<p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>While most students spend their Thanksgiving break munching on delicious food and sharing time with their families, several University of Alabama students will be marching across the state.</span></p><p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Some 80 students and support personnel from UA’s Campus Veterans Association and Auburn’s Student Veterans Association will be marching from Bryant-Denny Stadium to Jordan-Hare Stadium to raise awareness to veteran suicides and support to Mission 22, a national veteran suicide campaign. The march is called Operation Iron Ruck.</span></p><p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Operation Iron Ruck is a 151-mile ruck march from Bryant-Denny Stadium to Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn,” Slade Salmon, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and junior operations management major who serves as the president of UA’s Campus Veterans Association, said in a press release. “It’s going to take about three days. Last year, it took us 73 hours.”</span></p><p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>A ruck march is a military term for a hike with a heavy backpack. Usually they are completed as training, but this time it’ll be for a bigger cause.</span></p><p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“For people who don’t know, 22 veterans commit suicide every day,” Salmon said. “We’re trying to raise public awareness for that and get the message out that this is happening. I feel like all veterans need to ban together. One veteran that commits suicide is too many. We all spent however long it was, or however short it was, in the military. We became brothers and sisters in arms, and we need to check on each other and make sure everybody is ok.”</span></p><p>During the three-day trip, which starts on Nov. 27, each student-veteran will walk about 50 miles. After walking for over two hours, they will hop into a support vehicle for about five hours of rest before their next hiking shift. Each student veteran will carry 22 pounds of donations in their rucksack for the <a href=”″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Bill Nichols State Veterans Home</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> in Alexander City, Alabama and </span><a href=””><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Three Hots and a Cot,</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> an organization that assists homeless veterans.</span></p><p>The march will end Saturday morning outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium.</p><p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>To make a donation or to learn more about the UA Campus Veterans Association, contact Salmon at or 205-348-0983.</span></p>

Categories: Alabama News, Archives, Local News