KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan (5/24/2012) - With Memorial Day
right around the corner, service members deployed to Forward
Operating Base Salerno dedicated a wall to honor their
fallen comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice in support
of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Paratroopers with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th
Infantry Brigade, Task Force 4-25, watch as two AH-64 Apache attack
helicopters fly over the memorial of the fallen at Forward Operating
Base Salerno May 24. The memorial was put together with a joint
effort from soldiers across the entire brigade. Photo by Army Sgt. William Begley
Memorial Day, formally
known as Decoration Day, originated after the American Civil
War to commemorate Union soldiers who died in the Civil War.
By the 20th century, Memorial Day had extended to honor all
Americans who have died in all wars while serving in the
United States Armed Forces.
At FOB Salerno a wall was
constructed to acknowledge the American military units that
have deployed to FOB Salerno. The names of the service
members, who gave their life while deployed to Afghanistan,
were painted below the insignia of the units they served in.
“I determined the best way to honor my fallen was to do
what they had asked me to do and that is remembering them on
Memorial Day with a smile,” said Col. Morris Goins,
commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th
Infantry Division, hailing from Southern Pines, N.C. He said
that this day is about remembering those who've fallen and
reflecting on how they lived their life, not how they died.
In charge of designing and constructing this momentous
project was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Curnow, an armament
technician assigned to B Company, 725th Battalion Support
Brigade, hailing from Butte, Mont.
Curnow said the
creation of this memorial is very personnel to him, coming
from a family with numerous family members who are veterans.
“This is not only for the personnel here on the wall,
but it's for all the people that went before us as well,”
Curnow said. “The best piece of making all of this is seeing
the veterans and even the civilians who arrived here working
giving us a pat on the back saying ‘good job,' and after
hearing all that, it just makes all that much more better.”
During Goins' speech, he spoke on how he has grown
to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the
meaning behind Memorial Day.
“Prior to the global
war on terrorism, I did not grasp the full meaning of
Memorial Day, but God knows I do now,” Goins said. “As a
commander I've lost 32 heroes in combat and initially felt
The dedication of this memorial so close to
the where the fighting is ongoing has found some service
members feeling a sense of wonderment and satisfaction.
“I've seen something like this in Bagram, but something
out here, right along the border, right where the fight is,
I have not seen it. This is pretty amazing,” said Staff Sgt.
Christopher Patchen, the chaplain assistant assigned to 1st
Battalion, 501st Infantry (Airborne), hailing from Casper,
Patchen also spoke on his appreciation for the
soldiers who worked so hard to design the memorial and the
great service it bestows on the family members who have lost
a family member.
“The soldiers who did this should be
proud of themselves,” Patchen said. “They did an awesome
job. This is for everybody to see and just take a second to
pause and think about the fallen. Think about their
More photos available in frame below
By Army Spc. Eric-James Estrada
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