A group of six American and British wounded veterans began the 14-week, 1,000-mile Walking With The Wounded’s Walk of America Saturday by trekking from Playa Del Rey to San Pedro.
The group walked from the Dockweiler Youth Center to the Battleship Iowa, which is docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.
They were joined by actor Scott Eastwood.
The walk is an effort to create to raise awareness of issues veterans face and more discussion about mental health issues and a fundraiser for veterans charities in both the U.S. and United Kingdom, organizers said.
The walk’s patrons are Prince Harry and Jill Biden, wife of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“The men and women who serve in our military — along with their families — are some of the strongest, most generous and most courageous people in our nation, and we are proud to help Walking With The Wounded raise awareness of their service, sacrifice and resilience,” Biden said.
Walking With The Wounded, which organizes the walk, seeks to improve the employment opportunities for veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service. It also provides support for homeless and incarcerated veterans.
The U.S. walkers are former Marine Corps Sgt. Larry Hinkle, former Air Force Master Sgt. Adele Loar and former Army National Guard Cpl. Frankie Perez.
The British participants are Jonny Burns, who served in the Royal Anglian Regiment, an infantry regiment of the British Army, Kev Carr, who served in the Royal Logistic Corps, and Kemsley Whittlesea, who is awaiting medical discharge from the British Army, where he served with the Royal Signals for 15 years.
Hinkle was deployed three times, first to the security detail for the USS Cole hours after it was bombed in the Gulf of Aiden in 2000.
During his second tour, Hinkle was part of the Amphibious Ready Group which provided immediate presence in the Pakistan/Afghanistan region following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Hinkle’s final deployment was to Iraq in 2003, where his vehicle was hit when out on patrol, causing him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Loar lost her right eye, sustained a shrapnel injury to her left eye and damage to her left shoulder when her vehicle was hit by a warhead in Iraq.
Perez was struck by a roadside bomb during a deployment to Iraq, suffering a traumatic brain injury. He spent the following 10 years also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Burns served in Germany and Cyprus for eight years. He was medically discharged in 2016 due to a shoulder injury and mental health challenges.
Carr was discharged from the military 14 years ago due to a broken ankle and mental health issues.
Whittlesea sustained repeated double shoulder dislocations, requiring multiple surgeries.
The walk is set to conclude Sept. 6 in New York City.