Tim Davis, Combat Controller
KIA; 20 Feb. 2009

Brothers in Arms March for Cause

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Five states, 12 men, 13 batons, 24 pairs of boots, 600 pounds carried more than 800 miles all traveled for one cause: honoring special tactics Airmen who sacrificed their lives in combat.

Special tactics Airmen from here and across the special operations forces community embarked on a 10-day memorial rucksack march from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to Hurlburt Field.

The journey was especially poignant for these Airmen who marched in the memory of Staff Sgt. Timothy Davis who was killed in Afghanistan in February while serving as a member of the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron here.

Hundreds of members from Hurlburt Field lined the streets leading up to the Special Tactics Training Complex to honor Sergeant Davis and support the marchers as they entered the home stretch of the trek.

"It's amazing that these guys could march that far with 50 pound rucksacks," said Senior Airman Jasmine Davis, assigned to the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron. "It made me really proud to see them marching through the gate."

"We didn't expect it to be this formal," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Carter, a 23rd STS combat controller and best friend to Sergeant Davis. "It was nice to see all the support."

The two 12-man teams also marched to raise awareness and support for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college educations to the surviving children of all branches of special operations personnel killed in combat or training. Additionally, the Warrior Foundation provides immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in overseas contingency operations.

"When we lose somebody, it's like losing a brother," said Wayne Norrad, a retired combat controller and board member of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. "Most of our guys have families ... and we want to let our fallen brothers' family members know we will always take care of his children, and that (the fallen man's family) are always part of the brotherhood."

"Tim Davis' child will have an opportunity to go to college," Mr. Norrad said.

According to www.specialops.org, 336 Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine special operations forces members have been killed in action, leaving behind 384 children.

Loved ones, friends and comrades of the fallen Airmen met the memorial marchers at their final destination, where they presented the batons to Col. Steve Spanovich, the Special Tactics Training Squadron commander.

Sergeant Davis' baton was carried by Sergeant Carter, and Sergeant Davis' family was there to escort the baton as it was presented to Colonel Spanovich.

"Timmy was my best friend and I just wanted to give him something back," Sergeant Davis said. "Rucking was something he loved to do and I felt like this was the best way to honor him and everyone else who has fallen as well. (Sergeant Davis) would have loved this. He would've been the guy at the front the whole time telling everyone to hurry up."

Pictured Above;   It's all about the Kids, Logan Argel, son of Derek Argel, R.I.P., joins the march

Pictured Below; Tim Davis Memorial March through my hometown, Opelousas, LA.  I asked my sister to get some of the local folks to greet the marchers......Hal Dufilho

Special Thanks to Chuck Trimple for sharing some pictures.

Special Tactics Airmen Complete 800-mile March

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla., Oct. 19, 2009 – After walking more than 800 miles through five states, 12 special tactics airmen arrived here Oct. 16, officially completing a memorial march for their fallen comrades.

The marchers -- several Combat Controllers and pararescuemen and one combat weatherman -- split into six two-man teams and walked day and night to honor 12 special tactics airmen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.   See video to the left, just click on the flags.

During the march, five teams rested while one continued the march, averaging nearly 20 miles before being spelled. Each marcher carried a 50-pound rucksack and a baton engraved with the name of a fallen special tactics airman.

The 12 airmen reunited just outside the base and walked the final five miles as a team.

"This walk shows that with Air Force special operations, you are never forgotten," said Air Force Master Sgt. Ken Huhman, one of the event's coordinators and a marcher from the 342nd Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Several family members of the 12 special tactics airmen being memorialized joined the marchers on the final five-mile stretch.

"I feel very honored," said Sally Sheldon, mother of Air Force Staff Sgt. Tim Davis, a Combat Controller killed in Afghanistan in February. "They've been so good to me, and I'm very proud of all these young men. They've made me a part of their family."

The memorial march's route, which began at Lackland and ended here, was chosen for a reason. Special tactics training begins at Lackland, and Combat Controllers complete their training here before joining their first teams.

"It was a long walk," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse Schrader, a marcher from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron here. "My feet are covered in blisters and are numb, but it's worth it. This is something we wanted to do to remember our friends and teammates that were killed."

The memorial march also was organized to help to raise awareness for Air Force specialties such as Combat Control and pararescue, and to increase awareness of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The foundation provides assistance to families of fallen special operations servicemembers.

Logan's a Veteran @ Memorial Puhs Ups!

Memorial March Video Clip to the right, highlight and click

The guys were able to collect over $35,000 in donations for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation...........

           3/2/2010 - Airman Magazine March/April 2010

Special Thanks to SgtMac'sBar Corespondent, Joe Edwards

"These boots were made for walking," Staff Sgt. David White smiled as the famous lyrics flickered through his mind.

"That thought is the understatement of the year," he said.

But, funny as it was, his boots actually were made for walking; which was good, because it turned out he was doing a lot of that lately.

And a lot meant nearly 200 miles.

His body was reminding him of this fact with every step, every painful, aching step.

He didn't even recognize his feet any more. He knew they were his, but they looked like they belonged to someone else. Blisters were forming on top of blisters, creating a miniature mountain range right there on his feet.
There were no tourists on this mountain range, though. The only visitors here were pain and occasional numbness.

But, he kept going. He kept putting one foot in front of the other, tuning out the voices telling him to stop, telling him he was being stupid, and telling him it just wasn't worth it.

Because, thing was, it was worth it. And no amount of pain or weariness could tell him otherwise.

This walk, this long, seemingly endless walk, wasn't for him.

This walk was for Tim.

His first steps took place 10 days prior, in the early morning hours of Oct. 6. Sergeant White and 11 other special tactics Airmen stepped off together from the home of the Combat Control Selection Course at Lackland Air Force Base's Medina Annex in San Antonio.

Their target was more than 800 miles away: Hurlburt Field, in the heart of the Florida panhandle.

This walk was not for the record books and it wasn't a test of physical endurance. This walk was a journey of the spirit.

The men were walking to honor their friend, Staff Sgt. Tim Davis, a combat controller who was killed in Afghanistan in February 2009, and 12 other special tactics Airmen who were killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan since operations began there.

During the walk, each man wore a 50-pound rucksack strapped to his back and carried a memorial baton with the name of one of the fallen Airmen engraved on it.

"We wanted to show that in Air Force special operations, you are never forgotten," said Master Sgt. Ken Huhman, a member of the 342nd Training Support Squadron at Lackland and one of the event's organizers.

The route was chosen not for its distance, but for its symbolism.

"All special tactics Airmen begin their training at Lackland and end it at Hurlburt," said Staff Sgt. Jesse Schrader, one of the memorial marchers from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field. "It just seemed fitting to walk that route."

Even walking was chosen for its significance.

"Tim loved to ruck," Sergeant Schrader said. "So, we thought, what better way to honor him than by walking, doing something he loved."

In its planning stages, the memorial walk was meant to be a low key, behind-the-scenes event. It was just a group of buddies wanting to honor another.

But by trip's end, the men would conquer more than miles; they would enter the hearts and minds of a nation.


The plan was simple. The 12 men split into six teams of two and walkedfrom Texas to Florida using a relay system. While one team marched, the other five would rest. After 15 or 20 miles, another team would take over for the one marching, and so on, until they reached Hurlburt Field.

This way, during the 11-day journey, a team was always walking, no matter the time, the weather or the temperature.

For the first five and last five miles, the 12 men would walk together as a team, starting and ending as one.

"It was important that we started and ended together," Sergeant White said. "It signified our bond and the teamwork it takes to do something like this."
But even after they split up, the teams were never really alone. A small convoy of military police, support and medical personnel were always right alongside the men as they marched.

And so, before dawn on Oct. 6, the men stepped off as one and began the long journey ahead of them shrouded in darkness.

The darkness didn't hide them for long, though. Once people started hearing about the special forces Airmen who were walking from Texas to Florida, interest grew from a small smattering to a full-fledged frenzy.

In towns large and small, people lined the streets and shouted words of encouragement. School kids and veterans, mothers and businessmen, teenagers and factory workers all came out to catch a glimpse of these men, to witness and, in effect, become part of their journey.

Flags were waved.

Backs were clapped.

Tears were shed.

"I never imagined so many people would support us," Sergeant White said. "It's just been overwhelming."

The media took interest, too. Local and national television crews, photographers and journalists recorded the team's progress as they marched.

"At first it seemed surreal," Sergeant Schrader said. "But then we were like, this is awesome. By doing this march we were saying, 'Hey, we haven't forgotten about our guys who died over there,' and now, because of the attention, neither will all the people who know about what we did."

The outpouring of support helped the marchers, too.

"When you're tired, having people cheer you on and give you water and encouragement, it just makes it that much easier to keep going," Sergeant Schrader said.


 And keep going they did. Until, on the afternoon of Oct. 16, the 12 men reached their destination.

But they didn't reach it alone. Several family members of the fallen special tactics Airmen walked the last few miles to Hurlburt Field with the team.

It was a gesture of unity, support and appreciation.

For these family members, this walk was symbolic of a journey they had been taking for years, a journey through pain and despair that led to hope.

"I feel very honored," said Sally Sheldon, Sergeant Davis' mother. "I'm very proud of all these young men and what they've done."

What they did was nothing short of a miracle. They walked for 11 days, through five states and more than 800 miles, all to honor their friends and teammates who didn't come home.

"It feels good to be done, but it just brings home all the harder why we were doing this in the first place," Sergeant Schrader said.

Still, though bruised, battered and tired, the men couldn't help but laugh and smile. They'd accomplished what they set out to do, what at one time seemed impossible.

And they'd done it for Tim.

So, yes, these boots were made for walking.

And that's just what they did........................................

Click Here to Visit the 2009 Combat Control Reunion.