102nd Intelligence Wing members ruck over 220 miles for Heroes in Transition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Julia Ahaesy
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing

While carrying 10 to 20 pounds on their backs, 102nd Intelligence Wing (102 IW) members trekked over 220 miles through Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for Heroes in Transition’s Annual Ruck4HIT April 26-27, 2024.

“Team Otis, Send a RUCKer” and “Ruckin Seagulls” were among twenty teams who collectively raised over $250,000 for Heroes in Transition (HIT), a local organization that provides critical assistance to veterans, service members and their families.

Airmen and civilians on Otis Air National Guard Base walked and ran in this team-based ruck relay to strengthen their bond and contribute to a cause that is important to all wing members. The rucksack is symbolic of the sacrifice, hardships and burden veterans carry in their service to our nation.

“Our mission in this event was to carry on the message for Gold Star Mother Cyndy Jones, who founded Heroes In Transitions, to continue her son Captain Eric Jones’ mission to support military members and their families,” said Master Sgt. Deborah Townsend, 102 IW Human Resource Advisor and “Team Otis, Send a RUCKer” co-captain.

Ruck4HIT’s motto, “For Those Who Can’t,” motivated the teams to persevere through the long, cold and painful journey to the finish line. 

“I really wanted to quit halfway through Friday night. I was cold, I was tired, I was nauseous and I was in pain. There was no way I was letting my team down, no way they were going to bear the burden of running in my place,” said Master Sgt. Brad Townsend, 102nd Mission Support Group First Sgt. and “Team Otis, Send a RUCKer” co-captain. “We were out there representing something much bigger than ourselves. We raised a lot of money as a team, at a time when folks don't have much to give. Knowing that my fellow Airmen directly benefited was heartwarming. All of these things and more are what motivated me.”