By Pfc. Garett Hernandez and Capt. Thomas Cieslak, 16th MP Bde. PAOJune 11, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Military police men and women and their guests from the Fort Bragg community gathered at the 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) headquarters building Friday, to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.
Paratroopers of the 16th MP Bde. and their guests held a memorial ceremony to dedicate a bronze sculpture of boots, upturned rifle and helmet and to read a roll-call of seven Soldiers who died while serving with the brigade in the past year. Noncommissioned officers from the brigade donated the money necessary for the additions.
The name of one Soldier, Spc. Roberto A. Hernandez II, of Far Rockaway, N.Y. was added to the memorial May 9. Hernandez was assigned to the 549th Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, 16th MP Bde., headquartered at Fort Stewart, Ga. when he was killed in Afghanistan by an attack which involved an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.
Col. John Garrity, commander of the 16th MP Bde., and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Lambert, unveiled the additions to the memorial and laid a wreath at the base of the memorial. Lambert spoke at the ceremony in honor of the Army's "Year of the Noncommissioned Officer."
"Take time to reflect why we are a free nation. It is because of Soldiers like the ones with their names inscribed on the memorial who made our country what it is today," said Lambert. "Americans know the sacrifices that our military has made to keep our country free."
Lt. Col. Thomas Drake, chaplain of the 16th MP Bde. (Abn.), presented a gold Saint Michael's medallion to the spouse of a fallen paratrooper during the ceremony.
"This medallion represents the faith of paratroopers and will help her and guide her through her journey we call life," said Lambert after the presentation.
During the ceremony, the poem "Fallen Soldier," written by Brandon Hildago, was read by Lambert to the crowd.
"Thank you for honoring our fallen Soldiers by attending today. It means so much to the Soldiers standing in front of you.
We must never forget our fallen Soldiers, they have provided the freedoms we take for granted every day," said Lambert as he concluded the