FORT HOOD, Texas – The 1st Cavalry Division, hosted a dedication ceremony in the honor of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Keith Yoakum and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Defrenn, May. 4 at Fort Hood.
During the Dedication Ceremony, Col. Timothy Jaeger, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Commander, highlighted the significance of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade aviators who lost their lives while on a combat reconnaissance patrol near Taji, Iraq on Feb. 2, 2007.
“Your attendance makes today all that more special for our Air Cav Troopers,” said Jaeger. "They continue to draw inspiration from the legacies of our two fallen heroes.”
Troopers and families alongside local veterans gathered at the dedication Airfield to re-designate the 1st Cavalry Air Brigade Airfield from Hood Army Heliport to Yoakum-Defrenn Army Heliport and were able to bring back memories of the harsh reality of ultimate sacrifice in an ongoing war on terrorism.
“These two exceptional Air Cav Aviators spent their last full measures of devotion in service to their units, their brothers, and our nation,” said, Jaeger. “Although they lost their lives that day, their legend will live on forever as their names adorn the army hill force where the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Troopers train, generate, and sustain readiness for our 1st Cavalry Division and III Armored Core in our army.”
Yoakum, who was an AH-64D Apache Attack helicopter pilot for Company A, 1st "Attack" Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1ACB, made the ultimate sacrifice.
On Feb. 2, he and his co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Jason Defrenn, while out on patrol, began taking fire from the enemy on the ground. Their wingmen, in another aircraft, were getting hit as well. But instead of heading to safety, Yoakum and Defrenn stayed in the fight to help protect their wingmen.
“Keith and Jason selflessly answered the call that so many are unwilling or unable to do,” said Jaeger. “They served a cause greater than themselves, and their sacrifices made a difference in our worlds.”
The ceremony concluded with an unveiling ritual showing the new airfield sign “Yoakum-Defrenn Army Heliport.”