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Combat Veterans Begin Six-Month WARRIOR HIKE to "WALK OFF THE WAR"


 
 
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PRLog - Mar. 18, 2014 - Charlottesville, VA (March 17, 2014) – For the first time, the Warrior Hike Program will deploy 26 of America’s returning combat veterans in three teams to “Walk Off The War,” by thru-hiking the triple crown of America’s National Scenic Trails – the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest Trails. The veterans will use this six-month-long, 2000-plus-mile physical challenge to come to terms with their wartime experiences and reconnect to civilian life.

In 2013, 14 returning combat veterans thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail located in eastern United States.  This year, Warrior Hike has nearly doubled the number of hiking veterans, and has expanded to include the Continental Divide and the Pacific Crest Trails, in western United States, in order to include combat veterans from around the country.

Today, the first Warrior Hike team of 14 veterans begins its journey at the start of the Appalachian Trail in Dawsonville, GA.  The second and third teams, each composed of 6 veterans will begin their thru-hike on April 12, on the Continental Divide Trail in Crazy Crook, NM, and the Pacific Crest Trail in Campo, CA.

The "Walk Off The War" Program provides participating combat veterans with the equipment and supplies required to complete a six-month thru-hike of a National Scenic Trail; coordinates trail town support in the forms of transportation, food, and lodging along the trails; and assists veterans with future employment opportunities through program partners and sponsors.

"Hiking over 2,000 miles during the course of six months gives a veteran an opportunity to decompress and come to terms with their wartime experiences," said Warrior Hike Executive Director Sean Gobin, a former Marine Corps Captain. "The camaraderie that is shared between our combat veterans and the trail town communities helps facilitate their integration back into civilian life.  We are pleased to expand this opportunity through the help and support of Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails and our sponsor community.”

This year, researchers from Georgia Southern University will measure the benefits of the “Walk Off The War” Program to evaluate how a long-term wilderness experience affects the well-being of combat veterans. The goal of this research is to demonstrate that long-distance hiking can be used as an effective therapy to help veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Major sponsors for Warrior Hike are Ahnu Footwear, Big Agnes, Fujifilm, and Granite Gear.

-more-

In 1948, Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to "walk off the war" to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

For more about Warrior Hike, trail town events, and hike schedules, visit www.warriorhike.com. To learn how to support a trail town event please email warriorhike@gmail.com.

The 2014 Warrior Hikers are:

Appalachian Trail


Name: Scott Brooks-Miller

Hometown: Peoria, IL

Resides: Dexter, MI

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Track Vehicle Repairman

Deployments: Vietnam

Name: Eddie Bryant

Hometown: New Baltimore, MI

Resides: Three Rivers, MI

Service: United States Army

MOS: Avionic Survivability Equipment Repairer

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Matthew Donnelly

Hometown: Shohola, PA

Resides: Atlanta, GA

Service: United States Navy

MOS: Aviation Maintenance Administration

Deployments: Persian Gulf

Name: Arthur Haun

Hometown: Erwin, TN

Resides: Erwin, TN

Service: United States Army

MOS: Infantryman

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Jamey Pierson

Hometown: Elmira, NY

Resides: Elmira, NY

Service: United States Air Force

MOS: Medical Administrative Specialist

Deployments: Air Force Mortuary Affairs Center

Name: Jesse Swensgard

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Resides: Cincinnati, OH

Service: United States Air Force

MOS: Aerospace Maintenance

Deployments: Afghanistan

Name: Brian Wing

Hometown: Manassas, VA

Resides: Manassas, VA

Service: United States Coast Guard

MOS: Port Security Specialist

Deployments: Ground Zero New York

Continental Divide Trail

Name: Cosmo Brown

Hometown: Groton, VT

Resides: Pittsburgh, PA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Health Care Specialist

Deployments: Iraq, Afghanistan

Name: Robert Crampton

Hometown: Ypsilanti, MI

Resides: Springfield, MO

Service: United States Army

MOS: Radar Equipment Foreman

Deployments: Germany

Name: Calvin Hall

Hometown: Denison, TX

Resides: Van Alstyne, TX

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Antitank Assaultman

Deployments: Southwest Asia

Name; Richard Morrogh

Hometown: Burke, VA

Resides: Front Royal, VA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Combat Engineer

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Todd Rogers

Hometown: East Greenbush, NY

Resides: Brockport, NY

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Infantry Rifleman

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Cecil Thayer

Hometown: Massillon, OH

Resides: Canton, OH

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Infantry Machine Gunner

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Joseph Young

Hometown: Orange, MA

Resides: Orange, MA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Tank Artillery Mechanic

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Andrew Brennan

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Resides: Pittsburgh, PA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Black Hawk Pilot

Deployments: Afghanistan

Name: Thomas Gathman

Hometown: Lewisburg, PA

Resides: State College, PA

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Infantry Rifleman

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Christopher Rickert

Hometown: New Holland, PA

Resides: Narvon, PA

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Infantry Assaultman

Deployments: Afghanistan

Name: Ricky Davis

Hometown: Jacksonville, NC

Resides: Carolina Beach, NC

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Infantry Machine Gunner

Deployments: Iraq, Afghanistan

Name: Shawn Murphy

Hometown: Toledo, OH

Resides: Auburn, WA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Military Police

Deployments: Korea

Name: Robert Voorhis

Hometown: Chenango Forks, NY

Resides: Reston, VA

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Electronic Intelligence Intercept Operator

Deployments: Afghanistan

Pacific Crest Trail

Name: Thomas Bielecki

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

Resides: Alto, MI

Service: United States Army

MOS: Infantryman

Deployments: Afghanistan

Name: Kevin Black

Hometown: Clarksburg, WV

Resides: Fallbrook, CA

Service: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Legal Services Specialist

Deployments: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait

Name: Joshua Dunn

Hometown: Dalton, GA

Resides: Mechanicsburg, PA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Ammunition Specialist

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Joshua Shields

Hometown: Mundelein, IL

Resides: Saint Amant, LA

Service: United States Air Force

MOS: Airborne Cyrptologic Language Analyst

Deployments: Iraq

Name: Angela Powell

Hometown: South Haven, KS

Resides: Prescott, AZ

Service: United States Navy

MOS: Damage Controlman

Deployments: Southeast Asia, Iraq, Persian Gulf

Name: Shawn White

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Resides: Olympia, WA

Service: United States Army

MOS: Combat Engineer

Deployments: Iraq, Afghanistan

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Source:Warrior Hike
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