On March 10, 2015, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed into the Santa Rosa Sound in Navarre, FL during a night training mission, killing seven Marine Raiders and four Louisiana Army National Guardsmen. To honor the fallen, several Marine Raiders and Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen from Camp Lejeune, N.C. will set out on a relay type ruck march that would take them 770 miles – starting from the crash site and ending at Stone Bay Rifle Range, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Camp Lejeune is literally on the other side of the river from my hometown. Artillery shells blasting, pictures shaking on the walls – this is a daily occurrence. Helicopters from New River Air Station routinely buzz the top of my house (or at least it sounds like it).
So when a Marine falls, it affects our whole community. They are our neighbors and our friends.
Early Sunday morning (approximately 4:30 A.M.), the Raiders arrived in Sneads Ferry. They made their way down Hwy 172, escorted by local law enforcement officers and fireman. I can’t explain what it was like to see them carrying their rucksacks, marching in the dead of night -in the memory of their fellow Marines. I was honored to be one of those to welcome them home.
On Monday, the Raiders will finish the last leg or the march. For more information, click on the links below: