FORT GORDON, Ga. (NNS) -- Service members completed the final laps of a memorial run at Fort Gordon, Georgia, Nov. 6, to honor those who fought and died during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
Every year since 2004, Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Sailors have participated in Tribute for the Fallen, as well as Marines, Soldiers and Airmen stationed on Fort Gordon.
Approximately 100 Marines and Sailors participated in the 10-day event. Each runner carried 21 rounds of ammunition while running the a 3-mile lap around Fort Gordon's Barton Field. At the closing ceremony the rounds carried by each runner were fired.
After completing his somber lap, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 2nd Class Matthew Lunn said, "I am very grateful that I was able to participate in this year's event, representing Petty Officer 2nd Class Allan M. Cundanga Espiritu. It was a great way to remember a fallen shipmate and all that he sacrificed. In addition, I was able to meet one of his family members."
Espiritu was assigned to the 2nd Force Service Support Group (Forward), 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in Iraq. The 28 year-old husband and father of three, was killed in action, Nov. 1, 2005.
Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class John Blaess, who ran for Corpsman 3rd Class Anthony C. Garcia at 3:30 a.m., Tuesday morning said, "it was about 35 degrees and completely silent, almost like a 25 minute moment of silence for a Sailor who gave their life for our country. The whole experience was worth a few minutes of discomfort considering the sacrifice we were running for."
This "moment of silence" is held annually, not deterred by harsh weather or low temperatures. It is to commemorate the lives and services of the fallen service members ranging from the age of 18 to over 45. The current death toll is 6,812 service members, and includes every branch of the military.
For more news from Navy Information Operations Command Georgia, visit www.navy.mil/local/niocg.