AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 ran a half marathon in support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure here June 3.
The drive and motivation for the 14 Marines was given by 1st Lt. Brandon E. Cooley, heavy equipment officer-in-charge, and Gunnery Sgt. Ryan S. Hermance, engineer company first sergeant, when they pitched the idea of a run to their co-workers.
Cooley lost his mother to cancer in 2001 and made the commitment to running the Race for a Cure to remember her.
"I had the opportunity to run races for cancer awareness with her after her first battle with cancer," said Cooley. "When she died, I decided to continue the tradition."
The original plan was to run the three miles arranged by the Al Asad Marine Corps Community Services, but when that was cancelled they took it upon themselves to organize a run.
"We couldn't back out and it was for a good cause," said Cooley. "Besides, not many people can say they've run a half marathon in Iraq."
"Everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer," stated Hermance. "Even though we are deployed to Iraq, we wanted to show our support to the cause and to Cooley."
After two and a half hours and 14 miles, the Marines crossed the finish line. They raised $240 for the foundation, which was donated by fellow Marines.
MWSS-274 operates under the umbrella of Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, while in Iraq.