More than 50 active duty, retired and veterans Marines, Sailors and Soldiers hiked eight miles along San Diego’s coastline in their green silkies, carrying nearly 50 pounds of weight, to raise awareness of the sobering fact that nearly 22 veterans kill themselves every day due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“They leave the military and they don’t have that brotherhood, and they don’t have that comradery, they get really lonely. All of the issues, and all of the demons they have inside, they start to get worse,” said Donny O’Malley with Irreverent Warriors.
The organization’s goal is to help combat veterans cope with the things they saw and did in war and O’Malley, a medically retired Marine Corps infantry officer, thinks it is important for combat vets to stay connected after leaving the military.
“The love that we have for each other, the brotherhood and comradery that we experience in combat, is the most intense thing we will ever have,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley says he hopes to inspire others to host Irreverent Warriors pop-up groups around the country.
“A lot of guys leave the military, they’re away from all their brothers, and no one understands them,” O’Malley said. “But if I can get guys together and if I can inspire little Irreverent Warriors groups to start popping up across the country, then guys who are alone and lonely and in a dark place, will feel supported and loved.”
Check out more pictures from this weekend’s event below: