By Dustin Senger (Fort Carson)June 2, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The Fort Carson community gathered with survivors of 22 fallen war fighters May 26 for a Mountain Post Warrior Memorial ceremony.
“The Soldiers we memorialize today will not be forgotten,” said Brig. Gen. James H. Doty, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. While standing in front of grieving Families, Doty said the warriors protected the people of Iraq and Afghanistan from oppression.
Fort Carson honors the lives lost in overseas contingency operations by adding names to the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial, established near the front gate June 10, 2004. Five names were etched in Colorado flagstone in August and the other 17 in May, taking the installation’s count to 357.
More than 6,000 servicemembers have died during operations New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, according to the Department of Defense casualty report May 27.
After his comments, Doty laid a wreath at the memorial stones with 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson Senior Mission Command Sgt. Maj. John Kurak. During a roll call of the fallen, Soldiers from each respective unit approached the wreath and rendered a slow salute.
Peggy Toczylowski, widow of Maj. Jeffrey Toczylowski, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), was the first of several Family members to approach the stones after the ceremony. Her husband died in Iraq from a fall from a helicopter.
She said the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial “fits perfectly” within its mountainous surroundings. The jagged slabs of flagstone resemble the background view of the Rocky Mountains. An eighth block of names was raised this year to extend the list.
“It’s important to know your loved one is remembered and never forgotten,” said Toczylowski, who remains connected to the 10th SFG(A). “I’ve had wonderful experiences with the Army since I found out … since I was told he had died. I’m still part of his unit and friends.”
Jesus Infante took a knee at the stone with his son’s name, and then created a pencil rubbing. Staff Sgt.
Jesse Infante, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., died in Afghanistan from wounds suffered from an insurgent-detonated improvised explosive device.
“It’s important to have all the names of the Soldiers,” said Infante, “to show they sacrificed their life for freedom.”