Iron Ruck begins march from Tuscaloosa to Auburn

Iron Ruck

Today was a bone-chilling but beautiful start of a nice, casual 151-mile march with an important mission.

The fourth annual Operation Iron Ruck took off this morning in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

University of Alabama Veterans Association President Slade Salmon, who is also a student, said their goal needs all the coverage it can get.

“Our mission is to raise awareness of veteran suicides,” Salmon said. “It’s a 151-mile ruck march between Bryant-Denny Stadium and Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.”

The 72-hour march will be complete just ahead of Saturday’s Iron Bowl in Auburn.

Ruckers from UA’s Campus Veterans’ Association and the Auburn Veterans Service Association are carrying 17 blank dog tags and wear 17-pound rucksacks containing donated items they’ll deliver to charities that assist Alabama’s veteran population.

Salmon and Auburn University Student Affairs Association President Clay Buchanan took the front of the line at Bryant-Denny.

“Seventeen veterans die by suicide every day throughout America, and our mission is to raise awareness of that,” Salmon said. “But our secondary mission is to raise donations for veteran charity organizations that also help with veteran suicide.”

Donations will go toward assisting homeless veterans.

“All the money we raise and all the donations we get from this all goes to all our homeless veterans’ charities throughout the state of Alabama,” Buchanan said.

Supported organizations include Mission 22 and Three Hots and a Cot.

The ruck ends on the 50-yard line of Jordan-Hare stadium. It’ll be a tough 72 hours, but participants say it’s worth every single step.

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