Staff Sergeant James Justice was killed in Afghanistan on April 23rd of last year. He was shot by insurgents while trying to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter. Now, the men who served alongside Justice are riding alongside each other.
Many of James Justice’s friends never got to say goodbye. “We were all still in Afghanistan last April and we found out that SSgt Justice was going to be buried in Arlington,” said Staff Sgt. Ben Doyle, “And first thought was April- that might be warm enough for a bike ride.”
So Doyle and some of Justices’ other buddies are staying true to their promise. They are taking a 2,000 mile round trip journey to Arlington Cemetery to visit their friend, and hero.
“It's going to be a nice ride and good trip all around. It’s just something that further bonds all of us together,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Stoos.
“The ride is going to be memorable with my buddies...but the destination once we get to Arlington I know all the joking along the route will immediately stop,” said Staff Sgt. Doug Stanger.
Between the 6 men on this trip, they have been deployed 19 times. Each served at least one tour overseas with SSgt Justice, or as they knew him, "Juice".
“Sometimes it’s really easy to think about juice and then other times have been really difficult.,” said Stanger, “Just little things that I see or do or smell or whatever. Nights are kind of tough. Just dreams and things like that, not so good. But we are all surviving I guess, through this horrible ordeal.”
On the 300 mile a day journey, the guys plan to share their memories, laugh, and make new ones. But they are most looking forward to making it to their destination.
“I would love to see his site. She his stone touch it kiss it and I’m sure cry over it too,” said Stanger, “And it just will not bring closure, that`s not what we`re looking for, we`re looking to memorialize, remember, honor him.”
“He`d do it for us we`re going to do it for him,” said Stoos.