Marines honor their brother with 160-mile run in the deserton June 13, 2012 @ 5:39 pm (Updated: 6:55 pm - 6/13/12 )
Sgt. Franklin survived an IED blast, but lost both of his legs, part of his hand, and some teeth.
As the youngest of 10 children, he got picked on by six older brothers. That made him tough - tough enough to become a U.S. Marine.
Sgt. Milan Franklin, from Tacoma, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008. Three years later, he was already on his second deployment to Afghanistan.
That's when he took the road that he didn't want to be on - that he had a bad feeling about, but without any options he treaded forward with fellow soldiers. Then an IED was detonated and exploded.
He survived, but Franklin lost both of his legs, part of his hand, and some teeth.
A fellow soldier, a U.S. Marine from Mukilteo, who knew Franklin, didn't want to stand by and do nothing for a fellow soldier and a friend. So he is leading a special effort to help Franklin.
Marine Tyler Chittick, along with five other runners, will raise money for Franklin and his family, and he decided to do it in a grueling way.
Chittick asked himself, how do we do something crazy and tough and marine-corps-like? How could they go through hell to bring an incredible man and marine respect? "Well, I'm up at Camp Pendleton; you're up at Twentynine Palms, why don't I run a flag to you?" Chittick asked Franklin.
It's 160 miles - and Chittick didn't want to do it alone, so he convinced some fellow soldiers, who didn't even know Franklin.
They asked Chittick if he was crazy. After all, why would these guys want to run that far, in the summer heat of the Mojave Desert, just before the 4th of July?
"I told them what kind of man he is and what happened to him, and they said, 'Well hell. Of course.'"
Chittick said that the money they raise will go towards Franklin and his family. He'll need prosthetic work and multiple surgeries, and they want to help out - even if it's just a little bit.
Franklin wanted Chittick to make it an annual event though, so they're going to determine a date, that fundraising for Franklin will end, and start for someone else. "We're going to select the next honoree of the Pendleton to the Palms," Chittick said. "And keep this rolling year after year.
To learn more about the Pendleton to the Palms and to pledge month to the run, visit pendletontothepalms.com.
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