Thursday, May 31, 2007

Perspective: Faced with a surge of death, some Army posts to end individual memorials

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) mourn at a memorial at Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah for Sgt. Justin Wisniewski, a squad leader with the 2-15 out of Fort Drum. Wisniewski was killed May 19 by an IED while searching on foot for soldiers missing since a May 12th attack.

Soldiers from Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Drum, N.Y., who are killed in combat will be honored during monthly group memorials instead of individual services beginning in June.

At Fort Lewis, the decision was announced in a May 22 e-mail from Brig. Gen. William Troy, the acting commanding general of I Corps and Fort Lewis, to the command and staff on post, said Joe Piek, a Fort Lewis spokesman. The first group memorial is expected to take place the third week of June.

“As much as we would like to think otherwise, I am afraid that with the number of soldiers we now have in harm’s way, our losses will preclude us from continuing to do individual memorial ceremonies,” Troy wrote in his e-mail. “I see this as a way of sharing the heavy burdens our spouses and rear detachments bear, while giving our fallen warriors the respect they deserve. It will also give the families of the fallen the opportunity to bond with one another, as they see others who share their grief.”

Group memorial services already are taking place at other Army posts, Piek said.

Read the rest at Army Times