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  • Christina Drummond

61st Cavalry Regiment, 2009

Remembering the Fallen: on the 3rd of October, 2009, eight soldiers from the 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, died in Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked their contingency outpost with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fires.

Killed were Army Spc. Stephan Mace, 21, of Lovettsville, Virginia; Sgt. Joshua Kirk, 30, of South Portland, Maine; Staff Sgt. Justin Gallegos, 27, of Tucson, Arizona.; Staff Sgt. Vernon Martin, 25, of Savannah, Georgia.; Sgt. Joshua Hardt, 24, of Applegate, California; Sgt. Michael Scusa, 22, of Villas, New Jersey; Spc. Christopher Griffin, 24, of Kincheloe, Michigan; and Pfc. Kevin Thomson, 22, of Reno, Nevada. Every one of them had enlisted after the 11th September attacks. They were honored at a service in the Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Letters were read from soldiers still in Afghanistan recounting their lives and praising their bravery and friendship. “I would have followed that man straight to hell if he thought it was a good idea,” one letter said of Sgt. Joshua Kirk. Across the front of the chapel, each fallen soldier was represented in the Army tradition with his portrait, a pair of boots and an M-4 rifle, standing muzzle-down with a helmet resting atop it and dog tags dangling from the pistol grip. The boots had spurs with black straps, signifying the eight were members of a cavalry regiment. Outside the chapel, seven riflemen fired three volleys in a 21-gun salute, and a bugler played taps.

You can read a journalist’s story of connecting with Spc. Mace’s mother here:

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