Longview man, family, friends take 13-mile hike to honor 13 fallen U.S. troops

Former Marine sergeant Cruz Renteria and some of his friends and family went on a 13-mile hike...
Former Marine sergeant Cruz Renteria and some of his friends and family went on a 13-mile hike in Longview to honor the 13 servicemen and women killed in recent Kabul, Afghanistan suicide bombing. (Source: Jamey Boyum, KLTV Staff)(Jamey Boyum, KLTV Staff)
Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A Longview man went on a hike this morning, but it wasn’t just for exercise. A former Marine sergeant wanted to do some kind of tribute for 13 U.S. troops killed in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, and he decided to walk a mile in memory of each of those who were killed.

Former Marine sergeant Cruz Renteria spent four years in the Corps in North Carolina and just felt moved to pay tribute to the 13 troops killed in Kabul.

“It just something that I wanted to do. It’s not just something I woke up and wanted to do. As soon as I saw it, I was like, ‘I need to do something for them,’” Cruz said.

So just a few days ago, he decided to go on a hike from his house to Cavender’s on Loop 281 in Longview, and friends and family joined him.

“It’s just 13 miles for 13 service members that lost their lives. There were 11 Marines and one corpsman and one soldier. And the fact that some of them were 20 years old, it’s crazy. It’s sad. I wish it never happened. It’s just one mile for each one. It wouldn’t equal what they did for us, but it’s something I could do for them,” Cruz said.

Cruz said he started at his house and mileage-wise, Cavender’s parking lot seemed a good turnaround point.

“It’s actually 6.8 here to Cavender’s, but I knew it was a pretty good parking lot, so I don’t mind. You know it adds up to 13.6, but that point six isn’t something that’s crazy, so it’s still 13 for them. It won’t be less. I’d rather have more than not enough,” Cruz said.

And Cruz has a message for the families of the fallen.

“If I could I’d give my life for those 13 to come back, I would because they did it for us,” Cruz said.

Renteria said he’s going to make the walk an annual event and that he hopes more join him. He said next year it will start from a public area.

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