W4WW
A formation of Soldiers from the 3rd Sustainment Brigade stand to honor the memory of their fallen comrades during the Wreaths for Warriors Walk, Dec. 10.

FORT STEWART, Ga. - The ultimate sacrifice of a Soldier in the midst of combat is one of the highest and most difficult callings of the military service. It is felt by the Family and the comrades of the Soldier, alike. The holiday season, however, becomes a time for heavier reflection for such a loss.

Within the 260th Quartermaster Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Third Infantry Division, such an example of the Fallen that still resonates with the unit to this day is Staff Sgt. William J. Beardsley. Staff Sergeant Beardsley deployed with the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 260th Quartermaster Bn., to Tallil, Iraq in 2006. In February 2007, Beardsley was in a convoy when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was killed instantly.

His memory stands in the form of an Eastern Redbud tree adorned with a yellow ribbon, a U.S. flag, the crest of the 260th Quartermaster Bn., and a plaque at the base with his name and "Operation: Iraqi Freedom." His is among the hundreds of trees standing to represent the lives of the men and women of the Third Infantry Division lost in the midst of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.

In honor of Beardsley and the other Soldiers laid to rest, the Wreaths for Warriors Walk organization held a day to honor the memory of the Fallen for the Christmas season. The dreary Saturday morning of Dec. 10 marked the fifth year of this tradition. Soldiers from the 260th Quartermaster Bn. participated in the ceremony to honor Beardsley.

"This was my first time doing this [wreath laying]," said Staff Sgt. Michael Gibson, who laid the wreath for Beardsley. "It was an honor to represent Staff Sgt. Beardsley and the battalion."

First Sergeant Ryan Lyons, acting 260th command sergeant major, attended the ceremony for the first time, and was taken aback by the magnitude of the ceremony.

"I didn't personally know Beardsley at the time, but it was an honor being out here representing the 260th, and I think [the ceremony] is just wonderful," Lyons said.

To find out more information about Wreathes for Warriors Walk, an all-volunteer organization, visit their Web site at www.w4ww.org , or visit their Facebook page.

Page last updated Thu December 15th, 2011 at 00:00