By Emily Baker
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – Soldiers live and sometimes die by the fourth maxim in the Army's Warrior Ethos – "I will never leave a fallen comrade."
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment refused to leave its fallen behind in Colorado when it moved from Fort Carson to Fort Hood last summer.
Brick by brick, they picked up their memorial honoring the 92 soldiers who were killed during the regiment's two tours in Iraq, and rebuilt it at Fort Hood, where it was rededicated Thursday morning.
"This lets the guys know we're not leaving anyone behind," said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Mullins, a veteran of the regiment's second Iraq deployment in 2005-06, who serves with Crazyhorse Troop from the regiment's 1st Squadron.
The regiment moved to Fort Hood per the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendation that was signed into law by Congress, and moving the memorial was the final step in making Fort Hood the regiment's new home, said regiment commander Col. Michael Bills.
"This is exactly how it was established at Fort Carson," Bills said, referring to the placement of each brick. "It is very important that we keep it exactly how it was dedicated the first time."
The memorial, which is located at 50th Street and 761st Tank Battalion Ave., near the Old Post Chapel, consists of a granite monument engraved with "Operation Iraqi Freedom," a U.S. flag, a map of Iraq, the crossed sabers of the cavalry and the regiment's "Brave Rifles" insignia. The names of the fallen from the first deployment in 2003-04 are inscribed on the base of the monument.
A smaller granite monument was added after the second deployment and contains names of soldiers killed from 2005-06. The monuments are encircled by engraved bricks purchased by donors in honor or memory of someone.
Soldiers who attended the ceremony Thursday were glad to have the memorial with them again. Mullins said he felt whole again.
Sgt. 1st Class Clarence McKaine, who serves in Mullins' troop, has brought his children, ages 7 and 4, to see the memorial. While Iraq is "a mythical place to them," he hopes to teach them what sacrifice means and why they should honor the people represented by the memorial.
"I want them to understand what the names mean and that sacrifice protects freedom," McKaine said.
The regiment was responsible for tough missions during its two deployments, including southern Baghdad Province during its most recent rotation. The regiment is credited with restoring order in Tal Afar, a former stronghold of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in a June 2006 raid.
During the first deployment, the regiment was responsible for an area the size of Wyoming, larger than the area of operations for any division in Iraq at the time. It included the notorious cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. Some 233 of the regiment's troopers received Purple Heart medals for wounds received in action during that deployment.
Col. David Teeples, who commanded the regiment during its first deployment, attached a Valorous Unit Award to the regiment's colors during the rededication ceremony. Teeples kissed the award streamer before he attached it to the regiment's colors.
Then, Teeples and Bills each placed a wreath on the memorial. The wreaths contained 92 red and white carnations, one for each of the regiment's soldiers who died in Iraq.
As the solemn notes of "Amazing Grace" performed on bagpipes were played on a speaker, the 92 names were read:
Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Hans N. Gukeisen, Chief Warrant Officer-3 Brian K. Van Dusen, Sgt. Richard A. Carl, Maj. Matthew E. Schram, Sgt. Thomas F. Broomhead, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Quinn, Sgt. Michael E. Dooley, Staff Sgt. William T. Latham, Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Pokorny, Capt. Joshua T. Byers, Staff Sgt. Richard S. Eaton Jr., Staff Sgt. Taft V. Williams, Pfc. David M. Kirchoff, Spc. Stephen M. Scott, Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, Spc. Rafael L. Navea, Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller Jr., Spc. Spencer T. Karol.
Pvt. Benjamin L. Freeman, Staff Sgt. Daniel Bader, Staff Sgt. Ernest G. Bucklew, Spc. Steven D. Conover, Pfc. Anthony D. D'Agostino, Spc. Darius T. Jennings, Pfc. Katrina S. Lau, Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, Spc. Brian H. Penisten, Sgt. Ross A. Pennanen, Sgt. Joel Perez, 1st Lt. Brian D. Slavenas, Chief Warrant Officer-4 Bruce A. Smith, Spc. Frances M. Vega, Sgt. Paul A. Velazquez, Staff Sgt. Joe N. Wilson, Sgt. Paul F. Fisher, Spc. James A. Chance III, Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino, Spc. Aaron J. Sissel, Spc. Rian C. Ferguson, Pfc. Justin W. Pollard, Sgt. Michael A. Diraimondo, Sgt. Christopher A. Golby, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Phillip A. Johnson Jr.
Chief Warrant Officer-2 Ian D. Manuel, Pfc. Armando Soriano, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Matthew Laskowski, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Stephen Wells, 1st Lt. Michael Adams, Pfc. Joseph L. Knott, Spc. Ricky W. Rockholt Jr., Pfc. Robert W. Murray Jr., Sgt. Stephen P. Saxton, Sgt. Jacob M. Simpson, Sgt. Charles T. Wilkerson, Spc. Joshua T. Brazee, Spc. Brian S. Ulbrich, Spc. Eric J. Poelman, Staff Sgt. Justin L. Vasquez, Lt. Col. Terrance K. Crowe, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher W. Phelps, Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Brown, Cpl. Lyle J. Cambridge, Staff Sgt. Scottie L. Bright, Spc. Hoby F. Bradfield Jr., Pfc. Eric P. Woods, Sgt. Timothy J. Sutton, Spc. Ronnie D. Williams, Spc. Ernest W. Dallas Jr., Pfc. Ramon A. Villatoro Jr.
Staff Sgt. Jason W. Montefering, Spc. Robert A. Swaney, Sgt. 1st Class Brett E. Walden, Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda, Cpl. Joseph L. Martinez, 2nd Lt. Charles R. Rubado, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Dennis P. Hay, Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams, 1st Lt. Justin S. Smith, Staff Sgt. Brian L. Freeman, Cpl. Robert C. Pope II, Pfc. Mario A. Reyes, Sgt. Tyrone L. Chisholm, Sgt. Ivan V. Alarcon, Sgt. Denis J. Gallardo, Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow, Cpl. Jared W. Kubasak, Sgt. Timothy R. Boyce, Maj. Michael R. Martinez, Maj. Douglas A. La Bouff, 1st Lt. Joseph D. deMoors.
Contact Emily Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org