Duke Brigade memorializes 118 fallen heroes in ceremony |
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By U.S. Army Maj. Travis Dettmer
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs
FORT KNOX, KY - Several hundred Soldiers and Families of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team gathered Thursday afternoon (May 24, 2012) to honor 118 Duke Soldiers who died as a result of combat operations since Sept. 11, 2001. The wreath laying ceremony was the first of its kind at the recently dedicated Duke Memorial, a monument erected as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by brigade Soldiers since the Global War on Terror began over ten years ago.
After a brief introduction and rendering of national honors, the chaplain for 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, Capt. Richard Kuhlman, delivered an invocation recognizing the dozens of Duke Soldiers who gave their lives in service to the nation.
"Lord, see how we are saddened at the remembrance of our dear comrades who fell beside us in battle," he said. "They are in your hands."
The gathering then watched as Col. Chris Toner, commander of the 3/1 BCT, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Meyers, the brigade's senior enlisted member, placed a wreath in front of the memorial's center granite tablet bearing the brigade's crest. Six other granite tablets, each bearing the crests of their respective units, stood on either side of the brigade marker representing the six separate battalions that form the Duke Brigade. These humble markers bear the names of the 118 fallen Duke Soldiers.
"I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.," said Kuhlman, reading from the 23rd Psalm. "You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.," he continued. "Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever," recited Kuhlman.
Then, in sequence the senior enlisted member from each of the six battalions began reading through the names of the fallen, pausing between each for momentary reflection.
At the end of the solemn roll call was a 21 gun salute, followed by the playing of Taps to a silent, somber crowd.
Kuhlman offered another Psalm to ceremony attendees as the closing prayer. "The Lord bless you and keep you, and cause his face to shine upon you and grant you peace.," he said.
The 3/1 BCT has completed three, large-scale deployments as a brigade since 2001. Its deployment last year to Khowst, Paktya, and Ghazni provinces in eastern Afghanistan was the largest from Fort Knox since World War II. Over the course of that deployment the brigade lost 27 Soldiers during more than 600 separate operations.