Female Marine Running 161 Miles To Honor 161 Fallen Servicewomen
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Aired 2/26/16 on KPBS News.
A female Marine set off Thursday on a 161-mile run from Los Angeles to San Diego to pay tribute to the 161 women who have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Marine Capt. Maggie Seymour, 29, set off Thursday on a 161-mile Valor Run from Los Angeles to San Diego to honor the 161 servicewomen who lost their lives during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s in no way to say that women are any more special, or the death of a woman is any more tragic than the death of her male counterpart,” Seymour said. “It’s just to make sure it’s all included in the discussion."
The role of women in combat has drawn mixed reactions following a decision by the Pentagon in December that allows women to serve in all ground combat jobs, as long as they meet rigorous requirements.
“I think in the end it’s going to prove to be beneficial to our forces and to our national security,” said Seymour, who is based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Seymour, who served a yearlong tour in Iraq and spent another full year in Afghanistan, said she didn’t engage in combat, but some of her female friends were on the front lines participating in dangerous missions.
Female pilots flew through combat zones, female medics treated the wounded on the front lines and all-female teams known as “lionesses” accompanied troops in house-to-house searches.
Step by step, Seymour hopes to get the message out that women play an integral role in the military. She plans to carry on her run a list of the names of the 161 fallen servicewomen.
Her ambitious finish line, which she hopes to reach on Sunday, is atop Mt. Soledad at the National Veterans Memorial — an 800-foot-high climb and a fitting place to end an emotional run, she said.
“It’s a tribute memorial to our fallen veterans through a number of years and wars so I felt that this was an appropriate place to kind of end a memorial run.”
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