In honor of soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team who died in Iraq, the Idaho National Guard held a ceremony Friday and unveiled a new memorial at Gowen Field Memorial Park.
Family of those who died and members of the Army and Air National Guard were in attendance. The dog tags of the 13 soldiers were hung around the new statue, known as a “Battlefield Cross,” followed by a gunshot salute and “Taps.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Alan Gayhart outlined the symbolism of the bronze battlefield cross, made up of a soldier’s rifle, helmet and boots. The rifle, turned upside-down and thrust into the ground, represents a battle in which a soldier fought until the very end. The boots, on the ground in front of the rifle, represent the soldier’s final march.
Finally, the helmet placed on top of the rifle is a helmet that will never be worn again. It represents great sacrifice.
Of the soldiers honored Friday, 11 died in Operation Iraqi Freedom III and two died in Operation New Dawn, the brigade’s two largest deployments.
“These remarkable soldiers lost their lives while answering our nation’s call to duty in the dangerous environment of Iraq,” said Gayhart, the unit’s commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.
Honored Guard soldiers
▪ Sgt. 1st Class Mark Warren, died Jan. 31, 2005
▪ Master Sgt. Robbie McNary, March 31, 2005
▪ Staff Sgt. Kevin Davis, April 8, 2005
▪ Spc. Timothy Kiser, April 28, 2005
▪ Sgt. John Ogburn II, died May 22, 2005
▪ Staff Sgt. Virgil Case, June 1, 2005
▪ Spc. Carrie French, June 5, 2005
▪ Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Wood, July 16, 2005
▪ Sgt. Travis Neil, Sept. 9, 2005
▪ Pfc. Donnie Hamilton II, Sept. 9, 2005
▪ Sgt. Travis Arndt, Sept. 21, 2005
▪ Sgt. Nathan Beyers, July 7, 2011
▪ Spc. Nicolas Newby, July 7, 2011