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Heroes and Patriots
By Marti Yoshida

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Fallen Combat Engineers Honored, Remembered
(April 20, 2011)

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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (4/15/2011) - The U.S. Army Engineer Regiment held a Soldier Memorial Tribute and Fallen Sapper Memorial Wall unveiling for family members and fellow engineers on the evening of April 7 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.  
More than 330 names of combat engineers lost during combat operations in the Global War on Terror were etched on the Memorial Wall for Fallen Engineers that was unveiled April 7, 2011 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Each of the walls for the Fallen Sapper Memorial stand 4-foot-1/2-inch wide by 6 feet high. The bases are 4-foot-1/2-inch wide, by 18-inches high by 30-inches deep. The loops at the top are used to move the wall made of red Missouri granite. (Photo by Cotton Puryear)
More than 330 names of combat engineers lost during combat operations in the Global War on Terror were etched on the Memorial Wall for Fallen Engineers that was unveiled April 7, 2011 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Each of the walls for the Fallen Sapper Memorial stand 4-foot-1/2-inch wide by 6 feet high. The bases are 4-foot-1/2-inch wide, by 18-inches high by 30-inches deep. The loops at the top are used to move the wall made of red Missouri granite. (Photo by Cotton Puryear)
The tribute, held in the World War II Chapel, was designed to pay humble and respectful homage to the 33 engineer soldiers who died in combat from April 2010 to April 2011. Immediately following the ceremony, a memorial wall, best described as having a level of dignity that is similar to the Vietnam Wall, was unveiled for the first time in the Engineer Memorial Grove.

The wall, made of red Missouri granite and engraved with the names of more than 330 engineers who made the ultimate sacrifice, was unveiled in front of family members and fellow engineers from across the country. Rubbing material was provided so that family members and fellow engineers could trace the names from the wall.
Brig. Gen. Bryan Watson, commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School began the tribute by saying, “One of our most solemn and sacred duties as a soldier is to honor the fallen members of our brotherhood, our family.

“Tonight we honor our band of brothers—Each of whom were unique in life, but somehow bound together in the force of life—in that human drive to serve the nation.”

Watson spoke to the unique perspectives, personalities, likes and dislikes of each soldier—each having their list of best movies, songs, high school memories and favorite dish that mom prepared.

Watson said, “But at some point, they were also inspired by a sense of service.

“To be part of something much bigger than self, and they acted upon that sense.

“So we come here tonight, some come here to remember, some to pay tribute, some to mourn, but also to celebrate for the way that they lived, and the way they sacrificed as fallen engineers.”

Following the tribute, the Fallen Engineer Memorial Wall was unveiled outside of the WWII Chapel in Engineer Memorial Grove.

Retired Maj. Gen. Clair F. Gill, president, Army Engineer Association, welcomed guests and thanked soldiers, units, individuals and industry partners for their contributions in support of the construction of the monument and for making the memorial dedication possible.

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, chief of engineers, U.S. Army, and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke directly to family members on behalf of a grateful nation, on behalf of soldiers everywhere, and on behalf of engineers around the world for the honor, sacrifice, courage, friendship and love demonstrated by their engineer soldiers.

Van Antwerp remarked, “To the families and friends your sacrifice is great. We did not come here tonight to open deep wounds, but we did come here tonight to say that you are not alone, and you will never be forgotten. Your soldiers will never be forgotten."

By Marti Yoshida
Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office
Copyright 2011

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