1st ACB dedicates buildings to fallen warriors
February 3, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas - Amid freezing temperatures in the mid 20's, a building dedication ceremony was held Jan. 28 at the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, headquarters in honor of two fallen warriors who gave their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.
The buildings were named in recognition of Capt. Mark Resh and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Cornell Chao of the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div., who died on this day in 2007 during the Battle of An Najaf in Zarqa, Iraq, when they positioned their aircraft in the way of deadly fire to protect their wingman from harm.
The guests of honor were the parents of the fallen Soldiers, Charles and Carol Resh of Fogelsville, Pa., and Jasmine Crowl, mother of Chao, of Prescott, Ariz.
"Today's ceremony was wonderful and [the 1st ACB] did a great job putting it together in honor of both Mark and Cornell," said Carol Resh. "They'd be up in heaven smirking, but very proud. If Mark was here today he would say, 'what's all the fuss about' I was just doing my job.'"
Carol Resh said she and her husband know Mark would be proud of the building dedication, adding he gave his life to something he believed in, which is memorialized forever in the new building.
"It makes us feel good Mark will be remembered for a long time, maybe not as the person he was, but instead his name will live on," said Carol Resh. "He has nephews that will hopefully come back and say 'hey, this is my uncle.'"
Charles Resh said his son could not have been more honored than having a building named after him.
Two years following the passing of his son, Charles Resh still thinks of the events as a dream and cannot believe his son is gone forever.
"I still think I'm going to see him walking through the door and even though it isn't going to happen I also wake up expecting to see Mark," said Charles Resh. "We miss talking to him, and when I drive his car, which was his pride and joy, I look over sometimes to see if he is in the passenger seat."
Charles Resh is not surprised by his son's actions which cost him his life in the line of duty, stating he was always willing to sacrifice himself for others.
"During a relay race Mark once stopped to help a member of his team who had fallen when Mark could have kept going himself," Charles Resh said. "I could see him saying 'hey we have to save our wingman, that's what we're supposed to do.' He didn't give it a second thought. I know that."
Jasmine Crowl, accompanied by her husband Glenn, was also moved by the ceremony, saying she was honored to be present and see the tribute to her son.
"These buildings will help keep Mark and Cornell in everyone's memories," Jasmine Crowl said. "They are beautiful buildings and Cornell would be very proud."
Serving alongside both Resh and Chao was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alberto Santillian of Chico, Calif., an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter pilot-in-command for 4-227th ARB, who said both men were the epitome of what a Soldier should be.
"It was a personal honor and privilege to serve with both men," Santillian said. "Both were excellent pilots. Cornell was the type of pilot who anybody would want to fly with and you always felt secure in his front seat because he was confident in his abilities."
The actions of these brave men, which led to their death, demonstrated how they saw their careers as Soldiers and lived their lives, Santillian said.
The building dedication was something they deserved, he said.
"For the Army to do this today is a fantastic remembrance (of) two great Soldiers and it's an honor for me to be part of the Air Cav. and fourth battalion," Santillian said.
The ceremony paid tribute to Resh and Chao with a moment of silence and a missing man formation, which consisted of a flyover of two Apaches as part of an aerial salute to the fallen Soldiers.
Also in attendance was guest speaker for the ceremony, Canadian Army Brig. Gen. Peter J. Atkinson, III Corps deputy commanding general.
During his keynote speech Atkinson described both men as heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to save others, something which is now immortalized within the Chao and Resh Memorial Halls.
"These men gave their lives in defense of a land they were strangers in and fought for coalition forces on the ground they didn't even know," Atkinson said. "They did this freely because they were dedicated to the cause of liberty and today we dedicate these two buildings to these great heroes."
Atkinson urged the audience to remember the freedoms Resh and Chao fought for every time they walk through the doors of the buildings.
"We know no building can restore the loss we have experienced as we no longer have these great Soldiers with us, but every time we walk through these buildings' halls a small piece of their memory will be returned to us," Atkinson said.
"We know we can't replace them, but through their contributions and sacrifices, they will be indelibly ingrained on all of us forever," he added.