CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – Members of the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade gathered with the family to celebrate the life and honor the death of one of their own, Mark R. Crisman, at the Eighth Army Wightman NCO Academy auditorium, July 2.
Crisman served in the brigade while on active duty as commander of the 719th MI Battalion (2009-2010) and then later returned in 2014 as an Army Civilian to serve as the deputy brigade operations officer, providing leadership and professionalism, as well as kind words and friendship to many during that time.
Col. James Walsh, commander, 501st MI Brigade, thanked everyone for attending the ceremony to celebrate the service, both to the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, the professionalism, patriotism and, most importantly, the friendship of their beloved colleague.
Walsh said, “We were talking one day soon after I returned to the brigade in 2018, and Mark told me that a commander’s legacy is the photo that they leave on the wall when they depart.”
While true in many ways, Walsh continued, Mark’s legacy is far more than the photos hanging on the walls of the 719th MI Battalion headquarters and Field Station Korea.
In a note received from Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command and director, National Security Agency, it said, “Mark’s legacy is each and every one of us who grew and improved as individuals, which makes it far more important than just a photo on the wall. He left each of us better than we were before we met him.”
Lt. Col. David Hazelton, commander, 532nd MI Battalion, spoke about the knowledgeable and capable, but also humble man he knew Crisman to be.
He was followed by John Mallette reading a memorial tribute letter from Lt. Col. Jared Hoffman, a former colleague of Crisman, who acknowledged Crisman’s appreciation for the “American Soldier,” relating how Crisman enlisted into the Army right out of college as a specialist before finally earning the rank of lieutenant colonel during his military career.
Hoffman wrote, “For those of you who spent time with Mark, you know that he had a wicked sense of humor and a kind heart. He would go out of his way to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it. We will all miss our friend Mark, but we are all richer for encountering such a genuine friend like Mark.”
Jack Patrae, spoke about the good memories he had of the time he spent with Crisman and his tragic fight with cancer. Of the memories he shared, he said he particularly enjoyed the times they shared over coffee at their favorite coffee shop and said when they see each other again, the coffee would be on Patrae.
During concluding remarks, Capt. Michael Anderson, 3rd MI Battalion chaplain, said, “Truly, we measure a life not by the accumulation of wealth, nor by the earning of rank or accolades or awards. Rather, we evaluate one’s life by the ways they impact and touch the lives of the people they love, the people they serve… We are truly blessed to have had such a man live and serve among us.”
After the flag folding ceremony, Walsh presented the flag to his wife, on behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army and a grateful nation, for her husband’s honorable and faithful service.