A group of Marines is marching through the Lowcountry Thursday. They are doing that as part of a nearly 800 mile march, the Marine Raider Memorial March. News 2’s Raymond Owens met up with them to learn more about why they are on the road.
One Marine who did not want to give his name, said, “for those who don’t know, there was a helicopter crash down in Navarre, Florida.”
The crash happened March 11th of last year. 11 men died. This march, or “ruck,” started March 11 of this year in Florida, and will go 770 miles to Camp Lagune North Carolina. “7 of those killed were our brothers”.
The Marine Raiders are a tight group. “It’s a feeling of community. It’s almost like a family. So I think it’s important that we make sure those who are left behind aren’t picking of the pieces alone.”
They are raising awareness and money for the families. Teams ruck 9-15 miles or so before the next team takes over, 24 hours per day.
“It’s also that their kids can have something to look at, to know how much they meant to us and just get an idea of what kind of people their fathers were.”
Other veterans and supporters stop by along the way to say thanks. A paddle is carried along, the only piece of the helicopter crash to remain intact. It is now decorated with dog tags of the military men killed in the crash. “The recovery of this paddle was extremely important to us. That’s why we wrapped it the way we have and decorated it and that’s why we want to bring it home.”
They plan to give it to the families of those who died.
Check the group’s Facebook page for updates on where they are. Search “Marine Raider Memorial March” on Facebook.