‘Task Force Bronco’ run pays tribute to NY firefighter

| September 15, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers from the 3rd Sqd., 4th Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, “Task Force Bronco,” 25th ID, finish a memorial run, Sunday, at Forward Operating Base Shinwar, Afghanistan.

Soldiers from the 3rd Sqd., 4th Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, “Task Force Bronco,” 25th ID, finish a memorial run, Sunday, at Forward Operating Base Shinwar, Afghanistan.

Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Luke Graziani
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of a dark chapter in American history.

Service members and civilians throughout the world took time out of their busy schedules to honor those who lost their lives and shone a beacon of strength to those still hurting.

Soldiers in 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Task Force Bronco,” 25th Infantry Division, participated in a memorial run, Sunday, at Forward Operating Base Shinwar, here, to honor the fallen and pay tribute to New York firefighter Stephen Siller.

“As a (native) New Yorker and an American, it was important to bring meaning to the Soldiers (as to) why they are deployed here,” said 2nd Lt. Kevin Caneco, platoon leader, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. “I wanted the Soldiers to have a time to reflect on the meaning of 9/11. I think serving your country is a noble calling (and) to be deployed here in Afghanistan on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 means a lot to me.”

Caneco planned the memorial run, here, in honor of Stephen Siller’s ultimate sacrifice, as duty and selfless service are two of the Army’s values. Siller demonstrated those values in 2001.

Siller was off duty from an overnight shift at the station. He overheard the news of the World Trade Center tragedy while on his way home and immediately turned his truck around to drive back. Traffic was bumper to bumper, so he abandoned his truck, donned his 60 pounds of firefighting gear and ran the remaining 3.1 miles through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to ground zero. He was fatally wounded.

For the past nine years, civilians and service members throughout the world have planned and participated in 3.1-mile memorial runs to pay tribute to the fallen.

All of the runners deployed to this war zone have their own reasons for participating as each was affected by 9/11 in some way.

“It’s a very emotional feeling,” said Pfc. Dennis Akeem, Dakota Platoon, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt.
“We’re still fighting out here,” Akeem said. “We’re still out here; there’s still a war. We’re doing what we have to do to get the mission completed.”

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Category: Community, Deployed Forces

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