mile journey over 11 days.

Today, there are about 1,000 Special Tactics operators who combine the core skills of special operations forces with the tactical integration of the world’s greatest airpower, working to find unique solutions to ground problems. They are the most decorated community in the Air Force since the end of the Vietnam War, with one Medal of Honor, 10 Air Force Crosses and 44 Silver Stars.

Media wishing to attend should RSVP to AFSOC Public Affairs at 850-884-5515 or afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil no later than 4 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 3. Photos and initial print coverage will be available immediately following the event. If interested, a brief Q&A with a spokesman can be arranged following the ceremony.

The ceremony will be aired via Facebook Live at: www.facebook.com/AirForceSpecialTactics.

Imagery from the ruck can be found here: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/SpecialTacticsMemorialMarch.

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