NEWS | May 16, 2017

437th APS Port Dawgs run for fallen

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal Joint Base Charleston Pubic Affairs Office

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON PUBLIC AFFAIRS, S.C. – Active-duty Airmen, Air Force reservists, and members of the South Carolina Air National Guard, participated in the 4th Annual Port Dawg Memorial Run here May 12. The run remembers and honors those lost in the air transportation career field.

Approximately 50 Port Dawgs, Airmen in the air transportation career field, ran in formation around the installation to commemorate the fallen.

“We lost 12 one year and it was obvious we had to do something to come together,” said Tech Sgt. Gregory Viruet, 437th Aerial Port Squadron. “This year we lost four. Maybe you have lost someone close to you who was a brother or sister in arms, and you come out here every year to celebrate them.”

Viruet said the memorial run impacts more than just JB Charleston population. 

“This is not just here, it’s all across Port Dawg nation,” said Viruet. “The Air Force does this in deployed environments too.”

For some Airmen, the event gives them the chance to be part of something bigger than themselves. For Viruet, that something also hits close to home.

“I personally lost a co-worker when I was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, so for me it’s really big every year coming out and remembering his life,” said Viruet. “It hits home when it’s somebody you worked with every day.”

Viruet hopes his Airmen walk away with a better understanding of how important each and every one of them are and recognize the sacrifices some of their fellow Port Dawgs have made while serving.

“It’s about team building,” said Viruet. “Those young Airmen remember and know why we’re doing this. They will be passing this on to the newer Airmen telling them how big of a deal this is. Everywhere you go Port Dawgs are out there loading cargo in austere locations making it happen. We have people who do great things out there. I feel blessed and honored everyday out there working with such people.”

At the end of the run, Port Dawgs in attendance gathered in a circle and reflected on the run and those who had lost their lives.

“After every memorial run I always walk away feeling blessed and thankful for my life and the opportunities I have been given,” said Senior Airman Joy Ogden, 437th APS. “Many lives are ended far too soon and honoring those lives really has a way of making you feel grateful for another day on earth.”