Bulldog Brigade Memorial: Volunteers build site to remember those who served
Maj. Terence M. Kelley,
3rd BCT, 1st AD Public Affairs:
The 1st Armored Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the Bulldog Brigade Memorial Association dedicated the Bulldog Brigade Memorial at the unit’s headquarters Sept. 21.
A crowd estimated in excess of 1,000, including families and comrades of the fallen, assembled around the memorial on a bright September morning to commemorate the brigade’s service in current and past conflicts.
Known as the “Bulldog” Brigade, the unit returned from Afghanistan in July and uncased its colors here Aug. 8.
The memorial was funded and built through the efforts of the BBMA, a nonprofit organization. The group’s members worked on a volunteer basis throughout the brigade’s recent deployment to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom to have the memorial ready upon the brigade’s return.
BBMA President Carla Whitesell-Dahl praised the group for their efforts and teamwork.
“We started at ground zero with no money, no formal training and a limited time schedule,” Whitesell-Dahl said. “However, being Army spouses, we became quick studies and set forth on this mission with the same zest and determination that our husbands carried with them to Afghanistan.”
Whitesell-Dahl’s husband is an officer assigned to the brigade.
Col. Mark H. Landes, brigade commander, told the assembled crowd that the monument represented a promise written in stone.
“It will stand as a daily reminder that even as the brigade trains in preparation for the next deployment, we will remember those who served so faithfully and gave so selflessly,” Landes said.
Texas State Rep. Naomi R. Gonzalez read a resolution passed by the Texas House of Representatives honoring the brigade’s memorial and the fallen Soldiers. In addition to Gonzalez, the resolution was signed by State Sen. Jose R. Rodriguez and State Reps. Joe Pickett, Chente Quintanilla, Marissa Marquez and Dee Margo. Gonzalez presented Landes with a framed copy of the resolution, which will be hung in the brigade’s headquarters.
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, commander of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, then joined Whitesell-Dahl, Landes and Michelle Salem, another BBMA representative, for a ribbon cutting. Following the ceremony, family members viewed the monument up close and used paper and pencil provided by the BBMA to make etchings of their loved ones’ names.
Located in front of the brigade headquarters, the memorial features three granite-clad T-walls, paver stones and a bronze statue of a battle cross including a rifle, boots and helmet. One of the T-walls honors fallen Soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and a second T-wall honors fallen Soldiers from Operation Enduring Freedom. The third T-wall incorporates the brigade crest and the crests of the brigade’s six battalions.
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