National Public Lands Day event dedicated to fallen Fort Bragg Soldier
November 18, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - If we will be known forever by the tracks we leave, then the Fort Bragg Arbor Board and the Soldiers of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion will indeed be known forever on Fort Bragg for their endeavors at this year's National Public Lands Day event.
Observed every autumn, National Public Lands Day is the nation's premier volunteer effort to improve and enhance America's public lands. One hundred and seventy thousand volunteers across the country participated in a variety of preservation efforts. On Fort Bragg, members of the Fort Bragg Arbor Board and Soldiers from the Wolf Pack - the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade - collaborated to enhance Wilson Park.
The volunteers performed a variety of duties such as gathering pine straw, weeding, cleaning McFadyen Pond, tending plants, removing garbage and planting trees and shrubs - one long leaf pine and five wax myrtles. However, the National Public Lands Day event was more than an opportunity to assist in the preservation of our installation's natural resources. For the Soldiers of the Wolf Pack, the event was also a time to remember one of their fallen colleagues.
The National Public Lands Day event served as a memorial to battalion member Spc. Timothy Fulkerson, who was killed in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Originally from Kentucky, Fulkerson entered active duty on June 29, 2004. He attended basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. and completed Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis, Va. as an attack helicopter armament technician.
Upon his assignment to the 1-82 ARB, Fulkerson was deployed to Iraq to Contingency Operating Base Speicher near Tikrit. There he volunteered for a dangerous assignment - to participate in combat roving patrol Scorpion, which provided perimeter security for COB Speicher. On Oct. 8, 2006, the patrol encountered a land mine, and Fulkerson suffered fatal injuries. He was 20 years old.
According to his colleagues, Fulkerson was the epitome of professionalism. "He was considered to be a loyal, dedicated Soldier and an industrious individual," said 1st Lt. Michael Monfreda. "He always found a way to lift the spirits and morale of his comrades."
At a memorial service prior to the Wilson Park beautification event, Staff Sgt. Brian Merry of the Wolf Pack eulogized Fulkerson as an exemplary Soldier who motivated his colleagues to remain diligent in their duties as well as in their preparations for their impending deployments. Merry, who attended the event with his wife and son, said he was proud to participate.
"This is a wonderful event," he said. "We are keeping alive the memory of a friend and fellow Soldier, and I am excited to share this with my Family."
Many members of the battalion considered the Wilson Park improvement efforts to be an especially fitting tribute to Fulkerson. "Our participation in the National Public Lands Day event was a success and an excellent way to contribute to the community in remembrance of him," said Monfreda. "He was a selfless and consummate team player, and our involvement reflected that. We were able to pause for a moment and pay tribute to a great Soldier who sacrificed his life in defense of our country."
Specialist John Butters agreed. "He was the type of person who, no matter what the situation, would help his friends," said Butters, who participated in the tree dedication. "By planting these trees and cleaning the park, we are benefitting others - just as he would have."
The Soldiers of the Wolf Pack hope to continue the Wilson Park beautification efforts and participate in similar volunteer opportunities. "It was such a great pleasure to take part in National Public Lands Day, and at the same time, to pay tribute to our own fallen trooper," said Capt. Paulina Alvarez 1-82 ARB Company D commander.
"All of the troopers had a great time cleaning debris, pulling weeds and planting trees. We are definitely interested in participating in more of these events. I believe that the battalion will be doing something to pay tribute for every one of our fallen troopers by doing some type of community service."
For more information regarding National Public Lands Day, visit publiclandsday.org.