News: 'Raiders' bid farewell to brother-in-arms
Story by Spc. Reese Von Rogatsz
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Family, friends and service members gathered to honor and celebrate the life of Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle, Jr., in a memorial ceremony at Lewis North Chapel, Dec. 5.
Battle, a 25-year-old native of Rocky Mount, N.C., died Nov. 13 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
“Staff Sergeant Battle was one of those rare non-commissioned officers who simply shined,” said 1st Lt. Marcus Forrester, rear detachment commander of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. who spoke on behalf of Capt. Jefferson D. Mason, 38th Eng. Co. commander.
“A tremendous leader with an intrinsic ability to perform magnanimously under pressure,” continued Forrester, “[Battle] always displayed a positive attitude and was a deeply respected leader in his platoon, the company, and the brigade.”
According to Mason, in the days and nights that followed the tragic accident, he searched for the right words to convey the level of positive influence and the impact Battle had made on the unit.
Throughout his career, Mason said he had heard individuals talk of the intangible qualities of great leaders and Soldiers - using words such as professionalism, dedication, and personal courage.
“Through Battle’s continued acts of selfless service and sacrifice, I have found these to be more than words. They are lifestyle choices. They are the qualities that our country was founded upon and they are the qualities that Staff Sergeant Battle readily displayed,” said Mason.
“I first met Staff Sergeant Battle when he came to the 38th Engineer Company during our Iraq deployment in 2009 to 2010,” said Sgt. George Fuller in a Soldier’s tribute downrange.
Fuller said in the years following their deployment, him and Battle became best friends.
“Staff Sergeant Battle was the first person I would call with good news or bad,” Fuller said. “We told each other everything. We had similar childhoods growing up, so we could always relate to one another. We even had a handshake to greet each other.”
Fuller said it feels like he has lost his right-hand man; Battle was the first person he told that he was getting married.
“He was my witness [at my wedding] and held my phone while the judge led the ceremony, so that my mother could hear, Fuller recalled.
“Staff Sergeant Battle was our brother, a brother-in-arms,” said Forrester on behalf of Lt. Col. Thomas Feltey, 2-23 Inf. commander.
“A brother who helped regardless of the task, who fearlessly led his men,” Forrester continued.
“He was courageous,” he added. “He was our friend. He is already missed but he will never be forgotten… May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, may the sun shine warmly on your face, and may the rain fall softly upon your fields,”.
“Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand,” Forrester said.
Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle, Jr., of Rocky Mount, N.C., was born Aug. 28, 1987, and graduated from Northern Nash High School in 2005. Following graduation, he attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he completed his training in the military occupational specialty 12B, Combat Engineer.
Following graduation, he arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Nov. 2005, and was assigned to 1st Special Forces Group Support Battalion as a gunner. He deployed with the unit to Iraq from May 2008 to February 2009.
In Sept. 2009, he was assigned to 38th Eng. Co., 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., as a team leader. He deployed to Iraq from February to September 2010. In November 2012, he deployed to Afghanistan as a squad leader.
Battle told relatives that he left Rocky Mount to serve in the Army in the Middle East to become a man. Known to family members as “Junior”, he was lauded by relatives and school officials as a young man determined to do what was needed, whether in the military or at home in Nash County. He is remembered as someone who would do the right thing, no matter how difficult, as a result of upbringing and training.
Battle’s military education includes: Airborne School (2007), Combatives Level I (2007), Warrior Leaders Course (2011), Short Range Marksmanship Course (2011), Combatives Level 2 (2011) and the Advanced Leaders Course (2012).
His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (2ndaward), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with 3 campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral “2”, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “2”, the NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and Driver’s Badge.
Battle is survived by his wife, Dorris Battle, father, Rayvon Battle, Sr., and sister, Chiquita Waterman.