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Cadets to run Cooper River Bridge in honor of fallen soldier, Ci - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Cadets to run Cooper River Bridge in honor of fallen soldier, Citadel alumnus

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - When you hear them coming, move out of the way.

"We're a big group, and we move like a freight train," said Citadel class of 2007 graduate Andrew Barton.

Barton will join nearly 150 cadets, past and present, for the Cooper River Bridge Run in honor of fallen soldier and former cadet, Army Sgt. Aaron Wittman.

Wittman, was killed in Afghanistan while in the line of duty, Jan. 10, 2013.  He was the first U.S. casualty of the year.

"He was one of those guys that through the hardest opposition, he always had a reason to smile, and it was infectious," said Barton, also the treasurer of the Aaron Wittman Foundation.

Last year, Wittman's friends came together to dedicate their participation in the Cooper River Bridge Run to their fallen classmate and soldier.

"Believe it or not, it kind of all started over a friendly conversation and a beer," Barton said.

The group started with 75 cadets, all running in full fatigues, simulating the plight of a U.S. soldier.

"It's a lot of gear. In most cases it averages about 40-60 pounds. To run six miles with that gear is quite an impressive feat."

This year, the group is expecting nearly 150 cadets for the 2014 Bridge Run.  The effort is one of several fundraising opportunities for the Aaron Wittman Scholarship, a $5000 endowment awarded to a deserving cadet.

"The whole purpose of this was to create a scholarship in memory of Aaron's name, which we've done," Barton added.

"Aaron had a big impact on all of us."

For more information on the Aaron Wittman Scholarship, visit https://foundation.citadel.edu/wittman.

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