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Erik McCaffrey

The Long March

When Erik McCaffrey set out to walk from UT Arlington to Fort Hood, his goal wasn't to break a record or get in shape. It was to pay tribute to those who came before him.

On March 13, McCaffrey, a cadet lieutenant colonel in UT Arlington's ROTC, and about 40 others began the 126-mile journey to Fort Hood. Their path mimicked a similar trek, dubbed the Long March, that a dozen cadets made 50 years earlier. The group reached its destination March 17.

"What was unexpected and honoring were the many people who took time out of their schedules just to stop along the road and watch us pass by," McCaffrey says. "Many waved flags or held up banners. I give a lot of credit to those people. It was rejuvenating to see such support."

McCaffrey says that support—both organized and spontaneous—gave the troop energy to continue and a tremendous amount of pride in their country.

He says he's not certain he'd participate in another Long March right away, but "I know my fellow marchers and I will be prepared as military leaders in the future."

children holding U.S.A. sign

"What was unexpected and honoring were the many people who took time out of their schedules just to stop along the road and watch us pass by."

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