Thursday, June 7, 2012

First Team Remembers the Fallen

Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Sgt. 1st Class Terryl Pasker
Story by Sgt. Kimberly Browne

FORT HOOD, Texas – As the face of war continues to change, the promise of remembering our fallen is something the 1st Cavalry Division has held on to and continues to show with each passing deployment.

America’s First Team honored their fallen from Iraq and Afghanistan during a Memorial Rededication Ceremony, May 30 on Cooper Field.

The ink-black granite memorial bears witness to all that lost their lives while deployed with the division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in Iraq, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“It’s a beautiful monument and it’s nice to see that you’re honoring the soldiers,” said Mary Pasker, Gold Star mother of Sgt. 1st Class Terryl Pasker.

Terryl, who served with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa National Guard, was killed-in-action July 9, 2011 in eastern Afghanistan.

“By commissioning this monument, we have charged these stones to keep vigil over the memory of our fallen,” said Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division. “And in turn they charge us never to waiver in our commitment to honoring the legacy of their precious charges.”

Names of the 17 U.S. soldiers from Operation New Dawn were engraved into the original, horseshoe-shaped monument, along with an additional campaign stone that details the mission that closed the war in Iraq.

OND began, Sept. 1, 2010, and marked the end of military action in Iraq. A little over two years later on Dec. 15, 2011, OND concluded more than eight years of combat. On Dec. 18, 2011, soldiers of the First Team’s own 3rd Brigade Combat Team were the last to leave Iraqi territory and cross into Kuwait.

Just to the east, three new memorial walls now stand to remember those lost during the division’s latest deployment to eastern Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

OEF and the global War on Terror were sights unseen and a historical first for the Cav. The division headquarters took over authority May 19, 2011 from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) of Combined Jointed Task Force-1, Regional Command-East, headquartered in Bagram, Afghanistan.

“Captured on these stones are the names of soldiers from ten brigades and eight divisions within our Army,” Allyn said. “The sacrifice of sailors and airmen from the U.S. Navy and Air Force is also recorded, as well as the names of Service Members from three allied countries who served with the First Team and CJTF-1 in Afghanistan.”

The new OEF walls contain the names of 104 U.S. Service Members and civilians; 39 coalition partners, to include Poland, France and Jordan; and two military working dogs.

These additions carry on a legacy to remember the fallen. This legacy now physically connects the heroes of today’s wars with their brethren from nearly half a century ago.

“The granite is from the same quarry in India that was used for the Vietnam Memorial,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Webster, president of the 1st Cavalry Division Association. “This is the best division memorial that I have yet to see.”

The division’s memorial was first dedicated April 4, 2006 and is rededicated following every deployment of the division’s, to honor those who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice.

“The nation that forgets it’s defenders will itself be forgotten.” -Calvin Coolidge.

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