By Staff Sgt. David ChapmanAugust 29, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The Triple Nickel Fallen Warriors Memorial, a large, gray granite wall that normally stands silent, provides a place for quiet reflection to remember 555th Engineer Brigade soldiers who were killed in action.
In a solemn ceremony Aug. 23, soldiers, friends and family members gathered to remember two soldiers whose names were recently added to the wall. It now bears the weight of 30 names from the brigade, annotating the campaign in which they paid the ultimate price for freedom.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid of Brockport, N.Y., and Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Bennett, a native of Glendora, Calif., both assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company, were killed in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device while operating in Sperwan Gar in 2012.
Lt. Col. Steven Sattinger, 555th Engineer Brigade, rear detachment brigade commander, shared what it meant to him to have the opportunity to speak at a ceremony for these soldiers.
"I'm honored and humbled to be speaking here today," Sattinger said. "Today we honor and remember the Triple Nickel soldiers, ordinary men and women who rose up to perform extraordinary feats and whose names fill the walls in front of you today."
Reid's father, Ken, said that while the ceremony was difficult to endure, it was also a time for he and his wife to reflect on their son's sacrifice for the country.
"He hated publicity and he never liked to be in the limelight," Reid said. "The whole ceremony meant a lot to me. We have to remember all the fallen warriors and those who are still fighting today. They will know that if something were to happen to them, they will be honored and remembered by their brothers and sisters in the military."
After the ceremony concluded, soldiers and family used paper and charcoal to trace the inscriptions of the names on the wall for mementos.
First Lt. Jonathon Nisbett, 53rd Ordnance Company, operations officer, knew both soldiers personally and felt the ceremony and the memorial gave others a chance to remember the lives of the NCOs.
"A ceremony like this is great because it brings back the memories after we returned from deployment," said Nisbett, a Lake Jackson, Texas, native. "This brings back the memories of being deployed together, like they are with you again. They were both humble guys, but they both loved the military and loved their jobs."