One dozen airmen started an 11-day, 821-mile trek from Lackland AFB, Tex., to Hurlburt Field, Fla., Tuesday in honor of 12 special tactics airmen who have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Associated Press reported Tuesday (via the Gainesville Sun) that these marchers will hike 15 miles to 20 miles at a time, each carrying 50-pound rucksacks and commemorative batons engraved with the name of one of the fallen airmen. They will pass through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama before reaching Hurlburt on Oct. 16. Organizers aim to raise awareness of a foundation that helps assist the families of the fallen and also bring more visibility to the work of Air Force special operations forces.
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.