Keesler participates in 9/11 Ruck March to Remember

Master Sgt. Daniel Fuentes participated in a portion of the 9/11 Ruck March to Remember, which is composed of Air Force security forces members. The march started July 12 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas and is being conducted in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They will finish their march Sept. 11 at Ground Zero in New York City.

By Master Sgt. Daniel Fuentes
Keesler Air Force Base

The reason I did the Security Forces 9/11 Ruck March to Remember is I wanted to honor the memory of the men and women who perished during the terrorist attacks and also honor my fellow fallen “Defenders.”

When I heard of the event I volunteered to be team leader and solicited the rest of my squadron to volunteer and join me. Initially 18 people volunteered but due to work schedules a total of nine of us formed the team. We trained for approximately two months rucking around 15 miles a week in preparation of our portion of the march.

Keesler Ruck March team

Even though the temperatures were hot and muggy when our team marched, I was driven and filled with energy due to the heartwarming support of my fellow Americans who lined the roadways and waved U.S. flags, thanking our team for our military service. The patriotism I observed and felt within was unlike any I had ever experienced before.

My team was blessed to have outstanding financial and vehicle support from home station. We raised funds to help offset the expenses of our march. The Keesler community generously contributed toward our cause.

I feel the keys to our success as a team during our ruck march was pre-planning, practice rucks, media coverage, and mostly the positive attitudes of all team members.

It was a tremendous privilege to be able to participate in this event. Long after I retire from the Air Force, which will be soon, I will always remember the joy I felt when I saw the smiles on my team members’ faces knowing that they were participating in an awesome historic event, and that the nation and people we help to defend really appreciate and support what we do.

Photo: The 9/11 Ruck March team from Keesler Air Force Base completes a 148-mile portion of the march in Gardner, La. (Photo courtesy of Airman 1st Class Anthony Wilson)