“Never Leave a Man Behind”
A couple of months ago we ran the story of a group of retired Green Berets who have been hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail to raise money for the Green Beret Foundation.
This group of SFers, from the Facebook group SF Brothers, put teams together to hike from Georgia to Maine to support the cause. So, for those of you who read our articles and have questions about rucking to be selected for the Regiment…take note. This is the ultimate in long range movements under a rucksack and all for a great cause.
According to the Appalachian Trail Guide, the Appalachian Trail is about 2200 miles in length and runs from north Georgia to central Maine. It generally follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Trail is managed by a combination of the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It is maintained by a host of non-profit organizations.
Sometimes called “The Long Green Tunnel”, it is mostly under the cover of trees. It can be very harsh in ascents, descents, and the rockiness of the trail.
Only a small percentage of those who attempt a thru-hike are able to complete the trail. (That is just a challenge to SF guys)
The walk is still ongoing, teams of SF guys started in Georgia and carrying the Special Forces and Foundations flags have been steadily working their way north from Georgia thru North Carolina, Virginia and into West Virginia. Teams have hit torrential rains, thunderstorms and even snow squalls in the mountains. Other teams started at the other end of the trail in Maine and are working their way south for an eventual linkup in New Jersey later in August.
And we’d be remiss without mentioning an old comrade from the 7th Special Forces Group, Wil Melton. He’s been on the trail for about two months, walking most of the time alone, sometimes with his dog Jackie and others picking up teams of other SF guys en route. Wil Melton just came off the trail on the 19th of July after logging an incredible 579.5 miles, which is more than 25 percent of the entire Appalachian Trail by himself.
A long time after graduating the SFQC, Wil has shown that he can still ruck with the best of them. He’s kept a running log of his travels on Facebook, he’s posted some great shots of the trail as he hiked nearly the entire length of Virginia. He’s taking a well-deserved break and has put the ruck down…for now. Tip of the Beret brother!
The foundation is well-known to the men of the Regiment as it is an organization that provides direct and continuous support to the Green Beret Community and its families. The Green Beret Foundation facilitates the transition of Green Berets and their families whether that transition is from wounds sustained in combat, illness, injury or “merely” from numerous deployments and/or retirement.
They provide Casualty Support, Extended Support, Family Support, and Transition Support for the Special Forces operators who have been injured in the line of duty. Over 800 Green Berets and 1000 families have received support from the foundation. And 90 percent of funds raised go towards their programs.
They are constantly being recognized by the Regiment and USSOCOM for the outstanding work that they are doing for the members of the Special Forces who have been injured in the line of duty. While we were in Tampa for SOFIC, we had the opportunity to touch base with some of the great volunteers who give so much time for the troops. Especially Ms. Frances Arias who is well-known within the community.
Thus far, the teams have raised over $26,000 and are trying to hit the $50,000 mark. You can still donate to the cause by giving what you can right here:
For those ruckers who are getting ready to try Selection, this a prime opportunity to get some great workouts in while trucking along with some great former SF guys. Check out the schedule and attached spreadsheet on the website, you can see when the SF Brothers are passing by your area. Currently, the northbound team has crossed into West Virginia and is nearing Harpers Ferry. The southbound team is in western Massachusetts in the Greylock Range just south of North Adams.
You don’t have to join the hike officially but show some support and hike along with them for a day or two. It is for a great cause and looks like the guys are having a ton of fun as well. One can only imagine the war stories being told around the campfires at night along the trail or in the huts that the Appalachian Mountain Club provides on the route.
These former active duty SF guys have answered the call once again for their brothers who need a helping hand. It shows the level of respect they have for one another and the Regiment. And their sacrifice is a for a great organization that has proven time and again to work for our warriors. Good luck the rest of the way.
For more information on the Green Beret Trail Walk click here:
Photos Courtesy Green Beret Foundation, Will Melton