Story and photos by
Sgt. Karl Williams
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — More than 40 motorcycle enthusiasts rode a 60-mile route in memoriam for eight Soldiers of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, for their sacrifice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The “Ride for the Fallen” began at the chapel, here, and then proceeded along the North Shore and finished at Cycle City in Honolulu to memorialize.
“Today, we ride in remembrance of the sacrifices Soldiers have made during this deployment,” said Lt. Col. Eric Jackson, 25th CAB’s rear detachment chaplain. “Soldiers, families and survivors do appreciate it when we pay tribute to and honor (Soldiers) who have fallen.”
Recently redeployed from Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer Kenley Kirkland, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Avn. Regiment, 25th CAB, said the memorial ride was more symbolic for him. Kirkland was in Afghanistan when the eight Soldiers lost their lives. He had shared a room with two of the fallen.
“I am leading the first group of motorcyclists, and I am dedicating the ride to our fallen heroes,” said Kirkland. “Three of the Soldiers who were killed were riders. I know they are looking down on us, not only wishing they could take part in the journey, but they would be very appreciative in the manner in which we chose to honor them.”
“This helps build camaraderie,” said Lt. Col. Hunter Marshall, 25th CAB’s rear detachment commander. “Anytime we take pause to recognize our fallen Soldiers, it serves as an opportunity to bring the unit closer together and it makes us a stronger team.”
Prior to the ride, bikers had their motorcycles inspected to ensure each component was in good working order. Inspectors performed detailed checks to ensure each rider had proper motorcycle insurance and state registration for their bikes, as well as the proper personal protective equipment.
“Safety is a big concern out here,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Johnson, 3rd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., rear detachment. “We want the riders to enjoy the ride, but we emphasize the importance of riding safely.”
‘Ride for the Fallen’ Honorees
Sgt. Richard Essex
Sgt. Luis Oliver-Galbreath
Chief Warrant Officer Brian Hornsby
Chief Warrant Officer Nicolas Johnson
Chief Warrant Officer Suresh Krause
Sgt. Dean Shaffer
Sgt. Chris Workman
Chief Warrant Officer Don Viray