Chairman Urges Servicemembers to Honor Sacrifice of Fallen Comrades
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
SHARANA, Afghanistan, Sep. 2, 2007 Sgt. 1st Class Rocky Herrera, Sgt. Cory Clark and Sgt. Bryce Howard are men to whom every American owes a debt that can’t be repaid, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks about his experience of combat and the profound effect it had on his life and military career to servicmembers of Task Force Rugged on a forward operating base in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan, Sept. 2, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace visited servicemembers of Task Force Rugged – built around the Army’s 36th Engineer Brigade. The task force lost the three soldiers to an improvised explosive device explosion on Aug. 28. Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the task force met with the chairman before a memorial service for the men.
Army Maj. (Chaplain) Bill Sayer asked the chairman what he thought of when confronted with such loss.
“I can tell you what is going through my head right now,” Pace said. “For me, for 40 years (it’s) Lance Cpl. Guido Farinaro, Lance Cpl. Chubby Hale, Lance Cpl. Mike Witt, Cpl. Whitey Travers, Staff Sgt. Freddy Williams, Cpl. Joe Arnold, Cpl. John Miller and others with names that live in my head and in my heart.
“For you today, the names of these three soldiers will forever be emblazoned in your heads and your hearts,” he continued.
Pace said he is still on active duty to try to repay the sacrifice of the Marines who died following his orders in Vietnam in 1968-1969, and now he feels the same debt to a new generation of servicemembers.
“In my current position, I have to make damn sure that their sacrifice has been for a mission that is worthwhile and a mission that will be sustained,” he said.
He told the young men and women that Americans will support the mission in Afghanistan and will continue to sustain the effort against terror.
But the chairman asked the servicemembers to go beyond the memorial service as a means to pay respects to their fallen friends.
“I commend to each of you the thought that those of us who go to memorial services, those of us who survive, take on an extra measure of responsibility for those fellow soldiers of ours who have been killed, whose families will now live without them, whose kids will live without them,” Pace said.
“If you can all live your lives whichever way it takes you to the best of your ability, then I think we will have paid proper respect,” he said. “For me there are names that I’ve recited and others. But there is also the 3,000-plus that have died in this conflict who I think about. Not in a maudlin way, but with enormous respect and renewed personal energy to do my job the best way I know how to properly pay respect to them.”
All those who service should remember the sacrifices made, but understand that the sacrifice is worth it.
“Just remember, this country is going to be better, the people are going to be more free and their lives are going to be better because of what you are doing,” Pace said.