MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn. -- Defenders with the 934th Security Forces Squadron started their Friday off early, not to perform their daily and routine security duties, but instead to conduct a 5-mile ruck march.
Physical fitness was not the driving force for this tactical movement. Rather, it was a way to remember and bring attention to fallen Air Force Security Forces members and Office of Special Investigations agents who made the ultimate sacrifice and ended their watch since September 11, 2001.
Furthermore, this memorial ruck march was planned to coincide on the 58th Annual Peace Officers Memorial Day during Police Week. President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation in 1962 to establish and designate 15 May as Peace Officers Memorial Day.
The Airmen rucked to an adjoining running track located on the 133rd Airlift Wing’s base. At the track, the 934 SFS defenders did one commemorative lap for each of the 14 security forces members who died in the line of duty.
Staff Sgt. Josh Cox with the 934th Emergency Management Squadron said the memorial ruck march presented an opportunity to honor the fallen and exercise his chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training. Cox and his first-line supervisor marched in Mission-Oriented Protective Posture Level 4 gear. MOPP gear is normally worn in toxic environments by military personnel and can be uncomfortable during physical activity.
“We do a lot of CBRN training and CBRN response training. Any opportunity to get into our full MOPP gear is beneficial for us,” said Cox.
The ruck march led up to the 3rd Annual 934th Airlift Wing Police Memorial Ceremony.
Even with the base having limited access and partial personnel due to the public health emergency predicated by COVID-19, the memorial ceremony was still hosted. Adhering to social distancing guidance, 934 AW members planned a modified ceremony without a large formation or a firing ceremony.
“It was important to still get out here and do the recognition program,” said Lt. Col. Charles Trovarello, 934 SFS commander. “People made the ultimate sacrifice, so the least we can do is figure out a way to make the ceremony happen even though there are all these restrictions in place.”
During the ceremony, Col Kenneth Rose, 934th Maintenance Group commander, said people are more cognizant when they reflect on the unforgiving nature of a defender’s job. “But at the same time, we are inspired when we remember how good and how brave those who went before you and gave their all.”
The ceremony concluded with a memorial wreath laid by the base of the 934 AW headquarters building flagpole, the reading of 14 SF defenders and 12 OSI agents names who gave the last full measure of their life and the playing of the bugle call “Taps”.