Mar 11, 2010 10:07 PM by Matt Stafford
"I knew two of them," said Capt. Brett Kelly, a rear detachment commander for the 12th Infantry Division. "Two of them were replacement soldiers that had just arrived to us."
Capt. Kelly is referring to the five 12th Infantry soldiers being memorialized at Fort Carson on Thursday. All five were killed while serving in Afghanistan.
One of those early arrivals Capt. Kelley was talking about just arrived in December, but it doesn't take long for those bonds to build between soldiers fighting together.
Now in moments of loss, they look back at why they have such fond memories, like Staff Sergeant Turner remembering Specialist Bobby Pagan.
"Whenever I saw him, he was challenging everyone else around him to be better, regardless of the rank," explains Staff Sergeant Nicholas James Turner, a squad commander with the 12th Infantry Division. "I mean he came in as a private and he had E5's looking up to him."
Also, Staff Sergeant John Reiners, Staff Sergeant Michael Cardenaz, Sergeant Jeremiah Wittman and Private First Class J.R. Salvacion were remembered today for individual qualities. Many, including the people they served with, will miss them.
"Regardless of whether or not they agree with the mission, they find satisfaction working along side their brothers," says Capt. Kelley.
Moving forward, as some of the men were replacements for others, they will be replaced as well with the mission going on.
"We are making progress," says Capt. Kelley, however he adds, things won't be finished overnight. "It takes patience."
The progress is slow, to be sure, and it's moments like this that test their patience. For some though, it reminds them why they do their job.
"Just like any of my fallen brothers, they made a choice in their life to serve something higher than themselves," says SSgt. Turner. "That's how I'll always remember them, for the hard choice they made."