Soldiers remember 9/11 during AF half marathon

Photos and story by Spc. Lisa A. Cope
13th SC(E) public affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Roughly 600 hundred runners participated in the Air Force Half Marathon Sept. 11, at Holt Stadium on Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Peter F. Galan, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the reception, replacement, return to duty, rest and recuperation, and redeployment/casualty operations in the finance operations cell for the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Staff Sgt. Travis Donmoyer, a technical engineering NCO for the 13th SC(E), trained together for two months to prepare for the half marathon.

Galan, a Wittier, Calif. native, and Donmoyer, an Annville, Pa. native, completed the 13-mile run in 1 hour 49 minutes.

Galan said they have a similar running pace and push each other to be better.

“We said we were going to finish together and we finished together,” said Galan.

Galan and Donmoyer started running together in January, mostly 5Ks, and started training for the half marathon in July. They started with smaller distances of 2 to 3 miles and gradually worked their way up to the full distance, said Donmoyer.

“A good way to motivate each other is talking smack,” said Galan. “It’s all in good fun and it keeps us going.”

At 8 a.m., while some participants were still running, a Sept. 11, 2001 remembrance ceremony, including prayer and a moment of silence, was held at Holt Stadium.

Galan said he was already serving when the Pentagon and World Trade Center were attacked.

“I was on my way to Kuwait for a rotation when the towers got hit,” said Galan.

Donmoyer said the attacks contributed to his decision to join the military.

“I enlisted in the Army exactly a week after 9/11,” said Donmoyer. “I don’t think anyone out here can say it doesn’t mean something to them.”


news photo
Runners take off from the starting line at 5 a.m. Sept. 11, during the Air Force Half Marathon at Holt Stadium on Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lisa A. Cope)