24th ID remembers fallen 24 years later
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24th ID remembers fallen 24 years later
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FORT STEWART, Ga. - During the 100-hour Operation Desert Storm, 24th Infantry Division lost 16 soldiers. February 27, 2015 was the 24th anniversary and nearly 100 retired soldiers, their families and friends gathered at the Operation Desert Storm memorial on Fort Stewart, Ga., to remember their friends who did not come home or have passed since their return.

August 27, 1990 - The first ship carrying 24th ID troops arrived in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and on 12 September combat elements closed in on theater with movement to the Iraqi border commencing January 18, 1991.

"It's been 24 years since we've seen each other and it's like we haven't missed a day," explained Brian Burkhart, assigned to Co. B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment.

This year's reunion and memorial was the work of two, dedicated men who deployed with 24th ID is support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Spc. Steven R. Harrington and Pfc. Francisco Irizarry spearheaded the 24th anniversary reunion and memorial that brought together soldiers who had not seen one another since their time together in the Gulf.

"Twenty-four years ago the eyes of the world were upon us as we set about our mission to extricate the Iraqi army from its occupation of Kuwait," began Harrington. "24th Infantry Division was tasked with the mission of seeking out and destroying Iraq's elite republican guard, and dare I say we accomplished that mission well."

Mostly those who personally knew them read the names of the 16 fallen heroes. The readers shared short stories about who the person was and how they influenced their lives. Others were simply represented by a soldier who shared the same military occupation specialty.

"Spc. Kevin E. Wright, 1st of the 18th Infantry, from Louisville, Kentucky," read one attendee. "He was killed on the 2nd of March, '91. I volunteered to read his name since no one's here that knows of him and I know everything I need to know about him - Infantry by God!"

"Victory Soldiers always keep their promises."