FORT BRAGG, N.C. (12/20/2011) - Christmas can be a joyous time of year for us as we exchange gifts and share past memories with family. Phone and video chat conversations with distant relatives or deployed service members add to those memories as we laugh and cry together.
As you look forward to Christmas this year, I ask you to add one thing to your “to-do” list. It's simple and it only takes a moment. Each year, we do this one thing briefly on Veteran's Day, but it's something that we can do year-‘round – remember our fallen comrades.
Col. Chris Sharpsten, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Bell, Spc. Nataliya Ardin and Spc. Shannon Gaddis cut the ribbon leading into the Hall of Heroes Nov. 7, 2011 at the 82nd Sustainment Bde.'s Center of Excellence building. Photo by Army Spc. David McCarthy
This year, the 82nd Sustainment Brigade remembers seven fallen soldiers.
Spc. Joshua R. Campbell, 546th Transportation Company
Spc. Shawn A. Muhr, 546th Transportation Company
Sgt. Orlando C. Salazar, Headquarters Company, 82nd Special Troops Battalion
Sgt. Breon J. Smith, 659th Maintenance Company
Staff Sgt. Carson Morris, Headquarters Detachment, 7th Transportation Bn.
Sgt. Devin J. Daniels, 546th Transportation Company
Sgt. Colby L. Richmond, 546th Transportation Company
We remember their sacrifice and the tears cried from each of their families. We remember the memorial service as the songs “Taps” and “Amazing Grace” play out in our minds.
As heart-breaking as that sounds, it's a reality that Provider soldiers and families share. The constant phrase “one is too many” looms over every family member who endures the loss.
We honor our fallen comrades by remembering them in our thoughts, prayers and ceremonies.
Col. Chris Sharpsten, 82nd Sustainment Bde. commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Bell recognized all of the unit's fallen soldiers by opening a “Hall of Heroes” Nov. 7 at the “Center of Excellence” building. The memorial displays plaques of all of the deceased soldiers within the Bde.'s history mounted on two painted murals.
A ceremony that took place this year recognized one of our fallen comrades as the “United Service Organization Soldier of the Year.”
On Oct. 7, David Muhr, Coon Rapids, Iowa native and father of Spc. Shawn Muhr, received a commemorative plaque from USO representatives honoring his son's sacrifice, while attending a formal dinner to honor six service members from all branches of the military. “It was real fantastic that he was recognized like that,” the Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient said.
Shawn was killed Jan. 29, while driving a heavy equipment transport vehicle during a supply mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. An improvised explosive device detonated on his HET.
This was Shawn's second deployment to a combat zone. He was assigned to another unit and had volunteered to join the 546th Transportation Company for a HET mission.
“He was a hero, a great son and common-sense smart,” said Shawn's father. “I've always been proud of him,” he said.
“People gravitated toward him naturally, just because he was a good person to be around,” said Spc. Jarred Woods, Shawn's team mate and Osage City, Kan., native.
“He was a larger-than-life kinda guy,” said Capt. Michael Harrell, 546th Transportation Company commander, and New Bern, N.C., native. “He was very big in stature, very big in voice and very big in personality,” said Harrell.
Unfortunately, Shawn had not spent much time at home during the Christmas holiday since he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2005, according to his father. His team mates had mentioned that even while deployed, missions carried on during the holidays.
The families of all seven fallen soldiers will continue to cope with their loss as we head into this year's holiday season.
So, this Christmas, when you're sitting at the dinner table with family and friends, or unwrapping gifts, keep the soldiers mentioned in this article in your thoughts. They are 82nd Sustainment Bde.'s fallen soldiers and we remember their sacrifices for the defense of our nation.
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Vin Stevens
82nd Sustainment Brigade
Provided through DVIDS
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