Warhorse troopers gather for fallen comrade
January 31, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas - Friends, family members and comrades of Spc. Ian Borelli, formerly with B Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gathered at the 76th St. Memorial Chapel, Jan. 26, to remember his life and service.
Held in the early afternoon, warm beams of light lit the chapel through its stained-glass windows. Hushed whispers tiptoed through the attendees and boxes of tissue littered the pews as the speakers stepped up to the podium.
"I would like to thank each of you for being with us today as we pay tribute and remember Spc. Ian Borelli," said Lt. Col. Tim Brumfiel, the battalion commander. "Your presence today adds meaning to the ceremony for all of Ian's friends and fellow Soldiers who are here."
The commander talked about the importance of remembering the fallen Soldier's character and contributions to the team.
Borelli's co-workers described him as a stellar friend and a person who had a positive outlook on life.
"He was the type of fun guy everyone gravitated to," said Spc. Keevon Shipley, a friend of Borelli's. "The kind of guy who could instantly make you laugh."
Shipley said the company knew Borelli as an excellent Soldier.
"This is not the time for us to grieve his death but it's our time to give back to Ian, and celebrate his life," said his former company commander, Capt. Hans Valverde. "This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but we should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known a man like Ian."
After a moment of silence, the clear, penetrating voice of Sgt. 1st Class Norberto Perez, the company's first sergeant, performed the roll call, signifying that Borelli was no longer in his formation.
Then, the three cracks of a rifle team and the solemn tones of "Taps" reverberated through the chapel.
For the next half-hour, pairs of Soldiers and guests paid their respects to the display of a helmet, rifle, boots and identification tags at the head of the sanctuary with a bent knee, salute or brief prayer.
Finally, friends and co-workers disassembled the display quietly, commenting on their appreciation for the ceremony.
"Borelli, you were great and I'll never forget you," Shipley said.