Aug 6, 2010 5:28 PM by Zach Thaxton

4th BCT Completes Afghan Mission, Honors Fallen Soldiers

Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team uncased its colors Friday, officially ending its year-long mission in Afghanistan.

In an hour-long ceremony at The Mountain Post Global War on Terrorism Fallen Soldiers Memorial in Kit Carson Park at Gate 1 along State Highway 115, the efforts of 3,800 4th BCT soldiers were honored in uncasing ceremony symbolizing completion of the broad mission undertaken by six battalions from June 2009 to June 2010.

During its 12-month deployment, troops with Task Force Mountain Warrior battled Al Qaeda, Taliban, local insurgents and corrupt local governance in the most dangerous, austere, and mountainous region of Afghanistan, according to prepared opening remarks at Friday's ceremony.  "It was absolutely inspiring for me to see and to be a part of such an honest greatness," said Col. Randy George, Commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.  "But we did not all come home."

40 soldiers from the 4th BCT lost their lives during the year-long deployment.  Their names are listed below.  "They made us better soliders, a better unit, a better Army, and a better nation," said Col. George.  "We will always miss them."

Kelsey Dion's brother, Private First Class John Dion, was killed January 3, 2010.  Kelsey was particularly distraught as she approached a new stone monument bearing the names of the 40 4th BCT soldiers killed in action.  "His name whouldn't be here," she said.  "Every day it's just so unreal.  He shouldn't be on that wall.  He should be here with us."

For many of the families of fallen soldiers, dubbed Gold Star Families, Friday's ceremony marked a milestone of closure.  With funerals complete, military honors bestowed, and lives forever changed, this final tribute marks the beginning of the rest of their lives -- lives left without their beloved fallen family members, but rich with a new extended family of soldiers who knew them and share in their grief.

For Kelsey, moving on will take time and strength.  "What he meant to me -- one word sums it up:  Everything."


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