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    Army Strong, Boston Strong

    Army Strong, Boston Strong

    Photo By Capt. Darrell Melrose | (Pictured left to right) Carmine Fuccillo, Justus Fuccillo and Sgt. 1st Class Andrew...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Darrell Melrose 

    U.S. Army Central   

    CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Recently, Braintree, Massachusetts native Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Fuccillo got the opportunity to do something that he had long aspired to; run the Boston Marathon. And he ran it, Monday, April 17, 2017.
    What Fuccillo, chaplains noncommissioned officer-in-charge, probably did not anticipate is that he would run his first Boston Marathon thousands of miles away from Boston, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in a Boston Marathon Shadow Run.
    Fuccillo had initially qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2008, by placing 19th in the Seattle Marathon, and subsequently started training to run his first Boston Marathon in 2009. Fate stepped in when Fuccillo’s first child, Justus, was born in November 2008, premature and with a number of health issues. On the heartfelt advice of a trusted mentor, Fuccillo stopped training and stuck by his wife’s side, while Justus went through some trying times and many very serious surgeries.
    Unfortunately, Fuccillo’s dream was further delayed when, as he states, “Life went on, I deployed again, ran some ultras, a 100K and a 100 Miler, and went through the entire Special Forces Qualification Course twice ... never quit, but didn't graduate, which I truly know now saved my marriage! But all that running and rucking and jumping came with a price, I completely tore my right Achilles, June 2015.”
    In the Summer of 2016 Lt. Col. Sebastian Schnellbacher, commander of the 98th Medical Detachment, then deployed to Camp Arifjan, reached out and ultimately convinced Douglas Flannery, director of race operations, Boston Athletic Association and Boston Marathon, to set up the Boston Marathon Shadow Run on Camp Arifjan.
    Flannery himself has a storied military past, as he explains in an email “I served for 31 years in the Navy and retired a few years ago. My background was as a medic (corpsman) during my enlisted time and actually went through many schools with the Army.”
    Meanwhile Fuccillo found himself deployed to Camp Arifjan in March 2017, and lo and behold, found out that the Boston Marathon Shadow Run was taking place.
    Fuccillo began his training, as he stated in a correspondence before the race, “(I) found out about the Boston three weeks ago! I did a 20 miler last Saturday in this ungodly heat, what the hell I was thinking. I've never walked in a race before, but look for a guy really suckin’ with his lucky fitted Redsox hat on, there's no stopping me this time!”
    Fuccillo did indeed go on to run, and complete the Shadow Run, albeit not in his best time, as he stated “I'm kinda bummed I only ran 4:08, I went out way too fast, as usual was under a 3:30 pace, then got some nasty blisters breaking around 20 (miles) and hobbled on.”
    In the end it was a great accomplishment, as the real mission was to receive, and share the official Boston Athletic Association Medal with Fuccillo’s father, Carmine, who was his running coach early on, and his son, Justus, who, due to diminished motor skills, may never be able to run a marathon himself.
    It is Fuccillo’s intention to present Justus with the Medal during his upcoming mid-tour leave.



    Date Taken: 04.17.2017
    Date Posted: 05.18.2017 09:17
    Story ID: 234249
    Location: KW

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