FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Early in the morning, as the sun began to beam through the trees of east Fort Bragg, more than 40 people gathered for the annual 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) G6 Family ruck march.
Sgt. Maj. Robert Trawick Jr. started the march in August of 2009 during his time as the 1st TSC G6 sergeant major.
"I started the Family rucks because the 1st TSC does a lot of deploying, and I wanted to do something with the Families, something that could make us feel like a community," said Trawick, who is currently the U.S. Forces Command G6 sergeant major. "I wanted to do something so the Families could see what we do in the Army, and they could be a part of it."
Although new sergeants major have come and gone for the team of Soldiers who are responsible for the command's tactical and strategic communications, the ruck march has thrived and gained popularity throughout the years.
"I get goosebumps knowing this tradition is still alive," said Trawick with a smile. "Whether it was one person or one hundred, it obviously meant something to someone for this to keep going."
The event is an opportunity for Soldiers to spend time with their Families and share their stories with co-workers and leaders.
"These stories create lasting memories for our Families and in the end, by sharing a part of the Soldiers work environment, you've created a closer connection by introducing Families to a tiny portion of the military culture," said Sgt. Maj. Samuel Jones, G6 sergeant major and Philadelphia native.
About 25 spouses and Family members, some riding in strollers, walking alongside their Soldier and even a few furry family members joined the G6 team. Maria Reyna, spouse of Pvt. Antonio Reyna, woke up earlier than usual to march with her husband, his co-workers and their two sons.
"I wanted to be out here to support my husband, and we have only been here for two months so it's given me the chance to meet new people," the Reno, Nevada native said. "It was a lot of fun and I look forward to participating in more events like this."
For Jones, this family affair was "bittersweet" as it was his last with the G6 team.
"We continue to do the ruck march because it's good for our team morale and it gives us leaders a chance again to interact with the Families and kids," he said.
At the end of the march with temperatures rising, Soldiers and their Families finished the march together, successfully completing the tradition for another year and headed for a well-deserved family breakfast.
"It's made us stronger as a team and gives us a chance to show off our Signal orange t-shirts," said Jones. "I just hope that the leaders will keep the tradition going."