By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – Pledges for the 4th Infantry Division's planned expansion to its Iraq war memorial at the Central Texas post began trickling in this week, the first of seven weeks of fundraising.
The tight window for the fundraising campaign to raise $80,000 has been forced on the division by recent Army rule changes, said Chris Sauceda, assistant vice president for the 4th Infantry Division Association, which is spearheading the campaign.
Rules for building on military installations now require "100 percent of funds to be raised before the first stake is driven," Sauceda said. Previous Army rules had allowed the funds to be raised and paid out each quarter during construction.
The division's deadline to raise the money is Nov. 15, the date the contract needs to be awarded
for construction to be complete by Feb. 15, the targeted unveiling date.
Col. Richard Francey, the division's rear commander at Fort Hood, emphasized that the memorial will not move next year with the division's transfer to Fort Carson that was ordered under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.
"This is a Fort Hood fixture," Francey said Friday, adding that each time the subject has been raised, division commander Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman has brushed it aside bluntly, noting, "That dog don't hunt."
If a memorial is wanted at Fort Carson, it will be built anew at Fort Carson, Francey said.
The expansion will consist of a 3-foot-wall around the west end of the current monument next to the 4th Infantry's Fort Hood headquarters. The wall will enclose a brick walkway about 15 feet wide to allow families and visitors to the memorial the chance to stop in front of a soldier's name uninterrupted by passersby.
The walkway will include a concrete bench on the inside of the outer wall to allow visitors to sit and face inward. The names of the division's fallen from the current yearlong deployment to Iraq will be placed outside of the inner high wall.
The division's slogan, "Steadfast and Loyal," posted in brass on the inner wall, will be reset on the outside of the new wall. At either opening of the walkway will be brass mission plaques, one for the Multinational Division-Baghdad, the other for the detached brigades from the current deployment. Donor plaques will be placed on the inside of the low wall in an alcove.
As of this week, the division has lost at least 152 soldiers from its units and the units that have been assigned to its Multinational Division-Bagh-dad since December, said Lt. Col. Pete Bacon.
That is more than double the number lost from its first year in 2003-2004, Bacon said Friday.
(First-week donations totaled?) $15,500, leaving $64,000 still to be raised. Donors included: Jean and Bill Shine, $5,000; Fort Hood National Bank, $5,000; 4th Infantry Division Association individual contributions, $2,000; Bob and Mary Beth Harrell, $1,000; Bob Babcock-led contributors, $1,000; Jeanne Isdale, $500; Killeen.com, $500; and Chris Sauceda, $500.
The 4th Infantry Division Association Ironhorse Chapter at Fort Hood is handling the donation drive. Checks should be made payable to the 4ID Association Fort Hood Chapter and sent to P.O. Box 5009, Fort Hood TX 76544. Indicate on donations that the money is intended for the 4ID Memorial. Donations also can be made online at www.4idmemorial.com.
Contact Debbie Stevenson at firstname.lastname@example.org