TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Team Travis Airmen gathered for a ceremony and ruck march on National Medal of Honor Day, March 25, 2022, here.
The ruck march is to honor U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. John A. Chapman, 20 years after his death. Chapman, a combat controller, is a Medal of Honor recipient for actions during Operation Anaconda in March 2002.
Airman 1st Class Kristopher Burke, 60th Security Forces Squadron installation access controller, was inspired by Chapman’s story, so much that it influenced his decision to join the Air Force. Burke was the key planner for the ruck march.
“I joined the Air Force later in life,” Burke said, he joined after turning 30. “From my experience before joining, I’ve always looked up to heroes like Master Sgt. Chapman and have always wanted to make a difference.”
The ruck march was 5k in length. It started at the 60th SFS parking lot, and most participants carried a 40-pound ruck. Some walked, some ran, but all completed the ruck to honor Chapman.
“At basic training, I thought it was serendipitous that our main classroom was named after Master Sgt. Chapman.” Burke said. “When I arrived at Travis, it was important to me to honor him, so I coordinated this ruck march on National Medal of Honor Day to line up with the 20th anniversary of the mission on the mountaintop of Takur Ghar.”
After arriving to Travis AFB last year, he began planning the memorial. When he brought it up to his section leadership, everyone collectively, thought a ruck march would be appropriate.
In total, over 30 participated in the march.
Some of the military’s most difficult and challenging missions are carried out by Combat Controller specialists who operate in remote, often hostile areas. To learn more about this career track in the Air Force, go to https://www.airforce.com/careers/detail/combat-control.