Written by Sgt. Jacob Mahaffey
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Office
Fort Campbell, KY – Family members and Soldiers honored the fallen Legionnaires of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), also known as The Legion, during the annual 5th SFG (A) Memorial Ceremony on Gabriel Field May 16th, 2015.
The heavy rain and low clouds did not deter Soldiers or family members from paying their respects. In the true uniqueness of the Legion, the steady downpour enhanced the sense of commitment displayed to all present.With their uniforms and berets dripping wet, current members of 5th SFG (A) stood proudly in formation on the parade field, between the line of sugar maple trees on their left and right, representing their fallen brothers.
Col. John W. Brennan, the commander of 5th SFG (A), stood at the front of the formation and spoke with pride and passion to the Soldiers and family members in attendance.
“Welcome to this place of solitude and reflection, it is truly your home, as much as it is ours,” he said. “It is where we come to remember our heroes and celebrate their lives and our time with them, as well as their Families, to whom they left. For many of you, this solemn ritual is now an annual gathering, for others this may be your first visit, but regardless of the circumstances, please know that you are our family; we are a family of families.”
Brennan continued by recognizing the fallen for their selfless service.
“Many whom we honor today volunteered on multiple levels, to intentionally and repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our nation,” he said.
During the ceremony, family members placed roses and other personal objects on their loves one’s marker. Family members shared stories and memories with each other and the Soldiers under the protection of the tree which stood in honor of their passed love ones.
The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), a sister U.S. Army Special Operations Command component to the Legion, also stationed at Fort Campbell, honored the fallen Legionnaires with a fly over in the missing-man formation, representing the fallen members of the 5th SFG (A) who will forever be absent from future missions.
“We carry the legacy of these brave men every day, as we try to live up to their sacrifices,” said Brennan. “We will never forget those who are immortalized here on Gabriel Field and it is our solemn duty and honor to honor them and those who they left behind.”
To conclude the emotional ceremony, everyone rose out of their seats as the Ballad of the Green Beret echoed over the field.