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This 66-Year-Old Marine Just Walked 300 Miles For Veteran’s Issues — Again
Marine Corps veteran Terry Sharpe cares about walking. A lot. But what he cares about more is using his long, long walks to shed light on important veterans issues.
Sharpe, a veteran of the Vietnam War, on June 1, finished his fifth 300-mile journey from his home in Summerfield, North Carolina to Washington, DC. Each time he makes the trek, he travels approximately 10 to 14 miles a day, all in the service of drawing attention to urgent problems facing the veterans community.
Sharpe says he still suffers from post-traumatic stress from fighting in Vietnam, and his own experience inspired him to transform his pain into something positive.
“I've had it for 48 years, it don't go away, you just have to deal with it,” Sharpe told WSET.com. “Only way I can do it is by walking on the highway with two flags on my back.”
Sharpe’s focused on several issues in the past, including veteran incarceration and PTSD, but this year’s journey was dedicated to raising awareness of veteran suicide. He was accompanied by Ken Wilson, whose Army veteran son killed himself in 2013.
"It's rough on both of us. Our feet, we hurt at the end of the day. But it's worth it if we can just maybe save one," Sharpe told WSLS10.
In September 2014, Sharpe and fellow former Marine Allen Brown walked from their homes in North Carolina to Washington, DC, twice, to protest the federal government’s inaction in liberating Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison.
Sharpe’s third trek in June 2015 called attention to the plights of four Americans — Marine Amir Hekmati, christian pastor Saeed Abedini, reporter Jason Rezaian, and former FBI agent Robert Levinson — held hostage in an Iranian prison.
And in June 2016, Sharpe donned his hiking boots once again to call for more government action to end the 22 veteran suicides that occur daily across America. Although the VA has reduced that estimate to 20 veterans a day, the number is still too high for Sharpe’s comfort.
“Coming home from war, a six-month deployment on a ship or simply transitioning from a life in uniform to a life without one can be difficult and the various state and federal systems set up to deal with this transition and life after military services are unable to meet the need,” Sharpe wrote on WalkingMarine.com, his personal site. “The challenges of adjustment and transition, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and physical disabilities, all need to be addressed especially as these things result in barriers to education, employment, health care and overall individual well being.”
Task & Purpose reached out to Sharpe. We will update when more information becomes available.
‘We constantly have them on our minds’ — A little-known agency searches all over for the remains of MIA service members
The 80-minute ride each day to the site in Lang Son Province, Vietnam, through mostly unspoiled forestland and fields, reminded Air Force Master Sgt. Aliah Reyes a little of her hometown back in Maine.
The Eliot native recently returned from a 45-day mission to the Southeast Asian country, where she was part of a team conducting a search for a Vietnam War service member who went missing more than 45 years ago and is presumed dead.
Reyes, 38, enlisted in the Air Force out of high school and has spent more than half her life in military service. But she had never been a part of anything like this.
A U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle burst into flames on the side of a Polish roadway on Saturday, the Army confirmed on Monday.
A memo circulating over the weekend warning of a "possible imminent attack" against U.S. soldiers in Germany was investigated by Army officials, who found there to not be a serious threat after all.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Comedian Jon Stewart has joined forces with veterans groups to make sure service members who have been sickened by toxins from burn pits get the medical care they need, according to the Military Officers Association of America.
"Quite frankly, this is not just about burn pits — it's about the way we go to war as a country," Stewart said during his Jan. 17 visit to Washington, D.C. "We always have money to make war. We need to always have money to take care of what happens to people who are selfless enough, patriotic enough, to wage those wars on our behalf."