ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) -- Love and honor fueled 14 men as they marched 140 miles for one man: Air Force Major Walter David Gray.
"They don't have to do this,” said his wife, Heather Gray. “Nobody ordered them to do this. This is not Air Force mandated. They are just doing this out of love for my husband."
Captain Matthew Perry with the US Air Force described David as “a very kind-hearted man who always wanted to pull out the best of everybody."
14 members of Delta Flight strapped on their boots and walked from Dover Air Force Base to the place where their commander was laid to rest – arriving on the same day Gray was killed just one year ago.
His brother, Ronnie Gray, said: “He loved those guys. The way I look at it, I didn't lose a brother – I gained a lot of brothers."
The men launched from Delaware on foot on Sunday, sleeping in tents on the side of the road – minus two nights in a hotel – along the way.
“A lot of blisters,” said Captain Perry. “A lot of foot injuries, but other than that the guys are doing good."
Some had to limp that final leg into Arlington National Cemetery, and upon arriving, the Gray family’s gratitude was beyond words. Walter’s mother’s tears flowed as his three children watched his wife praising his men.
"I know he would have been the first in line to do it for any one of them,” said Heather. “I know he is proud of them.”
The last mile to Gray’s grave was done in complete silence, and once there, 140 miles came down to just a few more steps – and another proud farewell.
“My kids – I am so glad that they are seeing this, because I want them to still love honor and respect the military and to not to be bitter because I know my husband died doing what he loved to do,” said Heather.