Published: 6/21/2012 6:52:58 PM
Engineer battalion dedicates memorial to fallen Soldiers
Soldiers from 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade dedicated a memorial to 13 Soldiers who were killed in action while deployed in 2010 to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom at the Brigade’s Myitkyina Field, Saturday.
Thirteen Gold Star Families, each representing a fallen Soldier from the unit, were able to witness their specific Soldier being commemorated on a memorial plaque that will always be displayed at the field.
“This memorial was funded entirely by donation,” said Lt. Col. Michael Ellicott, battalion commander, 27th Eng. Bn. “More than three-quarters of the money was given by the Soldiers of the battalion, most in small amounts, but many gave considerably more. The balance of the donation was provided by individuals and organizations from across the country and around the world.”
The memorial ceremony also included a extended remembrance of the fallen, to include brief descriptions of the 13 Soldiers.
“They saved a lot of lives out there, but yet there was a cost for that,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Jeff Mitchell, 27th Eng. Bn. Chaplain, who deployed in 2010 along with the 13 Soldiers. “By being able to bring closure for what we all went through and having their names etched in stone, they’ll always be remembered for the sacrifice they made to our nation.”
Throughout the ceremony, parents, siblings and fellow comrades of the fallen gathered together in appreciation of the very kind gesture of the unit remembering their Soldiers.
“For me as a Gold Star parent to be able to come and visit with these Soldiers that were with our loved ones at their last moments is tremendous,” said Tracy Clark, mother of fallen Soldier, Pfc. Ryane Clark. “It means a lot of us.”
Another parent who lost his Soldier during the 2010 deployment, Alfred Andrews, also spoke of his gratitude for the unit recognizing his son’s sacrifice.
“It’s very important and comforting that they still acknowledge him and the rest of them,” said Andrews, father of Spc. Scott Andrews. “You have to…you absolutely have to.”
Following the ceremony, the Gold Star Families were provided the opportunity for a photograph with their Soldiers’ photo next to their individual stone memorial, as well as being able to see a variety of engineer demonstrations at the OP5 range.
“Tiger Battalion Soldiers and their Families are the heart and soul of this organization,” said Ellicott. “They are the reason that this country has the military that it does and the freedom that we enjoy.
Ellicott added, “Since the Army’s inception, Soldiers have volunteered and some have sacrificed everything. Words cannot express the full impact of their valor, or their sacrifice. We have a future because of the brave men and women that we honor today, and this memorial confirms that we will.”
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