Hundreds participate in 5k run in memory of fallen soldier

ROTC cadets turned out Saturday in honor of Justin Sission.
Photo Submitted by Nya Ramirez.

Family, friends, and supporters gathered Saturday morning for the 6th annual 5k run/walk in memory of Second Lt. Justin Sission.

Sission was a former FSU student who was killed in battle by a suicide bomber on June 3, 2013, while leading his platoon during deployment in Afghanistan.

“I think it’s a great event to bring camaraderie of all the military graduates service together and come out for a great cause to remember Justin Sission who was a great guy — he had a great impact on me, in this system, and in his unit,” said Master Sergeant retired Mike Jackson, who was Sission’s ROTC instructor at FSU.

Sission grew up in Overland, Kansas, where he received an ROTC scholarship to attend Florida State University in 2007. Following in his father’s footsteps, Sission denied appointments to the U.S. military Academy at West Point and elected to continue at Florida State. According to, Sission said his goal was to lead his soldiers into battle and be the best officer he possibly could.

Upon his accomplishments at FSU, Sission became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in April 2012 and earned the George C. Marshall Award as the top cadet in FSU ROTC.

“He wanted to give back to Florida State —he was friends with every single person he met, he loved this place, wanted to give something back, so that was how this whole thing really started,” Justin’s brother, Ryan Sission, said.

There were nearly 400 participants present Saturday morning to show support for the fallen soldier. The 5k 2LT Justin Sission run was created in 2013 and has been impacting the Tallahassee community ever since.

“Proceeds go to a scholarship foundation for cadets. We give four scholarships to three ROTC cadets — one sophomore, one junior, one senior, and then one student veteran,” said Sission 5k race director Cadet Matthew Jordan. The 5k 2LT Justin Sission run/walk raised more than $21,000 to go toward the scholarship fund.

Among the 400 participants, 30 FAMU Navy ROTC Cadets showed support at this annual tradition.

The 3.1 mile route began and ended on FSU’s Langford Green located on the south side of Doak Campbell Stadium. Snacks, water and catering by Mission BBQ were available during the event for those  participating in the run. Participants were also able to bring their furry friends along while taking part in the 5k run.