News: Mustang soldiers immortalized on Warriors Walk
Story by Sgt. Bob Yarbrough
FORT STEWART, Ga. – The morning of Jan. 16, 2014, was brisk and windy, but the sun was shining as the weather seemed to echo the bittersweet mood of a ceremony at the Warriors Walk on Fort Stewart, Ga., to commemorate the lives of two soldiers, who made the ultimate sacrifice during combat operations while assigned to 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
The Warriors Walk memorial is dedicated to soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division and attached units who deployed from Fort Stewart in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom, and did not return. An Eastern Redbud tree is planted for each fallen soldier, and pays a living tribute to their service and sacrifice for our nation.
Sergeant 1st Class Forrest W. Robertson was a cavalry scout from Wamego, Kan. "Sgt. Rob" as he was affectionately known, was an energetic, fun-loving soldier and leader assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6-8 Cav. Regt. "He could tell anybody from the squadron commander down to the lowest private exactly what he was thinking in a way that made it sound like you needed to do better, but allowed you to know that he loved you and he cared about you," said Capt. Robert Heightchew, commander of HHT.
Robertson was survived by his wife Marcie Robertson, daughters Evelyn Robertson, Alia Robertson, and Kristie Smith, mother Dorothy Berg and stepfather and Charles Berg, and sisters Emma Robertson and Amanda McCallum, with her husband Sam, all in attendance at the ceremony. Also attending were Max Pfrang and Mary Webb-Pfrang, Robertson's mother and father-in-law; Matt Pfrang, his brother-in-law; Brenda Pfrang, his sister-in-law; and J.D. Boatwright, Robertson's close family friend.
Spc. James T. Wickliff, from Edmond, Okla., served as an infantryman with Troop C, 6-8 Cav. Regt. He was selfless and courageous, earning several awards for his combat service during his short time in the Army. He was often remembered as the soldier who always volunteered to carry the heavy weapons, as to lighten the load on the other soldiers on mission with him.
“He was like a brother to me,” said Spc. Kevin Mcgrew, an infantryman with Troop C, and a close friend of Wickliff. “I could just look at him, and he would know what I was thinking. He would give his last dollar for me if I didn’t have anything. He laid his life down for me and his brothers. That's the greatest thing that he could give."
Wickliff's father Thomas Wickliff with his wife Raiza Wickliff and Spc. Wickliff’s mother Carolina Wickliff, and her boyfriend Greg Lynn attended the ceremony along with Wickliff's sister Michelle Wickliff. Wickliff's nephew and best friend, Steve Rotelli, and his father's nephew Juan Rosario were also in attendance. Two of the soldiers injured in the incident that claimed Wickliff's life, Sgt. Taylor Scholtes and Cpl. Jason Caton, also accompanied Wickliff's family.
"The love, honor, and respect we feel for these two great soldiers will not fade into the night, nor will it fade into time,” said Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, the commanding general of 3rd Infantry Division. “We owe it to these two outstanding young men to live up to the example they have set for all of us. Daily as we walk down these concrete walkways, or drive by this hallowed ground, remember the price that each one of these heroes paid to afford us the opportunity to live the life that we do.”