MPs say goodbye: Family, friends pay final respects to fallen warriors
Staff Sgt. Casey J. McGeorge and Sgt. Erik Thurman,
15th Sustainment Bde. Public Affairs:
Soldiers, civilians, family members and friends paid their final respects to six fallen military police Soldiers from the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd MP Battalion, in a memorial ceremony at the 1st Armored Division Chapel Aug. 8.
Staff Sgt. Ricardo Seija, Spc. Trevor B. Adkins, Spc. Erica P. Alecksen, Spc. Alejandro J. Pardo, Spc. Cameron J. Stambaugh and Spc. Clarence Williams III all died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit in Maidan Shahr, Wardak province, Afghanistan, with an improvised explosive device July 8.
“Today, we assemble from various division and installation units in remembrance of fallen heroes,” said Lt. Col. Richard Ball, commander of the 93rd MP Bn. “For as we gather today, we are not separate units, but part of an Army family.
“In some ways we are weakened by these losses to our family,” continued Ball. “But in so many other ways we are strengthened by our memories of these fallen warriors, the things they accomplished, the people whose lives they enriched and their endearing service to our Army and our nation.”
Memories of the fallen were shared by those in attendance. Whether it was Stambaugh, who always had a smile on his face, all-night sessions playing the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with Adkins, the prized Monte Carlo that Alecksen’s father restored for her, the jokes and pranks that Pardo would play on his platoon mates, Williams always pushing those around him to better themselves, or Seija driving up in his Mini Cooper with his hat pulled down to his eyes. Smiles as well as tears occurred during the remembrance in the chapel.
“These Soldiers gave everything to our nation because they believed in freedom,” said 1st Lt. Gina Thatcher, rear detachment commander of the 978th MP Co.
Thatcher’s remarks were on behalf of Capt. Jessica Johnson, commander of the 978th MP Co., who is still serving in Afghanistan.
“They knew their actions would provide freedom and security for not only their families back home but also for the families of countless Afghanis,” continued Thatcher. “These heroes fulfilled their oaths to our nation and they will never be forgotten.”
Although the 93rd MP Bn. mourned their fallen comrades, they know the mission must continue.
“The way ahead from here is given to us by President Lincoln at Gettysburg,” said Ball. “In his address, he told us nothing we can do will ever measure up to the sacrifice of a fallen Soldier. No memorial, no consecrated ground, no official ceremonies. … President Lincoln said the best we can do, and what we should do, is dedicate our own lives to the spirit of our fallen Soldiers’ service.”
“To honor the memories and sacrifice of our fallen heroes, know that we will not back down from the enemy that we face,” said Thatcher. “Although heavy-hearted, this unit has the discipline, toughness and fighting spirit to not only continue, but to exceed all expectations.”
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