By Stephanie Bryant, Tripler Army Medical Center Public AffairsNovember 2, 2012
HONOLULU -- Tripler Army Medical Center hosted a Wreath Laying Ceremony and Fallen Comrade Tribute at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, here, Oct. 29.
The wreaths were laid in memory of Lt. Col. David Cabrera and Staff Sgt. Christopher Newman, the first behavioral health specialists to be killed in the overseas contingency operations. The ceremony was held on the one year anniversary of the death of the two Soldiers.
Cabrera and Newman were killed in action in Afghanistan on Oct. 29, 2011. They were two of 17 people killed on a busy road in Kabul when a Taliban suicide bomber carrying some 1,500 pounds of explosives rammed into an armored military bus.
Sgt. 1st Class Russell Lane, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, behavioral health specialist product line, Pacific Regional Medical Command, had been Newman's supervisor prior to his deployment, and was asked to escort Newman's body back to his hometown of Shelby, N. C. for his funeral.
"The important thing is not how long one lives but what one does within his life time," Lane said. "While down range he was given the nick name Big Country. He was given that name not only for his 6-foot-6-inch size but also because of the size of his heart. He was always thinking of others."
"Staff Sgt. Newman only lived to the age of 26 but his presence and influence were profoundly felt by his peers, leaders, community and family," Lane added.
Unlike Lane, Lt. Col. Derrick Arincorayan, social work consultant to the Army's Surgeon General and chief, Department of Social Work, TAMC, did not know Cabrera very well, but he managed the taskers that deployed social workers overseas and takes each deployment tasker very seriously.
"(Cabrera) was (given) a prestigious assignment as an instructor at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., prior to his deployment," Arincorayan explained. "As far as being directed to be assigned to a deploying unit, Cabrera really was protected from being selected from any deployment because he was not assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Command.
"(However, being an officer who would not accept no for an answer and having a sense of duty to care for Soldiers on the battlefield, Cabrera was able to persuade his cadre of supervisors to release him for a six month deployment," Arincorayan added.
Arincorayan reminded the Soldiers and staff in attendance how importantly it is to honor and remember fallen comrades.
"If there are any lessons learned from deaths of these brave men, it is that we must not only remember the way they died but most important remember how they lived," Arincorayan said. "Courage, compassion, selfless service, loyalty and duty to country are the values they displayed the day they were killed. These values are the fibers that are woven in the fabric of the uniforms that we wear today."