Fort Campbell, KY – The loss of an American soldier is never an easy thing to handle, It does not matter if you personally knew them or not. Our entire nation mourns right along with the soldier’s family and loved ones. The current deployment has been especially tough on the 101st Airborne Division, with 116 soldiers having lost their lives. Yesterday, the sacrifice made by “8 courageous Screaming Eagles”, seven men and one woman was recognized in a ceremony held at the 101st Division Headquarters at the Fort Campbell Army Base.
The atmosphere was heavy, you could sense of emotion that this ceremony brought with it. Family members and loved ones gathered before the ceremony talking quietly amongst themselves remembering the soldiers they were there to honor. Present at the ceremony were wives, fiancée, husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, friends, community leaders, brothers and sisters in arms, and so much more. Each one was dealing with their personal grief in a myriad of ways.
The Ceremony opened with a solemn invocation given by Army Chaplin Major Edward A. Coy who said “…We truly have come to understand that the memories that have been given to us and the honor and respect. So it is as we celebrate the day, we mourn with one another, we remember the gift that has been given in the life…”
He was followed by Brigadier General Jeffrey N. Colt, the Deputy Commander of Fort Campbell. General Colt spoke of the dedication and professionalism of each of the soldiers whose ultimate sacrifice was being recognized.
…For those who lost a loved one I recognize that my words will never be able to fill that void, but please know that they are heartfelt, and I pray that they capture the respect we deeply feel for our fallen brothers and sister. This perfect weather, this worthy monument, and its eternal flame are an especially fitting context for today’s tribute; a celebration of life. General George S. Patton said “it is foolish and wrong to mourn those who have died, rather we should thank God that such people lived!”
Today’s honorees held many titles, and held many interests. In addition to those commonly associated with their duties as soldiers, they had titles of Husband, Fiancée, Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Brother, Grandson, Nephew, Uncle, Niece, and great friends. They loved sports. They loved fishing. They loved cars, trucks, and motorcycles. They loved music. They loved dance. They loved BBQ’s, and a host of other things too. But it was through shared sacrifices and experiences that these soldiers and their families formed incredibly strong bonds and very special relationships. You can be certain that these Screaming Eagles were loved…
At this point General Colt’s voice started breaking up with the emotion of his words.
Our memories now serve us as the honest reflections of our fellow soldier’s noble legacies.
He then spoke about each of the soldiers including personal references and observations on each one, the fallen heroes were:
Sergeant 1st Class Ofren Arrechaga
Sergeant 1st Class Ofren Arrechaga, 28, of Hialeah, Fla. Arrechaga entered the Army in February 2001 and arrived at Fort Campbell in July 2001. He was an Infantryman, assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Arrechaga is survived by his wife, Seana Arrechaga and son, Alston Arrechaga of Clarksville, Tenn. He is also survived by his daughter, Tristian Arrechaga of Benton, Ky.; mother, Marta Alvarez and father, Ofren Arrechaga of Clarksville, Tenn.
Staff Sgt. Frank E. Adamski
Staff Sgt. Frank E. Adamski, 26, of Moosup, Conn. Adamski entered the Army in March 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2009. He was an Infantryman, assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Adamski is survived by his wife, Danielle Adamski and daughter, Victoria Adamski of Clarksville, Tenn. He is also survived by his father, Frank Adamski of Volutown, Conn. and mother, Susan Adamski of Westbury, N.Y.
Staff Sgt. Bryan A. Burgess
Staff Sgt. Bryan A. Burgess, 29, of Cleburne, Texas. Burgess entered the Army in March 2003 and arrived at Fort Campbell in Sept. 2009. He was an Infantryman, assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Burgess is survived by his wife, Tiffany R. Burgess; daughter, Makya Burgess and son, Zander Burgess, all of Fort Campbell, Ky. He is also survived by his mother, Linda Pearce of Keene, Texas; father, Terry Burgess and step-mother, Elisabeth Burgess of Fort Worth, Texas.
Staff Sgt. Cynthia Renea Taylor
Staff Sgt. Cynthia Renea Taylor, 39, of Columbus, Ga. Taylor joined the Army in November 2003 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2004. She was a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic assigned to Headquarters and headquarters Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. Taylor is survived by her daughter, Spc. Maggie J. Taylor of Fayetteville, N.C. and son, Joseph L. Goodwin of Oak Grove, Ky. She is also survived by her mother, Judy A. Hart of Charleston, Mo.
Specialist Jameson L. Lindskog
Specialist Jameson L. Lindskog, 23, of Pleasanton, Calif. Lindskog entered the Army in August 2008 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2009. He was a Combat Medic, assigned to Headquarters and headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Lindskog is survived by his father, Curtis Lindskog of Livermore, Calif. and mother, Donna Walker of Pleasanton, Calif.
Specialist Dustin J. Feldhaus
Specialist Dustin J. Feldhaus, 20, of Glendale, Ariz. Feldhaus entered the Army in September 2009 and arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2010. He was an Infantryman, assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Feldhaus is survived by his mother, Nichol Etchells of Glendale, Ariz. and father, Bernard Mahaljevic of Maricopa, Ariz.
Private 1st Class Jeremy P. Faulkner
Private 1st Class Jeremy P. Faulkner, 23, of Griffin, Ga. Faulkner entered the Army in January 2009 and arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2009. He was an Infantryman assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Faulkner is survived by his father John Faulkner of Rex, Ga. and mother, Julia Berry of Griffin, Ga.
Specialist Sean R. Cutsforth
Specialist Sean R. Cutsforth, 22, of Radford, Va. Cutsforth entered the Army in September 2008 and arrived at Fort Campbell in February 2009. He was an Infantryman assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Cutsforth is survived by his wife, Ashley L. Cutsforth of Clarksville, Tenn.; mother Vickie L. Cutsforth of Manassas, Va., and father, Robert. H. Cutsforth, of Gainseville, Va.
After Brigadier General Colt ‘s remarks there was a scripture reading by Army Chaplin Captain Justin D. Roberts. This was followed by the lighting of the candle.
At this point the families of the fallen soldiers were brought up one by one before poster sized photos representing their loved one. Each family had a rose to place on the easel holding it. A young boy held in his mother’s arms leaned forward placing a gentle kiss on the photo of his father whom he would not see again. One soldier had never gotten the chance to meet his newborn son in person before falling in battle. A wife caressed the cheek of her soldier before kissing her fingers and placing them on his lips.
The family members were followed by these brave soldiers’ comrades in arms. Groups of four soldiers at a time would slowly walk up to the symbolic boots, weapon, and helmet. Many of the soldiers placed unit coins, medals, ribbons, and other items on the memorial, before rendering honors with some of the slowest salutes I have seen.
Each of these families will be dealing with the repercussions of their loss for a long time and they can use the support of their friends, their neighbors, and their communities. We can help them navigate their way through the complex grieving process.
In time their pain will fade, but the love they had for their soldier will always remain.