Fallen Rangers honored at memorial ceremony
January 27, 2011
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD Ga. , - Rangers of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, friends and Family Members gathered at the Ranger Memorial on Hunter Army Airfield, Jan. 21 to pay their respects and remember the lives of the seven Rangers who died in combat in Afghanistan during the battalion's recently-completed rotation.
The sky began to fill with dark, gray clouds as Chap. (Capt.) Brian Koyn, battalion chaplain, 1st Bn., 75th Rangers, spoke of the fallen Soldiers' devotion to this country.
"We stand to remember these seven brave Rangers... who gave the last full measure of devotion for their nation and ultimately for their brothers in arms who are assembled here today," he said.
Colonel Michael Foster, commander, 1st Bn., 75th Rangers, choked back tears as he described the heaven in which he envisioned the fallen Rangers.
"I believe there is a great hall where warriors congregate," he said. "I also like to believe that they are currently the center of attention and heroes in whom their predecessors are rightfully proud."
Tears began to flow from those watching as two Rangers unveiled the Georgia granite that bared the inscribed names of the fallen Soldiers.
One of those names is that of Sgt. Jonathan Kellylee Peney, 22, who was killed by enemy fire on June 1, 2010, and is survived by his wife Kristin Peney.
His platoon leader, Capt. Jim Marione, said that Sgt. Peney always wore a unique smile and kept his mood positive- whatever the situation. "I could count on him to bring everyone else up," he said. "He was the beacon of positivity for the second platoon."
The other six Rangers killed in combat include:
Specialist Joseph Whiting Dimock II, 21, who was killed by an explosion in an ammunition holding facility in Afghanistan, July 10, 2010.
On his fourth deployment, Sgt. Justin Bradley Allen, 23, of Coal Grove, Ohio, died while leading an assault on an enemy position in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan July 18, 2010.
Staff Sergeant Kevin Matthew Pape, 30, is survived by his wife Amelia Rose Pape and his daughter Anneka Sue. He was killed during a firefight in Konar Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2010.
"He was an outstanding father, husband, and Ranger," said Staff Sgt. John Virdier, Company C. "You can't replace him; you can't replace any of these guys."
Sergeant Martin Anthony Lugo, 24, passed Aug. 19, 2010 where he was air lifted to the nearest treatment facility where he died of his wounds from a firefight.
Specialist Christopher Shane Wright, 23, died of wounds that occurred in a firefight with the enemy during combat operations in Konar Province, Afghanistan, Aug.19, 2010.
Colonel Foster described Sgt. 1st Class Lance Herman Vogeler, 29, as a "man of many talents," including his ability to drive a golf ball 400 yards.
Sergeant Vogeler, a native of Frederick, Md., was killed by enemy indirect fire while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 1. He left behind his wife Melissa Lee Vogeler, his sons, Colin and Kyle, and his daughter, Madison Eyler.
The gray, dreary skies matched the heavy grief and sadness that hung over the memorial ceremony throughout its entirety. Before ending, Col. Foster comforted the teary faces among the crowd with words of affirmation and praise for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"These Soldiers were courageous, selfless, talented and loved," said Col. Foster. "They each possessed a special fortitude that said, 'give me a challenge and I will overcome.' They wished to serve their nation ... and they did."