Hancock Field Fallen Defenders Ruck March

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt Nicholas Robles
  • 174th Attack Wing

SYRACUSE, NY – 174th Attack Wing members came together for the fifth annual Fallen Defenders Ruck March Aug 17 at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base. The ruck march was created to honor the Security Forces members who have lost their lives in combat.

The march took place for a period of 24-hours and began with an opening ceremony at 1045. Airmen walked a three-mile course around the base. The schedule was divided by 24, one-hour blocks. The event ended with a closing ceremony.

Participants in the ruck can either wear a ruck sack, backpack, or simply walk.

“Along the three-mile course, pictures of the fallen defenders are portrayed in remembrance,” said Staff Sgt. Corinna Manzer, 174th Security Forces Squadron. “Since September 11, 2001, there have been 14 Security Forces members who have lost their lives in combat.”

The roughly three-mile ruck circled the perimeter of Hancock Field ANGB taking marchers across both modernized and rouged terrain; many of which carried packs more than 30 pounds throughout the march.

“This event is a time of the year we can all come together and keep the memory of these Fallen Defenders alive” said Capt. Devin Will, Commander, 174th Security Forces Squadron.

Noting how close this hit to New Yorkers, Manzer explained that “our neighbors from the 105th Base Defense Squadron, Stewart Air National Guard Base, have lost three defenders in Afghanistan to date.”

Senior Master Sgt. Todd Lobraico from the 105th is a Gold Star Father, lost his son, Staff Sgt. TJ Lobraico, in combat in 2013. Highlighting the impact and sacrifice within the New York Air National Guard family.

Will also described how “we have become very close with our fellow New York Security Forces units over the years, and we want to do our part in showing support and honoring our fellow Defenders and friends.”

“Part of the ruck march is a fund-raising effort,” said Will. “This year we are donating all proceeds to the SSgt Louis Bonacasa Keep Bones Alive Memorial Fund. The fund was established to accomplish projects that honor his memory."