Frank B. Walkup was raised in Woodbury, Tennessee, and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2005. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii after his graduations from Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger Schools. In the summer of 2006, he was deployed as a platoon leader to Iraq. On June 16, 2007, Frank B. Walkup was killed by an improvised explosive device that detonated near his position during a dismounted patrol.
Walkup and all the men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty are honored each year at Gatlinburg’s Mountain Man Memorial March. The march will begin April 21st at 9 am in front of the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Gatlinburg and will continue up Highway 321 to Pittman Center. This 26.2 mile march includes stretches of highway, rural roads, rugged terrain and mountain slopes. Three entry categories are available: Military Heavy, Military Light, and Civilian. Entrants may also register for half and quarter marathon distances.
Inspired by the Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, New Mexico, this march has become a tribute to all service members. Thousands travel to Gatlinburg each year for this event. The UT Army ROTC conceived this event to show appreciation for the servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much by challenging people to walk a mile (or 26.2) in their shoes. The motto of the event is “Support the Future, Honor the Past.”
Festivities will begin on Friday, April 20th, with a ceremony honoring East Tennessee Gold Star Mothers at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies plaza. In addition to the march, the Road March for Warriors (RM4W) will hold a motorcycle rally to show support for the event. These veterans serve as liaison between the Gold Star Mothers and the University of Tennessee Rocky Top Battalion.
For information about registration, entry fees, courses, and categories, visit www.mountainmanmemorialmarch.com or call 865-974-8101