By Andrea Sutherland (Fort Carson)May 19, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Master Sgt. Mark LaRochelle was the type of man who would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it, Ellen LaRochelle said in her speech at the reopening ceremony of the renovated 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) dining facility.
"He did one day. I witnessed it," Ellen LaRochelle said of her late husband.
Ellen LaRochelle and Mark's brothers, Dan and Stanley LaRochelle, traveled to Fort Carson May 10 for the dedication of the renovated dining facility.
"I'm proud of Mark and the job he chose to do," she said.
Mark LaRochelle joined the Army in 1967, serving with the 10th SFG(A) from 1977-1983. From 1983-1990, he helped train new recruits in the scuba detachment at Fort Devens, Mass., and taught ROTC cadets at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I.
In 1990, Mark LaRochelle took a job as an exercise controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Chafee, Ark.
During a training exercise July 27, LaRochelle's helicopter crashed, killing LaRochelle and four other Soldiers. Eight Soldiers were injured.
"The DFAC has been named (for Mark LaRochelle) for some time but never formally dedicated," said Lt. Col. Steve Osterholzer, public affairs officer, 10th SFG(A).
"It's a huge honor for myself and Mark's brothers," Ellen LaRochelle said.
"We're thrilled," Dan LaRochelle said. "(Mark) would think this is pretty cool."
Before concluding her speech, Ellen LaRochelle donated a drawing of her husband to hang in the DFAC.
The portrait will become an important piece for the DFAC, which is more than a place to eat.
The facility also serves as a museum with displays spanning four different eras as well as the four disciplines "Trojan" Soldiers specialize in.
"The group commander didn't want a typical food-court style setup," Osterholzer said. "He wanted a historical display of past, present and future Trojans. The purpose is to honor Trojans and educate the new guys."
Osterholzer and his team brought artifacts from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum at Fort Bragg, N.C., and accepted donations from past 10th Special Forces Soldiers.
Notable pieces include an original Green Beret donated by 1st Sgt. Henry Bertrand, a "rebreather" machine from the 1970s and the last flag to fly over Fort Devens, Mass., where the 10th SFG(A) was stationed from 1968-1995 before moving to Fort Carson.
A special display in the corner of the DFAC showcases the dress uniform Col. Aaron Bank wore when he retired from the military. Bank was known as "the father of the Special Forces," Osterholzer said.
Commanders from the 10th SFG(A) and Ellen LaRochelle cut the green ribbon, signifying the opening of the new wing, which increases seating in the DFAC by 300 percent, Osterholzer said.
The DFAC, located in building 7481 in the 10th SFG(A) complex off of Titus Boulevard and Bad Toelz Road, is not only for Trojan troops to grab chow.
"This DFAC is for everyone," Osterholzer said.