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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By Army Spc. Justin Naylor

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Red Dragons Unveil Memorial, Remember Fallen
(September 16, 2010)

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FORT HOOD, Texas (Sept. 10, 2010) - At a small, nondescript field in the heart of Fort Hood, Texas, a group of soldiers and family members of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gathered together to pay homage to the memory of those lost during the global war on terror and to take solace in the company of good friends.
Lt. Col. Nathan Cook, the commander of 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos SotoBonilla, the "Red Dragons" Command Sgt. Maj., unveil a new memorial on Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 10, 2010 dedicated to the six soldiers the unit has lost during its three rotations to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Lt. Col. Nathan Cook, the commander of 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos SotoBonilla, the "Red Dragons" Command Sgt. Maj., unveil a new memorial on Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 10, 2010 dedicated to the six soldiers the unit has lost during its three rotations to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 In honor of the sacrifices of six soldiers the unit lost during its three rotations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Red Dragons dedicated a memorial to them, Sept. 10.

“We have a lot of soldiers that have served with these [six] soldiers,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Jon Bailey, a Hickory, N.C., native and the chaplain for 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. “We really didn't have a place to memorialize them.”

This gives the unit and its soldiers a place to come and visit and take time to remember those soldiers they knew and cared about, according to Bailey.

For the family members of those who've died, the memorial was a reminder that their loved ones have not been forgotten.

“I'm glad he did his part and [this shows] a lot of people appreciated it,” said Izayah Polk of his father, Sgt. 1st Class Johnny Polk, killed during the unit's most recent rotation to Iraq.

Izayah remembered his father as a man who was willing to do what his country asked of him, no matter the risk.

“To him, it was his job and he did it with pride,” said Izayah.

People go to work and take it for granted that they are going to come home at the end of the day, but in his line of work it wasn't a sure thing, he explained.

“I'm happy anyway they remember him; as long as he is not
forgotten,” he said of the memorial.
For the soldiers who personally knew some of those that have died, this memorial is a place of remembrance.

“It's just fantastic to be able to come back here and relive memories,” said Spc. Thomas Clemeno, a Syracuse, N.Y., native who knew four of the six soldiers. “This will always be here, and everyone can be reminded of the sacrifices we all made.”

“We all have our memories of them...this is something they would be happy about,” he continued.

The memorial was paid for completely by donations from the soldiers and friends and family members of the unit.

Article and photo by Army Spc. Justin Naylor
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

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