800 mile march remembers, honors fallen war heroes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

800 mile march remembers, honors fallen war heroes


It began eight days ago in Texas, and will end Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida. Monday, the march to honor fallen Air Force Special Operations warriors who have lost their lives in the war on terror made its way across the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The 80 mile trek across Mississippi began with three Special Op warriors, and a police escort on Highway 90.  But that would soon change.

Further up the road, a large group of trainees from Keesler Air Force Base were getting ready to join the march under a bright October sun. The march picks up pace with Old Glory keeping watch. An exuberant cadence breaks the still morning silence.

Then, hundreds of students gathered at Biloxi Junior High to show support for the troops. The display of affection did not go unnoticed for Senior Airman Mitch Adams with Air Force Special Operations.

"Kids probably are the ones who will appreciate it more because they don't have the complex view of the world that maybe some adults would, and it's good to have them out there," Adams said. 

This is a march to remember those who died and those who can't be here. Staff Sgt. Welby Ramos is also with Special Ops.

"Our bothers who are overseas, they're still fighting. And then the guys back home, we haven't forgotten them. So it's important to relay the message to everybody," Ramos said. 

Outside of Keesler, a hero's welcome awaited.  Even marching in the dead of night touched a chord with Ramos.  

"That one person that came out, he was in the Army and he said that one of his buddies died and nobody ever did something like this for them. And that meant a lot to me; it touched me deep down in my heart."  

The honks of appreciation, the signs, the waves, the cheers, they are all appreciated by this group of special operations warriors. However, they are doing this march, 800 miles over 10 ten days, for one specific reason.

Tech Sgt. Adam Malson works at Keesler as an instructor.

"Obviously, the more people that find out about it and the more people that see it, the more money we can raise for the Special Operation Warrior Foundation, which is really a lot of the reason they are doing it," Malson said.

That fund will ensure the families of the fallen will be taken care of, just as these warriors intended.  

This is the third year the march has been held. Learn more about the foundation and its mission, visit http://www.specialops.org/.

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