Story by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. April Campbell
Fort Bragg, N.C. – The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade honored their fallen Paratroopers during All-American Week as Soldiers, Families and friends rededicated the brigade memorial, May 21.
82nd CAB Commander Col. Mike Musiol and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry D. Farmer placed a wreath and Pegasus Brigade Families and aviators placed roses at the memorial in honor of each of the brigade’s aviators who have fallen in combat.
“Our chosen profession is not without sacrifice,” Musiol said. “Today we honor our troopers who left us too soon—whose lives were cut short on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The names of those who fell during the brigade’s most recent deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2011 -2012 were added to the memorial.
The names of Staff Sgt. Robert B. Cowdrey, Capt. Scott P. Pace, 1st Lt. Mathew G. Fazzari, Sgt. Eric E. Williams, and Chief Warrant Officers 2 Jose L. Montenegro and Thalia S. Ramirez are now etched alongside comrades who went before them.
“A Soldier could be called on in a moment’s notice, especially here in the 82nd, to go take a message to those who are out of line,” Musiol said. “There are no guarantees the enemy will listen, and sometimes, they deal us a harsh blow by taking the life of one of our own.”
The verse Isaiah 6:8 is inscribed on the top of the memorial: “And the Lord said whom shall I send; who will go for us. And I said here am I send me.”
“Those who volunteer, like Isaiah, know the risks, accept the call – never backing down in the face of hardship, and finishing the task they have been assigned,” Musiol said. “Isaiah did that for God, and the Paratroopers of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, immortalized on this memorial, do that for America. We can only pray that the anguish of the families of these fallen heroes is tempered by the knowledge that their loved ones died for a noble cause.”
Gold Star Parents Ann and Dale Hampton have attended every Pegasus memorial ceremony since their daughter, Capt. Kimberly Hampton, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
“It’s good to know our fallen heroes are not forgotten,” Ann said.
For the Hamptons, the event is an opportunity to remember their daughter and join together with other Gold Star Families.
“The ceremony gives families of fallen Soldiers an opportunity to meet each other and share their experiences and understanding,” Dale said.
The sacrifices made by each of these Families and their Paratroopers are written in the memorial stone of the Pegasus Brigade.
“Each time you pass by this memorial, glance at the names, for behind each is a story of grief and loss that came to a family – a parent, a spouse, a child, a brother or a sister,” Musiol said. “If we honor and remember these men and women, compassion will prevail, justice will triumph and freedom will reign.”