By Bob Harrison, FORSCOM Public AffairsFebruary 16, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- (Feb. 16, 2012) United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) headquarters honored three distinguished Soldiers during a ceremony today at Marshall Hall, formally placing their photographs and other items relating to their contributions to the Military Intelligence Corps, at key locations in the command's facilities here.
Col. Todd A. Megill, FORSCOM's deputy chief of staff for intelligence (G2) , hosted the ceremony that recognized the service, accomplishments and sacrifices of Retired Maj. Gen. Oliver W. Dillard, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Hodge and Staff Sgt. Edwin H. DazaChacon.
Mr. Stephen P. Perkins, assistant deputy chief of staff, G2, welcomed attendees to the ceremony.
"For me this has been a long time coming," said Perkins about the significance of the event. "What we did understand, throughout the process that brought us here today, was the importance of those that came before us."
The ceremony was attended by Maj. Gen. Dillard, the only living honoree, several family members of each Soldier and members of the FORSCOM staff. The event began with a video presentation that told the story of the military campaigns the honorees names associated with: the 1950 United Nations Defensive in Korea, the 1991 Liberation and Defense of Kuwait and the 2001-2006 Consolidation I campaign in Afghanistan.
Tours of each room began with a ribbon-cutting opening the way for family and friends to view the pictures, portraits and other items on display.
Dillard served as the first Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, for the new U.S. Army Forces Command formed at Fort McPherson, Ga. in 1973. He retired from the Army in 1980 after a career spanning 31 years.
Early in his career, then 1st Lt. Dillard served with the 24th Infantry Regiment in 1950. Dillard earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart during the United Nations Defensive operations on the Korean peninsula.
For the significance of his role as the first FORSCOM deputy chief of staff, intelligence and the combat accomplishments early in his career, Dillard is now associated with the conference room named for the 1950 UN Defensive in Korea.
"I'm reminded when they pinned on my first star and I remember the impact that event had on me and my family, I was honored and humbled then," said Dillard, "and I can say the same thing today, I am honored and humbled by this kind of occasion, this ceremony."
Each of the two noncommissioned officers honored made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation.
Hodge entered the Army in 1979 as a tactical interrogator and served with distinction in several combat operations throughout his career; Operation URGENT FURY in Grenada in 1983, Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama in 1989-1990, Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM in Saudi Arabia in 1990-1991 and Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in Iraq in 1994.
In 1994, Hodge volunteered for duty with Combined Task Force Provide Comfort in northern Iraq, as an Arabic translator. Within days of his arrival in theater, Apr. 14, 1994, he died in a helicopter crash while supporting the task force. Hodge's awards include the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal. For his contributions the Military Intelligence Corps, Hodge was inducted in the Army's Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1997.
The FORSCOM G2 has honored Hodge's service and ultimate sacrifice for his nation by including his photograph and list of accomplishments within the Liberation and Defense of Kuwait room in Marshall Hall.
As Sgt. 1st Class Hodge's wife, Brenda Hodge, looked at the displays about her husband's accomplishments, she exclaimed, "I can hardly express how I feel. It's wonderful, they did a wonderful job for him."
Staff Sgt. Edwin H. DazaChacon joined the Army in 1990 as an infantryman. He served with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. In 2005, he was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a signals intelligence specialist.
While deployed for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in central Afghanistan, Feb. 13, 2006, DazaChacon and three other servicemen were called to rescue a group of Soldiers whose vehicle overturned during a river crossing. On the way to the area their vehicle hit a land mine and came under heavy enemy fire. Edwin DazaChacon, and his entire team, perished in the ensuring fire fight.
For his bravery, Sergeant DazaChacon was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
His portrait and other biographical information of his service to the nation are on display in the Afghanistan Consolidation I -- 2001 -- 2006 room located at nearby Camp Mackall.
As Sgt. Maj. Joseph C. Harris presented Ms. Smila Chacon, mother of Staff Sgt. DazaChacon, a FORSCOM coin outside the room honoring her son, she tearfully expressed, in Spanish, her gratitude for everything everyone had done for her son.
"Today we take the opportunity to recognize some history of the Army and its people, from the hills of Korea to the hills of Afghanistan," said Perkins. "In the Army we are all about the history, we are all about the traditions, but most importantly we are all about the people."