BAQOUBA, Iraq - "Staff Sgt. Donnie Dixon sacrificed his life for the cause of freedom - not only for our freedom as Americans, but freedom for the people of Iraq," said Col. David Sutherland, commander of 3rd Brigade 1st Cavalry Division, as he spoke about the death of a Soldier from his personal security detachment.

Soldiers from the "Grey Wolf" Brigade gathered to honor Staff Sgt. Donnie Dixon, a Soldier with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, who was killed Sept. 29 while conducting battlefield circulation. With the symbolic memorial of a helmet resting atop a rifle with Dixon's dog tags and boots, the gym at Forward Operating Base Warhorse was filled as friends and fellow team mates shared stories and reflected on his life, Oct. 10.

"Staff Sgt. Dixon had the natural ability to stay focused and take charge in any situation. For him, business was business and I could always count on him to accomplish the mission." Sutherland said.

"He was unique and could always bring the team together, whether it was his ability to make the team laugh, listen to each other, lead one another or provide motivation," Sutherland continued.

"Days before he was killed Staff Sgt. Dixon was wounded during a suicide bombing. Like always, he was by my side. Staff Sgt. Dixon was anxious to be returned to duty so he could get back in the fight with his team. That was the type of soldier he was. It was that devotion he displayed on a regular basis that provides me faith," Sutherland said.

"Sgt. Dixon had and infectious laugh, once you heard him laugh you couldn't help but join in. He had a way of telling stories he was always entertaining, and could tell a story about anything," said Capt. Michael Duran, Dixon's platoon leader, who spoke of the type of man and leader Dixon was.

"He was a dedicated family man. He was really proud about his family, and everyone knew how much of a family man he was. If you went into his room, you would see birthday cards, anniversary cards... and pictures of his wife and kids," Duran said.

"Staff Sgt. Dixon was blunt and to the point. I looked to him for advice, and I knew he would tell it to me straight. Based on his experience, he knew what was talking about," Duran continued.

"He was a great friend, mentor and leader; he was a great father figure. He always placed the mission and the welfare of his Soldiers first. No matter what mission came up, Sgt. Dixon was always ready," said Staff Sgt. Mario Whitaker, one of Dixon's fellow NCOs.

"He was a man of his word and stood up for what was right," he continued. "Sgt. Dixon meant a lot to everyone. He was the type of person that would do anything for everyone."

Following the ceremony, Soldiers lined up to pay their final respects and render one last salute to Dixon - a Soldier who, according to his platoon, touched many lives and will never be forgotten.

"Please know and always remember your husband, your father and your son served honorably and served with courage," Sutherland said, addressing Dixon's family. "I will forever be proud of him and all he accomplished", Said Sutherland

"Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Other stay forever and leave footprints on our hearts," said Whitaker. "That's what Sgt. Dixon did for me, and we will always carry on his legacy."