SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)- The 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse held their 5th annual Fallen Defenders Memorial Ruck March on Wednesday to honor 14 airmen who lost their lives defending our nation.
The walk lasts 24 hours and is a three-mile loop around the base. Pictures of the 14 airmen are posted throughout the route. One of the men was Staff Sergeant Louis Bonacasa who was killed in December 2015 while on deployment in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorcycle into his security team.
Senior Master Sergeant Scott Walsh trained closely with Bonacasa back in the early 2000’s at the 106th Rescue wing on Long Island. “I went to school with him when we were both promoted to Tech Sergeant,” said Walsh. “We had a lot of fun time and good stories that came out of that.”
Walsh said everyone who knew him, love him. “His personality, everyone liked to hang out with him and he was always the life of the party type of guy, always there when you needed him.”
He knew all about the mission Bonacasa was on when he died, so when he heard the tragic news, he became emotional. “I was on that same mission a couple years prior to it, so I knew what it was like and the dangers involved, so (I felt) sadness and was also proud of him and the sacrifice he made.”
Some who participated in the march wore special t-shirts with all proceeds going directly to the Sergeant Louis Bonacasa Memorial Scholarship for students, to keep his memory alive. Captain Devin Will, of the 174th Security Forces Squadron, said everyone needs to recognize the sacrifices made so Americans can have their freedoms. “I think too it helps with the younger generation coming through and just instilling that sacrifice and dedication of those fallen 14 defenders and to just keep the tradition and keeping them alive.”
The march started at 11 a.m. on Wednesday and goes until 11 a.m. on Thursday.