By Staff Sgt. Marleen MilliganNovember 8, 2018
WAIALUA, Hawaii -- Soldiers and community members from U.S. Army Health Clinic- Schofield Barracks marched two miles Nov. 2 to remember two behavioral health Soldiers killed in action in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The foot march commemorated Lt. Col. David Cabrera, 41, of Abilene, Texas, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Newman, 26, of Shelby, North Carolina, who died Oct. 29, 2011, after a detonation of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. They were traveling in the same vehicle when they were hit.
Cabrera was a clinical social worker assigned to Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. Newman was a behavioral health technician assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.
More than 100 people marched for the 7th annual iteration.
Cabrera's son, Corbin, spoke of lessons taught by his father when he was a young boy to begin the march. Members then hiked along the beaches of Mokuleia Beach Park, stopping at three tiki torches along the way to give opportunities for participants to express tributes to various service members.
"It is amazing to see the amount of people that have come out," said Clinical Psychologist Dr. Lisa Gomes, who has attended four marches since 2014. "My first march only had about eight people in attendance. I feel that you serve and then you lose your life from it and that deserves recognition. That's why I attend these marches."
Sgt. Justin Strain, a Behavioral Health Technician assigned to U.S. Army Health Clinic- Schofield Barracks, paid tribute to Newman during the event, said the march allows people time to grieve, remember and come together.
"It serves as a time of reflection for us to 'count your blessings' if you will," said Strain. "If you had no connection to the troops, then you still had the opportunity to learn about them and be inspired by their stories. It brings our unit closer together, which only serves us for the better."
Many of those who spoke vowed to do something in remembrance of the person who was lost: look after their Soldiers or loved one, be a better person, or simply not take things for granted.
"It is important to hold memorial marches to eradicate the stigma on behavioral health by helping soldiers realize that they may not be the only one who is struggling with a loss," said Spc. Cody Kedroski, a Combat Medic assigned to U.S. Army Health Clinic- Schofield Barracks .
In remarks after the march, Col. Dave Zimmerman, commander, U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks, addressed the importance of not suffering alone.
"Behavioral health is an important aspect in a person's life," Zimmerman told participants. "Bottom line, if you need to talk to someone, do it!"