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Simultaneous runs honor fallen Soldier

Published: 12:32PM August 30th, 2012
Simultaneous runs honor fallen Soldier

Sgt. Nathan Akridge

Members of the Fort Sill Air Defense community participate in the 31st ADA Sgt. Brandon Maggart Memorial run held at Fort Sill, Okla. Aug. 22.

Many service members have had to deal with the loss of friends and comrades during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment honored one of their fallen by holding a memorial run on the anniversary of his loss at Join Base Lewis McChord to keep his memory alive.

The four-mile run was held in memory of Sgt. Brandon Maggart, killed by indirect fire Aug. 22, 2010, while serving with the 5-5 ADA in Basrah, Iraq. The memorial run’s purpose was to honor Sgt. Maggart and show his wife, Teresa, that she and her son, Blake, are part of the 5-5 ADA Family.

“This run means more to me than just honoring our fallen brothers-and-sisters-in-arms, it’s also showing the Families that they are not forgotten,” Staff Sgt. John O’Connor, Alpha Battery, said.

More than 250 Soldiers and Family members supported the event at JBLM. Each participant wore a blue shirt with Sgt. Maggart’s name on the back, part of the “wear blue, run to remember” program.

“Run to remember” is a support network for the family of Soldiers killed in action, and also a living memorial for fallen Soldiers through its runs. The program was started by the wife of a Soldier who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Another contingent of Soldiers and Family members supported the event with a “shadow run” held at Fort Sill, Okla. Fort Sill support came from Soldiers of the 31st and 30th Air Defense Artillery brigades, many of whose members served with Maggart in Iraq.

“It was touching to see the team cohesion between Soldiers and Family members to honor this fallen warrior,” Command Sgt. Maj. Gerardo Dominguez, 31st ADA, said.