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Forum Home - Go Back > Off Topic > Chit Chat > War Discussion Pain on the open road: How elite Marine Raiders are remembering their fallen friends Pain on the open road: How elite Marine Raiders are remembering their fallen friends

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Old 03-14-2016, 07:32 PM   #1
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Pain on the open road: How elite Marine Raiders are remembering their fallen friends

Rest in Peace those who gave their lives...

Pain on the open road: How elite Marine Raiders are remembering their fallen friends

NAVARRE, Fla. – Destiny Flynn pressed east down the blacktop of Highway 98 here Friday, leaning forward to support her heavy green rucksack. She wore camouflage pants, hiking boots, sunglasses and a damp, gray T-shirt, her long brown hair tied back in a single, dark braid. The fingers on her hands began to swell as the miles added up, tightening around the wedding ring on her left hand.

Flynn was joined by two Marine Raiders, part of an elite Special Operations force established 10 years ago by the Marine Corps. Gunnery Sgt. Andy Harrison carried the bright blue flag of the Raiders, its distinctive white skull on a red diamond snapping in the ocean breeze. Motorists honked. A heavyset motorcyclist with a thick beard stopped and rendered a salute. Children from a preschool waved tiny American flags and chanted “U-S-A.”

Flynn and the Marines, all on leave or out of the service, were in the early stages of the Marine Raider Memorial March. It’s a grueling 770-mile trek to remember the lives of Flynn’s husband, Liam, and 10 other service members who were killed in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in the Gulf Coast’s Santa Rosa Sound just south of here a year ago.


The March 10 accident killed seven elite Marines and four Louisiana Army National Guardsmen, and represents the greatest single loss of life for Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC). Collectively, the fallen Marines spent dozens of years in combat and left behind numerous children, including two not yet born at the time of the crash.

“He’d probably think I was crazy. But he would do it,” said a winded Flynn of her husband, after completing the first 10-mile leg. The two had one daughter together, Leilani, who will soon turn 2. “He would most definitely do it.”

The journey will stretch from Navarre, near the crash site, to Camp Lejeune, MARSOC’s home in North Carolina, ending on March 21. Seven teams of two or three people each will rotate legs about 11 miles long around the clock.



The march was organized to remember the service members, but also highlights the contributions teams like theirs have made in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their unit, Marine Special Operations Team 8231, has since “risen from the ashes” with new personnel and is now deployed to Iraq in the military campaign against the Islamic State, MARSOC’s deputy commander, Col. Craig Kozeniesky, told a crowd of hundreds of people at a memorial service that kicked off the march.

The Marines killed include Capt. Stanford H. Shaw III, 31; Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders, 33; Staff Sgt. Marcus S. Bawol, 26; Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock, 29; Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn, 33; Staff Sgt. Kerry M. Kemp, 27; and Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif, 26. The Guardsmen are Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr., 37; and Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother, 44; who piloted the Black Hawk, and the other members of their crew: Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron, 40; and Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26.[/

Four members of the Louisiana National Guard were killed March 10 when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed off the coast of the Florida Panhandle. They are Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr, 37; Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother, 44; Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26; and Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron, 40. (Photos released by Louisiana National Guard)

The family and friends of the service members began gathering on Navarre Beach early last week. The Gulf Coast town is increasingly a destination for college students on spring break, but numerous people with beachfront homes offered them instead for the week to the Marines for free, said Staff Sgt. Nathan Harris, who organized the march in his own time. Any proceeds will go to the Brothers in Arms Foundation, which helps the families of deceased and wounded Marines.

In Navarre, the families met with first responders who responded to the crash and took boats out to the crash site.

“I just think that for me it was too much emotionally,” said Flynn of viewing the crash site. “I think that the emotional part is more draining than the actual march. This is an easier part than getting on a boat and seeing the accident site.”
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



Come on Rez Dawg, you can make it, just another step to go....
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:39 PM   #2
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Pain on the Open Road : OUR FALLEN HERO'S

May the Great Spirit lend comfort to the Families of All Our Fallen Hero's and welcome the spirits of the fallen.
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