Locals encouraged to support 830-mile ruck march to honor 20 fallen heroes

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Staff reports

Twenty Special Tactics Airmen will ruck from Medina Annex at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to Hurlburt Field to pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, a Special Tactics combat controller, 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. The procession is expected to pass through our area ahead during the morning of  March 4.

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 Airmen will depart Medina Annex on Feb. 22 at 2:00 a.m. and they are scheduled to arrive at Hurlburt Field, Mar. 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Michele Tucker, a Navarre realtor, is asking for local to show support for the march. 

“We encourage the community to show their support by cheering and for businesses along the route to place flags in front of their properties,” Tucker said. 

Tucker and others will be monitoring the progress of the march in order be wave at the procession as it passes on U.S. 98 in front of Century 21 Island View Realty, located at 8510 Navarre Parkway. South Santa Rosa News via social media will provide updates about the process on the morning of March 4.  


Special Tactics Airmen begin their training at Medina Annex, together, and become combat ready upon graduation of the Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field, thus the march route mimics the training passage our Airmen endure. The journey takes the Airmen across five states and 830 miles.

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 ruck marchers are composed of 10 teams of two Special Tactics Airmen. These Airmen will begin the march by rucking the first 4.7 miles together.

From there, each team will ruck an average of 12 miles per leg and alternate teams. Each day, the teams will ruck a combined 70 miles to complete the 830-mile journey over 11 days.

A memorial baton inscribed with each of the fallen Special Tactics Airman’s names will be carried throughout the way to honor the fallen:

  • 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

Today, there are about 1,000 Special Tactics operators who combine the core skills of special operations forces with the tactical integration of the world’s greatest airpower, working to find unique solutions to ground problems. They are the most decorated community in the Air Force since the end of the Vietnam War, with one Medal of Honor, ten Air Force Crosses, and 44 Silver Stars.

Special Tactics is U.S. Special Operation Command’s tactical air and ground integration force, and the Air Force’s special operations ground force, leading Global Access, Precision Strike, Personnel Recovery and Battlefield Surgery operations on the battlefield.

A disciplined special operations force of hand-selected Airmen leading joint operations, Special Tactics Airmen are deliberate in their thoughts and actions to deliver solutions to the nation’s most complex military challenges. They conduct global air, space, and cyber-enabled special operations across the spectrum of conflict to prepare for, fight, and win our nation’s wars.