Servicemembers and civilians gathered to remember the sacrifices explosives ordnance disposal Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have made for their country during the fifth annual EOD memorial ceremony held by Task Force Troy at Al Faw Palace Sunday.
The names of 17 fallen servicemembers from the Iraq theater of operations will be added this year to the EOD memorial wall at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., along with two others whose names will be added next year, in remembrance of their service.
"We were able to acknowledge those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation," said Col. Kevin Lutz, commander, TF Troy and host of the ceremony. "It gives those operators in theater the ability to reflect. I wouldn't be anywhere else."
Identification tags were placed on the TF Troy EOD memorial by senior enlisted EOD leaders from each respective service.
"The entire EOD community came together," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Todd, NCOIC, combined explosives exploitation cell. "EOD is truly a family."
Guest speaker Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general, 3rd Infantry Division, offered heartfelt words about the job EOD has done in theater and the sacrifices the 19 servicemembers honored made for their country.
"These fallen heroes gave their lives in defense of our freedoms, and it was indeed worth it," Lynch said. "We're ensuring our children and their children enjoy the same freedoms we do. I am humbled to be in your presence."
Attendees from all services as well as anyone who works with EOD were welcome to attend and remember the fallen troops, said Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Udelhofen, command sergeant major, TF Troy.
It was made absolutely clear that night that no one will ever forget the fallen EOD heroes who fought by their comrades' sides and gave their lives in the line of duty.
"They gave their lives for the freedoms everyone enjoys while doing a job they enjoyed," Udelhofen said.
"They will not be forgotten," Lutz said.