SRU ROTC to ‘March for the Fallen’ April 29

ROTC lab exercise marching

Slippery Rock University’s Army ROTC will conduct a March for the Fallen at 8 a.m., April 29 at Moraine State Park near Portersville. Cadets will march with rucksacks for 26.2 miles to honor the memory of soldiers who have fallen while defending our nation.

April 19, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The event Slippery Rock University's Army ROTC has planned will be no walk in the park. But that doesn't mean it will be less meaningful, or fun.

Cadets from SRU's ROTC are hosting their first March for the Fallen at 8 a.m., April 29 at Moraine State Park near Portersville. Cadets will take part in a ruck march, a long-distance training activity where they march with backpacks, or "rucksacks," loaded with at least 35 pounds of gear. The SRU battalion will be joined by other ROTC units from across the Northeast who are taking part in other March for the Fallen events to honor the memory of soldiers who have fallen while defending our nation.

The activity is part of the training for cadets in the year prior to their commissioning, as they prepare for Advanced Camp, the U.S. Army ROTC summer training that will take place at Fort Knox, Kentucky. At that camp, the 23 juniors in the program will have to complete a 12-mile ruck march.

However, for the March for the Fallen, the distance will be more than doubled to a full marathon.

"We decided to go big and do a 26.2-miler, to help us prepare," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Barta, professor of military science. "Also, to draw on the spirit of those who have given their all will help our cadets make that big distance."

Cadets will choose to recognize a fallen comrade and wear that soldier's name on their rucksack during the march.

"I hope that they research and learn something about that soldier and they can draw strength from him or her in their future service," Barta said.

The battalion's 70 cadets will participate in one of three ways: assisting at aid stations along the trail, marching a portion of the course or completing the entire 26.2 miles.

"It would be tremendous to see it be a success, just to see everyone come out for the same cause and working together in groups," said Briana Quinones, a senior cadet and liberal arts major from Matawan, New Jersey.

Additionally, cadets completing the training will count the activity toward the 2nd ROTC Freedom Brigade's "Freedom Challenge," where cadets completing certain requirements earn a blue tab worn on the shoulder of their uniforms.

Following the event, the battalion will have its "organization day" at Moraine State Park, a time dedicated to fellowship and recognizing their accomplishments.

The SRU ROTC welcomes the public to attend as spectators, volunteers and even participants. Everyone will meet at the Lakeview Beach on the North Shore of Moraine State Park at 8 a.m., April 29.

A registration form to RSVP for the event is available at: http://marchforthefallen.app.rsvpify.com/

Monetary donations to the event can be made through the SRU ROTC Pay Pal account at: https://www.paypal.me/SRUROTC. Donations will be used for refreshments and also to fund scholarships named in honor of the late Army Capt. Jason West and Army 2nd Lt. Christopher Loudon, SRU ROTC graduates who died in combat in 2006.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu