Troops run 1,500 miles to honor fallen heroes

FORT GORDON, GA (WFXG) - The sound of a thousand footsteps filled the brisk air Thursday morning as troops ran shoulder to shoulder around Fort Gordon's Barton Field.

Lost deep in thought, many of them wore emotionless expressions as they ran for the men and women who once served beside them.

Sgt. Brad Browning says every step he took around the field was for two friends who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

"When I was deployed in 2011 Sgt. Kevin Balduf was killed. We had become pretty close and had a pretty good personal and professional relationship. Also Lt. Michael Johnson was killed in September 2009," said Browning.

With the names and faces of two men he used to work with etched in his mind, Browning says he understands the heavy responsibility of carrying on the mission they lived and died for.

"The emotion that you feel when you come through and the round is passed to you, the emotion that you feel knowing that you're running for a marine or sailor who gave their life so you can be here today, there are no words to describe that emotion," he said.

For 10 days and nights, military members ran 1,500 miles to honor the 1,500 Navy and Marine personnel who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's a tribute of time and effort that goes far beyond words.

"It helps bring back the memories you had. With Sgt. Balduf I had more of a personal, professional relationship with him and he was a great runner. So every time I come out and try to run for him I step it up a bit," said, Browning.

Browning says as long as they run on, they keep the memories of the fallen alive.

Thursday was the final day of the fort's 9th annual Tribute to the Fallen run.