As the 10th Mountain Division this morning marks the 12th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it will be joined by an Army National Guardsman who marched more than 80 miles to observe the ceremony.
Sgt. Glenn A. Follett, who serves full time maintaining unmanned aerial vehicles with Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 27th Infantry Brigade, has walked since Saturday morning from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base to raise awareness of the day and to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
As of Tuesday afternoon, he had raised $975 of his $1,000 goal.
I dont want no fireworks; I dont want no band, he said.
During his first deployment to Afghanistan last year, Sgt. Follett, 44, spent Sept. 11 launching an RQ-7 Shadow drone in Pasab, Afghanistan.
I just did what I was training for, he said. It was kind of overwhelming.
When he returned to the States in December, Sgt. Follett said, he wanted to find a way to make the day memorable again. He got the idea for the march from the Wounded Walk, in which two Marines are traveling from Camp Pendleton, Calif., to Washington, D.C., over the course of four months with a targeted finish of Oct. 1.
To get to the post, the sergeant traveled primarily on routes 11 and 3, camping along the way. He said he had many people offer him help along the walk, including a free night and laundry at the Aspinwall Motel, Henderson Harbor.
The farther north I go, the nicer people got, Sgt. Follett said.
The only portion of the trip not done on foot was a short car ride on Route 3 to Henderson on Sunday after heavy fatigue set in while he was walking near a stretch of private property he was told he could not camp on.
He walked into Watertown on Monday afternoon.
Sgt. Follett spoke to the Times on Tuesday at the home of his friend Steven C. Wood, where he was recuperating in advance of walking about 10 miles to the post early this morning. He said his feet had some blisters, and his legs were sore from the walk.
He originally was supposed to make the trip with his son Sean, 15, but school commitments prevented the teen from going.
Sgt. Follett first joined the Army in the late 1980s, and has served in the military for about 15 years between active-duty and National Guard roles, including time in the 10th Mountain Division when its soldiers deployed to Somalia. The Afghanistan deployment last year was the fourth of his career.
He said he was working as a public safety officer at Syracuse University when the attacks happened in New York City.
You just want to get down there and do something, he recalled.
In addition to marking the anniversary, Sgt. Follett said, more attention needs to be focused on supporting service members through their transition home from deployments overseas. He said soldiers who appear unaffected in the weeks after returning from deployment started to exhibit signs of stress months later.
It doesnt hit people right away, he said.
Despite visiting Clark Hall and the posts memorial to fallen soldiers in the past, Sgt. Follett said, he was not sure how he would react when he arrived on post today.
I think I might get bent out of shape, he said. Ive never done anything like this before.