TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – On May 19, Travis Air Force Base, California, will host the 8th Annual Gold Star Ruck March.
The event is held to honor Gold Star Families and will feature guest speakers, displays of fallen service members and a 6.2 mile course that participants can choose to walk or run with or without a 30-pound rucksack.
A Gold Star Family is one who has had one of their immediate family members die while serving in the U.S. armed forces.
“The goal for this year’s event is to make it the biggest it’s ever been,” said Master Sgt. Brandon Gallant, 60th Medical Operations Squadron first sergeant and the chairperson for this year’s ruck march. “Right now, we have about 100 people signed up and we’re hoping many more do so.”
“We are also trying to raise awareness about what a Gold Star Family is and just how important it is to recognize their loss,” said Master Sgt. Michael Gogue, 60th Surgical Operations Squadron first sergeant. “One of their family member’s gave their lives while serving our country.”
According to event organizers, between eight and 10 Gold Star Families will attend the event and one family member will serve as a guest speaker during a short ceremony before the march begins. Gallant has been involved with the march for the past three years and said it’s a humbling experience.
“We are taking Armed Forces Day and using that day to get the word out about people who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said. “The looks on the families’ faces when they see someone marching for their son or daughter is so awesome. That’s why I do it.”
Participants can compete in military or civilian light or heavy categories and the event is stroller friendly. Anyone marching in the military category must wear their service utility uniform. Civilian athletic attire is required for anyone participating in the civilian categories.
Teams of four can register for $65 and individuals can register for $20. All proceeds will be donated to a fund to support Gold Star Families. In 2017, the event raised more than $2,000.
The march will begin at the 621st Contingency Response Wing’s mobility warehouse in Bldg. 924. Event organizers also encourage participants to pack their rucksacks with non-perishable canned food that can be donated to Mission Solano, a homeless shelter in Fairfield, California, after the march.
Registration for the march is open now. Participants can register online by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/8th-annual-travis-afb-gold-star-ruck-march-registration-44968189064?aff=es2. Online registration closes May 15. After that, marchers can only register the morning of the event from 7:30 and 9:30 a.m.