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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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