By Emily Howard
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD It has become an all-too-familiar sight: the single rifle, helmet, and pair of boots that signify a fallen soldier.
This memorial stood solemn watch over the service held Thursday to honor 12 soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division and Arkansas National Guard who were killed during August and September.
A memorial service is held each month on post to remember those who lost their lives while fighting the War on Terror.
These are ordinary people who made an extraordinary sacrifice, Col. Aundre Piggee, the 1st Cavalry Divisions Rear Detachment commander, said to the standing-room-only crowd present to honor their fallen comrades. They showed the courage, commitment, and sacrifice that set them apart as true American heroes.
Honored at the service were Spc. Clarence Adams III, Staff Sgt. Elvis Bourdon, Pfc. Kevin Cuming, Spc. Chad H. Drake, Sgt. James D. Faulkner, Staff Sgt. Guy Hagy, Spc. Benjamin Isenberg, Pfc. Ryan McCauley, Spc. Jacob Martir, Spc. Marco D. Ross, Staff Sgt. Robert Thornton and Staff Sgt. David Weisenburg.
During the service, each fallen soldier was eulogized by one of his comrades.
Staff Sgt. Robert Thornton, called Robbie by his friends and family, was killed Aug. 23 when his tank was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Baghdad. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.
Capt. Nathan Palisca was at Thursdays service to pay homage to his fellow soldier and friend.
He had an unstoppable desire to help anyone who needed it, Palisca said. He improved the lives of everyone he knew.
Staff Sgt. Elvis Bourdon, 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed Sept. 6 during violence in Baghdad.
During his memorial speech, Capt. Rashad Fulcher compared Bourdon to Baloo the Bear in the Disney film The Jungle Book.
He was just laid back, caring and kind, said Fulcher. He was our papa bear.
Staff Sgt. Guy Hagy, a member of the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Divisions mortar platoon, was killed Sept. 12 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. He was a very motivating noncommissioned officer, said Capt. Audie Cavazos.
He always pushed us to be the best that we could be, Cavazos said.
Spc. Jacob Martir and Pfc. Ryan McCauley, both members of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed when their patrol came under small-arms fire Aug. 18 in Baghdad. According to 1st Lt. Christopher Cannon, they both died saving their fellow soldiers lives.
Both soldiers continued to fire on the enemy until they were mortally wounded, protecting the rest of their unit.
When duty called, these men gave everything without thought, Cannon said.
Staff Sgt. David Weisenburg and Spc. Benjamin Isenberg were also members of the same unit killed in the same incident. The soldiers, of the 2nd Battalion, 162 Infantry Regiment, Arkansas National Guard, were killed Sept. 13 in Taji from hostile fire.
Weisenburg was the NCO the soldiers went to if they had problems, said Sgt. 1st Class Ralph Glazier. Of Isenberg, he said he was an excellent soldier and devoted husband.
Sgt. James Faulkner, 20th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed Sept. 8 when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was one of the best NCOs in their unit, said Sgt. 1st Class Lyman Bessellieu.
Spc. Clarence Adams, of the 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed Sept. 6 when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
Spc. Steven Ellis, his best friend, said he was still in shock and didnt want to believe Adams was gone.
He was Superman to me, Ellis said. Superman cant die.
Spc. Marco Ross, 115th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, became Fort Hoods 100th casualty when a mortar hit Camp War Eagle in Baghdad Aug. 25.
Like every soldier who has lost his life, he will always be remembered and loved, said Pfc. Rodrick Pearson.
Pfc. Kevin Cuming, in a cruel turn of events, had just switched jobs from Army cook to foot soldier when his patrol was attacked in Baghdad.
He never complained of the new and intense tasks required of him, said Capt. Eric Johnson, part of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Cumings adopted unit.
Spc. Chad Drake, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed Sept. 7 when his patrol was hit by small-arms fire in Baghdad.
Drake was born in Garland, Texas, and listed Dallas as his home of record.
Cpl. Shad Fowler, who served with Drake, said he was both a good soldier and a good friend.
He will always live in the memory of those who served with him the Dragons will never forget you, Fowler said.
The service concluded with 21 shots fired by the Fort Hood honor guard and the playing of taps.
Contact Emily Howard at email@example.com.