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Operation Iron Ruck 2021

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 11:48 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Members of The University of Alabama Campus Veterans Association will march alongside the Auburn University Student Veterans Association in Operation Iron Ruck 2021.

The Ruck will begin in Tuscaloosa Nov. 24 and end in Auburn ahead of the Iron Bowl Nov. 27.

The goal of the annual event is to raise awareness about veteran suicides. During the three-day trip, each student veteran will hike approximately 50 miles and walk for 2 ½ hours before climbing into a support vehicle for about five hours of rest before their next hike. Each participant will carry 17 pounds of donated materials to remember the 17 veterans that die by suicide each day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA), Operation Iron Ruck will be led by Slade Salmon of The University of Alabama and Auburn University’s Clayton Buchanan.

ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis presented Salmon and Buchanan with Operation Iron Ruck with a proclamation for Operation Iron Ruck Day on November 24.

“It speaks volumes that the Alabama and Auburn student veterans’ associations set aside their rivalry during the week of the Iron Bowl to work together in raising awareness about veteran suicide,” said Kent Davis, who serves as the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs and Co-Chair of Alabama’s Challenge. “This march establishes a connectedness and level of support that has a lasting impact within the veteran community. I’m proud of both universities and all participants for the work they are doing to help raise awareness for veteran suicide.”

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