Special Tactics ruck march to pass through Biloxi

Residents of Biloxi and the Gulf Coast will be able to watch a unique military tradition Friday afternoon and evening as two Special Tactics Airmen ruck along U.S. 90. In Biloxi, on Friday night the duo will be joined by about 50 Keesler officers and airmen at White Avenue. 

A “ruck” or load march, by the way, involves a small group of military, mostly in pairs, traveling long distances while carrying backpacks that, with rifle, can weigh up to 70 pounds. 

The Special Tactics airmen, in 10 two-person teams, are rucking from Medina Annex at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas to Hurlburt Field, Fla., covering 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 fifth 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 estimated times of arrival:

4:30 p.m. – Long Beach

7 p.m. – Gulfport

9 p.m. – Biloxi

Although the team will be traveling on sidewalks and boardwalks along U.S. 90, motorists on U.S. 90 Friday night should expect intermittent lane closures.

Keesler leadership from the 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 Avenue and U.S. Hwy 90 in Biloxi. The beach fire pits along U.S. 90 will be lit in a show of support. Additionally, the public has also been invited 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.

Keesler Air Force Base training students will among those in the march, which will include a memorial baton inscribed with each of the fallen Special Tactics Airmen’s names for the entire journey. 
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