Maj. Sherri Tombarge
Assistant Director
News and Editorial Services
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Lexington, VA 24450

Cadets March to Honor Service Families

FullTextImage/img/@altVMI cadets (from left) Tyler Spadine ’14, William Cheatham ’14, David Brumett ’15, Justin Ragsdale ’15, and Josh Phillips ’14 stand with the mother and sister of Pvt. 1st Class Trimble, whom their team honored with their march. The team took first place in the military heavy 26.2 mile march and set a new record for the event. – Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Bill Carr.

LEXINGTON, Va., April 25, 2013 -- Members of VMI’s Road March Club placed first in the 2013 Mountain Man Memorial March in Gatlinburg, Tenn., April 20. Twenty cadets marched in the event to honor the sacrifices of American service members and their families, in addition to raising money to provide scholarship grants to families of soldiers killed in action.

The club fielded four teams, each composed of five marchers. All four teams competed in the military heavy 26.2-mile march category, with times ranging from 5:53 to 7:59.

Nineteen teams competed in the heavy military full march category. Each team member carried a 35-pound rucksack during the marathon-length march over paved and gravel roads winding through the Smoky Mountains.

The first-place team set a course record, beating the standing record by 15 minutes. The club’s other teams placed seventh, ninth, and 12th in the march.

“After hours of steep hills and endless cramping, we were fortunate enough to take first place,” said William Cheatham ’14. “We received a trophy, which will be displayed on post, along with numerous rewards including walking sticks, medals, and a $1,000 grant. The University of Tennessee Rocky Top Battalion cadets and staff graciously gave us Tennessee Volunteers challenge coins to honor our win.”

Each team represented a soldier killed in combat in Afghanistan or Iraq. Members of each team signed and presented VMI flags to the families of the soldiers they represented.

“We are so grateful to be a part of this event and thank everyone who supported us and made this possible,” said Cheatham. “It is truly a privilege to march for our country’s heroes.”

–VMI–