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‘RUCKING FOR RAIDERS’: Memorial March honors fallen Marines

On September 11, 2001, the unthinkable happened. A series of four coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States killed 2,996 people in New York and injured more than 6,000 others.

Across the ocean, a young man in Ireland was so impelled by the attack that he committed his future to fighting terrorism. In 2002, he left home and family to travel to New York. He enlisted in the Marine Corps that year.

Liam A. Flynn served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. On March 10, 2015, a Black Hawk helicopter took off on a training mission in the Florida Panhandle and crashed shortly thereafter. Seven Marines and four crewmembers were killed. Liam Flynn, 33, was one of the Marine operators.

“Liam’s baby was a year old the day after his funeral,” said Sean Flynn. “But wild horses could not have kept my brother from joining the Marines, from joining the fight against terrorism. He wanted to help people.”

Sean Flynn made the long journey from Ireland this spring to participate in the 3rd Annual Rucking for Raiders Memorial March, an event to benefit the Marine Raider Foundation.

“Four thousand miles is a long way, but is important to me to do this for Liam and the others,” Flynn said.

The third annual march began in Auburn on Tuesday and will reach its destination, the Raider 7 Memorial in Navarre, Florida, Thursday. The route brought the Rucking for Raiders marchers through Troy Wednesday morning. The group took a break along the Henderson highway. At the sight of Old Glory and the Marine flag, motorists saluted the marchers with horn blasts,

Capt. Miko Gordon, USMC, said 45 marchers are participating in the Rucking for Raiders Memorial March including active duty Marines, retired Marines, members of the Navy ROTC in Auburn and family members.

“This march means a lot to the family members of the Marines that were killed. It is important to remember then for the families to know their Marines are not forgotten,” Gordon said.

“Each leg of the march is 7.7 miles, with the marchers taking shifts to complete the 209-mile course.”

Seventy-five miles into the march, the heat and the miles were taking a toll on the marchers but no one was complaining. As 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Campbell, founder of the march, said, “It’s much too important to complain.

“We want to keep the legacy of the Raider 7 alive. Marines Special Operations is a highly-specialized unit and these fallen Marines should be remembered.”

Campbell said the Marine Raider Foundation supports the fallen Marines and their families.

Sean Flynn said that support made it possible for his family to travel to the U.S. when his brother was killed in the Black Hawk crash.

“The foundation provided airline tickets and hotel rooms,” he said. “That support meant that Liam’s family could be here.”

Liam and the other Marines killed are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. That’s a long way from Ireland. But his family in content that he is where he would want to be.”

The funds raised through the “Rucking Raiders Memorial March” will go to the Marine Raider Foundation for the purpose of supporting the Gold Star families of fallen Marine Raiders, as well as Marine Raiders through the Tragedy Assistance & Survivor Support Program, the Family Resiliency Program, and the Raider Preservation Program.

Donations may be made to the program at https://www.facbook.com/donate/384013269034812/