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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Walking with warriors in mind

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Photo by Courtesy

The four members of H-1 Company marched from El Paso, Texas to Death Valley, CA. 

It’s an early, cold, brisk January morning as four Texas A&M cadets brace themselves. They’re about to descend on the final leg of their journey to Telescope Peak in Death Valley, CA.
Four members of the H-1 Company: Hunter Birt, Jordan Rogers, Sebastian Brown and Ian Morrow spent their winter break completing a ruck march that raised money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which aims to provide assistance to the families of special operations personnel who have died in the line of duty. The foundation also helps with financial assistance for severely wounded personnel.
A ruck march, sometimes called a loaded march, is a fast-paced march with a heavy load. The cadets traveled over a 13 day period from Dec. 27 to Jan. 8, walking 1,050 miles from El Paso, Texas to Death Valley, California. By the end of their trip, the group raised a total of $6,696.  
“No matter what we did, giving back was the goal, and we did just that,” Birt said.
Birt, a mechanical engineering sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas, and Marrow, a history sophomore from North Zulch, Texas, came up with the idea.
“Between me and Hunter, who are roommates, we wanted to find something unique for us to do over the break,” Morrow said. “I read an article about the two guys: Nick Bare and Armando Nava that rucked from Austin to Houston benefitting Harvey. It really got me thinking we should follow in their footsteps. And that’s where I discovered the Special Operations Warrior Foundation who benefit wounded warriors, and it all just fell into place.”
The money was raised through the foundations social media page and other GoFundMe accounts run by the group.
Between the four cadets and Hunter’s father, Rick, they all took shifts walking 20 miles each with two tailing vehicles for assistance, with the goal of traveling around 100 miles a day.
According to Marrow, the group chose Telescope Peak as the end-point because it’s one of the highest elevated spots in the country and is roughly 1,000 miles from El Paso.
One of the biggest challenges the cadets faced was staying stretched and ready. Brown, an industrial distribution junior, experienced extreme shin splints as he neared the end. The other challenge was on the last day when they descended on the peak and hit a snow storm with a five-degree wind chill and snow.
“This is just the beginning of something great,” Birt said. “We look to take this further by doing a smaller scale ruck in the near future whether it’s in Texas, or to our nation’s capital, we’ll see where it takes us.”
The cadets hope to create an organization on campus dedicated to benefiting wounded warriors and veterans. Not only that, but the group will possibly make the march into an annual event held whenever they get free time from school.
“I definitely would do this again, and have the word out to the other guys where they’re involved to have it possibly continue even after we graduate,” Brown said. “We’re all Aggies in some way, shape or form. It brought us closer as a whole.”

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