Story and photos by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
BLACK FOREST — Army heroes were celebrated by a city recovering from a devastating wildfire that started in early June, during the annual Black Forest parade, in Black Forest, Aug. 17.
This year’s Black Forest Parade was special because it’s honoring the heroes who saved the area, said Sharon Conley, Black Forest parade coordinator.
The Soldiers from 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, appreciated the recognition.
“It was a phenomenal opportunity for 4th CAB to be honored at the parade, especially for 2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg.,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Smith, 2nd GSAB commander. “It was great to spend some time with the Black Forest community. It was nice to connect with the people we helped, and it was a chance to share pride in what we all have accomplished.”
2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg., was featured in the parade because of the work it did while battling the Black Forest fire. The unit dropped nearly 700,000 gallons of water from Bambi Buckets on spot-fires to safeguard houses and buildings within the burning areas.
The parade, sponsored by the Black Forest Community Club, provided relief and a chance to thank first responders.
“We just wanted the families of Black Forest to have a good time and be able to see some of the heroes of the Black Forest fires,” said Eddie Bracken, BFCC president, and this year’s chairman. “The (families) deserve it after their suffering and devastating losses from the fires.”
More than 90 agencies participated in the parade to help support the Black Forest recovery effort and inspire community bonding.
“About one-third of the agencies were
home-grown local agencies, and the other two-thirds were from outside organizations and businesses,” said Conley. “The Black Forest community is a private community. The parade allows them to come together, celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.”
Black Forest residents were proud to honor and have 4th CAB Soldiers participate in the parade.
“Over the years, we have been supported very well by Fort Carson,” said Bracken. “No one knows how much it means, and how important it is to our community, to have these military members here. We have a large community of retired veterans in this area and the continuing support of the military is much appreciated.”
The parade’s grand finale ended with a procession of first responders to include a small group of Soldiers led by Smith and Command Sgt. Maj. Rickey Davis, senior enlisted leader, 2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg.