12 for 12
By Master Sgt. Joshua Strang, Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs / Published December 14, 2015

Members participate in the Fallen Defenders Ruck to Remember on Dec. 12, 2015, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The 12-kilometer ruck march honors security forces defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Joshua Strang)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) --  On the 12th day of the 12th month, service members here took action to ensure 12 security forces defenders were honored with a 12-kilometer ruck march.

The Fallen Defenders Ruck to Remember honors security forces members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the event remembers all of the defenders killed in action, this year’s event focused specifically on two members.

“We are highlighting the sacrifices made by our latest defenders that we have lost,” said Master Sgt. Austin Schneider, the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron training superintendent. “Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain and Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz lost their lives on October 2nd this year at Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan.”

Sartain and Ruiz were killed when the C-130J Super Hercules they were flying on crashed during takeoff. Both Airmen were deployed from the 66th Security Force Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

The event generated $2,800 and all proceeds will go to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors through the Combined Federal Campaign.

TAPS is a nonprofit organization that offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in the armed forces.

Although the event raised money, it was all about remembrance, said Chief Master Sgt. Tamala Hartz, the Air Forces Central Command security forces manager.

“Today’s event is really about remembering those defenders who gave all in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Hartz said. “Any time there is a loss in the defender family it is our responsibility to remember those who can’t go home.” 



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