During a Fallen Sapper Tribute held April 11, at the Sapper Memorial Grove, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, the U.S. Army Engineer School and Engineer Regiment reflected on the lives and service of fallen Sappers and comrades who participated in both past and current military operations in defense of the nation. A special tribute was paid to U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz, who died July 12, 2018, while serving during Operation Freedom's Sentinel. A native of Summerville, South Carolina, Celiz enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 2007. He completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training as a combat engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Brig. Gen. Robert Whittle Jr., the 97th Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School, provided remarks during the tribute.
"When duty calls, engineers are willing to sacrifice everything, leaving family and friends behind to face the real risk of giving their last full measure in service to our way of life, our freedoms and all of the things we hold dear," Whittle, said. "We appreciate their courage, their commitment to duty and their willingness to stand up and fight for all of us, especially when so few are willing to answer that call."
"We will always remember our fallen engineers who have paid the price for our freedoms because freedom is not and will never be free," Whittle added. "Without those brave men and women, we would indeed be lost."
Whittle called attention to the 382 names honored on the wall, which are a result of 17 plus years of conflict supporting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"All 382 heroes and their families will forever be in our hearts," he said.