BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A group of Special Tactics airmen marched through the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Sunday as part of an 812-mile journey to honor two of their fallen comrades.
"We started in San Antonio, TX, and we've made our way through Biloxi and are on our way to Hulbert Field, FL," said Lt. Katrina Cheesman.
The trek is a memorial march in remembrance of two Special Tactics airmen who were killed August 26, 2015, during an attack in Afghanistan.
"It's definitely hard to do it day to day, in and out," said one of the airmen, all of who were unable to be identified by name due to security reasons. "We basically have about 18 hours off between each leg we do with the travel time between the legs, but it's nothing like when we deploy."
Many of the U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Combat Controller were walking for the first time. They say the walking is hard, but they find a way to push through.
"We thank the communities that we've walked through so far on our journey," stated another airmen. "We appreciate all of their support and it just helps us drive on."
Those marching say the memory of their brothers keeps them going. The names of the 19 airmen they've lost is written on batons that they carry the entire way, which also provides them with the opportunity to share the legacy of those gone while serving their country.
"We have a lot more younger guys here for this march than we've had in the past years that we've done it, so a lot of them don't know the older generation combat controllers and air rescue men that we've lost since 9/11," said one of the airmen. "So we've helped them and encouraged them to learn their stories so they can put it out there as well."
When the marchers make it to Hulbert Field, FL, they will honor the fallen airmen in a ceremony with their families.