By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers, Family members and community leaders gathered at the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial in Kit Carson Park for the 16th annual Mountain Post Warrior Memorial ceremony May 23, 2019, to honor Fort Carson service members who have died in overseas operations.
This year, four Fort Carson Soldiers’ names were added to the memorial: Sgt. Jason M. McClary, infantryman, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team; Sgt. Joseph “Joey” P. Collette, explosive ordnance technician, 62nd Ordnance Company, 242nd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal); Staff Sgt. Diobanjo S. San Agustin, infantryman, Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team: and Sgt. 1st Class William “Will” D. Lindsay, Special Forces operator, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Brig. Gen. William L. Thigpen, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, who spoke of the bravery and heroism of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“Today, as we mourn the loss of our very own — Sgts. Collette and McClary, Staff Sgt. San Agustin and Sgt. 1st Class Lindsay, we also remember the sacrifices of the previous 401 fallen comrades from Fort Carson since 2001,” Thigpen said. “We commemorate their service, their bravery and their patriotism as well. We pause to acknowledge and reflect on the collective service of these Soldiers and their unit for their immeasurable devotion to duty and their service to our nation.”
The Mountain Post Warrior Memorial consists of nine stones that include the names of fallen Fort Carson Soldiers and a 10th stone in the center displays a quote from former President George W. Bush. The quote was taken from his address to a joint session of Congress Sept. 20, 2001.
“The names of these Soldiers are forever imprinted here upon each of our hearts and just like these stones, they will never be forgotten,” Thigpen said. “Each of the names hold a story of the life of an American Soldier, a Soldier who, for a noble cause and free people everywhere, bravely faced down our enemy and now takes his place on the scroll of a generation of heroes. We are forever grateful and will never forget their sacrifice.”
Following the keynote address, both Thigpen and Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, laid a wreath at the memorial with four carnations to symbolize the fallen Soldiers.
Afterward, a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” was played, followed by a rendering of honors by those present, while the names of the recently fallen were read aloud.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Gold Star Families came forward to pay their respects at the memorial.
“To our Gold Star Families: on behalf of the nation and all of those present today, thank you for the sacrifice your Family has made and for the selfless service your Soldier gave to our country,” Thigpen said. “For many of the mothers, fathers, children, spouses and friends of our fallen Soldiers, the grief is still recent. No words can help ease your sorrow or loss. We extend our deepest sympathy, prayers and comforts to every Family who has lost a loved one.”
Men and women who served alongside the fallen Soldiers quickly followed the Gold Star Families.
“When the time was darkest and it was the most challenging event at that point in Afghanistan, these Soldiers rose from amongst their peers and sacrificed themselves so their fellow Soldiers could return home,” said Holland. “I would say these four who we honored today were all heroes. Their actions were courageous and selfless.”