• Sharon Watson, left, wife of Third Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson, and Connie Abrams, wife of  3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, right, place a wreath at the memorial Eastern Redbud tree of a fallen Dog Face Soldier during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga. The event commemorates 3rd ID Soldiers who gave their lives while serving overseas.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Sharon Watson, left, wife of Third Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson, and Connie Abrams, wife of 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, right, place a wreath at the memorial Eastern Redbud tree of a fallen Dog Face Soldier during the...

  • John Platt, a retired Army officer, kneels, Dec. 10, 2011, before the Eastern Redbud tree planted in memory of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk Wreath Ceremony in Honor of the Fallen Heroes of the 3rd Infantry Division at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga. Platt said he served with Smith, who was Operation Iraqi Freedom's first Medal of Honor Recipient, twice during his career.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    John Platt, a retired Army officer, kneels, Dec. 10, 2011, before the Eastern Redbud tree planted in memory of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk Wreath Ceremony in Honor of the Fallen Heroes of...

  • Reagan Gibbs, left, and daughter Ariana, right, fasten an ornament to the memorial tree of husband and father Spc. Matthew Gibbs, former Georgia Army National Guardsman, during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga. Gibbs, a member of the 648th Engineer Battalion, 48th Infantry Brigade, gave his life in 2005 serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Reagan Gibbs, left, and daughter Ariana, right, fasten an ornament to the memorial tree of husband and father Spc. Matthew Gibbs, former Georgia Army National Guardsman, during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field...

  • Two men embrace, Dec. 10, 2011, during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk Wreath Ceremony in Honor of the Fallen Heroes of the 3rd Infantry Division at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Two men embrace, Dec. 10, 2011, during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk Wreath Ceremony in Honor of the Fallen Heroes of the 3rd Infantry Division at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • Lyrean Lamie, daughter of Sgt. Gene Lamie, stands with her family at her father's memorial tree during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field at Fort Stewart, Ga. Sgt. Lamie was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment when he lost his life during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Lyrean Lamie, daughter of Sgt. Gene Lamie, stands with her family at her father's memorial tree during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field at Fort Stewart, Ga. Sgt. Lamie was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th...

  • Col. Jim Crider, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team commander, places a wreath at Maj. Sid Brookshire's tree during Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Col. Jim Crider, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team commander, places a wreath at Maj. Sid Brookshire's tree during Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011.

  • Carey Neesley places a ring on her brother, Sgt. Peter Neesley's tree during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Carey Neesley places a ring on her brother, Sgt. Peter Neesley's tree during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • Soldiers bow their head in prayer during the benediction at the Quick Track during Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, at Fort Stewart, Ga.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Soldiers bow their head in prayer during the benediction at the Quick Track during Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, at Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • Rebekka Hawkins, left, and Aaron Jacobs, right, share a private moment during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga. Jacobs, an Eagle Scout in Troop 410 of Hinesville, Ga., installed the five benches of the memorial pathway as his service project in 2010.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Rebekka Hawkins, left, and Aaron Jacobs, right, share a private moment during the Fifth Annual Wreaths for Warriors Walk Dec. 10, 2011, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Ga. Jacobs, an Eagle Scout in Troop 410 of Hinesville, Ga., installed the five...

  • Wreaths were laid at 439  trees during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk by the family members, friends and local supporters, Dec. 10, 2011, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Wreaths were laid at 439 trees during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk by the family members, friends and local supporters, Dec. 10, 2011, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • A family member of Spc. Mathew V. Gibbs secures a Christmas ornament to his memorial tree during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    A family member of Spc. Mathew V. Gibbs secures a Christmas ornament to his memorial tree during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, on Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • Col. Roger Cloutier, deputy commanding general-manuever, speaks in front of friends and families of fallen Third Infantry Division Soldiers before they placed wreaths at their trees along Warrior's Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, at Fort Stewart, Ga.

    Third ID, Families remember their fallen

    Col. Roger Cloutier, deputy commanding general-manuever, speaks in front of friends and families of fallen Third Infantry Division Soldiers before they placed wreaths at their trees along Warrior's Walk, Dec. 10, 2011, at Fort Stewart, Ga.

FORT STEWART, Ga. (Dec. 11, 2011) -- Each December since 2007, there has been a wreath laying ceremony at Fort Stewart's Warriors Walk. During the ceremony, family members, friends and comrades of fallen Third Infantry Division Soldiers gather to remember those that will not be here for the holidays.

This year's ceremony was held with the imminent threat of rain in the sky, but warmth in the hearts of the more than 300 Soldiers, family members and friends paid homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice Dec. 10.

This year, as has been done in the past, a wreath was placed at the base of each of the 439 Eastern Red Bud trees. Each tree is a living memorial dedicated to the memory of a 3rd Inf. Div. Soldier who lost their life while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There are 104 confirmed family members here this year," said Bruce Muncher, Wreaths for Warriors Walk co-founder. "We wanted something, as a whole, to bring as many family members as we could back and say, 'Your loved ones aren't forgotten.'"

In the absence of a family member, a wreath was placed instead, by one of several supporters from the community, whether it was a member of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corsps Cadet, or a Soldier currently assigned to 3rd Inf. Div.

Walking among the Eastern Red Bud trees on this chilly, overcast Saturday afternoon, there were wreaths being laid, trees being decorated, smiles, tears, and salutes to lost comrades-in-arms.

For an old friend of fallen Soldier Staff Sgt. William J. Brooks, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division who was killed in Iraq in 2005, this was the first ceremony he had attended. He talked about how he and Brooks had attended Advanced Individual Training together and how much he had learned from his friend.

The family of Sgt. Peter Neesley, who was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, when he died in Baghdad on Christmas Day 2007, made the trip from Michigan to lay a wreath and decorate his tree. His sister, mother and nephew each brought with them a personal item to place either on, or at the foot of, his tree.

Through all of the tears and memories of the day, there were still smiles, a few laughs, and a lot of hugs as family and friends who share a common loss came together to remember the Soldiers of the 3rd Inf. Div. who gave their lives fighting against the ongoing war on terror.

"Tomorrow's not promised, so don't waste another minute," said Col. Roger L. Cloutier, deputy commanding general for maneuver, Third Infantry Division.

Page last updated Sun December 11th, 2011 at 00:00