News: Soldiers, civilians fallen but not forgotten
Story by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Service members and civilians gathered for a memorial service and plaque presentation held at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, April 16.
The outdoor ceremony honored the lives of both military and civilians that were lost in an attack at FOB Gamberi, April 16, 2011.
“Today we a dedicated a small memorial plaque to honor those who were killed two years ago today,” said, U.S. Army Capt. Michael Miller, standing next to the commemorative plaque in front of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation building.
Miller serves as commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas. The native of Petersburg, Ill., is also the FOB Gamberi, mayor cell, officer-in-charge.
He addressed the small group of soldiers and civilians that grew in numbers as time passed.
“Two years ago today, soldiers were training Afghan National Army soldiers when their own lives were cut short in a brutal act of betrayal by a member of the ANA they were training. Each of these soldiers was unique, with loved ones praying to see them safely home,” Miller told the crowd.
He told the group the battalion motto, “The Sustainers,” was a perfect fit, as they spearheaded a mentorship program with the ANA. The advisers initiated the ANA’s first maintenance course, teaching maintenance, transportation, medical, support operations and staff functions.
Standing on the second step of the MWR, Miller then said, “These soldiers killed didn’t choose this battle or this foe, but they did choose to be soldiers … and part of being a soldier is knowing that someday, there is a chance one may be required to lay down his life so that others may be free. This was not a tragic end; this was their rendezvous with destiny.”
Following the plaque presentation, Miller said a couple of civilian contractors walked up and thanked him for making sure their friends and co-workers were not forgotten.
“They told me this meant a lot to them because they did have that personal connection,” said Miller.
One civilian contractor who attended the ceremony, Bruce Babione said, “I thought it was a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives here.”
Babione has been in Afghanistan for more than two and half years. He was working at FOB Gamberi two years ago, on the day of the attack.
The native of Hobart, Okla., said it all happened in blink of an eye. Adding that he felt helpless at the time of the incident.
“That day is probably the worst day in my life, there were so many people wounded,” said Babione. “And there was nothing really we could do to help.”
After thanking the crowd for their participation they group slowly dispersed, going back to their offices and places of duty.
“U.S. service members, and civilian contractors were killed and we didn’t want the event to be forgotten,” said Miller. “We didn’t want those who gave all for their country to be forgotten.”
They are also not forgotten at Fort Campbell, Ky. “The Sustainers” home base holds a brigade run in honor of the 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, soldiers lost in the attack.
Date Posted:04.17.2013 09:59
Location:LAGHMAN PROVINCE, AF
Hometown:FORT BLISS, TX, US
Hometown:FORT CAMPBELL, KY, US
Hometown:FORT HOOD, TX, US
Hometown:HOBART, OK, US
Hometown:PETERSBURG, MENARD, IL, US