Ft. Benning honors fallen soldiers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ft. Benning honors fallen soldiers

April 6, 2004

Ft. Benning- The retreat ceremony is held every day on Army bases, but at Ft. Benning Tuesday, lowering the American flag was not an ordinary ritual.

The 3rd Brigade out of Ft. Benning was vital in the fall of Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But also on this day last year, two soldiers in the 3rd Brigade were killed during fire fights. The group lost two more before their job was done.

"We were conducting an attack through what you now know as the Sunni Triangle," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Sanderson."We were in about a 60 hour continuous fire fight up there on the 6,7 and 8th of April."

"Those soldiers did not die in vain," he said. "They freed people that were beleaguered and oppressed and freeing those people will go down in history as one of the greatest things that a free country could do for another country."

Those four 3rd Brigade soldiers killed in Iraq will be honored again on the base later this week. This memorial will be unveiled Thursday.

It includes the soldiers' names and information about their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The dedication service is for the soldiers' families.

"Certainly, I think it will be valuable for the family members as an opportunity to get closure, as well as, to see how much we care about the sacrifices that their loved ones made," said Brigade Commander Col. Steven Salazar.

The memorial stands alongside equipment captured from Iraqis during the Gulf War in 1991.

posted at 10:35 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com