FORT BRAGG, NC – Family, friends and Soldiers throughout the Army Special Operations Forces community gathered to pay tribute to their fallen brothers and sister during the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Fallen Soldiers Memorial Ceremony, May 25.
Mixed with high emotion and high temperature, the ceremony took place at the USASOC Memorial Plaza where the names of past fallen warriors already adorn the USASOC Memorial Wall.
Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, Jr., USASOC commanding general, was the host for this ceremony and conveyed his thanks and gratitude towards everyone in attendance.
“Thank you to all of our fellow supporters from this great city of Fayetteville from which we get such great support and of course, most importantly to our Gold Star Families,” said Mulholland. “Thank you for being here with us today at our Memorial Plaza where we honor the greatest units and individuals out of the greatest formation in the U.S. Army, and in my opinion, the Department of Defense and around the world.”
Being honor here today are the names of 32 heroes that have made the ultimate sacrifice defending the freedoms of our Nation as well as the freedoms of other countries that have been oppressed.
The tradition of memorializing and honoring the fallen heroes is a tradition that spans back over 2400 years ago in the time of Ancient Athens.
“As we gather here today to honor the great sacrifice of our American men and women who have sacrificed all on behalf of this great country, the United States of America in the service of our Armed Forces. We come here today to honor a select number of these heroes and we do this in the tradition that comes down to us from Ancient Athens where most historians give credit for the first formal ceremonies honoring the city-state’s heroes,” said Mulholland.
“Like the heroes of that day, then men and women we are honoring today had choices. These incredible men and women, who heard and responded to a different voice, chose a more difficult path – a path to serve their country within Army Special Operations,” said Mulholland.
During his speech, Mulholland also reiterated the importance that we never forget the sacrifices that was made on behalf of all Americans.
“I highlight this because I believe that it is important that we never forget that Ashley (1st Lt. Ashley I. White) and her brothers in arms were truly exceptional people,” said Mulholland. “They had and always will have a value beyond measure. They were supremely confident in what they chose to do and completed committed to making a difference to the in which they lived and they unquestionably did so. Together they went into the maelstrom of combat with eyes wide open and with courage that is truly unique to those that routinely face dangers day after day.”
Quoting Pericles, Mulholland said, “Holding that vengeance upon their enemies was more to be desired than any personal blessings and reckoning this to be the more glorious of hazards they joyfully determine to accept the risks to make sure they vengeance and to let their wishes wait. They thought fit to act boldly and trust in themselves. Thus choosing to die resisting rather than live submitting they fled only from dishonor. Meet danger face to face and after one brief moment while at the summit of their fortune they escaped – not from their fear but from their glory.”
“It was by courage, sense of duty and a keen feeling of honor in action that men were enable to win all of this and that no personal failure in enterprise could deprive them of their valor as they have laid it her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer,” said Mulholland. “How well that describes the great men and women that we are honoring here today.”
At the end of the ceremony, the families and friends of the fallen warriors made their way towards the USASOC Memorial Wall to view the names of their family member and remember what they were fighting for.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” said Mulholland. “May we be equal to the challenge and the sacrifice that our brothers and sisters have laid before us. Being equal to their commitment, everyday of our lives to whatever task our God, our country or our fellow man may ask of us.”
Master Sgt. Danial R. Adams
Sgt. 1st Class Martin R. Apolinar
Master Sgt. Benjamin F. Bitner
Sgt. Aaron J. Blasjo
Spc. Ricardo Cerros
Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Demeij
Sgt. 1st Class Wyatt A. Goldsmith
Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz
Pfc. Christopher A. Horns
Staff Sgt. Michael W. Hosey
Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Katzenberger
Sgt. Alessandro L. Plutino
Capt. Waid C. Ramsey
Capt. Joseph W. Schultz
Master Sgt. Benjamin A. Stevenson
1st Lt. Ashley I. White
Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin B. Wise
Sgt. Justin B. Allen
Master Sgt. Mark W. Coleman
Sgt. Andrew J. Creighton
Spc. Joseph W. Dimock II
Sgt. Ronald A. Kubik
Sgt. Martin A. Lugo
Sgt. Andrew C. Nicol
Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Pape
Sgt. 1st Class Dae H. Park
Staff Sgt. James R. Patton
Sgt. Jason A. Santora
Master Sgt. Jared N. Van Aalst
Sgt. 1st Class Lance H. Vogeler
Staff Sgt. Kyle R. Warren
Spc. Christopher S. Wright