- Tough Ruck 2018
Tough Ruck 2018
Minute Man National Historic Park, Concord, MA, April 14, 2018
Task Force Resolute partnered with 1LT Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund and nationalgrid to sponsor a team of 56 veterans in this year’s Tough Ruck sponsored by Military Friends Foundation. The Tough Ruck is held in conjunction with the Boston Marathon. Before the bombing during the marathon in 2013 those participating in the Tough Ruck were a part of the actual marathon. Many of the military personnel, police, fire and other first responders assisted with the wounded from the bombing. The following year the Tough Ruck was moved to the Saturday before the marathon on Monday and was moved from the marathon course to Minute Man National Historic park in Concord, MA.
The night prior to the Tough Ruck our team gathered for a pasta meal at the American Legion Post in Burlington, MA. A group of 173rd 2-503rd Bravo Company “Bravo Bulls” lead the evening with a memorable and touching punch bowl ceremony to honor the fallen.
The morning started off very cool but as the day wore on the sun was out and the temperature rose to very comfortable levels for those who were on the ruck march. The ruck is held in and around Minute Man National Historic Park, Concord, MA. The start/finish line is at the Old Manse. Once the ruck march began participants quickly found themselves crossing the Old North Bridge into the park where the opening battle of the American Revolution occurred in 1775. Over the next several hours they wound 26.2 miles through the park past numerous battlefields from the revolution.
While the historic site is one thing to behold the history of the park was overshadowed during the Tough Ruck by the immense emotion of those who were carrying the yellow ribbons with the names of their fallen battle buddies pinned to their rucks filled with 30 lbs of weight. As the hours passed most of our team members set their own pace and rucked alone. But they weren’t alone. They had their fallen brothers and sisters on their backs as well as the encouragement of each other as they passed on the route. There were hundreds of civilians along the way passing out water, Gatorade, snacks and unending encouragement.
1SG (r) Charlesworth used his skills as a medic in the Army to provide foot care for our team. He also helped others who were rucking including one lady who passed out from dehydration along the route near his aid station. He was such a valuable member of our team and did a stellar job of caring for folks.
When those who were rucking crossed the finish line they are awarded their Boston Marathon medal by Gold Star family members. The Gold Star family members placed the medal around their neck then give them a big hug.
Two poignant additions to our team in this year’s Tough Ruck were two pieces of parachute. One had the names of all of the 173rd, 2-503rd Bravo (B Company) Bulls who were killed in action in Vietnam. The other had the names of all of the 173rd Sky Soldiers killed in action in the Global War on Terror. The pieces of chute were rolled up together and placed in a tube. Each person on our team carried the tube during the ruck and every single team member carried it across the finish line. There was no lack of tears at that finish line. Some of our team members were given their medals by the Hines family. A few of our team members served with 1LT Derek Hines who was killed in action in on Sept 1, 2005 in Afghanistan.
After everyone on our team had crossed the finish line they all gathered to reminisce about their fallen battle buddies and the day’s experience. They were tired but all had a renewed spirit of camaraderie and purpose. After returning to the hotel or their homes (for those who live locally) for a quick shower most of the team met for dinner, more reminiscing and toasts to the fallen.
One of the veterans who completed the Tough Ruck said, "I am proud to have been part of such a great Company of men, joyful to spend just a few more hours with them, and sad when it is time to part ways and return to our lives. The sacrifices that we make to come together, burning the leave (vacation days), and driving or flying the miles is a small penance to pay in order to be with the ones who we clung to in the most unnatural times of warfare."
Task Force Resolute is committed to supporting veterans who wish to “ruck for those who cannot.” We have seen in the past two years how much this experienced has made a positive change in the lives of a few who were struggling with post traumatic stress and survivor’s guilt.
Please consider making a donation to help us continue supporting a team at the Tough Ruck each year.