Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield tree dedication honors fallen Soldier
February 26, 2009
<b> Fort Stewart, GA </b>-- A fallen 3rd Infantry Division Soldier was remembered at the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield tree dedication ceremony, Feb. 19 at Warriors' Walk.
Sgt. Adam M. Wenger, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, who was known as "General Obvious" by his fellow Army comrades, took his own life Nov. 4, 2008 at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, commander of the 3rd Inf. Div., said that on Warriors' Walk every one of the Eastern Redbud Trees and every stone "talks to us, it tells us its own story. And Adam's tree and stone are special to us."
It honors the memory of service of a man who sought duty in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq - twice. A man who was a son, a husband, a dad, a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a friend and an American Soldier, said Cucolo.
"With this stone under this tree on this walk we enshrine the memory of a young man," said Cucolo. "A young man who grew up in coastal Carolina running shirtless and in Umbro soccer shorts, a rabid Clemson Tigers football fan who loved to cook ... a young man who is no longer with us."
The native of Mount Pleasant, S.C., put aside his personal life to answer the call of duty immediately after Sept. 11, 2001.
"He believed his nation needed him and we did," said Cucolo. "So he stepped forward and he said, 'This I'll defend' and he became a Soldier. I personally had the honor of serving with Sergeant Wenger in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2004. He was a tough kid, hard working, frequently volunteering to do things other Soldiers sought to avoid."
After his time in the 10th Mountain Division, Wenger left the service but the service never left him. And neither did the threat to our nation so he came back in. The artilleryman served in Germany and then joined the Marne Division.
The father of five caught the tail-end of one deployment to Iraq and came home, trained up and launched out on the surge, the most recent deployment with the Vanguard Brigade Combat Team.
"Everywhere he served he made great friends and was well-loved by his buddies," said Cucolo. "His buddies called him 'General Obvious' because he often stated the obvious for humor and effect. For example, on a 120-plus degree day in Iraq, Sergeant Wenger, the gunner of the lead gun truck in his platoon, perspiring up in the turret as they cruised down some war-torn street, would remark to no one, 'Kind of hot today.' To which his section would reply over the intercom, 'Thank you General Obvious.'"
And though loved by Family, friends and battle buddies and though a member of a high performing unit who saw great success during this deployment, the eight-year veteran took his own life early in the morning of Nov. 4, just a couple of weeks before his eventual redeployment back home, said Cucolo.
"Every loss to us is a unique tragedy but suicide is perhaps the greatest of all tragedies," said Cucolo. "We're all left wondering 'Why'' What did we miss' Is there more we could have done' And those closest to Adam wish to themselves, 'Why didn't you come to us first'' We look at what Adam left when he made that fateful decision. He left a hole in a Family. He left a hole in our ranks. And he left a life filled with potential at the 27-year mark. And we all hurt for his family as we close our ranks today with this ceremony."
During the ceremony, Christi Kisko shared a poem in memory to the Soldiers represented at Warrior's Walk.
On my honor, we will stand where you rest and remember you.
On my honor, we will pick up the torch of freedom and carry it for you.
On my honor, you will not be a silent memory.
We will speak of you often so the world will know what you have done.
On my honor, as you reach the gates of heaven you will hear the voices of a grateful nation rise up and we will, honor you."
The 418 Eastern Redbud Trees represent the memory of those 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. A granite stone has been set before them in their honor.