Troopers and family members from the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division gathered at the Fort Bliss Cemetery Thursday, to honor two former Soldiers during a Remembrance Ceremony.
Second lieutenant Charles Stearns Jr. was born in Chihuahua, Mexico on August 26, 1908. His family moved to El Paso, Texas where he attended school. He was inducted in the U.S. Army on Jan. 30, 1942 at Fort Bliss, and called to active duty on Feb. 24, 1942. While in the Army, he married the former Beatrice Sanchez of El Paso.
On June 6, 1943, while assigned to the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company, he was deployed from San Francisco and arrived at Brisbane, Australia on July 26, 1943. Stearns, then a Staff Sgt., moved with the 27th to New Guinea, Admiralty Islands, Leyte, PI, and Luzon, PI. While in Luzon, he earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action at Manila. He received a battlefield commission to 2nd Lt., and was later presented the Silver Star by Maj. Gen. William C. Chase, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division at Southern Luzon, PI.
"Although he did not die in combat, he saved the lives of many of his comrades and he is our hero," said Lt. Col. David O. Whitaker, commander, 27th BSB
"The 27th has a long and proud history serving with the 1st Cavalry Division since 1921, and has participated in every major conflict," said Whitaker. "This outfit is the most decorated unit in the 1st Cavalry Division and much of our success is contributed to the many men who have paid the ultimate sacrifice," he added.
Specialist Beau Beaulieu was assigned to the 27th Main Support Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"He is the most recent member of our battalion to pay the ultimate sacrifice for freedom in the Global War on Terrorism," said Whitaker. "He came in the Army as a communications repair specialist, and to hear his friends and comrades talk, he was quite good at it. He was killed when his forward operating base was hit by rockets on May 24, 2004."
The ceremony concluded with 1st Sgt. Christopher Coleman reading the "roll call," and with the placing of wreaths on the gravesite of 2nd Lt. Stearns, who is buried at the Fort Bliss Cemetery.
"Absolutely incredible," said Gloria Salcedo, the daughter of Charles Stearns, as she knelt by the gravesite and paid her respects to her father, who was a true "Rough Rider" in every sense of the word.