by Sgt. Philip Klein
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Leadership from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and Family Readiness Group hosted a press conference Oct. 7 to highlight the courageous actions of nine Fort Carson Soldiers who recently made the ultimate sacrifice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Maj. Daniel Chandler, 4th BCT Rear Detachment commander, and Corie Weathers, Care Team coordinator for the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, expressed condolences to the Families and friends of eight 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers, who lost their lives Oct. 3, during a battle with enemy forces in the Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan. The 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div., deployed in support of OEF in May as part of Task Force Mountain Warrior and Coalition Joint Task Force – 82.
Chandler also offered his deepest sympathies to the Family, friends and comrades of Spc. Kevin O. Hill, a 4th Engineer Battalion Soldier killed during route reconnaissance and clearing operations in southeastern Afghanistan Oct. 4.
“We are very proud of their service,” said Chandler. “All of these Soldiers, led by love of country, demonstrated true professionalism and bravery exemplifying the Warrior Ethos.”
Chandler and Weathers used the event to address the steps the Fort Carson community makes to support the Families of the Mountain Post’s fallen Soldiers.
“As we grieve the loss of our fallen comrades, our priority at home turns to taking care of the Families of these brave Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice to their country,” said Chandler.
“We are providing support to all Families of the Mountain Warriors who were affected by this event,” he continued. “During this very difficult time we are dedicated to ensuring that these Families receive the support necessary to help them grieve and continue to support the Mountain Warriors to keep up the fight in Afghanistan.”
Events of this magnitude affect the entire community, and members of the Fort Carson community have reached out to offer their support during this difficult time, said Chandler.
Weathers said that the 4th BCT FRG is prepared to provide assistance to Families, Soldiers and friends during the yearlong deployment.
“We are dedicated to ensure that these Families get all the support they need,” she said.
The FRG spent six months prior to the deployment training with the rear detachment to deal with any crisis the Soldiers and their Families might face through the course of the deployment, said Weathers.
“Our Care Teams are specifically trained to support Family members in any contingency,” she said.
These include emotional support, logistical support, and making counseling resources available if the Family requires it, said Weathers.
“Every unit in the Army has a strong support structure,” said Weathers. “FRGs are established in the company, battalion and brigade level.”
Weathers said that training, moral support and counseling resources are available to all servicemembers and their loved ones and that these resources keep Army Families resilient during multiple deployments.
“FRGs have the resources to sustain Families during times of crisis and our Care Teams can tailor support services to meet the specific needs of the Families,” she said.
“The loss of Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos; Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt; Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk; Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin; Spc. Christopher T. Griffin; Spc. Stephan L. Mace; Sgt. Michael P. Scusa; Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson; and one of our Fort Carson comrades we lost Oct. 4, Spc. Kevin O. Hill with the 4th Engineer Battalion, will be greatly felt by the 4th Inf. Div., Fort Carson and the Colorado Springs community,” Chandler said. “They will not be forgotten.”
Donations for the 4th BCT Families may be made through Angela Gunn at 526-4590, and the U.S. Department of Defense Community Relations Department at http://www.ourmilitary.mil/.