Marines, vets march topless for suicide awareness

(Irreverent Warriors)

(Irreverent Warriors)

On Saturday, a group of Marines and veterans walked 22 km (13 miles) with 22 kg (48 pounds) of gear to honor the 22 vets a day who commit suicide, Marine Times reported.

The group, Irreverent Warriors, hiked the San Diego coastline from South Mission Beach Jetty to La Jolla Cove wearing only short shorts known as “silkies,” body paint, boots, and their packs.

Irreverent Warriors uses humor to “get through the darkest side of humanity,” according to their website. The combat veteran group was founded by Donny O’Malley and Ryan Loya, who met in the Marines. Both have had friends who recently committed suicide. The group is their “non-traditional and unconventional approach to helping veterans deal with and process everything they have done and seen, with the ultimate goal of staying alive and well.”

For Saturday’s hike, Irreverent Warriors partnered with VETality Corp., another veteran support organization.

According to the event’s Facebook page, attendees included service members from at least five Marine regiments, several school houses, Seal Team 9, explosive ordnance disposal technicians, Coast Guard personnel, and Marine Corps Special Operations Command raiders.

O’Malley is the author of “Embarrassing Confessions of a Marine Lieutenant: Operation Branding Iron 2.1A,” published this year, a military-themed comedy book he hopes will also promote suicide-prevention efforts, according to Marine Times.

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