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3rd ACR honors 4 troopers

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Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:00 pm

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

Pfc. Matthew J. England, Sgt. Robert J. Tenney, Capt. Matthew G. Nielson and Capt. David E. VanCamp did not choose to serve in the Army for fame, said Lt. Col. Shawn Perry.

"This is true, but we know who they are and we will remember this always," he said. "They served and died as part of the 3rd Cavalry and that is forever."

Four troopers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were honored during a memorial ceremony Thursday at Fort Hood's Comanche Chapel.

England was assigned to the regiment's 3rd "Thunder" Squadron and died June 8 in An Najaf Province, Iraq, from a roadside bomb attack. VanCamp, Nielson and Tenney were assigned to 2nd "Saber" Squadron and died June 29 in Badrah, Iraq, from an indirect fire attack.

Perry, who serves as the regimental rear detachment commander, said photos of the four men will hang in the headquarters and their names will be written in stone as part of the regiment's 165-year history.

"Future generations of troopers of the regiment will read their names and resiliently strive to live up to the standards of service these soldiers have set," he said.

Pfc. Matthew J. England

Pfc. Douglas Wilder first met England when the two were at basic training. Wilder didn't know many people and England initiated a conversation, asking him where he was from and about his family.

"Just talking to him that day and days after made me think maybe it wasn't that bad after all," Wilder said. "Even though most soldiers get homesick weeks in (basic training), just talking and laughing with Pfc. England made me feel at home."

England was outgoing and always put others' needs before his own, Wilder said.

England was 22 years old when he died. He is survived by his father, Daniel England, and mother, Pamela Hengen.

Sgt. Robert J. Tenney

Tenney was a former airman, serving for seven years as an F-16, C-130, C-5 and C-17 crew chief. He enlisted in the Army in January 2010 and became a cavalry scout.

Tenney was self-proclaimed "all country," said Capt. Jason Atkinson, rear detachment commander for Saber Squadron.

He was always calm and managed stressful situations well, and wanted nothing more in life but to make a difference, Atkinson said.

Tenney died 10 days after his 29th birthday. He is survived by his parents, Robert and Annete Tenney.

Capt. Matthew G. Nielson

Nielson was the type of man who would always walk with pep in his step, Sgt. Kevin Biscoe said, and was never off his "A game." The two worked together in the troop operations center and would joke about the latest Dilbert comics on Nielson's desk calendar or his latest CrossFit routine.

The captain was a man of the greatest moral strength and character, Atkinson said. He was a strong man who always wanted the best for his soldiers.

"Whether in the field, garrison or in Iraq, Matt would be counted on to make every task and each mission information fun and ultimately rewarding for his subordinates, peers and superiors alike," Atkinson said.

Nielson was 27 at the time of his death. He is survived by his parents, Roger and Christine Nielson; brothers, Nate, Jakob, Teddi and Luke; and sisters, Heather, Kirsten and Emily.

Capt. David E. VanCamp

VanCamp always led from the front and wasn't afraid to speak his mind to anyone on behalf of his soldiers, Biscoe said. He was a model commander who would always lend an ear and a pinch of Copenhagen.

He was the kind of soldier every trooper wished for as a leader, Atkinson said.

"He was mentally tough, physically fit, and he cared about his troopers to no end," he said. "Dave shunned the spotlight, always passing off his successes on his troopers and his noncommissioned officers."

VanCamp was serving his second deployment to Iraq. During his first from Fort Carson, Colo., he was wounded by a suicide bomber in September 2006. He returned to the United States and was assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Fort Gordon, Ga.

While there, he served as the battalion logistics officer and mentored other wounded soldiers, according to information from the regiment. He overcame all his physical obstacles and was assigned to Saber Squadron as a company commander in May 2010.

VanCamp died at the age of 29. He is survived by his wife, Chelsea, and parents, Donald and Linda VanCamp.

Those attending last week's memorial will still see England, Tenney, Nielson and VanCamp, Perry said.

"We will see them in a song, a story or a joke someone tells," he said. "We will think of them at the playing of 'The Star Spangled Banner' and we will pray for them at night when we hear the bugler play Retreat."

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary or www.facebook.com/astairrett.

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