Sky Soldiers’ Ride to Recovery 2023
Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:18pm admin
In honor of the sacrifice of the fallen and wounded, their families and those who served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the Combat Veterans of the 173rd Airborne Brigade will begin a 500-mile horseback and hiking journey Northbound on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
This journey will begin April 15, 2023 near Campo, California at the USA/Mexico border. This event will deliver an opportunity for veterans to heal, reconnecting them and moving forward through mutual support. It will also serve to raise awareness of the plight that many veterans, beyond those who served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and their families face daily.
The funds raised will be distributed evenly between the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association’s Gold Star Program and the Sky Soldiers Foundation’s Scholarship Program. Both organizations support the Sky Soldier Community active duty service members, veterans and their respective families. You can learn more about them at www.skysoldier.net which is a recognized 501(c)(19) organization and at www.skysoldiersfoundation.org which is an IRS determined 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. Because of this, donations and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Donations can be made directly through their websites or through our go-fund me account at https://gofund.me/e610d2ae please specify Sky Soldiers’ Ride2Recovery 2023.
173rd Airborne Brigade history of its Sky Soldiers’ valor and service milestones
The brigade’s initial formation dates back to WWI as a ground combat unit, however it was in March 1963 that it was activated as an Airborne unit and that is when those who served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade were given the legendary name “Sky Soldiers”. For all who have served this endearing and enduring designation is proudly proclaimed as their own.
The year 2023 is the 20th Anniversary of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s Combat Parachute Assault into Northern Iraq and the 60th Anniversary of the 173rd Airborne Brigade being re-activated. On March 26, 1963, the 173rd Airborne Brigade became part of the Regular Army and two years later it would become the first major ground combat unit in Vietnam. During the next six years its Sky Soldiers participated in some of the most severe and significant battles of the Vietnam War. During those years, the Vietnam War Sky Soldiers, through service with honor dignity and valor, would be awarded 13 Medals of Honor, 32 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1,736 Silver Stars and more than 6,000 Purple Hearts. Sadly, 1,533 Sky Soldiers are memorialized on The Wall in Washington DC.
On March 26, 2003, 954 Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted a Combat Parachute Assault onto Bashur Airfield in Northern Iraq, effectively opening the Northern front of the war, it marked the start of five years of intensive combat. Like the Sky Soldiers of generations past, this was accomplished with enormous sacrifice and unwavering service. Sky Soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be awarded three Medals of Honor, and more than 1,200 Purple Hearts in some of the most pivotal battles of Operation Enduring Freedom. Eighty-five Sky Soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our Nation.
The PCT is an extremely demanding trail that runs from Mexico to Canada, the only way to overcome a challenge like this is to possess the intestinal fortitude and perseverance inherent in every Sky Soldier, past and present. The journey will be undertaken on horseback covering a distance of 20-30 miles per day, dependent upon weather, resupply, and trail conditions. Hikers are encouraged to participate at distances and sections of the trail they choose.
Support is needed throughout the event, training facilities, horses for the journey, food and camping supplies plus volunteers to include drivers, medical and veterinarian personnel, campsite volunteers, and other.