|TEAM VETERAN LEADER ...OUR INSPIRTATION|
Why do we race?
The team competed in memory of CPT Humbert “Rocky” Versace, who was executed on 26 September 1965 while held as a prisoner of war by the Viet Cong. Throughout his career and culminating during his captivity, CPT Versace epitomized the qualities of personal courage, honor, and selfless service that our nation and our military hold in highest regard. Despite extreme hardship, torture, and physical duress, CPT Versace never bent to the will of his captors. Through two years of captivity, he stubbornly refused to compromise the U.S. military Code of Conduct for prisoners of war, rejected all indoctrination efforts by his captors, inspired his fellow POWs (which included then-1LT Nick Rowe) to actively resist, and attempted to escape four times-even while suffering from debilitating injuries. He died for what he believed in and, as stated by fellow POW SFC Pitzer, “he valued that one moment of honor more than he would a lifetime of compromises.” General William C. Westmoreland stated that CPT Versace’s “courage, his stubborn and even vehement rejection of the Viet Cong’s indoctrination efforts and his insistence that fellow prisoners be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention marked him as a soldier and leader of extraordinary heroism. The conditions of his captivity were brutal. Only a man of deeply-rooted character could have performed as he did.” For his actions, CPT Versace has been inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame and will receive the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor, which was first recommended in 1967. CPT Versace’s family learned of his loss through a television news cast. His body was never recovered. They have been exposed to years of grief, revisited by a 30-year political battle to ensure he received the recognition that he justly deserved. Their trials exemplify the importance of organizations such as TAPS to ensure our families are cared for in the event of our loss. Our team carries CPT Versace’s strength of character, his unwavering commitment and his tenacity in the face of extreme hardship as our personal guidon throughout every race. Although our sacrifices pale in comparison to those he suffered, we will remember his resolve, and we will strive to do justice to his memory.
The President of the United States presented the Medal of Honor to CPT Versace’s family on 08 July 02 at the White House, 37 years after his death.