News: Fort Carson shows honor to fallen soldier with building dedication
Story by Spc. Nathan Thome
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers, family and friends of Fort Carson attended a ceremony to dedicate the Fort Carson Multi-disciplinary Training Platform complex to 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez, Jan. 7, in honor of his sacrifice during his deployment to Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Maj. Wayne Prince, executive officer, 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, recalls the day Mendez was killed April 27, 2006, in Bagdad, Iraq.
Mendez’s gunner got sick and couldn’t go on the convoy to pick up materials to fix an airfield. Mendez decided to man the gunner’s turret himself, saying, “I can do anything my soldiers can do, and I can do it better.”
This decision led to his ultimate sacrifice, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee, during a combat operation.
The facility, formerly known simply as the foundry, has been renamed to 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez Foundry Training Platform, in his memory.
Foundry is the U.S. Army’s intelligence training readiness program, developed in 2006, for the military intelligence force. It is designed to sustain critical military intelligence skills, while providing enhanced military intelligence skills. The complex provides simulation and classroom training, and holds equipment needed for field training.
“First Sergeant Mendez was a military intelligence professional for the 4th Infantry Division at the time he made his ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” said Thomas Grantman, Fort Carson foundry director. “It’s something that he took pride in, that he dedicated his life to; it’s a one-of-a-kind facility honoring a one-of-a-kind soldier.”
The building is the largest foundry platform in the Army, and is the only one that has been dedicated to a soldier, said Grantman.
Through the foundry platform, units can train signal, human, geospatial and all-source intelligence soldiers. Its compound facilitates home station training for more than 2,500 soldiers from Fort Carson and the surrounding area, Grantman added.
“First Sergeant Bobby Mendez was the epitome of a noncommissioned officer; he was a leader, trainer and mentor for all to emulate,” said Lt. Col. Richard Appelhans, assistant chief of staff for Intelligence, 4th Infantry Division. “He was an expert in the craft of intelligence, technically and tactically competent, and a dedicated intelligence professional in all regards.
“He understood the importance of training military intelligence soldiers, ensuring they are ready to deploy, and capable of performing their mission,” Applehans added. “It is only fitting that we dedicate this facility, where military intelligence soldiers, present and future, will be trained, to the life, memory and example of 1st Sgt. Mendez.”
As the ceremony came to a close, a moment of silence was held to give those in attendance a chance to reflect.
“My sincerest thanks goes out to all those who made this possible,” said Prince. “I think through this dedication, Mendez will continue to serve as an inspiration to generations of soldiers, in a setting that is very fitting, through his commitment to training and, more importantly, his commitment to his soldiers overall.”