• Jayson Martin, a family member of Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, makes a rubbing of his grandfather's Medal of Honor memorial plaque after a June 12 ceremony at the 1st Infantry Division's Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park. Nietzel was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on March 18 for his courageous actions in Heistern, Germany, in 1944. (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Jayson Martin, a family member of Sgt. Alfred...

    Jayson Martin, a family member of Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, makes a rubbing of his grandfather's Medal of Honor memorial plaque after a June 12 ceremony at the 1st Infantry Division's Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's...

  • Retired 1st Sgt. Peter A. Bohler makes a rubbing of his son's memorial stone June 12 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. A former military policeman with the 82nd Abn. Div.,Boher's son, Sgt. Peter Bohler , died Dec. 17, 2013, in southern Afghanistan when his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed. Boher served with the 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div. The 1st Inf. Div. hosted a ceremony at Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan., to honor Billings and other Soldiers who died while serving with the division in the last year as part of Victory Week 2014. (Amanda Kim Stairrett, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Retired 1st Sgt. Peter A. Bohler makes a...

    Retired 1st Sgt. Peter A. Bohler makes a rubbing of his son's memorial stone June 12 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. A former military policeman with the 82nd Abn. Div.,Boher's son, Sgt. Peter Bohler , died Dec. 17, 2013, in southern Afghanistan when his...

  • First Sgt. Andy Hardy lifts covers June 12 off of engraved bricks bearing the names of seven Soldiers who died in the last year while serving with the 3rd IBCT and 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., in Afghanistan. The 1st Inf. Div. hosted a ceremony at Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan., as part of Victory Week 2014. (Amanda Kim Stairrett, 1st Inf. Div.)

    First Sgt. Andy Hardy lifts covers June 12 off...

    First Sgt. Andy Hardy lifts covers June 12 off of engraved bricks bearing the names of seven Soldiers who died in the last year while serving with the 3rd IBCT and 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., in Afghanistan. The 1st Inf. Div. hosted a ceremony at Victory...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston and Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. command team, lay a wreath in honor of fallen Soldiers June 12 during a ceremony at Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. Soldiers, friends and families filled Victory Park as seven names of those who died in the last year while serving with the 3rd IBCT and 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., in Afghanistan were added to the brick pathway. (Amanda Kim Stairrett, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston and Maj...

    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston and Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. command team, lay a wreath in honor of fallen Soldiers June 12 during a ceremony at Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. Soldiers, friends and families filled Victory Park as...

  • Capt. Anson Bryant plays during a June 12 ceremony at the 1st Inf. Div.'s Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park. (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Capt. Anson Bryant plays during a June 12...

    Capt. Anson Bryant plays during a June 12 ceremony at the 1st Inf. Div.'s Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park...

  • A seven-man firing party conducts a rifle volley during a June 12 ceremony at the 1st Inf. Div.'s Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park. (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, 1st Inf. Div.)

    A seven-man firing party conducts a rifle...

    A seven-man firing party conducts a rifle volley during a June 12 ceremony at the 1st Inf. Div.'s Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial...

  • Sgt. 1st Class William Long, a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club inductee with the 1st Inf. Div., unveils the Medal of Honor memorial plaque June 12 for Sgt. Candelario Garcia during a ceremony at Victory Park, Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park. Garcia was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on March 18 for his courageous actions in Lai Khe, Vietnam in 1968. (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Sgt. 1st Class William Long, a Sergeant Audie...

    Sgt. 1st Class William Long, a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club inductee with the 1st Inf. Div., unveils the Medal of Honor memorial plaque June 12 for Sgt. Candelario Garcia during a ceremony at Victory Park, Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the...

  • Kathleen Metcalf, granddaughter of Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers, lays her grandfather's Medal of Honor next to his memorial plaque after a ceremony June 12 at the 1st Infantry Division's Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park. Ehlers, who received the valorous award in 1944 for his actions in Goville, France, passed away Feb. 20. He was the remaining Medal of Honor recipient of the "Big Red One." (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Kathleen Metcalf, granddaughter of Staff Sgt...

    Kathleen Metcalf, granddaughter of Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers, lays her grandfather's Medal of Honor next to his memorial plaque after a ceremony June 12 at the 1st Infantry Division's Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's...

  • Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general, 1st Inf. Div., is handed a Congressional Medal of Honor from Cathy Ehlers Metcalf (left) and Katherine Metcalf (center) after a June 12 ceremony at Victory Park, Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the division's recent Medal of Honor recipients and Gold Star families by unveiling their memorial stones within the park. Metcalf is the granddaughter of Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers, who received the nation's highest award for valor in 1944 for his actions in Goville, France, passed away Feb. 20. He was the remaining Medal of Honor recipient of the "Big Red One." (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general...

    Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general, 1st Inf. Div., is handed a Congressional Medal of Honor from Cathy Ehlers Metcalf (left) and Katherine Metcalf (center) after a June 12 ceremony at Victory Park, Fort Riley, Kan. The event honored the...

  • Lt. Col. Frederick Dufault, commander of the 3rd AHB, 1st Avn. Regt., 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., holds a sheet of paper steady for Ember Brown, a family member of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings, as she makes a rubbing of his name June 12 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. Billings died Dec. 17, 2013, in southern Afghanistan when his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed. Billings was assigned to Dufault's battalion. The 1st Inf. Div. hosted a ceremony at Victory Park at Fort Riley, Kan., to honor Billings and other Soldiers who died while serving with the division in the last year as part of Victory Week 2014. (Amanda Kim Stairrett, 1st Inf. Div.)

    Lt. Col. Frederick Dufault, commander of the...

    Lt. Col. Frederick Dufault, commander of the 3rd AHB, 1st Avn. Regt., 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., holds a sheet of paper steady for Ember Brown, a family member of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings, as she makes a rubbing of his name June 12 at Fort...

FORT RILEY, Kan. - Ten more stones were installed June 12 in Victory Park. What's significant isn't the stones themselves, but the men whose names are carved into them and the lives they led.

The 1st Infantry Division honored 10 Soldiers at the Victory Park rededication ceremony, part of the annual Victory Week observance. Seven of the Soldiers died while serving with the "Big Red One" in the past year, while three were Medal of Honor recipients from the 1st Inf. Div.

Stones bearing the names of Spc. Angel Lopez and Sgt. 1st Class William Lacey of 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Silverman and Sgt. Peter Bohler of 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div., Sgt. 1st Class Omar Forde, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., and Spc. Terry Gordon, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., were laid in front of the Fallen Soldier Memorial in Victory Park. This brings the total number of stones in Victory Park marking the combat death of a Soldier attached to the 1st Inf. Div. since the start of the Global War on Terror to 569.

Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Normandy, France, in June 1944, died Feb. 20. Sgt. Alfred B. Neitzel received the Medal of Honor for his valorous actions in Heistern, Germany, Nov. 18, 1944. When an enemy assault threatened to overrun his unit's position, Nietzel selflessly covered for the retreating members of his squad, expending all his ammunition and holding his post until he was killed by an enemy hand grenade. Sgt. Candelario Garcia distinguished himself on Dec. 8, 1968, as a team leader during a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Lai Khe, Vietnam. Garcia destroyed two enemy machine-gun positions in an attempt to aid casualties that were in the open and under fire. Garcia then rejoined his company in a successful assault on the remaining enemy positions. He passed away on Jan. 10, 2013.

Both Neitzel and Garcia were awarded the Medal of Honor March 18 as part of the Valor 24 group. Each of the 24 Army Soldiers in the group had been previously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor following congressional review.

"Thank you for joining us in honoring the memory of the great Americans who served our nation faithfully as Big Red One Soldiers," said Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general. "Today we honor the heroes that lived their lives for something greater than themselves. Soldiers who stood in times of our country's greatest need and lived our warrior ethos to the fullest."

Stones with the names of Ehlers, Neitzel and Garcia were laid in front of the Winged Victory statue among the names of other 1st Inf. Div. recipients of the Medal of Honor.

"You would think, given our Army culture, that stories of selfless service would become common, and they are to a degree," Funk said. "But even our seasoned Soldiers often marvel at the sheer determination of will that our fallen mustered under fire and unimaginable circumstance."

Funk told the family members of fallen Soldiers present at the ceremony that they were members of the Big Red One family, and that family mourns and honors their losses with them.

"Although they no longer walk with us, train with us or laugh with us as the Soldiers do whenever they can, their spirit will always fight on with us," Funk said. "After 239 years, this Army still stands for hope. And after 97 years, this division still fights for freedom."

Victory Week coincides with the 1st Inf. Div.'s 97th birthday and the Army's 239th.

"I was very honored that they were doing the ceremony for my son," said Sabina Edwards, mother of Spc. Terry Gordon. "It's a very special moment for us."

Edwards said Gordon was very proud of his accomplishments with the Big Red One. "It was a joy to him," Edwards said. "He kept me abreast of everything he was doing, and to come here and to see it is very emotional.

"He loved live and he loved his Big Red One family."

Catherine Ehlers Metcalf, daughter of Walter Ehlers, traveled from California to attend the ceremony.

"It's quite an honor to be here," Ehlers Metcalf said. "It's nice to have his memory kept alive and to see the appreciation that everyone has for him."

Page last updated Thu June 12th, 2014 at 18:31