The race begins as Soldiers, veterans, civilians, and families run towards the top of Kennesaw Mountain. Georgia State Defense Force Photo by Pvt. Alexander Davidson
CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER, Marietta, Georgia, October 17, 2015 – This morning over 220 runners braved a cold dark morning to come out and run for a cause, the 4th Annual Assault on Kennesaw Mountain 5K. Sponsored by the Freedom Calls Memorial Foundation, the race honors the Georgia Army National Guard fallen and continuing efforts in support of the Freedom Calls Memorial located at the Clay National Guard Center (CNGC). “The Georgia Army National Guard (GAARNG) has lost 42 Soldiers on foreign soil in defense of our security and freedom since September 11th, 2001. Their courage and ultimate sacrifice motivated the Georgia Army National Guard to conceptualize a local event to honor our fallen Georgia Guardsmen. These fallen Soldiers and their families deserve our thanks and appreciation. The Assault on Kennesaw Mountain 5K Run is the embodiment of our gratitude for those Georgia Guardsmen who have fallen,” said Sgt. Maj. Jason D. York, 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade Operations and Master of Ceremony for the day.
Sgt. Maj. York starting the tribute to the 42 fallen Soldiers. Georgia State Defense Force Photo by Pvt. Alexander Davidson
The morning’s pre-race activities started with Sgt. Maj. York’s welcome to all and introduction of Georgia Adjutant General Brigadier General Joe Jarrard who addressed the crowd of anxious runners. This followed by a memorial tribute that included a heart-wrenching presentation of Taps as played by a bugler for the 42 fallen GAARNG Soldiers lost in the Global War on Terror in front of a “traveling” representation of the Memorial Wall located at CNGC.
Sgt. Maj. York briefed the crowd on what to expect and advised that the temperature and wind chill at the finish line on the top of Kennesaw Mountain was considerably “colder” than at the start, so be prepared. At the starting line, Cobb County Police briefly closed traffic on Kennesaw Avenue to allow the racers to line up. And they were off, soldiers, civilians, young and old, supported the cause and headed for the top of Kennesaw Mountain.
GSDF Soldier providing Traffic Control and Force Protection during the Mission. Georgia State Defense Force Photo by Pvt. Alexander Davidson
In an awards ceremony atop Kennesaw Mountain, Sgt. Maj. York awarded trophies and medals in over 16 different age and gender categories following the successful completion of the race. In the last ceremony of the day as an ending tribute, Sgt. Maj. York was presented a challenge coin inscribed, “Enriching the lives of America’s veterans” by Team Red White and Blue (RWB). Team RWB’s volunteers provided valuable assistance in organizing and help run this successful event. Soldiers from the Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) were on hand to provide Traffic Control and Force Protection duty under Maj. Stephen J. Knezo’s command.