By Rachel Jackson, THE BAYONETNovember 20, 2009
Fort Benning, Ga. (Nov. 20, 2009) -- More than 20 runners from the Warrior Transition Battalion embarked on a journey Monday to run an Olympic torch across post in a six-mile run.
The torch was obtained from the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"The Olympic flame represents the endeavor for perfection and the struggle for victory," said WTB commander Lt. Col. Sean Mulcahey. "This relay run is going to represent our struggle for victory as individuals and more importantly, as a team. It's going to demonstrate that WTB Soldiers are motivated and they are struggling for victory and they will succeed."
On their journey, WTB Soldiers stopped by Faith Middle School and were greeted by the school's band playing the Star Spangled Banner and a flag ceremony. The Faith Middle School cross-country team led the runners while students cheered and clapped as the WTB Soldiers ran with the torch.
Soldiers, including Lt. Col. Mark Koloc, A Company, ran with the torch. Koloc has a shrapnel wound in his left leg from a deployment to Afghanistan.
"It was moving to carry the Olympic torch," he said. "The run was challenging, but it made me feel mentally and spiritually good. I was hurting, but there was something about it - I didn't want to walk."
Spc. Michael Dusch, of B Company, carried the torch on the last stretch of the relay. He said carrying the torch was an honor but wished the run was longer.
"I just had it in my heart that I wanted to run longer," he said.
Dusch, who is recovering from an ACL injury, a neck and back injuries after he was injured by an improvised explosive device, said what kept him going was words of encouragement from the other runners.
"Everyone had my back and told me to keep pushing myself," he said. "We were all in it together."
Staff Sgt. Nick Philoctete, B Company, didn't run in the relay but said he was inspired by it.
"It shows a lot of courage and dedication from the Soldiers," he said. "Everyone here has some kind of issue whether it is mental, physical or emotional. And you have people that have pain, but they still have the will to keep going. It takes a lot of will power to finish this relay."
The torch run was the first event of the WTB Commander's Cup. Other events of the cup include a talent show, water polo, bowling, volleyball, tug-of-war, basketball and a triathlon.