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1196 miles: Running to honor the fallen

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron kick off the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 30, 2017. The run is done around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron kick off the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 30, 2017. The run is done around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron complete pushups for each fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen as the rain begins to fall at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. They formed up to do pushups after completing the 24-Hour Challenge run done around the world to honor fallen TACP Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron complete pushups for each fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen as the rain begins to fall at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. They formed up to do pushups after completing the 24-Hour Challenge run done around the world to honor fallen TACP Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron continue to move the Tactical Air Control Party flag and their unit guide-on around the track during the 24-Hour Challenge run while the rest of their unit gather to remember their fallen brethren at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. The run is done annually around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron continue to move the Tactical Air Control Party flag and their unit guide-on around the track during the 24-Hour Challenge run while the rest of their unit gather to remember their fallen brethren at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. The run is done annually around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron run around the track at midnight during the 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. The run is done annually around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron run around the track at midnight during the 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. The run is done annually around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Some of the members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron talk outside the tent containing the photos of fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen during the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. Members ran a total of 1,196 miles to support fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Some of the members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron talk outside the tent containing the photos of fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen during the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. Members ran a total of 1,196 miles to support fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 13th Air Support Operations Squadron set up vehicles and tents for the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 30, 2017. The run is done around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 13th Air Support Operations Squadron set up vehicles and tents for the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 30, 2017. The run is done around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 13th Air Support Operations Squadron tally up the total mileage run by its members during the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. Members ran a total of 1,196 miles to support fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 13th Air Support Operations Squadron tally up the total mileage run by its members during the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. Members ran a total of 1,196 miles to support fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron hold pictures of fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen while running in formation as they complete the last mile of the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. The run is done around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron hold pictures of fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen while running in formation as they complete the last mile of the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., March 31, 2017. The run is done around the world to honor fallen Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and raise money to help members of the TACP community and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shellie-Anne Espinosa)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Under sunny skies with a stout wind out of the southeast, a dozen runners bolted at high noon, beginning a test of endurance and respect that would continue until noon the next day.

From noon March 30 to noon March 31, 2017, Airmen of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Carson, Colorado, ran around the Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, athletic track honoring fallen comrades in the sixth annual 24-Hour Challenge run.

The entire squadron, consisting of about 100 Airmen participated, said Senior Airman Ari Edelman, 13th ASOS radio operator, maintainer and driver. Other interested runners, such as spouses and children, participated as well. When it was all said and done, clouds and rain moved in while the group finished the last of the 1,196 miles, in formation.

“The goal is to keep someone running on the track the whole time,” Edelman said. “We have a (unit) flag we keep moving the entire 24-hours.”

All of their fallen Tactical Air Control Party brethren are honored, but the 13th ASOS’s interest is personal as well. A key inspiration is Maj. David Gray, 13th ASOS air liaison officer, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in August of 2013.

“There are several people in our squadron who were also part of (Gray’s) deployment,” Edelman said. “He was known for his emphasis on finishing strong.”

In a tent alongside the track there were portrait photos of other fallen comrades, in addition to Gray, all of whom the squadron honored by taking to the track. For the final mile, the portraits were carried along by the squadron members. The list of those whose contributions are not forgotten are:

• Airman 1st Class Ray Cosano, Afghanistan, 2003
• Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, Afghanistan, 2003
• Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class Dennis Hay, Iraq, 2005
• Staff Sgt. Brian Daly, Arizona (training), 1996
• Maj. Gregory Stone, Kuwait, 2003
• Master Sgt. Steven Auchman, Iraq, 2004
• Master Sgt. Joshua Gavulic, Arizona (training), 2014
• Staff Sgt. Andre Berkley, South Korea (training), 1989
• Senior Airman Bradley Smith, Afghanistan, 2010
• Staff Sgt. Jason Faley, Kuwait, 2001
• Tech. Sgt. Timothy Officer, Florida (training), 2015

This is Edelman’s fourth challenge. He ran one while deployed in Kuwait and the others here in Colorado Springs. Participants can run at their own pace, but members of the squadron, while showing off their military spirit, competed to see which flights ran farthest and raised the most money.

The run also served as a fundraiser for the TACP Association, a group that assists members of the TACP community and their families.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui