All posts by cgere

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)

Blog spotlight: assisting Japan perspective from week 1

Lt. Col. Steve Goodman 

By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gere, Broadcaster

Air Force Public Affairs Agency

“It was both a rewarding and humbling experience to assist, even in a small way, with the tsunami recovery efforts on Honshu.”

In the PACAF Pixels blog post “Assisting Japan perspective from Week 1,” Lt. Col. Steve Goodman, a Combat Rescue Officer, lends his experience and reaction of initial search and rescue operations in some of the areas in Japan most devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  

“While we witnessed some devastating sights, not everything we saw was disheartening. As horrific as the pictures on the news are, they can’t capture the true gravity of what has happened to the Honshu coastline. It’s horrible. However, what the news hasn’t captured is what made the greatest impression on me. The Japanese people are doing a very good job in the wake of the disaster. They are a model of resilience and organization. While they continue to work through challenges and welcome help with the greatest of them, they have a lot to be proud of.”

Lt.  Col. Goodman goes on to explain how when he arrived on scene in some locations, he was surprised to find small organized groups of survivors. This inspired him, as through all of the death and devastation around them, the Japanese remained calm.

“There was no looting or pushing to the front of the line, only selflessness. No one asked for a ride further away, towards greater warmth or safety. All of that calm, despite the significant losses they had already sustained.”

What further inspired him was that even though he and his men jumped at every opportunity to go out and find more people and offer more help, they consistently found the Japanese Self Defense Force doing more than their fair share of the work. Through their perseverance, he discovered there is always more that can be done.

“American efforts have been notable, specifically with the opening of airfields and the ship-to-shore movement of supplies. However, the greatest efforts have been the Japanese recovery efforts. We shouldn’t lose sight of that while we maintain pride in our own efforts to help.”

To read the entire blog post by Lt. Col. Goodman go here and find out more about the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) as well as what they are doing for Japan, visit PACAF Pixels, a blog with posts written by PACAF Airmen.