Our Renewed Mission Statement

“The 03XX Foundation’s purpose is to keep the eternal promise of Fidelity to our brothers in the infantry, to our Corps and to our country; by strengthening the bonds of friendship and camaraderie; by honoring our history, traditions and worthy dead; and materially and spiritually assisting our brothers in arms and their families.”

The Iwo Jima Memorial at the U.S. Marine War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Iwo Jima Memorial at the U.S. Marine War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Trans Pecos Ultra Marathon

I’ve read about the ultra marathon community and watched a documentary on the annual Badwater 135 run in Death Valley. The sheer gnarliness of what was happening on TV made my knees ache and my back start to spasm. Not to mention a slight pucker factor watching these seemingly super human individuals push themselves beyond the normal boundaries of the human body.

Some people thrive on this torture. My former squad mate from 2/2, Thomas Karlick, found solace in running while trying to battle his own post-combat demons. After a second tour to Iraq, he had a tough time transitioning out of the Marines; ultra marathon running became his way to focus on something other than the past and to continue a mission. After his 170 mile self-supported ultra marathon race for the Travis Manion Foundation in 2015, I was intrigued at the preparation taken to run these races. We talked about teaming up for an ultra marathon on behalf of the 03XX Foundation which I happened to know very well.

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On post atop of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia – Africa April 1996

Arriving at the airport in Charleston, SC, I am greeted by a Marine in his service uniform. Alongside a group of ten or so other young men, we wait at the gate for a few other recruits to land. From there the Marine walks us single file to the bathroom, or head. He stands us in front of the sink and tells us to empty all contraband from our pockets, such as cigarettes, lighters, and knives. He collects them all and takes us through a maze of hallways in the bowels of the airport. We arrive to a room where we are instructed to sit down and lunch was passed out “bag nasties”. After we eat we are told to put our heads on the table and sleep. I was not sure what to expect as my recruiter only told me about island life, not the details of the journey to get to the island. None of us are allowed to look up. Every thirty minutes or so new recruits enter the room and are ordered to do the same, thus beginning our thirteen weeks of having no control.

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