FORT BRAGG, North Carolina -- Since 1994, the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Memorial Plaza has resided outside of the U. S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) headquarters building and features a memorial wall, 32 memorial stones and statues of two legendary USASOC Soldiers guarding the parade field.
The memorial wall bares the names of Soldiers who were assigned to a unit within the USASOC conglomerate when they gave the ultimate sacrifice during conflicts from the Korean War through present day operations worldwide since the establishment of USASOC December 1, 1989.
The memorial stones that line the plaza field were donated by the founding members of some of the Army Special Operations Forces units as well as legacy members and offer a glimpse into Army Special Operations Forces Soldiers (ARSOF) history.
USASOC employees, Dawn, Russ and James are able to experience the Memorial Plaza on a daily basis.
"When I walk through Memorial Plaza, my first thoughts are of saying 'thank you' to all who gave their lives in service of this country," Dawn said. "My heart goes out to the Gold Star families whose loved ones' names are on the wall," she continued.
The statues known as "Bronze Bruce" and the legendary Maj. Richard "Dick" Meadows stand guard over the memorial plaza and represent what ARSOF have done and continue doing for America, daily.
"Bronze Bruce" stands atop a granite pedestal and tells the story of a Special Forces senior noncommissioned officer standing on a rocky ledge during the Vietnam War. In his right hand, a raised weapon, ready to fight. His left hand is extended to aid the oppressed. And his boot, bearing down on a rock, crushing the head of a serpent, representing how he would defeat tyranny in the world.
"Bronze Bruce" is a nice tribute to the SOF Soldiers of the past and present," Russ said. "He kind of reminds me of a Special Forces guy in an old "John Wayne" movie about the Green Berets in the Vietnam War," he added.
"Dick Meadows" stands atop a pedestal and appears to signal his teammates to stay behind cover as he steps with his rifle in position to engage any enemy who shows himself in an act of hostility.
"The "Dick" Meadows statue depicts the definition of a real deal fearless leader," James asserted. "You can tell he means business by the way he's holding his rifle and almost daring the enemy to shoot at him," he continued.
The USASOC memorial plaza pays homage to all ARSOF warriors by preserving the memories of their sacrifices as well as honors Family members of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the Nation.
"The memorial wall is a fitting and respectful dedication to the service of our SOF Soldiers and their families," Dawn said. Dawn concluded saying "I hate to see names added to the wall but I am thankful for their service and sacrifices for our country."