EASTOVER, SOUTH CAROLINA – South Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers participated in a 24-mile memorial run titled, “Jog with Judge” in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Charles A. Judge, Jr., on July 24, 2018 at McCrady Training Center.
Judge passed away two years ago on July 24, 2016, after coming to the aid of an individual outside a restaurant near Lake Murray. Witnesses stated that Judge and another off-duty Soldier were shot during an altercation while helping a stranger and both men acted without hesitation or regard for their personal safety when they saw what was happening.
Judge served 21 years in the South Carolina National Guard and was highly regarded and respected among his peers, superiors and subordinates. He was an Iraq veteran, a recruiter and an engineer instructor with 1st Battalion, 218th Regiment (Leadership) at McCrady Training Center.
Master Sgt. Brian Deese, Director of Quality Assurance for the 218th Regiment (Leadership), came up with the idea for the first run in Judge’s honor in June 2017, as the one year anniversary of Judge’s death was approaching.
“Judge and I worked together for many years in the Engineer Battalion. He was a great instructor and an unbelievable friend and father. His tragic death hit us hard at the 218th,” said Deese.
Deese said that they wanted to do something to honor him and decided that they could host another run, jog, walk or bike for 24 miles in remembrance of Judge’s death on the 24th of July. “I chose to have it be a relay of-sorts, so that all of his friends from the 218th Regiment and whomever else wanted to, could participate,” he added.
“Sgt. 1st Class Judge loved his family. He ran a program for homeless vets across the state of South Carolina and spent a great deal of his off-duty time doing that,” said Sgt. 1st Class Elise Causey, instructor for 3rd Battalion, 218th Regiment, former co-worker and friend of Judge’s. “There were a lot of good things about him, but what really won me over was his honest laugh and genuine care for all Soldiers he came in contact with. He knew how much I hate to run and I think he would’ve found it hilarious that I came out to run. I ran today because I know he would’ve run for me. I ran because he was my friend.”
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Osteen, Operations Manager for the 218th Regiment, worked with and knew Judge for many years. He describes him as a true family man who never let what was going on his life take away from spending time with his children. “He was a selfless leader, once providing a student his own shoes to take an Army physical fitness test,” said Osteen.
Judge’s picture is framed on the wall at 1st Battalion, where a set of his ID tags hang from the corner. The Engineers from 1st Battalion have also renamed the Engineer Honor Graduate award after him. Now, a student who distinguishes himself or herself academically and physically, as well as demonstrating the Army values from each new class, will earn the “Charles Allen Judge, Jr. Honor Graduate Award.”
During the 24-mile relay, participants carried Judge’s ID tags in baton fashion as they ran the successive miles in turn. Because of the success of the last two years’ events, the 1st Battalion Engineers intend to make it an annual memorial run in his honor.
“This event means a lot, not only because of our friendships with Judge, but also being part of an organization, or, “family” that all comes together to celebrate our memories of him,” said Osteen.