EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Once a year Airmen from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron participate in a ruck to remember 20 Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians who lost their lives since 2001.
On August 30, members from the EOD flight started their memorial ruck from Eielson Air Force Base to the Arctic Circle.
"The Eielson EOD flight rucks 220 miles from our facility here on base to the Arctic Circle every year for the last four years," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Vega, a 354th CES EOD technician. "We carry 20 pounds in our packs to represent 20 fallen EOD technicians since 9/11 and whatever else we may need for each day."
The 220 mile journey, which concluded on September 7, is their way to honor those who sacrificed everything, while also testing each member's physical, mental and emotional strength.
"It's always running through your mind that, 'Man, I wish I could stop,' but the only way that you can stop is [to] keep walking until you're done," said Airman 1st Class Zachary Curry, a 354th CES EOD technician.
Curry said along the way the team faced physical challenges such as sore feet, blisters and aching knees. However, for him, the hardships were worth the while.
"We definitely all got closer sharing this experience together and pushing through the adversity of walking that whole distance," he said. "For me it was about doing it for someone other than myself, it wasn't really for any of us there. It was all about those who have lost someone who was once a dedicated EOD technician."