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Former 101st Airborne Division Rakkasan memorialized at Fort Campbell Fisher House

 

Written by Maria Christina Yager
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital

Blanchfield Army Hospital - BACH - Fort Campbell KYFort Campbell, KY – A rocking horse, meant to bring joy to children while honoring a fallen Soldier, was donated to the Fort Campbell Fisher House, October 13th, 2017.

The horse was hand crafted by volunteers in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Tony Knier, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Knier died October 21st, 2006 from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Bayji, Iraq.

Volunteer Scott Snyder presents a custom-made rocking horse to the Fort Campbell Fisher House Oct. 13 in honor of former Rakkasan, Sgt. 1st Class Tony Knier, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. Soldiers from the Iron Rakkasans, BACH, and family friends joined Knier’s mother at the presentation ceremony honoring her son. Knier served at Fort Campbell in 1997 with 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division - “Iron Rakkasans”. (Maria Yager)

Volunteer Scott Snyder presents a custom-made rocking horse to the Fort Campbell Fisher House Oct. 13 in honor of former Rakkasan, Sgt. 1st Class Tony Knier, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. Soldiers from the Iron Rakkasans, BACH, and family friends joined Knier’s mother at the presentation ceremony honoring her son. Knier served at Fort Campbell in 1997 with 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division – “Iron Rakkasans”. (Maria Yager)

He enlisted in the Army in 1995 as an Anti-Armor crew member. He served at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1997 as part of 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and also served as a drill instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Soldiers from the Iron Rakkasans and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital joined Knier’s mother, Betty Tidwell, and family friends at the Fisher House for the rocking horse presentation. The rocking horse is one in a series presented to Fisher Houses nationwide in memory of fallen service members.

“It’s beautiful, very beautiful and it means a lot to me to have my son remembered here,” said Tidwell, who lives in the Clarksville area.

Betty Tidwell, writes a message on the rocking horse honoring her late son Sgt. 1st Class Tony Knier, during a presentation ceremony at the Fort Campbell Fisher House Oct. 13. The rocking horse is meant to bring joy to children staying at the Fisher House, while honoring Knier who was killed in Bayji, Iraq in 2006. The rocking horse is one in a series honoring fallen service members donated to Fisher Houses across the nation. (Maria Yager)

Betty Tidwell, writes a message on the rocking horse honoring her late son Sgt. 1st Class Tony Knier, during a presentation ceremony at the Fort Campbell Fisher House Oct. 13. The rocking horse is meant to bring joy to children staying at the Fisher House, while honoring Knier who was killed in Bayji, Iraq in 2006. The rocking horse is one in a series honoring fallen service members donated to Fisher Houses across the nation. (Maria Yager)

Army Retiree, Billy Brown, was a close friend of Knier and came to the Fisher House where he met Knier’s mother for the first time.

“Tony and I were drill sergeants together at Fort Benning and when we weren’t pushing boots we spent time together hunting. We were very close. He was a dedicated professional who always put others first,” said Brown.

Knier’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, with one oak leaf, the Army Achievement Medal, with silver oak leaf, the Good Conduct Medal, with three knots, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terror Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, with Roman numeral three. The Army Service Ribbon, the Drill Sergeant Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger tab.

His schools include the Combat Life Savers Course, the Air Assault Course, the Warrior Leaders Course, Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Advanced Non-Commissioned Officers Course, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Jumpmaster School, Air Movement Operations, Drill Sergeant School, and Ranger School.

Fisher House Manager Wendy Carlston, accepted the rocking horse honoring Knier into her facility. The Fisher House provides no-cost temporary lodging for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers and hospitals, like BACH, allowing them to be close to their loved one during a medical crisis.

“I think the kids are going to love it and they’ll be immediately drawn to it as soon they walk in the door and I’ll be glad to tell its story in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Knier,” said Carlston, who placed the rocking horse in the main room of the house for all to see.


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