By Eric Kowal, Picatinny Arsenal Public AffairsMay 1, 2013
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Picatinny Arsenal will honor eight New Jersey-connected service members who lost their lives in 2012 while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during a private ceremony on Saturday, June 8.
"A red oak, the offiicial tree of New Jersey, is planted for each of the fallen at our memorial in their honor," said Lt. Col. Jason Mackay, Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander.
"The red oak represents the selfless sacrifice the service members willingly made for their country. We will also remember the 162 heroes and heroines whose memorial trees were previously dedicated over past years," Mackay added.
"The trees are part of Picatinny's tree memorial honoring all New Jersey-connected service members who died during the nation's overseas contingency operations.
Officials here unveiled the memorial in 2008, dedicating 119 red oaks to Warfighters who had lost their lives beginning with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 through 2007.
The tradition has continued, and each successive spring, fallen service members from the previous year are honored similarly.
A total of 170 memorial trees are now planted on the installation in memory of New Jerseyans.
This year the following service members will be recognized:
Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard -- USMC -- Jan. 19, 2012
Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca -- USMC -- Feb. 10, 2012
Staff Sgt. Joseph D'Augustine -- USMC -- March 27, 2012
Pfc. Leroy DeRonde III -- Army -- May 27, 2012
Staff Sgt. Raul M. Guerra -- Army -- July 4, 2012
Spc. Jonathan Batista -- Army -- July 8, 2012
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mathew G. Kantor -- Navy -- Nov. 1, 2012
Cpl. Christopher M. Monahan -- USMC-- Nov. 26, 2012