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Guardsmen marching to commemorate historic Band of Brothers
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One National Guard unit is honoring the soldiers of the past with a 101-mile march from Toccoa to Atlanta.

Members of the The Georgia Army National Guard 108th Cavalry began the march Wednesday in Toccoa and their trek brings them through Gainesville today. They will continue to Oglethorpe University on Friday and march in the Atlanta Veterans Day parade Saturday.

“The men that are walking walk approximately 35 miles a day,” said 1st Lt. David Ubriaco, one of the men marching.

The march commemorates a trek made by a group of Georgia soldiers during World War II.

In 1942, members of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division marched 118 miles from Toccoa to Atlanta before heading to Columbus to begin parachute training.

“It was Dec. 7, the year after Pearl Harbor was attacked,” Ubriaco said. “In doing so they broke the world record for an endurance march, which was currently being held by a Japanese unit.”

The group’s service in World War II was immortalized in Stephen Ambrose’s book “Band of Brothers,” which was made into a HBO mini series of the same name in 2001.

Pvt. Timothy Cape said the march has been meaningful for him.

“I get to do what they were doing and those are some of my idols,” Cape said. “I read the ‘Band of Brothers’. It was a big deal to me to commemorate these veterans.”

The march is voluntary and the 108th is the only unit in the Georgia National Guard that recreates the walk.

“All the other soldiers who are doing it, it’s a challenge for them and it’s not an easy feat but they do it,” Cape said.

The National Guard Unit planned to spend Wednesday night in Lula and march into Gainesville around 8 this morning. They will march from the area of Exit 24 of I-985 and make their way to Atlanta Highway.

“No matter how much training you do, nothing is really going to prepare you for a 101-mile march,” Cape said. “It’s 101 miles to represent the 101st Airborne.”
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