FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (11/30/2011) -- Soldiers, families and
friends gathered at the Main Post Chapel, Thursday, Nov. 10, to
attend a joint memorial service commemorating the lives of three
post soldiers killed in action earlier this month.
Ivan Lechowich, Spc. Steven Gutowski and Pfc. David Drake died Sept.
28 in Afghanistan of injuries suffered when their vehicle was struck
by an improvised explosive device while conducting route clearance.
Memorial display for three fallen soldiers assigned to the 515th Engineer Company remembered at the Main Post Chapel Nov. 10,
2011. 1st Lt. Ivan Lechowich, Spc. Steven Gutowski and Pfc. David Drake died Sept. 28 in Afghanistan of injuries suffered when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device while conducting route clearance. Photo by
Army Sgt. Heather Denby
All three soldiers were assigned to the 515th Engineer
Company, 5th Engineer Battalion also known as the "Fightin'
Lt. Col. Christopher McGowan, 5th Engineer
Bn. commander, spoke of the soldiers with tears in his eyes.
"These soldiers have given more and sacrificed more than
anyone should have to," he said. "[But] we know that during
these most difficult and challenging times we must stand up
and say 'If not me, then who - if not now, then when.'"
While acting as platoon leader, Lechowich identified
several tactics, techniques and plans that could be improved
while assisting the unit mission to identify possible
hazards on high-traffic roads utilized by American and
coalition forces in the Ghazni province.
patrol several clicks of road each day and every day [Lechowich]
would push us to go a little farther, look a little
further," said Sgt. Johnathan Hall, a combat engineer
assigned to 515th Engineer Company.
The efforts of
Lechowich and his soldiers led to the identification of
approximately 40 explosive devices in a single month of
"Our sappers will continue to
execute this dangerous, but critically important mission
downrange," said McGowan. "They do this not only to protect
our forces, but also to honor the memory of the fallen
fighters we remember here today."
By Army Sgt. Heather Denby
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