CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Soldiers from 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team "Independence", Multi-National Division-Baghdad paid tribute to a fallen Soldier by naming a gym in his honor.
The Baum Fitness Center was dedicated June 5, named after Staff Sgt. Mark Baum, of Quakertown, Pa., who was killed in action Feb. 21, 2009.
Baum was fatally shot near Mushada, just north of Camp Taji, when members of his platoon responded to attack by small-arms fire. This deployment was his third combat deployment and second to Iraq.
Soldiers from 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment stood under the 112 degree sun to watch the ceremony for a Soldier they considered a brother, friend, and mentor.
"Staff Sgt. Baum led from the front and showed men how to behave," said Capt. Passero, Co. B commander, from Bristow, Va. "His Soldiers are his legacy; they will remember the lessons he taught for the rest of their lives."
"Staff Sgt. Baum's conduct and dedication is mirrored in his Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Mark O'Hanlon, commander of 1st Bn., 112th Inf. Regt., from Wallingford, Pa. "His service and dedication will continue on in this fitness center."
The newly christened Baum Fitness Center is located across from the 56th SBCT headquarters on Camp Taji. After a benediction by the Soldiers unveiled the plaque above the entrance bearing Baum's name and a picture of the Purple Heart he was posthumously awarded.
"The dedication of this building is a reminder of Staff Sgt. Baum's dedication to his country," Passero said, "He embodied all of the Army values every day."