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Rucking for a good cause

  • Published
  • By Dawn Elizabeth Pandoliano
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
Pope Airmen turned out for a good cause on Nov. 12. Pope's Rising Six council for enlisted members sponsored a Veterans Day Ruck Race to raise money for a memorial wall to honor Pope's fallen Airmen. The event was open to Pope Airmen. Registration started at 7:30 a.m. and the race began at 9 a.m.

Volunteers were on hand to help participants weigh the rucks to make sure they made the 37-pound required minimum sack weight. For those who did not have ruck sacks or enough weight, a ruck and sandbags were supplied. Although the weather was cold and rainy, 36 four-person teams turned out for the fundraising event.

Airman 1st Class Tim Data, 43rd Communications Squadron, praised the cause of the event, but not so much the weather.

"It really is for a good cause (the memorial wall)," said Airman Data. "Veterans Day is about honoring the Airmen who fight for our freedom and remembering those who died for it."

As for the 6.5-mile march, Airman Data said that 37 pounds is heavier than people think, so just knowing he was able to complete the event gave him personal satisfaction.
Team 'Port Dawgs' from 3rd Aerial Port Squadron agreed that the cause was more than enough reason to give their time and donation. It wasn't about winning but supporting, honoring and remembering their fellow Airmen.

"We're raising money for a good cause," said 2nd Lt. Ben Muse, 3rd APS. "It's not just that it's raining and we get to carry heavy stuff."

Airmen 1st Class Annalee Shreeve and Alicia Carpenter, Senior Airmen Laura Yale and Rachel Prehna, 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, came out in support of their fallen comrade, Senior Airman Ashton Goodman.

Tech. Sgt. Leida Pedro, 43rd Mission Support Group, and the president of the Rising Six organization on Pope, said the Veterans Day Ruck was the brainchild of another member.

"Senior Airman Jarred Fisher from the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron thought it would be a good idea to do a ruck march with the entire Wing," said Sergeant Pedro. "At the same time, we had several Airmen who wanted to build a memorial wall for all of the Airmen we lost in Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom."

Sergeant Pedro said the opportunity arose when they accepted the Airmen Leadership School challenge to have a memorial wall built. Although the wall starts with the names of six fallen Airmen, there is space for names to be added and future ALS classes will have the option to make this a class project.

"I think the run went extremely well -- we had 36 teams show up and we were only expecting 25," said Sergeant Pedro. "We didn't anticipate the participation we had."

The memorial wall will honor six of Pope's fallen Airmen: Senior Airman Ashton Goodman, 43rd LRS; Tech. Sgt. William H. Jefferson Jr., 21st Special Tactics Squadron; Tech Sgt. Scott Duffman, 24th Special Tactics Squadron; Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, 24th STS; Staff Sgt. Scott Sather, 24th STS; Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, 14th ASOS.