‘Warrior’ families gather to honor fallen

| July 21, 2011 | 1 Comment
Soldiers from 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., “Wolfhounds,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, render a salute in honor of their fallen comrades during the Koa Tribute Memorial Ceremony, a memorial rededication ceremony for the brigade’s fallen Soldiers, July 13, at Schofield Barracks.

Soldiers from 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., “Wolfhounds,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, render a salute in honor of their fallen comrades during the Koa Tribute Memorial Ceremony, a memorial rededication ceremony for the brigade’s fallen Soldiers, July 13, at Schofield Barracks.

Story and Photos by
Sgt. Robert England
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Families, supporters and fellow Soldiers paid their respects, July 13, to the five Soldiers lost during the most recent deployment to Iraq by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

The “Warrior Brigade” rededicated its memorial monument in their honor: 1st Lt. Michael Runyan and Sgt. Jamal Rhett, both with 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, “Gimlets;” and Staff Sgt. Phillip Jenkins, Pfc. James McClamrock and Sgt. David Luff Jr., all with 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., “Wolfhounds.”

“In 23 years of service in the U.S. Army, I have never been part of a more important ceremony,” said Col. Malcolm Frost.

Frost, commander, 2nd BCT, “Warriors,” joined hundreds of other attendees at the Koa Tribute Memorial ceremony, here.

“For here, on this hallowed ground, is where it is our sacred and noble duty to honor our fallen warriors, pay tribute to their legacy, and offer our support and strength to their families, their friends, fellow Soldiers and, quite frankly, to each other,” he said.

The monument, a granite obelisk with names of fallen Soldiers engraved on its face, was erected May 2009, as a permanent memorial to forever honor the fallen Soldiers of the 2nd BCT, said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Winston, Koa Tribute Team Leader, 2nd BCT.

Along with the names, a single word is engraved on the base of each side of the obelisk: “Comrades, Duty, Honor and Country.” Frost encouraged attendees to take note of each side, but especially the side with the new names of the five fallen Soldiers.

The foundation for the ceremony was honoring these Soldiers who gave all for their country.

Command Sgt. Maj. William Hain (left), senior enlisted leader, 2nd BCT, 25th ID, and Col. Malcolm Frost (center), commander, 2nd BCT, present a memorial plaque to Michelle Watson, the mother of Sgt. Jamal Rhett, a fallen Soldier honored during the Koa Tribute Memorial ceremony, a rededication ceremony for the brigade’s fallen Soldiers, July 13.

Command Sgt. Maj. William Hain (left), senior enlisted leader, 2nd BCT, 25th ID, and Col. Malcolm Frost (center), commander, 2nd BCT, present a memorial plaque to Michelle Watson, the mother of Sgt. Jamal Rhett, a fallen Soldier honored during the Koa Tribute Memorial ceremony, a rededication ceremony for the brigade’s fallen Soldiers, July 13.

In addition to paying respect to the fallen warriors, Winston said the ceremony carried a great deal of significance for the brigade’s previous 26 “Gold Star” family members, as well as the five new family members.

Gold Star families have lost a service member in war. The Koa Tribute Team arranged for these fallen Soldiers’ family members to be flown out to Hawaii for the rededication of the memorial.

“It’s also for the family members, so they can have closure,” Winston added. “From their standpoint, this may be their last exposure to this unit and the Army.”

The fallen Soldiers’ second families — the fellow Soldiers and comrades with whom each warrior had served — were taken into account as well. They attended to pay their respects and find some peace in each other and in the memories they had shared with their fallen comrades, Winston said.

Frost concluded the ceremony and honored the Soldiers who are immortalized with the engraving of their names on the memorial.

“Today is a day to honor those warriors who no longer walk with us on the road less traveled,” Frost said. “On this day of rededication … I salute all of you who chose to take the path less traveled — fully knowing the risks, ready to make the sacrifice — and your families, who chose to follow and support you on this path, as well.

“To our fallen brothers, I simply say thank you and well done. Be thou at peace.” he said.

 

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  1. Kathryn says:

    I, along with the previous cmmeentor’s will ensure that the memory of Sgt. Mike Stokely will never be forgotten. To the Stokely Family, Your son gave his life to protect ALL of us here at home, and gave the families in Iraq a chance to have a better life. Our debt to him and our undying gratitude will be forever more. Rest easy Sgt. Stokely…We’ll stand watch now.

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