CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq Aca,!" Senior leaders of U.S. Forces-Iraq and U.S. Division-North joined members of the 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, to pay respect to two fallen Long Knife brothers during a memorial ceremony at Contingency Operating Site Marez, Jan. 22.

Sgt. Michael Bartley and Sgt. Martin LaMar, cavalry scouts of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th AAB, were killed while conducting training with Iraqi Army soldiers near Mosul on the morning of Jan. 15.

Col. Brian Winski, commander of 4th AAB, said the incident has not deterred the brigade\'s resolve during Operation New Dawn, as the unit will persevere to honor the sacrifice made by these troopers.

"We're going to continue not in spite of what happened; we're going to continue because of what happened," said Winski.

He praised the actions of the squadron during the attack and the steps the Long Knife troopers now take to carry on and finish the mission of advising and training their Iraqi counterparts.

Ending this final phase of the war here responsibly honors the sacrifices of Bartley and Lamar and the sacrifices of the more than 4,000 U.S. service members who have given their lives in Iraq, Winski said.

"When danger presented itself, they ran to it and not away from it, and they closed with and eliminated the threat immediately," said Winski. "It's moments like this where a unit's character is truly revealed."

While Soldiers on both sides are rebuilding renewed confidence after the incident, Iraqi and U.S. Forces still have mutual trust and will endeavor to drive on, he said. Winski also offered condolences to the Soldiers' Families and the extended Family and friends within 4th AAB.

"We share their grief and the incredible loss of these two warriors," he said. "Their Family is part of the Long Knife Family, and they always will be."

Unit leaders and friends offered solemn eulogies and fond memories during the service, followed by a 21-gun salute and the echo of "Taps" from a lone bugler outside.

"Two of our country's greatest sons gave the ultimate sacrifice for what I believe historians will look back on as one of the most important steps toward Iraqi autonomy since the beginning of the war," said Capt. Thomas Herman, commander, Troop A, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt., 4th AAB.

"Sgt. Michael Bartley and Sgt. Martin "Mick" LaMar embody the warrior spirit; the spirit they instilled in the Iraqis they trained, and the spirit they showed when they gave their last full measure of devotion to this ideal," Herman said.

Rifles stood next to empty boots, dog tags hanging from the helmet-topped stocks, as fellow Soldiers offered a final goodbye to Bartley and LaMar.

"They are brothers that have not been lost, but moved on to carry every single one of us as a guardian through our missions ahead," said Sgt. James Meegan, Troop A, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. "These memories will be carried on, the good and the hard, for the rest of our lives."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16