June 2, 2010

Fallen Virginians remembered in Wall of Honor ceremony

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers killed in the Global War on Terror were among the 206 Virginians remembered at the 2010 Wall of Honor Ceremony held May 27 in Richmond. Representatives from the active, reserve and National Guard components of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, including retired Col. Frank Pedrotty of the Virginia Air National Guard and Lt. Col. James Ring of the Army National Guard, took turns reading all the names of the fallen Virginians.

 

Virginia National Guard Soldiers killed in the Global War on Terror were among the 206 Virginians remembered at the 2010 Wall of Honor Ceremony held May 27 in Richmond. Representatives from Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard read the names of the Virginians killed in the line of duty as part of the ceremony. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) Click HERE to see more photos of the event.

“Today we gather for the solemn duty of remembering and honoring those who have given their lives so that we may live in peace and security,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “May this great commonwealth always rise to salute their sacrifice, give comfort to their loved ones they left behind and hold them up as models for the great citizens and patriots they were for this generation and for generations to come.”

Virginia Guard personnel provided escorts for family members of the fallen from the Wall of Honor in the Pocahontas Building to the ceremony on the South Portico of the capital. Behind the scenes, Virginia Guard personnel provided the ground control element for the F-18 flyover and also passed out water to attendees. The Fort Lee Army Band provided music and Langley Air Force Base Honor Guard posted the colors and provided a 21-gun salute.

“From our founding in 1776 to today, men and women in uniform have always been willing to take up the call to arms for principles they believe in,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell. He acknowledged the United States has not always done a good job in saluting and honoring those who paid the price with their lives, especially after the Vietnam War. “When I became the attorney general, I decided that we absolutely could not do this with the Global War on Terror, and we must always honor and remember those who have fallen for the cause of freedom.”

The Virginia Wall of Honor was dedicated in 2007 when McDonnell was attorney general to honor Virginians who have died in the Global War on Terrorism and is located in the lobby of the Virginia Attorney General's office building at 900 E. Main St. All branches of the Armed Services are represented, including the United States Coast Guard, with heroes from the active forces, reserves and National Guard.

The wall itself is 38.5 feet long. Each block frame contains 12 individual profiles. Each individual profile is 7 inches by 14 inches, and each photo is 5 inches by 7 inches.

Accompanying the wall is a framed Virginia State flag, flown in Iraq by Cpl. Jonathan Bowling of Martinsville. Bowling served with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division. He was killed in an enemy ambush in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq on Jan. 26, 2005, and the flag was donated to the Wall of Honor by his father, Virginia State Police Master Trooper Darrell Bowling of Martinsville.

In addition, a pair of boots, and a rifle with helmet on top, stands in front of a Virginia and American flag, in a traditional military tribute to the fallen.
The following Virginia Guard Soldiers are remembered on the Virginia Wall of Honor:

Staff Sgt. Craig W. Cherry, 39, of Winchester, Va., and Sgt. Bobby E. Beasley, 36, of Inwood, W.Va., died on Aug. 7, 2004 in Ghazikel, Afghanistan, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Both soldiers were assigned to the Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 29th Infantry Division, Winchester, Va.

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Sgt. Nicholas C. Mason, 20, of King George, Va., and Sgt. David A. Ruhren, 20, of Stafford, Va., died Dec. 21, 2004 in Mosul, Iraq, when their dining facility was attacked. Both were assigned to the Army National Guard's 276th Engineer Battalion, West Point, Va.

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Col. Paul M. Kelly, 45, of Stafford, Va., and Sgt. 1st Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Va., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 20, 2007 when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were in crashed. Kelly was assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Virginia Army National Guard in Blackstone, Va., and Booker was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia Army National Guard, Sandston, Va.

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Sgt. David E. Lambert, 39, of Cedar Bluff, Va., died Oct. 26, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command of the Virginia National Guard.

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Sgt. Derek R. Banks, 24, of Newport News, Va., died Nov. 14, 2007 in San Antonio of wounds suffered Oct. 25 in Baghdad, Iraq, when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command, Virginia National Guard, West Point, Va.

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Staff Sgt. Jeremiah E. McNeal, 23, of Norfolk, Va., died April 6, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command, Virginia Army National Guard, West Point, Va.

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Sgt. Jesse A. Ault, 28, of Dublin, Va., died April 9, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered in Tunnis, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 429th Brigade Support Battalion, Virginia Army National Guard, Roanoke, Va.

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