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USTRANSCOM chief of staff to run his 28th Peachtree Road Race July 4th

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- Maj. Gen. William Johnson, chief of staff, United States Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Ill., introduced the 10K Peachtree race to runners during a 2004 tour of duty in Kuwait. "I had received my orders to go to Kuwait in June," Johnson said, "and I already had my race packet for the July 4th race. I ran it alone and sent my number to the Atlanta Track Club."

Since Johnson ran the race on a documented course, he asked if he could get a race T-Shirt from the club. "They counted it as having run the race," Johnson said, "so I didn't break my streak. That was my 25th.

"The next year I was contacted by the Atlanta Track Club and asked if I would sponsor a race there in Kuwait. We already had one running in Baghdad," Johnson continued. "Of course I said 'Absolutely.' I was commanding the 143rd Transportation Command and my unit sponsored the race. It was a great tie-in between 3rd Army at Fort McPherson in Atlanta and the headquarters forward in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait."

According to Johnson, the race was well accepted by the U.S. and coalition forces in Kuwait and is also run at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. "I'd estimate that we had around 1,000 runners in Kuwait, about 800 in Baghdad and 600 runners at Bagram," he said. "So, it's a pretty big effort.

As he prepared for the race last year, Johnson said, "I think it (Peachtree Road Race) will continue in Southwest Asia," Johnson continued. "The Atlanta Track Club has just done a wonderful job of sponsoring these events for soldiers who are away from home. The race is very important to the troops."

This year's Southwest Asia race locations and times will include: Bagram, Afghanistan, July 3rd 9:30 p.m. EST; Ali Base, Iraq (time to be determined); Camp Speicher, Iraq, June 30th at 11:00 p.m. EST; Hillah, Iraq, July 3rd 10:00 p.m. EST and Arifjan, Kuwait July 3rd at 10:00 p.m. EST .

"An event like this is a little bit of home for those soldier, sailors, airmen and Marines deployed overseas in harms way," said Johnson. "Not only is it a link to the United States for our servicemen and women, as well as our coalition partners, but it's a great way to start an Independence Day celebration."

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