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Ruck march honors fallen police officers at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing

U.S. President John F. Kennedy named the week in May where the 15th falls, National Police Week, where law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty are honored for their sacrifice.

U.S. Air Force Security Forces Airmen take that to heart as they are also members of law enforcement, albeit on military bases around the globe.

For one deployed Airman the week takes on special significance, “I find it very important to honor fallen Defenders and Police Officers,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Garland, a 332nd AEW Security Forces Squadron Airmen. “With my dad being a civilian law enforcement officer and with me personally knowing some of the Security Forces Members who have passed away, Police Week hits very close to home for me.”

With that in mind he and others organized a ruck march at the wing. In the morning light when local temperatures are pleasant a group of more than 50 Airmen gathered—some in workout clothes and running shoes—many in uniform with Kevlar vests and one Airman in a Kevlar helmet.

A ruck march can be something like a hike with a backpack, but more often than not, turns into a run with a backpack, given the competitive spirit shared by man defenders.

Staff Sgt. Sean Frayne, a 332nd AEW Security Forces Squadron Airmen, explained what he enjoyed the most about participating in the ruck march with a single word, “finishing,” with a grin.

He chose to run the whole course in full uniform and Kevlar vest—with the sweat stains to prove it—and finished ahead of most others.

He said if there’s a ruck march during police week, “I’m going to take part in it.”

Staff Sgt. Devon Powell, who was the only Airman to run wearing a Kevlar helmet and vest.

“It was rough,” he said “I’ll be honest with you it was very rough.” He said his friend Senior Airman Quinton Cook convinced him to take part even though he prefers to lift weights in the gym.

“Running with a friend of mine who doesn’t like to run was the fun part,” he said. “He pushed me and I pushed him.” Both had big smiles on their face as they cooled off following their run.