Keesler Airmen will be paying tribute to fallen comrades today.

Air Force Special Tactics ruck march to pass through Gulf Coast

Mississippi Gulf coasts residents and visitors will be able to watch a unique military tradition Friday afternoon and evening as Special Tactics Airmen ruck along U.S. Hwy 90 on March 1.

Rucking from Medina Annex at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas to Hurlburt Field, Fla., 22 Special Tactics Airmen are rucking 830 miles over 12 days to pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin 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. 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 approximate times of their arrival in the area is as follows:

4:30 p.m. – Long Beach

7 p.m. – Gulfport

9 p.m. – Biloxi

Keesler leadership from Second Air Force and the 81st Training Wing as well as Airmen stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, will march alongside the special tactics team starting from White Ave and U.S. Hwy 90 in Biloxi. The beach fire pits along Hwy 90 will be lit in a show of support. Additionally, the public has also been invited out to support the Special Forces team as they march through the region.

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 marchers include former Keesler Air Force Base training students and will be carrying a memorial baton inscribed with each of the fallen Special Tactics Airman’s for the entire journey. They are marching in memory of:

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, 2002

Senior Airman Jason Cunningham of Camarillo, Calif., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Mar. 4, 2002

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, 2006

Technical Sgt. Scott Duffman of Albuquerque, N.M., Special Tactics Pararescueman, Feb. 18, 2007

Technical Sgt. William Jefferson of Norfolk, Va., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Mar. 22, 2008

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, 2010

Senior Airman Mark Forester of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Special Tactics Combat Controller, Sep. 29, 2010

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, 2011

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

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