Operation Iron Ruck
Operation Iron Ruck seeks to reduce the suicide
epidemic among the veteran population by means of a 151-mile
awareness campaign. By bringing the issue to the public
we seek to:
Unite veterans with community,
Fund charities championing veteran suicide prevention,
and support local veteran organizations.
Each fall, the ruck march starts at the visiting team’s stadium and ends at the home team’s stadium. For 2021, we will start at The University of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium on Wednesday, 24 November, and walk approximately 151 miles to Auburn University's Jordan-Hare Stadium completing the march on Saturday, 27 November. The march is completed in shifts and consists of rotations between marching, resting, and supporting. Each shift would last the time it takes the current marching shift to complete the approximately 7 miles. Participants carry a 22 lb. ruck-sack, to coincide with the **Mission 22 suicide campaign**. The packed ruck will consist of toiletries, undergarments, and other items collected by the athletics and veteran’s organization departments to be donated to Tuskegee Veterans Assisted Living Homes & Three Hots and a Cot.
The marchers will also pass around and carry an “Iron Bowl Game Ball” between stadiums. 2021 OIR will continue the dog tags containing the names of Alabama Veterans that have succumb to suicide and their family members have asked to be memorialized during the march.
At the completion of the march, the Alabama Marine Foundation will have a welcome party at their parking lot. At game time, the game ball would be presented by officers of each university’s student veteran organization at midfield to game officials.
**Mission 22– approximately 22 veteran suicides per day – united in the war against veteran suicides. That makes the war at home more dangerous than all of our combat missions around the world. Let's end the stigma surrounding Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. Let's end the silence. Let's save our veterans.
Tentative Schedule of Events:
0630 - Stage vehicle support outside the stadium for departure
0700 - Stage gear for step off
0730 - Ceremonial sendoff (all marchers) at Jordan-Hare Stadium with Color Guard. (Will march all together for first 3 miles to a staging area where sticks will be broken up).
0830 - Break into 3 sticks: Stick 1 - march, Stick 2 - sleep, Stick 3 - support
0830-1159 - Stick Marching
1030 - Arrive in Auburn outside campus to welcome party.
1100 - Ruck Sacks emptied of donation gear and separated for Alabama Veterans Organizations.
TBA (1 hour before game time) - Officers from each school’s veteran’s association march to Jordan-Hare Stadium with the game ball for presentation.
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