Fort Campbell, KY – Media members and the public are invited to the Fort Campbell Gander Memorial annual remembrance ceremony, December 12th, 2018 at Fort Campbell. This will be the final ceremony at the memorial’s current site before it is moved to a new location on the installation.
The site, consisting of a monument and 256 Canadian Sugar Maple trees, was built as a living memorial to the 248 Soldiers and eight crew members who lost their lives when Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashed in Gander, Newfoundland shortly after takeoff on the morning of December 12th, 1985.
The Soldiers, primarily assigned to 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, were returning from a six-month peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.
Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) have held the ceremony every year since the site was dedicated in September 1986. Over time the memorial trees have grown too closely together, raising concerns about their long-term health.
In 2019 the memorial stone will be re-located near Fort Campbell’s Brig. Gen. Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum, and re-planted with new Sugar Maple trees. Several of the current trees will also be replanted at 2nd Brigade Combat Team combat memorial site.
“We will always honor the memory of our Gander fallen,” said Col. Joseph Escandon, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division “Maintaining this annual tradition at a living memorial is essential to ensuring that the memory of those lost will never be forgotten. The Gander tragedy affected not only the Fort Campbell community, but countless others across the United States and Canada.”
“Every year on December 12th, we take a moment to remember those who lost their lives in service of their nation. While we are saddened by the need for the relocation of the original memorial, one thing will not change: our commitment to honoring their sacrifice and the sacrifices of their families, friends and fellow Soldiers,” Escandon Stated.
The ceremony is scheduled for December 12th at 9:30am.