The news that Osama bin Laden had been killed brought closure for many Americans.
For Dan Geraghty, it released a flood of memories.
Dan — now a highly regarded English teacher at Staples — spent 11 years in the military.
On June 12 he will run the Lake Placid Half-Marathon. He’ll raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project — a non-profit organization that supports injured combat veterans.
Oh, yeah. He’ll run all 13.2 miles wearing combat boots, and carrying his infantry rucksack.
The boots weigh 5 pounds. The ruck — with gear and water — is another 40.
walk run in the park for Dan.
Before his teaching career, Dan completed parachute training and air assault as a ROTC cadet at Hofstra.
The week he graduated he was commissioned “immediate active duty” as a second lieutenant in the Army infantry.
Dan graduated from US Army Ranger School in 1999. He calls it “the proudest moment of my life.”
He became a platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum (and was deployed on a diplomatic exchange program to Chile).
He transitioned to the National Guard — when he was thinking about applying for Special Forces School, his platoon sergeant had said “Either you’re going to marry the Army or your fiancée.” He served until 2006, when he and his wife Kristen decided it was time to focus full-time on being a husband, father and teacher.
“I no longer wear the uniform physically,” Dan — who left the Army with the rank of captain — says. “But for as long as I live, I will wear it mentally.”
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, he wants to give back to the men and women who have sacrificed so much to secure our freedom.
The daring mission to kill bin Laden sparked an intense return to 9/11 for Dan. That day — working on a project for Verizon — he stood below Tower 2 as the 2nd plane hit. He was defeaned by the roar, stunned by the concussion, seared by the heat, and tasted the sour burning of jet fuel fumes in his mouth.
“I felt like the victim of a war crime,” Dan says. “We all truly were. Without the support of my family and friends, I think I would have struggled indefinitely.
“But I survived, and was given a second chance on life. For 10 years, that day has defined my life.”
Dan knows that some wounded veterans will struggle for the rest of their lives. “I believe we owe these men and women our most humble thanks,” he says.
When he discovered the Wounded Warrior Project, its mission to treat veterans’ scars — both visible and invisible — resonated deeply.
So — after running hard on the roads around here, and training at Crossfit Performance in Fairfield — next month Dan heads to Lake Placid. He has done that marathon before — but in shoes and shorts.
Wearing boots, and carrying a pack, is a definite game-changer.
“A run is one thing,” he says to explain his unique choice of racing attire.
“But just a bit of pain will be my reminder of the great pains they have gone through to support and defend the United States of America.
“I just want to give back,” Dan says. “9/11 has, in many ways, defined my life for 10 years. I think about it every single day.
“By telling my story, by supporting the Wounded Warrior Project, by teaching about the event, I give away — piece by piece. And I no longer have to carry it.”
(To donate to Dan Geraghty’s half-marathon on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project, click here. Click below for a video on the organization’s work.
Nice article. Not sure the why-for-all of the 45 extra pounds of “ruck” but congrats to Dan for his project and contribution. His words seemed to resonate much like those of Pat Tilly. I think we all commend Seal Team 6 in bringing some closure to the horrific tragedy of 911. Now can we bring the troops home??????????????
Hoo Hah ! Winter Ranger 6, 1962
Good for you Captain.
13.2 miles in boots with a rucksack is a big deal for a Ranger, a real deal for an Airborne-Ranger, but astonishing for an English teacher ! 🙂
All the way ! and thank you for your service.
“Winter” Ranger, 4-99, checking in! I never had the guts to sew on the Tab with white thread, but the snow was “in effect” that year. Hopefully we can share stories at some point, Ranger.
I am so impressed, again, by the generosity of this community. Dan did not need to share this story, but he did, and I am humbled by the response.
I need to add, a childhood friend John contacted me today … after learning about the run through Dan’s write-up. He said, “I’m coming to Lake Placid.” I replied, I appreciate the suppor–” He cut me off: “You don’t understand–I’m coming up to run WITH you … with my ruck on.”
I am blown away … John is a wounded veteran who, thankfully, survived an I.E.D. that probably should have taken his life.
Now … we will run as a buddy team.
Get together for sure… the Dude can provide air cover. One or two other Rangers in town.
We lost fingers, toes, ears, and rifles one night. Bunch of West Point guys were hurt. Bird Colonel got relieved. Temperature dropped 45 degrees in an hour in Dahlonega just as escape & evasion started at dusk… bad night.
Never heard about the white thread… I like it !
But I’ve got a I.E.D. [we were simple in Nam… called them “roadside bombs”] story to share. VC would carry a 500 lb. unexploded bomb to a road, dig it in from the side at night, hot wire it to a remote detonator, use a banana tree as a sighting device, then wait for a target… ME… to be continued…
Best of luck… better with a buddy.
The Dude’s flying days are over, Tom. Crash landed twice. No mas. Congrats to you Ranger comrades but you will note that the Chief did send in the Navy to end Osama. Thanks for the helo ride though.
Dahlonega … I begin to shiver at the sound of that word. Permanent nerve damage in both feet as a result of that “phase.” I look forward to meeting you.
All the best,
Ranger class 7-2008. I imagine the course has changed since you guys went through, but the “suck” was still beyond anything I had previously experienced. Just wanted to thank you CPT for supporting the wounded warrior project and good luck with that 13.2 mile ruck.
Thank you for your support and your service. RLTW!
YO Navy Dude,
I get asked all the time:
“Who’s the baddest? Rangers or Seals?”
I tell ’em that Rangers can do anything Seals can do EXCEPT the Seal Dude can swim 5 miles before and after the operation… me? I want a chopper.
Speaking of choppers, was the “lost tail” pilot a naval guy? Just askin’?
Where’d you crash ?
I believe the “lost tail” was Army, 101st. Crashed at DaNang AFB and Homestead, AFB. EC-121’s. Spy planes, converted cargo junkets. Heavy. I went to Sea, Air & Rescue in ’69 in Coronado and hung with some SEALS. A different world than mine. But Marine Recon was all over DaNang (see note about Dale Hopkins in other blog article on Doig) and seriously bad dudes themselves. My hat goes off to all you bad mother-*&^%$. I liked it at 35,000 feet much better although we did get some snarky SAM’s. More so over Cuba than ‘Nam. Navy Air!!
Dude, thank you for your service. If you want to read a book about the SEALs, grab a copy of Marcus Luttrell’s “Lone Survivor.” Marcus Luttrell tells the story of Operation: Redwing, where Michael P. Murphy (Murph) earned the Medal of Honor, the highest mil. award for Valor. I am a different sort of Army Vet, I say, “Go Army, Go Navy!” (… just not on gameday.)
Thanks and back at ya for your devoted service. While not much of a non-fiction reader, I have read articles about Murph and as I remember it, he was on a similar mission to that of Osama’s destruction. I just kid Tom Feeley on the Army-Navy distinction although my lady’s father was a Lt. General in the Marines (head of Marine Aviation during Vietnam) and we do needle each other on what branch of the Navy was more important. Good fun. As a 16 time marathon veteran, I salute you as well for doing the 1/2 with 45 pounds on your pack. Nice gesture and a good reminder to the spectators of what our troops go through. Presently, I am training for NYC marathon and could use the reverse affect, lose some pounds. Good luck with your run!!
Dude, good for you! And thank you for the kind words. As we all say, “Never forget!”
Pingback: Staples Kicks For Nick | 06880
Pingback: Sean Gallagher Helps “Kick For Nick” |