U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Airmen plan 830-mile ruck in honor of fallen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joseph Pick
  • 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Twenty Special Tactics Airmen will ruck from Medina Annex at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas to Hurlburt Field to pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, a Special Tactics combat controller, who was killed in Afghanistan on Nov. 27, 2018, and in honor of the other 19 Special Tactics Airmen who have been killed in action since 9/11.

Elchin, along with U.S. Army Capt. Andrew Ross and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, were killed in action when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2018, while deployed in support of OPERATION Freedom’s Sentinel. U.S. Army Sgt. Jason McClary died later as a result of injuries sustained from the IED.

The Special Tactics Airmen will depart Medina Annex on Feb. 22 at 2:00 a.m. and they are scheduled to arrive at Hurlburt Field, Mar. 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Special Tactics Airmen begin their training at Medina Annex, together, and become combat ready upon graduation of the Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field, thus the march route mimics the training passage our Airmen endure. The journey takes the Airmen across five states and 830 miles.

Historically, Air Force Special Tactics plans a memorial march when a member is killed in action. This is the 5th Special Tactics Memorial March since 2009 and since it originated as the “Tim Davis Memorial March.” The march was renamed to honor all fallen Special Tactics Airmen in 2011 to the “Special Tactics Memorial March.”

The ruck marchers are composed of 10 teams of two Special Tactics Airmen. These Airmen will begin the march by rucking the first 4.7 miles together.

From there, each team will ruck an average of 12 miles per leg and alternate teams. Each day, the teams will ruck a combined 70 miles to complete the 830-mile journey over 11 days.

A memorial baton inscribed with each of the fallen Special Tactics Airman’s names will be carried throughout the way to honor the fallen:
Master Sgt. William McDaniel of Greenville, Ohio, Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 22, 2002
Staff Sgt. Juan Ridout of Oak Harbor, Wa., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 22, 2002
Master Sgt. John Chapman of Windsor Locks, Conn., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Mar. 4,
Senior Airman Jason Cunningham of Camarillo, Calif., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Mar. 4,
Staff Sgt. Scott Sather of Clio, Mich., Special Tactics Combat Controller, April 8, 2003
Capt. Derek Argel of Lompoc, Calif., Special Tactics Officer, May 30, 2005
Capt. Jeremy Fresques of Clarksdale, Ariz., Special Tactics Officer, May 30, 2005
Staff Sgt. Casey Crate of Spanaway, Wash., Special Tactics Combat Controller, May 30, 2005
Senior Airman Adam Servais of Onalaska, Wis., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Aug. 19,
Technical Sgt. Scott Duffman of Albuquerque, N.M., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 18,
Technical Sgt. William Jefferson of Norfolk, Va., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Mar. 22,
Staff Sgt. Timothy Davis of Aberdeen, Wash., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Feb. 20, 2009
Senior Airman Daniel Sanchez of El Paso, Texas, Special Tactics Combat Controller, Sep. 16,
Senior Airman Mark Forester of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Sep. 29,
Technical Sgt. John Brown of Tallahassee, Special Tactics Pararescueman, Aug. 6, 2011
Technical Sgt. Daniel Zerbe of York, Pa., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Aug. 6, 2011
Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell of Long Beach, Calif., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Aug. 6,
Capt. Matthew Roland of Lexington, Ky., Special Tactics Officer, Aug. 26, 2015
Staff Sgt. Forrest Sibley of Pensacola, Special Tactics Combat Controller, Aug. 26, 2015
Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin of Hookstown, Pa., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Nov. 27, 2018

Today, there are about 1,000 Special Tactics operators who combine the core skills of special
operations forces with the tactical integration of the world’s greatest airpower, working to find
unique solutions to ground problems. They are the most decorated community in the Air Force
since the end of the Vietnam War, with one Medal of Honor, ten Air Force Crosses, and 44
Silver Stars.

Special Tactics is U.S. Special Operation Command’s tactical air and ground integration force,
and the Air Force’s special operations ground force, leading Global Access, Precision Strike,
Personnel Recovery and Battlefield Surgery operations on the battlefield.

A disciplined special operations force of hand-selected Airmen leading joint operations, Special
Tactics Airmen are deliberate in their thoughts and actions to deliver solutions to the nation’s
most complex military challenges. They conduct global air, space, and cyber-enabled special
operations across the spectrum of conflict to prepare for, fight, and win our nation’s wars.

For live updates and to track the Special Tactics memorial ruck march, please go to: http://raceday.me/v/75e11

The 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs office will post continuous updates and
imagery on the following sites:





There will be opportunities for media interviews along the route. Public Affairs will offer live calls to check in with the teams during the ruck march.
There will be a media event at Lackland Air Force Base, Feb. 21. If media is unable to attend, public affairs will provide a telephone number.

Throughout the march, imagery will be published on a ruck march feature page on Dvidshub.net: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/SpecialTacticsMemorialMarch

If media is interested in covering this story in any capacity, please contact the 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs office at 850- 884-3902, or at 413-237-4466, or jaclyn.pienkowski@us.af.mil, or 24sowpublicaffairs@gmail.com.