JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Germany – As part of her community service project, an Eagle Scout candidate dedicated a new living memorial to the fallen Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and of the 527th Military Police Company.
Leadership from 1-4 Infantry Regiment, 527th MP Co. and U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria as well as members of the Hohenfels military community came to the dedication ceremony June 23, 2023.
Newly planted boxwood bushes form the shape of a star at the east end of Warrior Field in the 1-4 Infantry Regiment cantonment as part of the memorial. At different points along the star are plaques with the names of 18 Soldiers – 11 of the 1-4 Infantry Regiment and seven of the 527th Military Police Company – all of whom died while serving their country in Afghanistan and Iraq while part of the Hohenfels-stationed units. Within the star are two benches and in the center of the star a small patch of flowers.
Ada Oberman, the Eagle Scout candidate who coordinated this project said the flowers, the boxwood, the shape of the star all held symbolic significance.
"Boxwoods symbolize regeneration and in some ways immortality because of the way they grow back as quickly as they do," she said. "The entire memorial is designed off of symbolism to commemorate the Soldiers and the attributes they showed while on the battlefield."
The star shape represents valor. Poppies are a flower of remembrance, salvia of healing. Daisies are flowers of hope and love, and marguerites are flowers of protection.
During the ceremony to officially dedicate the memorial, Col. Kevin A. Poole, USAG Bavaria commander, spoke.
"Some of you may not know that about 17 years ago I commanded Cherokee Company, 1-4 Infantry," he said during the ceremony. "And if you look at your handouts, you'll see the first name on there is a 23-year-old corporal by the name Isaiah Calloway. … He was part of the first company deployed, part of the Romanian infantry battalion that was responsible for combat operations in Marah province (Afghanistan). He was my guy, a young, 23-year-old Soldier, three kids, a young wife – awesome individual with all the prospects in the world, just like the rest of the other 17 individuals on here.
"While I'm here as the garrison commander, I'm also here as Capt. Kevin Poole, commander of Cherokee Company, and that will always have a place in my heart," he continued. "This is a wonderful exhibit. I look forward to coming back here 10 or 15 years from now."
Lt. Col. Joshua Wiles, who was the commander of the 1-4 Infantry Regiment during the dedication but has since relinquished command, also spoke.
"This is a special place," he said. "This memorial will be a special place for people to return and to remember and be a part of."
Capt. Kyle Thorpe, commander of the 527th MP Company thanked everyone, including Oberman.
Oberman is the fourth of four siblings, who have all completed their Eagle Scout community projects in the Hohenfels military community. Their Family has been stationed in Hohenfels since December 2017. The oldest brother James built insect hotels to promote wildlife diversity. The oldest sister Katie revamped the dog park in the Camp Lindenberg neighborhood. Shortly before Ada dedicated the living memorial at Warrior Field, Jakob helped clean up the library's story walk at Camp Nainhof. Their father, Sgt. 1st Class Jared Oberman, formerly the security manager for the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, said his children's involvement in scouting makes him more certain of their future.
"Service, and learning how to become leaders," he said, "it's something that helps me feel more confident in their abilities to go forward and be successful in whatever they choose to go out and do."
For Ada, the project was one she had to coordinate across different on-post organizations, making certain plans and changing them based on new input, gaining approval from scouting headquarters, planting the bushes, and putting together the ceremony. She led all these efforts while facing a very short deadline: her Family's impending permanent change of station to Kentucky.
"Ada is kind of a special case because she started here as well as finished here," said Kreg Schnell, Ada's acting scoutmaster. "The same thing with her older sister and her brother. They both pretty much got everything done while they were here. As five-year residents, that's kind of exceptional."
Schnell, who also works for the 7th Army Training Command when not volunteering, took on the role of scoutmaster for the Hohenfels girls' troop. He helped Ada connect with the relevant people on post to get her project through. While she had initially planned for trees, the root system would have disrupted sewer lines where they had planned the memorial.
Schnell also recommended Ada coordinate with Nickayla Myers-Garner, the school liaison officer. Her late husband Capt. Mark Andess Garner was the commander of Team Blackfoot with the 1-4 Infantry Regiment and is one of the memorialized Soldiers. Myers-Garner's children are in the scouts and Schnell had approached her about consulting on the project as a Gold Star spouse.
"And of course I was happy to support," Myers-Garner said. "Once their name is no longer there, their name is no longer said, then they can be forgotten. So it's very important that there is a memorial to recognize those Soldiers who have fallen with a special memorial at the 1-4 footprint for the 1-4 Soldiers, in addition to the fallen Soldiers from the 527th MP Company."
Myers-Garner added that her late husband's former office window overlooks the memorial.
She has already shared the news with the other Gold Star Families. One Family plans on visiting the area and seeing the memorial in December.
"They are thrilled," she said. "We were able to include the Gold Star Families who don't live here anymore, and they have felt absolutely honored that she would include them and their Family in this project."
Myers-Garner, who has seen Ada grow up, called the Eagle Scout candidate thoughtful and intuitive and praised her for her sensitivity in honoring the past of the military community.
"Ada is a very bashful, quiet person, but she is a strong person to have done what she has done at such a young age," Myers-Garner said. "I can't wait to see the woman she becomes."
The living memorial honors the following Soldiers:
• Staff Sgt. Marc A. Arizmendez, 2nd Platoon, Team Dragon, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Anaheim, California,
• Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld, 2nd Platoon, 527th Military Police Company, from Waupun, Wisconsin,
• Cpl. Isaiah Calloway, 2nd Platoon, Cherokee Company, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Jacksonville, Florida,
• Cpl. Zachary Ryan Endsley, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Spring, Texas
• Capt. Mark A. Garner, commander of Team Blackfoot, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Elkin, North Carolina,
• Cpl. Joseph Michael Hernandez, HQ Platoon, Team Cherokee, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Hammond, Indiana,
• Spc. Roger Lee, 2nd Platoon, Team Dragon, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Monterey, California
• Cpl. Conor G. Masterson, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Woodbury, Minnesota,
• Maj. Brian Michael Mescall, HQ Platoon, Team Cherokee, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Hopkinton, Massachusetts,
• Pfc. Tan Q. Ngo, 1st Platoon, Cherokee Company, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Beaverton, Oregon,
• Sgt. Jason Ray Parson, HQ Platoon, Team Cherokee, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Lenoir, North Carolina,
• First Lt. Timothy E. Price, 1st Platoon, 527th Military Police Company, from Midlothian, Virginia,
• Pfc. Michael S. Pridham Jr., 2nd Platoon, Team Dragon, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, from Louisville, Kentucky,
• Sgt. Paul A. Rivera, 1st Platoon, 527th Military Police Company, from Round Rock, Texas,
• Sgt. 1st Class Gregory A. Rodriguez, K9 Section, 527th Military Police Company, from Weidman, Michigan,
• Spc. Jordan C. Schumann, 527th Military Police Company, from Port St. Lucie, Florida,
• Spc. Preston J. Suter, 527th Military Police Company, from Sandy, Utah,
• Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Throckmorton, 527th Military Police Company, from Battle Creek, Michigan.