News Icon

News: 36th Engineer Brigade honors the life of a fallen soldier

Story by Spc. Bradley WancourSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

36th Engineer Brigade honors the life of a fallen soldier Spc. Bradley Wancour

Many soldiers leave patches or coins at the altar after the memorial ceremony for Spc. Joseph Edward McDonald at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel in Killeen, Texas, April 18, 2013. McDonald died from injuries caused in a motorcycle accident April 14, 2013. The placement of patches or coins represents the Soldiers rendering of final respects to the fallen soldier. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Bradley J. Wancour/Released)

FORT HOOD, Texas - Facing death in combat is something all soldiers must be prepared to deal with in their career, but there is no greater tragedy than to lose a good soldier while at home.

The 36th Engineer Brigade held a memorial ceremony for Spc. Joseph Edward McDonald, combat engineer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 36th Eng. Bde., who died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

“When we, as soldiers, deploy to combat, we understand and accept the fact that we may pay the ultimate price in defense of our Constitution and our way of life,” said Capt. Peter White, HHC commander, 36th Eng. Bde. “But, when death strikes from out of nowhere against a responsible Soldier, thousands of miles away from combat, it leaves us asking, ‘Why here, why now?’”

White said there is not one single answer to that question and soldiers, friends and family need to search out an answer on their own.

“As we search for the answer, I challenge the soldiers in this company to come together and grieve, and let this (tragedy) recommit us to treasure the time we have together, to get to know each other better, and to look out for each other better,” he said.

White then focused on McDonald, sharing his thoughts on the fallen warrior.

“(He was) a proud, confident, rugged soldier, full of life and fun, but always on task, always eager to help our company succeed,” White said. “He never failed to execute any task that I had for him.”

Other members of the unit spoke about McDonald, as well, including Sgt. Maurice Reid, HHC’s training room noncommissioned officer and McDonald’s direct supervisor.

“My memories of him will be of laughter and of joy, courage, strength, good morals and honesty,” he said.

Reid spoke directly to McDonald’s Family, passing on his love and support to them.

“Joseph (McDonald) would want me to mention how much he loved and adored his wife, Ashley,” Reid said. “There is no doubt in my heart that if he were here today, he would want me to tell you that he loves you, Ashley. If it weren’t for your patience with I'm, and for your love and support, he would not have made it as far as he did.”

After addressing the McDonald family, Reid turned his attention to all soldiers and civilians that filled the room.

“Now I say to all in attendance and those here in spirit; if only there were words that could sooth the pain from which your sorrows brew, I would, with precise annunciation, speak those words to you now,” said Reid.

Connected Media
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
U.S. Army Sgt. Maurice Reid, a noncommissioned officer...
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
First Sgt. Thomas Sutton, with Headquarters and...
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
First Sgt. Thomas Sutton (front), Headquarters and...
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
Family and friends pay their final respects at the...
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
Soldiers and civilians pay their final respects at the...
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
Soldiers and civilians line up to pay their final...
Images36th Engineer Brigade...
Many soldiers leave patches or coins at the altar after...

Web Views

Podcast Hits

Public Domain Mark
This work, 36th Engineer Brigade honors the life of a fallen soldier, by SPC Bradley Wancour, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:04.18.2013

Date Posted:04.25.2013 14:37

Location:FORT HOOD, TX, USGlobe

More Like This

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' deputy chief paid a visit to Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard's 225th Engineer Brigade and the Ohio National Guard's 16th Engineer Brigade, Oct. 23.
  • Early on the morning of Oct. 21,  more than 250 soldiers from the 65th Engineer Battalion (CE), 130th Engineer Brigade and the 307th Engineer Battalion (C) (A), 20th Engineer Brigade gathered on Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan to witness a ceremony between two historic and prestigious engineer commands.
  • Today's Soldier in Focus is Spc. Kyle Clark. He is a soldier of the 1192nd Engineer Company (Horizontal), 101st Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, Multi-National Division-Baghdad.
  • The commander of the 412th Engineer Command from Vicksburg, Miss., visited with Soldiers of the 926th Engineer Brigade in Baghdad, July 23.


  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr