Special Operations Command remembers fallen Fort Bragg soldiers
By JACLYN SHAMBAUGH | The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Published: May 23, 2014
The names of six Fort Bragg soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last year were among those added to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Memorial Wall in a ceremony Thursday.
Five were Green Berets with 3rd Special Forces Group.
It was the second memorial service in as many days for Wendall Pelham, whose son, John Alexander Pelham, was honored Wednesday at the U.S. Army Special Forces Command's Memorial Day Ceremony.
Both ceremonies were in the USASOC Memorial Plaza.
"We couldn't be more humbled at the outpouring of love and the outpouring of support from the Special Forces community and from Fayetteville," Pelham said. "It's been a wonderful week."
The USASOC Memorial Wall bears the names of 1,168 special operations soldiers who have died in combat since the Korean War.
Like Pelham, Master Sgt. George A. Bannar, Spc. Christopher A. Landis, Staff Sgt. Daniel Tyler Lee and Sgt. 1st Class Roberto C. Skelt were all assigned to 3rd Group at the times of their deaths.
Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno was assigned to USASOC Headquarters as a Cultural Support Team member.
Two Fort Bragg soldiers — Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel and Sgt. Clinton K. Ruiz — also were honored, though their names were added to the wall at the 2013 ceremony. Their families were unable to attend last year's memorial.
Eighteen names were added to the wall this year, and the names of 28 soldiers were read at the ceremony, each followed by the ringing of a bell in remembrance.
Representatives from each of USASOC's seven subordinate commands attended the ceremony, along with almost 90 family members.
Erika Quinn, the widow of Staff Sgt. Patrick A. Quinn, came from Fort Carson, Nevada, for the memorial. Her husband was assigned to Fort Carson's 10th Special Forces Group when he was killed in Afghanistan in October.
"He had drive," Quinn said of her husband. "He wanted a family, and he wanted to be a Green Beret. I feel relieved that he did accomplish those goals."
The USASOC commander, Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, addressed the crowd before the reading of the names.
"These soldiers are remarkable examples of who we are as a nation and as an Army," Cleveland said. "Together they represent the strength of our way of life, of the ideals in which we believe and the underlying and enduring commitment that all Americans share in our country's defense."
Cleveland thanked the Gold Star families for their sacrifice.
"Today, we mourn with you, and our hearts ache for you," he said. "We can't honor you enough, but we will not stop trying."