Story and photo by Spc. Nathan Thome
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
The Soldiers of Company B flanked the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard, paying silent respect to one of their own during a ceremony held in honor of Staff Sgt. Kenneth Mayne at Manhart Field, April 13.
“Today, we gather to honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Kenneth Mayne, who served with honor and made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation, while serving as a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment,” said Lt. Col. Larry Burris, “Iron Knights” Battalion commander.
Burris’ words to the Soldiers of Company B and the various members of the audience began a litany of affirmation and support for Mayne’s parents, Michelle and Dan Benavidez, who began a 1,080-mile march in honor of their son at Fort Carson.
Capt. Geoffrey Shraga, assistant plans officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 66th Armor Reg., and Mayne’s former platoon leader, also participated in the honor rally for his former Soldier.
“This rally meant so much, because I feel that my former platoon is still my Family,” said Shraga. “This is something that is important to both Michelle and I, because we are honoring our Family.”
Even those who did not serve with Mayne personally paid their respects to the Benavidez Family, who were known for their compassion and reaching out to the Soldiers of their son’s company in a time of mutual grief.
“Michelle is like a mother to me; she is always there when I need help or advice,” said Spc. Matt Spradley, infantryman, Company B. “I’m close with the entire Family; I spend every weekend with them, and we do all kinds of events. To me, they are my Family.”
Following the rally, Soldiers of Company B fell in behind the mounted color guard to march the ceremonial first mile to Fort Carson’s Gate 1. The Benavidez Family then led the formation with supporters following behind as Fort Carson Soldiers saluted and then applauded after the Family passed by.
The Benavidez Family began the day meeting with their son’s former unit leadership, where they received a tour of the battalion’s operating facilities and spoke with Soldiers in the unit.