Midway partners with the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency in tribute

U.S. Marshal with Lucky the mascot dog on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum during its Fallen Heroes tribute run.

Over the course of the U.S. Marshal Service’s history, which dates back to George Washington’s presidency, more than 200 marshals have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Five years ago, the service started the Fallen Heroes Run as a tribute to their fallen members. The Southern District of California based in San Diego participated for the first time this year.

“When we decided to participate in this event, it was our goal to make it something unique to San Diego that everyone could be excited about,” said Dennis Coughlin, a deputy marshal in the San Diego office. “There is no U.S. Marshals memorial here in the region, so we needed another symbol about unity and teamwork that also represented our city and country.”

They reached out to the Midway.

“We believe the USS Midway is a symbol of all that makes this country great and we were excited to find out that it was an option for the event,” said Dennis.

“It was truly a pleasure to be able to help the marshals with this tribute,” said Susan Butler, Midway’s event manager. “I’m delighted that we could make their tribute event a special experience. They were very excited to be on board.” 

On March 12, the marshals began their early-morning run at the San Diego County Administration building, made their way to the Midway, where the nearly 30 marshals and their mascot dog Lucky, engaged in some group calisthenics before heading back to the starting line.

From the moment any marshal starts initial training, the sacrifices past marshals have made are emphasized. Trainees are expected to know the names of each marshal killed in the line of duty.

“We learn about our past and honor those who have passed,” said Dennis. “When we graduate [from the U.S. Marshals Academy] and receive the silver star, we become part of the marshal’s legacy. This is why the Fallen Heroes Run is important.”

Many members of the marshal service are military veterans with a large number of them still serving in the reserves. Whether or not a marshal has prior military service, each member continues to honor their oaths and remember the fallen.

“Thank you for allowing us to have the USS Midway be part of our special event,” said Dennis. “We look forward to continuing this tradition.”

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