Remembering the fallen
A memorial ceremony was held in Schweinfurt, Oct. 23, for Staff Sgt. Orion Sparks and Sgt. Jonathan Gollnitz, both of whom were killed Sept. 26 during a combat operation in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province while assigned to Schweinfurt's 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment.

SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- A memorial ceremony was held at Ledward Chapel Oct. 23 for two Paratroopers assigned to Schweinfurt's 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, both of whom died while deployed to Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Orion Sparks and Sgt. Jonathan Gollnitz were killed Sept. 26 during a combat operation in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province. They were members of Anvil Troop and served in the same platoon.

"They would want everyone to know and remember they were not merely Soldiers in the same unit, they were brothers who looked after us as we looked after them," said Rear Detachment Commander, Capt. Jakob Bradfield, at the eulogy. Bradfield repeated remarks given by Capt. Andrew Partin, Anvil troop commander, during an Oct. 4 memorial held at Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar Province, Afghanistan.

Earlier this summer, the 1-91 Cav deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XIII.

Staff Sgt. Sparks, 29, was born in Tacoma, Wash. He joined the Army as a cavalry scout in 2003. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, at Baumholder, Germany. He also served with the 1st Squadron, 73 Cavalry Regiment, at Fort Brag, N.C., before his assignment with the 1-91st Cav. Regt.

"Staff Sgt. Orion Sparks was universally liked by everyone that met him," said Bradfield. "An outdoor enthusiast, he spoke of climbing Denali when he returned. Orion never did anything half way."

Sparks is survived by his mother, father and two brothers.

Gollnitz, 28, was born in Fredonia, N.Y., and first served in the U.S. Navy from 2003 to 2006. He enlisted in the Army in 2008 as a cavalry scout. He was first assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, at Fort Bragg, N.C. He later moved on to Fort Lewis, Wash., where he served as a gunner on a Stryker reconnaissance vehicle. His last assignment was as a team leader with the 1-91 Cav. Regt. Gollnitz was the father of a son.

"He was a brave Soldier that instilled confidence in the Soldiers he lead," Bradfield said on behalf of Capt. Partin. "He frequently spoke of his son and how much time he was going to spend with him as soon as he got back. He wanted to give his son the opportunities to read the same books he read as a child."

Gollnitz is survived by his mother, father, his uncle and son.

Page last updated Mon November 5th, 2012 at 00:00