403rd SFS holds 2nd Annual 9/11 Memorial Ruck March

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The 403rd Security Forces Squadron held its second annual 9/11 Memorial Ruck March at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 9, 2022.

Sunday will mark the 21st Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, and this march provided members of the 403rd Wing and Keesler personnel the opportunity to honor those who lost their lives during the attacks, remember the first responders, and reflect on America’s resilience in the aftermath.

The event began with an invocation by Chaplain (Capt.) Curtis Latham, 403rd Wing head chaplain, followed by opening remarks by Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Weatherford, of the 403rd SFS.

For Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Buffington, 403rd SFS senior enlisted leader, the event resonated on a personal level and served as an opportunity to share his experiences with the younger Airmen.

“I lived this historical moment,” said Buffington. “But we have a lot of young Airmen who only learned about this in class when they went through school, and now they’re serving. This gives me an opportunity to build that team environment and bring them into the fold, so they can truly understand and have a deeper appreciation for what we do and why we do it.”

The march went approximately five miles beginning at the 403rd Wing headquarters building, following along the I-81 track around the flightline, and ending at the 403rd SFS building.

The decision to do a ruck march to honor the event was driven by the military’s deep roots in tradition and symbolism, said Buffington. Ruck marches involve participants wearing weighted packs or gear, which he explained symbolizes the burden carried not only as members of the military, but as defenders against criminal and terroristic threats.

“This is our history,” said Chief Master Sgt. Barbara J. Gilmore, 403rd Wing command chief. “I think it’s important to take time to share stories, remember those civilians and first responders we lost and recognize the resilience our country showed, so we’ll never forget.”