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Ground Combat Training Squadron commemorates 9/11 with ruck march
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE -- EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE - On the anniversary of 9/11, people came together at Eglin Air Force Base to share their memories, and their strength.
Laura Hussey says, "This is a ground combat training area on Eglin Air Force Base. It's where Security Forces get their final training before they head to combat. Patriot's Day, as we call it now, has become a chance to remember not only all who were lost on 9/11, but all who went to war since, and didn't come home"
When the Ground Combat Squadron decided to hold a ruck march on 9-11, they expected maybe a couple of dozen people.
Instead, hundreds came, strapping on sixty-pound packs, holding close the memory of ten security force members killed since 9/11, and two military working dogs.
Major James Habeck of the 96th Ground Combat Training Squadron says, "We go outside the wire now, more than we ever did before. It's no mistake that we chose today to do it"
Eglin firefighters lost 343 brothers at Ground Zero. They put on full gear, and carried streamers bearing their names up fourteen flights of stairs to honor those who died.
SSgt John Saunders says, "As we're going up, I try to relive what they might have gone through people yelling, smoke and fire everywhere, and they just kept pushing, just kept pushing all the way to the end, 'til right when the building collapsed"
Staff Sergeant John Saunders was in middle school when America was attacked, several of these firefighters were. They say they never doubted their choice to put other lives ahead of their own.
SSgt Timothy Vanden Haak says, "It means everything to give respect to those that have fallen before me, and let them know that the line behind them is just as strong as the one they left"
Laura Hussey says, "The ruck march had extra significance for these Security Forces members, as they lost another of their own last week, an airman from New York."