"Like most of us who have served in the military, I have memories that are never far away. In 2007, I led a group of 800 paratroopers on a perilous tour in Afghanistan. They motivated a large insurgent group to switch sides, but the cost was high: Six were killed in action. I still think about them and all the survivors daily — the love for those who had your back in combat never goes away.
"Coming up on the 15-year anniversary, I wanted to visit their graves and tell their families that these men are not forgotten. But driving the 1,689 miles didn’t feel right, and walking would have taken too long. I decided on cycling.
“But I wasn’t riding only for those six men. Some survivors could be entering the most dangerous days of their lives. Since our deployment, our unit has lost more of our troops to suicide and substance abuse than to enemy fire. Post-traumatic stress, midlife crisis and feelings of emptiness are a potentially deadly combination. That’s the reason I established a foundation to raise money to help our unit’s veterans and their families.”
Read the full article and more from AARP.