Sep. 4—NORTH AUGUSTA — The memory of 13 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan last month helped lead a local young Marine into action Saturday with some of his friends and family members on the North Augusta Greeneway, one of the Aiken-Augusta area's most popular recreational venues.
Camp Lejeune, in coastal North Carolina, is now the home base for Lance Cpl. Skyler Tremblay, a 2019 graduate of North Augusta High School, and he noticed plans last week for an event in memory of the terrorist attack's U.S. casualties: 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman and one soldier. It struck him as an idea worth imitating.
"I saw something that the Marines over on Camp Lejeune were planning on doing a hike, and I knew that I was coming home for this Labor Day holiday, so I felt like putting together a little hike of our own here," he said, after wrapping up a round trip on the 1.7-mile stretch between Riverview Park Activities Center and the bridge over Martintown Road.
"We're not raising any money. We're not doing a fundraiser or anything like that. We're just hiking in honor of the 13 servicemembers that lost their lives in Afghanistan last week," Tremblay added, taking a post-hike break in the shade with a group that also included Army and Navy representation.
Among his compatriots was another recent local graduate: Lance Cpl. Jacob McRae, a 2019 Midland Valley graduate also now based at Camp Lejuene. McRae noted that he and Tremblay had not actually met until Saturday, although they had some contact via Facebook. "It's really nice to have that 'brotherhoodly' bond without ever even meeting each other officially," he said.
Tremblay and McRae have plenty of likeminded neighbors at their current base of operations. Camp Lejeune's website notes, "The base and surrounding community is home to an active duty, dependent, retiree and civilian employee population of approximately 170,000 people. The base generates almost $3 billion in commerce each year, coming from payrolls and contracts to support the structure required to train and equip our modern Marines."
Saturday's fellowship in North Augusta had a strong family connection for Tremblay, as the Greeneway group included his mom, Regina Rickenbach; his wife, Ashlyn; and, representing the next generation of Tremblays, Greyson, their 2-week-old son.