By Pfc. Jesus J. Aranda, Task Force Lightning Public AffairsMarch 22, 2009
Throughout the lives of every man and woman who have ever lived, there comes a point where one comes to terms with the mortality shared between all living beings. The fact that death will eventually come to all people can be seen as part of life. The sacrifices of heroes, however, can sometimes live far beyond any one person's lifetime.
On the day of March 16, 2006, Spc. Amanda N. Pinson and Pfc. Carlos M. Gonzalez were victims of a rocket attack on Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq. The two Soldiers lost their lives as a result of the impact and have been honored by the military intelligence Soldiers serving at the site three years later.
During a gathering of Soldiers organized by the G-2 section at division headquarters on COB Speicher, the memory of their loss was carried on once more.
The deaths of Sgt. Pinson and Pfc. Gonzalez, both Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division, weighed heavy on the emotions of all who knew them and became personal for the 101st Division. As their time in theater expired, the duty to bring the man responsible for the attack was passed onto the 25th Inf. Div., who assumed command of COB Speicher.
This duty was accomplished during Tropic lightning's prior deployment, as Task Force Lightning Soldiers captured the man responsible for the attack. Hoae'ae-Lewis was present at COB Speicher to bring the man off of the truck which brought him to justice.
"The sight of this cowering, weak man -- scared to death of us -- shows what kind of person would do something like this," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Hoae'ae-Lewis, signals intelligence non-commissioned officer-in-charge, Information and Security Company, 25th Special Troops Battalion, 25th Inf. Div.
The headquarters building, as noted by Hoae'ae-Lewis, still shows the scars inflicted by the rocket attack on that day. Debris from the battered wall remains scattered across the gravel below, as if time stands still.
Time, however, can only move forward for the Soldiers who still support the conflict which claimed the lives of Sgt. Pinson and Spc. Gonzalez, whom received posthumous promotions from the ranks of specialist and private first class.
Pinson was the first female signal cryptologist to lose her life during Operation Iraqi Freedom.The building which serves as the office for intelligence operations and the building in which Sgt. Pinson worked, was renamed "Pinson Hall" to honor her memory.
Recognizing their sacrifices as a part of their history and military heritage, on this day, their leadership urged Soldiers to never forget.
"These Soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Sgt. Maj. John Garrison, G-2 Sgt. Maj., Information and Security Company, 25th Special Troops Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, to an audience of Soldiers gathered in remembrance. "Take time out to remember history and the think about what matters."
"We're still in contact with the 101st Soldiers who lost them," said Hoae'ae-Lewis. "We share that justice together."
Through death, the bravery and loss of heroes, such as Sgt. Pinson and Spc. Gonzalez, will extend their lives indefinitely through the hearts and minds of those whose lives they touched.