Rucking 12-miles for Jacobson

Members march past a static display outside Jacobson Gate on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Members from across the base participated in the march to honor the anniversary of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson’s death in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

Members march past a static display outside Jacobson Gate on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Members from across the base participated in the march to honor the anniversary of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson’s death in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Adrian Varela, 17th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, carries the 17th SFS guidon during the Jacobson Ruck March outside the Jacobson Gate on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Varela carried the guidon for the 12-mile march. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Adrian Varela, 17th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, carries the 17th SFS guidon during the Jacobson Ruck March outside the Jacobson Gate on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Varela carried the guidon for the 12-mile march. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing Commander, gives a speech to rally members of the Jacobson Memorial Ruck March at the Mathis Field Vietnam Memorial, San Angelo, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Members carried ruck sacks that included 25 pounds or more for a 12-mile march. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing Commander, gives a speech to rally members of the Jacobson Memorial Ruck March at the Mathis Field Vietnam Memorial, San Angelo, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Members carried ruck sacks that included 25 pounds or more for a 12-mile march. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

The 17th Security Force Squadron displays a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross at the Jacobson Gate on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. The 17th SFS hosted a ruck march and created the display in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, the first security forces squadron member to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

The 17th Security Force Squadron displays a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross at the Jacobson Gate on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. The 17th SFS hosted a ruck march and created the display in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, the first security forces squadron member to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

Members from Goodfellow Air Force Base participate in the Jacobson Ruck March in San Angelo, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Participants from various ranks, branches and squadrons marched for 12-miles to honor Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson’s memory. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/ Released)

Members from Goodfellow Air Force Base participate in the Jacobson Ruck March in San Angelo, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Participants from various ranks, branches and squadrons marched for 12-miles to honor Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson’s memory. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/ Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Wiseman, 17th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog kennel master, and Staff Sgt. Mark Riley, 17th SFS unit trainer, fold the American flag during the Jacobson Memorial Ruck March at the Mathis Field Vietnam Memorial, San Angelo, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Members from Goodfellow Air Force Base rucked 12-miles in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson’s death in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Wiseman, 17th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog kennel master, and Staff Sgt. Mark Riley, 17th SFS unit trainer, fold the American flag during the Jacobson Memorial Ruck March at the Mathis Field Vietnam Memorial, San Angelo, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016. Members from Goodfellow Air Force Base rucked 12-miles in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson’s death in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caelynn Ferguson/Released)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 17th Security Forces Squadron hosted a 12-mile Jacobson Ruck March for 2016 starting at the San Angelo Regional Airport Sept. 28.

The ruck march honored Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, the first security forces Airman to die during Operation Iraqi Freedom Sept. 28, 2005. Over 52 members, from various ranks, squadrons and branches, came together to honor her death.

The memorial march is a good motivator for the troops and it lets the participants build camaraderie as they march together, said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Lara, 17th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of unit training and organizer for the march.

The group gathered with their rucks at the Mathis Field Vietnam Memorial outside the local airport at 5:15 a.m. and began to march the 12-mile hike to the Jacobson Gate, the South gate of Goodfellow Air Force Base, at 6 a.m. Members were encouraged to wear rucks, or back packs, of at least 25 pounds during the trek.

Master Sgt. Russell Weatherby, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station 721st Security Force Squadron superintendent and previous comrade of Jacobson, spoke of her spirit and joined in with the ruck march.

“When she [Jacobson] got to Iraq, she was put on force protection,” said Weatherby. “It wasn’t something she wanted to do … She wanted to do something else besides sit in a tower. She kept raising her hand saying ‘pick me’ … She got her chance and she made the best of it and she smiled every day … She was real small but she would carry the weight of the whole team.”

The ruck march ended once the group reached the Jacobson Gate where the gate guards revealed a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross display next to Jacobson’s plaque.

“May we never let her memory fade but instead brighten our day and remind us that each day is a gift and there is so much good worth protecting,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Bryan Fox, 17th Training Wing chaplain.