Maj. Cathy Wilkinson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As the nation prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Broncos), officially dedicated its new brigade memorial room in F Quad, May 20.
Soldiers from each of the brigade’s combat deployments participated in the dedication ceremony, remembering the brigade’s accomplishments and honoring its fallen Soldiers.
Retired Lt. Col. Pete Elson, who served as a company commander in 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, during the Vietnam War, spoke about the 25th ID and the brigade’s history in Vietnam.
He recalled a string of famous operations and praised the division for its five-year longevity in the same area of Vietnam. He said the time spent in the same area helped maintain a sense of continuity despite high personnel turnover.
“I think you do it right today. You train and deploy as a unit,” he said.
Elson then recalled the brigade’s Medal of Honor recipients before calling for a moment of silence.
1st Sgt. Acania Puletasi, from 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regt., spoke about his service and the brigade’s time in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005. He also honored one of his fallen Soldiers, Cpl. David Fraise, who was killed in June of 2004.
An infantryman, Fraise was known for his calm demeanor and religious spirit. He was an inspiration to other Soldiers, Puletasi said.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regt., recalled the successes of the brigade’s Kirkuk rotation, from 2006 to 2007. Among the many surge units, the brigade saw remarkable progress in Iraqi Security Force training and infrastructure improvement. The Kirkuk deployment resulted in multiple casualties, though, including the death of Capt. Shane Adcock.
Adcock was known for volunteering for missions and even spending time in the gunner’s seat of his vehicle to give his Soldiers a break from the blistering Iraqi heat, Smith explained. Adcock was killed in October, 2006, after volunteering to help on a patrol in Hawijah.
“Everyone who knew him could count on his sense of humor and his willingness to go the extra mile to get to know the Soldiers he was serving with,” Smith said of Adcock.
The brigade’s most recent Iraq deployment was noted for its success helping the Iraqi government provide many more services to its citizens and for a peaceful transition of power following provincial elections. The Iraqi Security Forces took control for providing security and the brigade was able to provide reinforcement for the Iraqis, wherever needed.
Despite successes, Iraq remained a dangerous place, according to Spc. Edward Lam, from 3rd Squadron, 4th U.S. Cavalry.
Lam described the threat from RKG-3 hand grenades and explained how his squadron was able to learn from others how to best protect their vehicles and Soldiers from grenades. Lam added he was thankful for the opportunity to learn from others and honored their sacrifices, which helped many Soldiers survive grenade attacks.
Following historical presentations, retired Gen. David Bramlett charged the Soldiers present to view the day not just as a remembrance of fallen comrades, but also as a reminder of what modern-day Soldiers have accomplished. He implored those in attendance to rededicate themselves to the living.
“It’s your legacy,” Bramlett said. “The Soldiers who come after you … will look in the room and they’ll remember you. For sure, the fallen are important, and we must not forget them. They’ll remember what it means to be a Bronco Soldier.”