Walking warriors

Upper Peninsula native Jeremy Tierney and two of his fellow veterans pause for a photo at Monarch Lake in Colorado during the walk along the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Tierney)

MARQUETTE — The Warrior Expeditions website (warriorexpeditions.org) posted this as an explanation of how the organization started:

“In 1948, Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to ‘walk off the war’ to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Earl Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Following in Earl Shaffer’s footsteps and in recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance outdoor expeditions, Warrior Expeditions created the Warrior Hike, Warrior Bike and Warrior Paddle programs which are designed to help combat veterans transition from their military service.”

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The present-day organization Warrior Expeditions offers this as its background:

“Historically, military units would experience a lengthy journey home after fighting a campaign abroad. During this journey home, warriors would process and come to terms with their wartime experiences. But in today’s age of modern transportation, military personnel can find themselves home within a few days of serving in a combat zone. Since 2001, over 2.5 million veterans have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but many of them have never transitioned from their experiences. This is evident by the recent report from the Department of Veteran Affairs which states that over 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“After returning home from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Sean Gobin hiked all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance hiking, Sean founded Warrior Expeditions that supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by participating in long-distance outdoor expeditions.”

Meet the other veterans walking the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail with Upper Peninsula native Jeremy Tierney:

Brian Flatt

Hometown: Golden, Colorado

Branch: United States Marine Corps

Military Occupational Specialty: Reconnaissance Man

Service: 1999-2003

Deployments: Iraq

John French

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee

Branch: United States Army

MOS: Armor Crewman

Service: 2001-2004

Deployments: Iraq

Heath Lanctot

Hometown: Ashburn, Virginia

Branch: United States Marine Corps

MOS: Reconnaissance Man

Service: 1999-2012

Deployments: Iraq

Additional Articles:

Walking ‘Home’