A group of over 40 men, women, and children participated in Carry The Fallen’s longest-ever ruck march last weekend, walking 139 miles from Fort Knox, Kentucky to just outside Fort Campbell. Carry The Fallen Team Louisville departed Fort Knox around 11AM on Friday, March 27 and arrived at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Oak Grove around 4PM on Sunday, March 29. The ruck march was supported by several groups including Navy Federal Credit Union, the Patriot Guard Riders, Clarksville Chive, and Military Chive Nation.
Bearing an American flag, a “We Support Our Troops” flag, and a Carry The Fallen banner, the group took back roads and streets through several Kentucky towns to complete their ruck march. Team members included military service members from Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, military veterans and retirees, civilians from the Kentucky area, family members, and even pets. Friendships were forged, endurance was tested, and songs were sung. The team endured 20 degree temperatures, light snow, and some rough terrain on the route. Medics from Fort Campbell who participated in the march were on hand to treat blisters and other minor injuries sustained by team members.
Team Louisville dedicated the march to the memory of Specialist Michael Sweeney, a US Army Veteran. SPC Sweeney’s sister is a Carry The Fallen Team Leader in Rhode Island. All of the members of Team Louisville tied pictures of SPC Sweeney to their ruck sacks for the weekend march.
For CPT Theresa Giorno, this ruck march was “a wonderful opportunity for fellow service members and civilians to support a worthy cause.” An Army officer stationed at Fort Knox, CPT Giorno is one of many military service members who has lost friends and fellow soldiers to suicide. “Twenty-two Veteran suicides a day is too many,” she said. “Rucking in their honor and in honor of all Veterans was a truly humbling experience.”
Erika Christiansen, an employee of Navy Federal Credit Union, joined the ruck march to support our men and women in uniform. “When I read about the Carry the Fallen event happening in my town, I immediately wanted to participate in some way.” The walk to Fort Campbell was Erika’s first ruck march in support of Carry The Fallen and Active Heroes. “After reading about the cause, I felt an immense amount of responsibility to take action. During the march I got to hear stories of those who were able to pull themselves out of the darkness and turn the safety back on. With tears in their eyes they talked about their brothers and sisters who died not in war, but by their own hand. I carried a ruck for 18 miles straight, but these men have been carrying the weight of their own demons and those of their fallen comrades for years. From that moment forward, my mission isn’t to sit back and hope, but to ruck up and be the change.” Erika is already planning to participate in other Carry The Fallen events in the future.
The group was singing the last of several military cadences when it reached the finish line on Sunday afternoon at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Oak Grove, to the applause of family members and other supporters who gathered to support the team. Team members earned their “6,” “12,” or “22” Carry the Fallen patches based on the total number of hours they walked with the group.