By Jason B. CutshawMay 13, 2010
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Members of the Fort Drum community came together April 29 to pay tribute to two fallen heroes who gave their lives in support of freedom.
Spc. Alan N. Dikcis and Spc. Robert M. Rieckhoff were honored for their sacrifice and selfless service during a remembrance ceremony at the Main Post Chapel.
Dikcis was a member of 630th Engineer Company, 7th Engineer Battalion, and Rieckhoff was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
During the ceremony, members of the fallen warriors' units shared memories of their comrades.
"We are gathered here today to honor a very special man, Soldier and above all - a friend," said Spc. Michael Lecuyer, B Company, 2-15 FA, about Rieckhoff. "Robbie was always willing to make friends, have fun and hang out with anyone who crossed his path. It didn't matter what other people thought about them; he gave everyone a chance.
"Robbie was a quiet leader who preferred to show his Soldiers, rather than tell them, how to perform," he added. "He affected everyone around him in a positive way with his work ethic. Robbie was always striving to be the most professional Soldier."
As a former commander talked about his Soldiers, he told of friendship, honor and service to country that can only be found in those who serve alongside their brothers in arms.
"A quiet, confident professional who was mature beyond his years - that is how I will remember Specialist Alan Dikcis," said Capt. Christopher Burkhart, former 630th Engineer Company commander. "He was never one to complain, not even in the arduous conditions he experienced in the Helmand Province (of Afghanistan). Specialist Dikcis was respected amongst his peers, his knowledge was sought after by all in the company, and I know his platoon felt especially lucky to have had Specialist Dikcis in their formation.
"Although there is a void in the sapper Family that will never be filled, the one thing that Specialist Dikcis would want right now is for us to continue our mission and perform just as he would - with no complaints, with complete dedication and a smile at the end of the day," Burkhart continued. "We will miss you, brother."
Also remembering the fallen Soldiers was one of Fort Drum's leaders.
"Today we honor the service and sacrifice of two special Soldiers who died in defense of their nation," said Col. Kurt J. Ryan, 10th Sustainment Brigade commander. "They understood the meaning of courage. They lived courageously, executing the duties they were trained to do.
"Both men understood the dangers, they recognized that our nation was at war, they trained and fought to ensure our citizens remained safe at home," he added. "They did not hesitate, they did not ask for someone else to assume this awesome responsibility. They served selflessly, not questioning their duty - always courageous in their task at hand."
As he spoke, Ryan talked about both Soldiers, who served with honor while defending their country.
"We cannot forget that Soldiers fought bravely, helped others compassionately and endured hardships unimaginable," he said. "Americans like Alan and Robert demonstrated incredible acts of heroism, daily acts of courage, and sacrificed to ensure our security.
"On this day, we take a few minutes to express our profound gratitude for two heroes," Ryan added. "Today we celebrate the life and achievements of these special sons, our sons - sons of liberty and freedom, and peace."