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‘Freedom Friday’ runners parade a patriotic crew

Running

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn -Col. Kenneth Lozano, left, commander of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, and Master Sgt. Charles Pugh, right, Airman Leadership School Superintendent, lead members of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center along with members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing during the weekly Freedom Friday fun run here July 26. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young.)

Running

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -Members of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center along with members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing pose for a group photo following the weekly Freedom Friday fun run here July 26. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Young.)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center met at the activity center here, July 27, for the weekly Freedom Friday fun run as the fog began to lift and the sun rose above the distant Smoky Mountains.

The event began in April of this year with a conversation that turned into a dare between Master Sgt. Charles Pugh, Airman Leadership School superintendent, and Master Sgt. Anthony Colon, Noncommissioned Officer Academy superintendent. The two dared each other to run in their silkies, the high cut running shorts worn by long-distance runners.

The initial run got a few laughs, but more joined them. After a few Fridays, the Airmen decided to carry the American flag.

“Running with the flag is very intentional,” said Colon. “It is awesome to see how people from all different walks of life can come together under one flag to accomplish a goal, which in this case is 1.5 to 3 miles.”

Attendance increased each week as more and more Airmen embraced the silky and patriotic theme of the run. They wore mullet wigs and many other items, including variations of starred and striped socks, to keep Freedom Friday focused on fun.

 “It brings everybody from all of the different sections together,” said Pugh.

Pugh said that it builds comradery among people who do not necessarily work or interact with each other, to include Airmen assigned to the 134th Air Refueling Wing, who began joining in. TEC is a tenant unit on the base, so he believes that this is a way for them to interact and remember how they are all patriots.

Colon said that it is a great way to start the last day of the workweek, adding that it doesn’t get much better than running with your teammates and Old Glory.

“It definitely gives me another reason to look forward to and be grateful for another week,” said Colon.