Freedom march from Hinesville to Tybee - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Freedom march from Hinesville to Tybee

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A 70 mile journey on foot is going on right now along our highways. Eight Fort Stewart based soldiers are walking to remember those who've served, past and present.

Among the combat engineers, from 1-3 Special Troops Battalion, First Brigade, 3rd ID, a thirteen year old marching along US Hwy 84 in the sweltering summer heat.

Sergeant Jimmy Allen says he grew up in Texas, and walking to Tybee from Hinesville is just their nature. "It's what's instilled in my roots," said Allen. "It's really no big deal to me, same with these guys; it's more of a way of life for us."

Sergeant Craig Pruden walked to Jacksonville recently, and thought walking to the beach on July 3rd through the 4th, would be the best way to show his respect.

"The freedom we were given was a very long and dredging road and to kind of portray that, we wanted to walk the 70 miles to really feel what the world had to go through to get to where we are now." Said Pruden.

Sergeant Pruden and his "Desert Cat" crew walk a path many don't, and right next to Pruden, doing the best he can to keep up, is Pruden's younger brother, Thomas Youngblood. The two haven't seen each other in five years.

"It's good that he's out here walking with us, but he's not really climatized to this area because he just came from alaska, so we're probably going to throw him in the vehicle pretty soon." Pruden joked.

So when Thomas can't walk anymore, -he and the other soldiers following with water and food make sure everyone can safely complete their mission.

Thomas admires them all, "They're really tough, and that they can push through this, and they can probably do this."

They're tough, but just a little support makes them smile. The staff from Muse Collision repair cheered them on as they walked past. The owner has been in business for 10 years and it's the first time he's seen this act of patriotism.

William Muse said, "I think it's great. I think there's a lot of support, soldiers and their brotherhood, you know look out for each other both away serving and at home."

Pruden responds, "That was a real morale booster; it helps us keep our minds off the heat and sun."

And at around noon, the heat index in Hinvesville was 96, plus, they're carrying 40 pound weights in their ruck sacks or chest pieces, reminding at least one teen and anyone passing by, that heroes walk among us.

"He's like a war hero...and fights." says the young impressionable teen.

The engineers will continue through the night toward Tybee Island, and their support team will follow closely as fatigue will be setting in. They hope to take a dip in the ocean Friday morning around 8 a.m.

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