Twenty special tactics airmen marched a combined 812 miles over the course of 10 days this month in memory of two of their comrades who were killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan. Capt. Matthew D. Roland and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley died from injuries sustained in an attack by two men dressed in Afghan security forces uniforms at a forward operating base in Helmand Province on Aug. 25. The continuous relay began Oct. 4 at Lackland AFB, Texas, with each two-man team walking about 12.5 miles per leg, carrying a 50-pound rucksack and baton engraved with the name of one of the two fallen airmen, according to a press release. The group ended the march together, walking the final mile from Hurlburt Field’s front gate with Sibley’s and Roland’s friends and family. The first memorial march was in 2009, to honor SSgt. Tim Davis, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.