News: Living memorial dedicated to 2nd BCT soldier
Story by Sgt. Richard Wrigley
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 3rd Infantry Division held a memorial ceremony to dedicate an Eastern Redbud tree as a living memorial for a fallen soldier at the Warrior’s Walk here, Jan. 17.
“When you look at [the trees on Warrior’s Walk], I assure you, you are looking at heroes,” said Brig. Gen. John Hort, deputy commander, home-detachment, 3rd ID in one of the opening lines of his speech he gave as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
The tree dedication was in honor of the ultimate sacrifice made by Sgt. Jason Swindle, who was a native of Cabot, Ark., and a soldier with Company B, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID.
Sgt. Swindle was killed in action on Sept., 20, 2012, when he and his platoon were hit by enemy small arms fire while conducting security operations in Panjwai, Afghanistan.
The memorial marked the 444th Eastern Redbud dedicated to the memory of a soldier fallen in combat while in the 3rd Infantry Division, said Hort.
The ceremony was short and bittersweet, and those in attendance laughed at times, and some cried, as Hort told all who were there about what kind of soldier and what kind of man Sgt. Swindle was.
Hort talked about how Sgt. Swindle was by all reports a hardworking, compassionate, humble, and uncanny leader, who above all else was a devoted and loving husband to his wife Chelsey and his two sons, one of whom had not yet been born at the time of his passing.
“He was a hero in many fashions: as a son, a brother, a husband, a father and as a soldier,” said Hort.
Most of Sgt. Swindle’s family was in attendance, his wife Chelsey, escorted by Staff Sgt. Jesse Kelley, another member of Company B, 1-64th AR, his father and mother, Jerry and Joy Swindle, and three of his brothers, Joey, Mat and Sam.
While the ceremony ended with the family taking a moment around the newly dedicated tree, the sentiments of the day were probably best summarized at the end of Hort’s speech.
“He was a cherished friend to many; his devotion to the Army and his family will always be remembered.”