News>TACPs ruck 275 miles to raise money for organization
U.S. Airmen with the Tactical Air Control Party 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron assigned to Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, ruck along the Denali Highway July 14-18, between Paxson and Cantwell, Alaska. The Airmen raised over $5,000 for the TACP Association and rucked a total of 275 miles in remembrance of fallen comrades. (Courtesy Photo by Senior Airman Stephan Phan)
U.S. Airmen with from the Tactical Air Control Party 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron assigned to Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, walk during a 275 mile ruck July 14-18 along the Denali Highway, Alaska. The number 275 used to be the TACP career field identifier prior to adopting Air Force Specialty Codes. (Courtesy Photo by Senior Airman Stephan Phan)
U.S. Airmen with the Tactical Air Control Party 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron assigned to Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, do memorial push-ups after a 275 mile ruck, July 18, 2014, Paxson, Alaska. The memorial push-ups were in remembrance of fallen TACP brothers after four and a half days of rucking along the Denali Highway. (Courtesy Photo by Senior Airman Stephan Phan)
U.S. Air Force joint terminal attack controllers with the Tactical Air Control Party 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron assigned to Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, walk with the American flag during a 275 mile ruck July 14-18 along the Denali Highway, Alaska. At least three TACP members were on the road 24-hours a day for four and a half days. (Courtesy Photo by Senior Airman Stephan Phan)
by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/24/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- People driving along the Denali Highway last week saw approximately 20 men wearing uniforms and carrying large backpacks. What the they didn't see were blisters the hikers received, the eating of Meals, Ready to Eat food rations and their reason for being on the road.
Tactical Air Control Party members from the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron from both Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright spent the week trudging 275 miles through Alaska's terrain. Their march commemorated deceased brothers-in-arms who have given everything they had for this nation.
"This was a memorial ruck in remembrance of some of our fallen comrades and the sacrifices that people who put on this beret have made, as well as current operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan," said Senior Airman Drew Lumpkin, joint terminal attack controller assigned to the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron. "Camaraderie is also another thing we want to work on, since we're a split detachment we wanted to spend time with our brothers from JBER since we don't normally get to see them."
The 275 mile ruck started five miles north of Paxson and followed the Denali Highway to Cantwell where the Airmen turned around to make their way back to Paxson.
"The importance of 275 is that it used to be our career field identifier before we adopted Air Force Specialty Codes," said Lumpkin. "To avoid serious injuries, we split up the trek in 10 mile legs, so individually we averaged 50-60 miles a person."
The group's initial goal was to raise $3,000 but they surpassed it, raising over $5,000 for the TACP Association.
"All the money goes toward the TACP Association which is set up for our career field to help us keep in touch and allows money to go straight to families that are affected by a loss," Lumpkin said. "Money can be used for scholarships, buying groceries and many different things people wouldn't realize happens when families lose a loved one."
For the last two miles, all members joined together to reach the 275 mile marker as a team, but that didn't mean it was time to kick off the shoes and relax, they took it even farther.
"The memorial push-ups were the icing on the cake for me," said Senior Airman Matthew Rainey, joint terminal attack controller assigned to the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron. "After four and a half days of guys sacrificing their bodies and pushing their limits, then watching them give their last bit of strength for our TACP brothers who sacrificed so much more, it was an amazing feeling."
Thanks to fair weather, leadership support and each member's willpower to finish the ruck, the voyage's success can allow members of the 3rd ASOS to participate in a similar event in the future.
"I'm pretty positive this is something that will become a recurring event throughout the years. I know this is something the older TACP's used to do back in the day and hopefully we can bring it back," said Rainey. "This ruck was the first time we did this in quite a few years and it ended up working really smoothly. If we have max participation from our detachment and the guys in Anchorage, it would allow us to know each other that much better and work better during future engagements."