On March 11, 2016, 14 Marine Raiders will set out on a more than 770 mile ruck march to honor their fallen comrades, who died during a helicopter crash. The incident happened on March 10, 2015, when seven United States Marines and four Army National Guardsmen died when an Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter carrying them crashed in the Santa Rosa Sound in Navarre, Florida. The seven Marine Raiders, members of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion of Camp Lejeune, N.C., were returning from a night training mission.
To honor their fallen comrades, the Marine Raiders will begin a 770-mile trek on March 11, 2016 from the crash site in Navarre, relaying through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, before ending the march at Stone Bay aboard Camp Lejeune. During the march, they will be making their way through the Beaufort area on March 16, 2016. They will be switching teams at the following locations and times. (Times may vary)
8:00 a.m. – Technical College of the Lowcountry, 921 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC
11:00 a.m. – US Post Office, 1892 Trask Parkway, Lobeco, SC 29931
2:00 p.m. – Ace Basin Pkwy, Green Pond, SC 29446 (Turnover to occur on shoulder of the road before Wiggins Road)
Teams will range between two to three person teams and each will average 11-miles per leg and approximately 110-miles during the 10-day trek, all while wearing a 45-pound rucksack and carrying the recovered paddle from the crash. The seven teams represent the seven Marine Raiders who died: Captain Stanford Shaw III, Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders, Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol, Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn, Staff Sgt. Kerry Kemp, Staff Sgt. Trevor Blaylock, and Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif.
“All of these men were warriors. Some of them were my students and some were my friends. All of them were brothers. What would you do for your brothers and family?” asked Gunnery Sgt. Adam Kinosh, one of the 14 ruckers.
“We decided to organize this event to honor our fallen brothers. We know it will be hard both physically and mentally. All of which we take on willingly. For us, 10 days of mental and physical discomfort and pain will never compare to the loss felt by the families who lost their brother, father, husband, and son. We know all of this, and proudly march to ensure our fallen brothers are honored and their sacrifices are never forgotten,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Harris.
The Marine Special Operations Command was recently designated Marine Raiders, reviving the name of the Marine command that was created during World War II during the island hopping campaigns of the Pacific War. Those Raiders spearheaded amphibious landings and conducted high speed, surprise raids behind enemy lines. Upon completion of selection training, each Raider was assigned a paddle, a key piece of equipment for these amphibious warriors. If killed in action, the Marine Raider’s paddle was inscribed and presented to his family.
A private remembrance ceremony honoring the eleven men who lost their lives will be held Thursday March 10, 2016. All proceeds from the Marine Raider Memorial March will benefit The Brothers in Arms Foundation. The Brothers in Arms Foundation, a South Florida based 501(c) (3), plays a crucial role in supporting the families of the Fallen Marine Raiders.