'Rock' Soldiers run Old Glory Relay

Story by Sgt. William Howard

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — “Do you need a ride,” asked a confused Colorado Springs resident from their car to a group of runners carrying an American flag during rush-hour traffic in downtown Colorado Springs, Oct. 8, 2015. 

But the runners had a mission, Soldiers of Bayonet Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were assisting members of Team Red, White and Blue during their second-annual Old Glory Relay by carrying the American flag.

“This year we’re coming through Colorado Springs to really celebrate the community,” said Mike Greenwood, Army veteran and Colorado Springs Chapter Captain, Team RWB. “What we’re trying to capture with this relay is what our members are capable of doing. One of the biggest things that we do is highlight the strength that our runners have.”

Team RWB, a non-profit organization supporting U.S. veterans, began the second annual coast-to-coast Old Glory Relay, Sept. 11, 2015, where 59 teams of runners move a single American flag across the country in a 3,540-mile journey from San Francisco to Washington.

“The run was good. We had 10 guys from my platoon show up, run three miles per guy and I told them to go at their own pace,” said Staff Sgt. John Reyes, infantry squad leader, Bayonet Company, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. “We were told to stop a couple of times because we were going too fast. Everyone felt like they ran better with the flag, because it’s the American flag and you want to look good with it, so it raised their morale.”

Reyes added that they wanted to be a part of the Old Glory Relay in order to help veterans in the community and across the country.

“We try to raise awareness for Soldiers suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),” said Reyes, who’s been part of Team RWB for the past year. “I’ve been sober my whole life, for 33 years, and I’m trying to inspire people that there’s different ways to battle PTSD; instead of abusing alcohol or drugs.”

1st Lt. Alexander Morrow, assistant intelligence, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., said it was easy to get Soldiers from his unit involved in the Old Glory Relay.

“We were looking for volunteers to run the flag today, and Bayonet Company jumped at the opportunity,” said Morrow, who’s been with Team RWB for the last four years. “From junior Soldiers all the way up to the company commander.”

The Old Glory Relay continues through Kansas City, Missouri, across the Mississippi River to St. Louis, southern parts of Illinois and Indiana, Kentucky, the Appalachian Mountains throughout Ohio and West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia until finishing in Washington at sunset on Nov. 8, 2015.