Fort Campbell names new clinics for fallen Soldiers
November 4, 2011
(FORT CAMPBELL, KY, Nov. 3, 2011)--Surnames -- we all have them -- some more than one.
But, behind every surname is a story, however, few have the story of Adkins and Byrd at Fort Campbell -- two names that will be forever attached to the newly dedicated dental and medical clinics just inside Gate 10.
"The two services in this new modern healthcare facility are named after two of our elite Soldiers," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Colt, deputy commanding general for support brigade. "These Soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this historical division and Fort Campbell during the most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Colt was speaking of Sgt. Dustin M. Adkins, Group Support Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group and Spc. Jordan M. Byrd, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Adkins, assigned to the 5th SFG as a dental specialist, died from injuries he sustained after the Marine Corps helicopter he was riding in had to make an emergency water landing in western Al-Anbar Province, Iraq.
"He was a very good Soldier, quiet, unassuming and was always trying to get the job done," said Lt. Col. Kevin Leahy, commander, 2nd Battalion, 5th SFG. "I saw him before he was killed and he was moving around the battlefield with one of our docs getting care to the Soldiers to more than 40 outstations in Iraq."
"At the time he went to the outstations, the group was actively engaged, but he went with no fear to provide great care to the Soldiers that needed it," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Cunningham, 5th SFG.
Adkins widow, Tiffany and their two children, Matthew and Atlanta, stood near the unveiling of his photo and dedication to the clinic bearing his name at the end of the ceremony.
"Oh, this means the world to know that they [Matthew and Atlanta] have something to come to that is a part of their Dad and what he did in life," Tiffany said.
Specialist Jordan M. Byrd's storyline read very similar to his posthumous peer, Adkins.
Byrd, who was previously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action against the enemy as a combat medic, was killed while on patrol when his unit came under intense small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire.
Byrd was fatally wounded doing what he loved to do -- aiding another wounded Soldier.
"Right now, I'm still a little emotional -- it's all just amazing that his legacy will live forever," cried Roberta Pitt, Byrd's mother, who flew all the way from Grantsville, Utah, for the ceremony. "The fact that someone will remember his name and that he is still a part of something he loved -- the medical field -- is special."
Byrd's friend and fellow Soldier, 1st Lt. Michael Mahowald, 1st Bn., 506th Inf. Reg. remembered his fellow Red Currahee with a short speech.
"It's extremely important to have his Family here to honor them and to know what Jordan did and the sacrifices he made," said Mahowald. "This building is always going to be remembered by the community, this building will stand for a testament for what he did for them."
The clinics, which sit inside one large building near Gate 10, are as impressive as the stories told about each Soldier whose names it bears.
"Completed in July, the over 18-million dollar project encompasses 53,000 square foot of space that offers medical care to 7,000 Soldiers serving the tenant units at Fort Campbell, as well as the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade," said Colt. "It will also offer medical care to another 4,800 Family members."
Colt added that the dental clinic will support 9,750 Soldiers assigned to the Sustainment Brigade, 159th CAB and 5th SFG.
"This is a small token of our appreciation and a lasting legacy to these two great warriors," said Col. Priscilla H. Hamilton, commander of the United States Army Dental Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. "It's an honor to be here and be with the Families as they have borne the brunt of the loss."
"This clinic will always be here to take care of his men like he always wanted to do," said Pitt. "He'd be very proud."