FORT HUACHUCA, ARIZ., - Serving as a prelude to the 2021 Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) held its annual Signal Cove of Remembrance Ceremony, on Wednesday, May 26. However, this year’s event was more emotional and meaningful because the command added another Signal Soldier’s name and image to the sacred walls of the Signal Cove of Remembrance, bringing the total number of heroes honored and remembered this year to 103.
“Today’s memorial service is even more somber by the fact we are inducting another name of a brave warrior to the hallowed walls of the Signal Cove of Remembrance,” said NETCOM Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett.
The induction ceremony centered on Spc. Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias, of Hanford, Calif., who died March 11, 2020, during a rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve. Covarrubias, a signal support systems specialist, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
“The Inherent Resolve commander at the time, Lt. Gen. Pat White, said Covarrubias earned the greatest honor for his combat service and sacrifice on the mission to, permanently, defeat ISIS in Iraq,” said Barrett. “Specialist Covarrubias was a warrior who will forever be remembered.”
“Covarrubias’ battalion commander, Lt. Col. Adam S. Camarano said Covarrubias was a “cherished” member of the unit and that his loss was felt across the formation and that he will not be forgotten,” said Barrett.
“Covarrubias’ sister said he was a hero and a leader even before he came into the Army,” added Barrett. “He led in his community, he coached and mentored those other children in his community, and there is no doubt in my mind that is what he was doing for our Army when he enlisted and when he died.”
“The ceremony today is in keeping with our solemn oath that We Will Never Forget, as we add Specialist Covarrubias’ name and image to the hallowed walls of the Signal Cove of Remembrance.”
Reflecting on the history of the Signal Cove of Remembrance, Barrett said, “This memorial was first dedicated in December 2008 by LTG Susan Lawrence for the families of the first 56 fallen signal members since 9/11, whose names and photos first graced this memorial, and we have had the somber duty to add 47 more names and faces to the memorial walls.
“There are some, who may ask why we have a separate memorial honoring our Signaleers; the answer to that is embedded in our history,” said Barrett.
“One thing that has remained constant for the Signal Corps has been the need for competent and dedicated Soldiers and Civilians.”
“Beginning with the father of the U.S. Army Signal Corp, Brigadier General Albert J. Myers' vision of a group of technical specialists and leaders trained to provide communications capabilities to enhance command and control, the Soldiers and Civilians of the Signal Corps have been dedicated to that mission, and at times paid the ultimate price to ensure the message gets through,” recalled Barrett.
“Though the technologies change and transform, the challenges to provide communications have remained constant.”
“More importantly than technology however, it has been the people - the men and women - the Soldiers and Civilians - who have made success on the battlefields throughout our nation’s history possible. Their stories, their comradeship, and their dedication to the mission should be honored and remembered even as the Signal Corps is fully engaged in current operations,” emphasized Barrett.
“Their legacy is the foundation for those serving today as we strive to be always ‘Watchful for the Country,’ said Barrett.
“And, our charge is to ensure the legacy of the Signaleers forever etched in this memorial Cove continues.”
“Remembering the 103 Signal Soldiers and Civilians who sacrificed so much for all of us here today is our sacred duty. We remember each and every one of their lives, and remember all the lives they touched during their brief time here with us,” said Barrett.
“I know that my words alone cannot bring comfort to those who still feel their loss, but I do make this commitment on behalf of a grateful nation and a grateful Army, that ‘we will never forget.”
“So, as we take up and place the wreath inside the Signal Cove of Remembrance today, I ask each of you to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen comrades who names are forever etched on these hallowed walls,” said Barrett. “With this annual memorial ceremony, and the placement of the wreath, I renew our pledge to you today. I pledge to you - We will never forget.”
After the general’s remarks, the names of the fallen were read by volunteers, and those in attendance remained in silence. Then the wreath was taken by the honor guard and placed inside the cove with honors given, as a lone Soldier played Taps, bringing to a close this year’s Cove of Remembrance Memorial Induction ceremony.