It was a bitter sweet send off for a veteran marine in Surf City Thursday as he began a long journey across the country.
"Sit tall in the saddle," Matt Littrell's father said as he hugged his son goodbye.
The 32-year-old then hopped onto the back of his BLM mustang named "Crow," clicking to the horse to step into the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a symbolic start to what Littrell expects to be a 6 to 8 month trip from Camp Lejeune, NC, to Camp Pendleton, CA.
The duo will be traveling along with close his friend, Raymond Avery, and two other horses.
It's all an effort to raise support and about $7 million for wounded warriors through the Semper Fi Fund, a journey that some people call crazy.
"Of course it's crazy. It should be.They deserve crazy, so we're going to be crazy for them," Littrell said.
He believes this is just the kind of attention wounded veterans need work through their toughest moments.
"Some guy is sitting there with a pistol on the table one night and maybe he's going to see this and he's going to say if that son of a gun can ride across the country then I can see what tomorrow looks like," Littrell said. "That's the main goal...for them to know we're still fighting for them."
It's a fight Littrell's horses helped carry him through as well.
"They were kinda my spirit guide. These guys carried me through some dark times and now they're going to carry me across the country," Littrell said.
A long trail home that can't be made alone..
"We'll get there when we get there, and they come first," Littrell said about the safety of his horses along they way. "We're just on top of them, so...without them we cant do it."
Littrell funded the ride with money from his own pocket, but now he's depending on the donations and kind gestures of people he meets along the way.
If you'd like to donate to his ride or offer a place for him and his companions to stay the night, you can find more information on "The Long Trail Home's" Facebook page.
You can also donate directly to the Semper Fi Fund at http://fundraising.semperfifund.org/fundraise?fcid=249300.
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