• Capt. Fred Dequina, left, Pfc. James John, and Sgt. Mariano Hurtado lead the 2nd BSB, 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. super squad team up the Vassault Hill into the final stretch of the race. The team finished first with a time of 53:37:00.

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    Capt. Fred Dequina, left, Pfc. James John, and Sgt. Mariano Hurtado lead the 2nd BSB, 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. super squad team up the Vassault Hill into the final stretch of the race. The team finished first with a time of 53:37:00.

  • The 562nd Engr. Co., 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. super squad team tries to make the best of Vassault Hill during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

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    The 562nd Engr. Co., 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. super squad team tries to make the best of Vassault Hill during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

  • A member of the HHB, 593rd Sust. Bde. super squad team raises her hands at the start of the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma. The brigade finished first in the squad division with a time of 1:15:40.

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    A member of the HHB, 593rd Sust. Bde. super squad team raises her hands at the start of the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma. The brigade finished first in the squad division with a time of 1:15:40.

  • The 38th Eng. Co., 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., super squad team chats at Vassault Park prior to running the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma. The team finished with a time of 1:29:40.

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    The 38th Eng. Co., 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., super squad team chats at Vassault Park prior to running the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma. The team finished with a time of 1:29:40.

  • The B Co., 308 BSB super squad team takes off during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

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    The B Co., 308 BSB super squad team takes off during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

  • Spc. Christopher Wagner, left, and Pfc. Julito Almonte stretch prior to running in the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

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    Spc. Christopher Wagner, left, and Pfc. Julito Almonte stretch prior to running in the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

  • The 38th Eng. Co., 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., super squad team runs past a sprinkler after climbing the Vassault Hill during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma. The team finished with a time of 1:29:40.

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    The 38th Eng. Co., 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., super squad team runs past a sprinkler after climbing the Vassault Hill during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma. The team finished with a time of 1:29:40.

  • 1st Lt. Alan Villanueva, with the 63rd Ord. Co., 593rd Sust. Bde., stretches out prior to running in the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

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    1st Lt. Alan Villanueva, with the 63rd Ord. Co., 593rd Sust. Bde., stretches out prior to running in the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

  • Virginia Aird, left, and her husband Stephen cheer runners in the  2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run Saturday in Tacoma.

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    Virginia Aird, left, and her husband Stephen cheer runners in the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run Saturday in Tacoma.

  • The 585th Engr. Co. team crosses the finish line at the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

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    The 585th Engr. Co. team crosses the finish line at the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

  • A member of the 63rd Ord. Co., 593rd Sust. Bde. super squad team runs through a sprinkler to cool off during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

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    A member of the 63rd Ord. Co., 593rd Sust. Bde. super squad team runs through a sprinkler to cool off during the 2011 Sound to Narrows 12K Military Run June 11 in Tacoma.

TACOMA, Wash. -- Most neighbors would find being woken up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday by a radio announcer and about 220 runners annoying.

Getting out chairs and cheering them on is another matter entirely.

“We gotta watch the race, we watch it all the time,” Virginia Aird said of the annual Sound to Narrows Military Run, which took place Saturday.

She and her husband, Stephen, live along the iconic Tacoma 12K run’s route, and have been watching the runners for years.

This year’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Military Run, which each year precedes the civilian Sound to Narrows 12K, included about 220 Soldiers and Airmen.

They run in Super Squads of eight to 10 individuals or Standard Units of at least 20, each required to cross the finish line in formation to place.

“This is my favorite race of the year,” FMWR Intramural Sports Coordinator Kathleen Salcedo said.
The race, which started in 1973, is an important tradition in the region. Its hilly route winds through Point Defiance Park, finishing at Vassault Park.

“It’s kind of the kickoff to summer in the South Puget Sound area,” Sound to Narrows Event Manager Danette Felt said.

It’s also an opportunity for military personnel to get out and make an impression in the civilian community.

“During the time of war, it’s important for the community to see that the military is more than just a war-fighting machine,” Spc. Zenon Herrera, 593rd Sustainment Brigade, said.

For Virginia Aird, the best part is seeing the camaraderie. She often watches units pace themselves
on the corner near her house, waiting for the whole group to catch up before crossing the finish line.

One year, two teammates carried an injured friend up the long final hill into the park.

Both sentiments ring true for Pfc. Rudy Sutton, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division as well.

“This is what we fight for,” he said. “This is what we go overseas for.”

Sutton’s Super Squad was the first to cross the finish line, 53 minutes and 37 seconds into the run.

It’s an accomplishment the group trained four weeks for, and they were happy to see it pay off. But more than that, they were happy to be part of a team.

“I’m glad to be running with all these great people,” Sutton said.

Marisa Petrich: marisa.petrich@nwguardian.com

Page last updated Thu June 16th, 2011 at 00:00