AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)– On Wednesday, May 9, a group of 44 Marines, Sailors and Midshipman of the Auburn University Navy ROTC will depart on a three-day, 209-mile ruck march from Auburn to Navarre, Florida.
"Rucking for Raiders" is in memory of the members of Marine Special Operations Team 8231, or The Raider 7, an elite group of Marines who perished in a helicopter crash during a training accident on March 10, 2015.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Campbell, a current Auburn student and member of the NROTC, founded the march.
"I returned from Afghanistan with the men of the 8231 Blackhawk crash just months before that tragic day," said Campbell. "That could have been me—that could have been any one of our fellow Marines. I realized just how fortunate I was to be heading home to spend time with my wife and five children.”
The group will march with 45 pounds on their backs following a ceremony at the Nichols Center from 9 a.m. on May 9, until 6 a.m., on May 12, rain or shine. The participants will be broken down into three teams and each team will march 7.5 miles carrying seven memorial stones. Then they will link up with the next team where they will pass off their packs, and that team will conduct the next 7.5 miles.
Along with the Midshipmen of their unit, Marine veterans and family members have volunteered to participate throughout the march.
"We will humanize that tragic loss of true patriots and we will support the families left behind," said Campbell. "Always faithful, always forward."
The Raider 7 members being honored are Staff Sgt. Kerry M. Kemp, Capt. Stanford H. Shaw III, Master Sgt. Thomas A. Saunders, Staff Sgt. Andrew C. Seif, Staff Sgt. Liam A. Flynn, Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol and Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock.
For updates on the march, go to facebook.com/rucking4raiders.