By Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsOctober 4, 2007
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Soldiers from the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division took time out to remember a fallen Ironhorse Soldier, Staff Sgt. Jeremy W. Mulhair, Sr, a platoon sergeant for Troop A, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, as they held a dedication ceremony for the newly opened Mulhair Range on Camp Taji, Iraq Oct. 2 which was named in his honor.
While conducting a mounted patrol, Mulhair, who hailed from Omaha, Neb., was killed in his humvee after an improvised explosive device detonated Nov. 30 in the village of Ash Shulah. He was one of the first Ironhorse Brigade Soldiers to be killed during the current Operation Iraqi Freedom Rotation 06-08.
"This is a fitting tribute to a (noncommissioned officer) known for his abilities to train his scouts, enforce discipline and accomplish the mission," said Lt. Col. Kevin MacWatters, commander, 1st Squadron, 7th Cav. Regt., during the ceremony. "This range provides a great resource for Soldiers to be better prepared as they perform their missions on and off our forward operating base."
Mulhair's first sergeant echoed many of MacWatters sentiments.
"He was a great NCO who stood in as a platoon sergeant, he was very capable but sadly he was lost on the first day that we took over in sector," said 1st Sgt. Allen Mouton, Troop A's top noncommissioned officer and a native of Houston. "He was a platoon sergeant leading Soldiers and doing all the right things-we're happy to get the opportunity to recognize him and name a range after him."
Construction for the new range began in January and was completed in late September. The first group of Soldiers to fire their weapons and qualify on the range were troops from Mulhair's platoon who shot on the range Sept. 22 and the event served as a safety inspection for range certification as well.
MacWatters praised the efforts of Soldiers and civilian contractors who built the range.
"It was a team effort. This was a very busy time and I appreciate all the work you did to build this, you all did a very professional job and it was a long period of time as the resources to build this came into place and our thanks go to everyone who made this happen," said MacWatters.
During the ceremony, Col. Paul E. Funk II, the Ironhorse Brigade commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley D. Small, 1st BCT command sergeant major, handed out certificates of appreciation to Ironhorse Troopers and civilian contractors who worked on the construction of the range.
Funk also took time to speak during the dedication.
"This is not only a memorial to Staff Sgt. Mulhair, but it is a memorial to all our Soldiers (who have died)," said Funk who also cited an example from a John Wayne movie in which Wayne served in the cavalry and was retiring after 37 years in service to his country. "His troopers bought him a watch and on the back was inscribed 'lest we forget' and it was talking about the sacrifices of serving in the cavalry and enduring hard times and good times. It could also symbolize all the Soldiers we've lost, all the hardships we've endured, the hope we're giving the Iraqi people and all the great things you do each and every day."
"It's a great day to be in the cavalry and the Army. I'm honored to be here today and proud to serve with all of you and our contractor friends," added Funk in closing.
After Mulhair's death, troopers in his platoon continued fighting hard against insurgents in the Jash al-Mahdi militia and Al Qaeda, leading to improved security in their area of operations, according to MacWatters.
"His Soldiers did an awesome job securing (their areas) and it reflects credit on Staff Sgt. Mulhair," said MacWatters.
Mulhair, a husband and father of three small children who served in the Army 11 years, was buried in December at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.