nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends

Warrior Hike. Walk Off The War

Benefit Category: Federal
Warrior Hike Logo

In 1948, Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Earl Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

Following in Earl Shaffer’s footsteps and in recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance hiking, Warrior Hike has created the “Walk Off The War” Program which is designed to support combat veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America’s National Scenic Trails.


Veterans participating in the “Walk Off The War” Program receive various forms of support during and after their thru-hike. 

First, veterans receive the necessary equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike of a National Scenic Trail. 

Next, Warrior Hike coordinates trail town support with the numerous veteran organizations and local communities that are located along the National Scenic Trails. Trail town support includes transportation, food, and lodging in addition to providing the opportunity to socialize with veterans from past wars and local community groups.

Lastly, Warrior Hike assists veterans with future employment opportunities offered by the numerous supporters of the “Walk Off The War” Program and by partnered veteran job placement companies and veteran hiring services.


Historically, military units would experience a lengthy journey home after fighting a campaign abroad. During this journey home, warriors would process and come to terms with their wartime experiences. But in today’s age of modern transportation military personnel can find themselves home within a few days of serving in a combat zone.Since 2001, over 2.5 million veterans have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but many of them have never transitioned from their experiences. This is evident by the recent report from the Department of Veteran Affairs which states that over 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.In 2012, after returning home from three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Warrior Hike founder Sean Gobin hiked all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance hiking, Sean created the “Walk Off The War” Program which is designed to support veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America’s National Scenic Trails.


Who can apply: Any veteran who has served in a combat zone and who has been honorably discharged is qualified to participate in the Warrior Hike “Walk Off The War” Program.

When to apply: Warrior Hike is currently accepting applications for the 2016 “Walk Off The War” Program. Selections will be announced in December of 2015 and the hikes will commence in the spring of 2016.

How to apply: Click Warrior Hike Application and follow the instructions. If you have any questions about this application please contact us at sgobin@warriorhike.org.

What is provided: Veterans participating in the Warrior Hike “Walk Off The War” Program will receive the equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike, trail town support from veteran and community organizations located along the trail, and assistance with job placement opportunities upon completion of the hike.

Requirements: Veterans participating in the Warrior Hike “Walk Off The War” Program agree to follow a general schedule to the best of their ability. The purpose of the schedule is to allow the numerous organizations that will support the hike a chance to prepare and coordinate assistance.


Visit Warrior Hike website at: www.warriorhike.org 

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11 (13). National Guard members may receive a NGB22 and/or NGB23 upon obtaining 20 years of satisfactory service (20 year letter).