AL ASAD, Iraq -- Dozens of service members here gathered July 21 to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during the course of their duties in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
During a small ceremony inside the military support complex, one of the streets aboard the air base was dedicated as Memorial Lane in honor of those whose lives have been lost.
Army Col. George R. Harris, commander of the 326th Area Support Group and native of Leavenworth, Kan., said one particular warrior honored during the ceremony was Cpl. Andrew D. Brownfield, from Summit, Ohio, who was killed here last year.
“We are here to honor all those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom in Iraq, yet I single out Corporal Brownfield for two reasons,” said Harris. “The spot where this Marine gave his life for the Global War on Terrorism is here and one of his close friends from [Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26] is here with us today and will help unveil our sign.”
Sergeant Edwin E. Medina-Acevedo, an aviation supply clerk from Miami, met Brownfield here last year and the two became good friends. He was asked by an acquaintance in the area support group to take part in the dedication ceremony.
“I’m honored to be here and I’m moved to see this is for Corporal Brownfield and all others who have been lost,” said Medina-Acevedo.
Among the guests of honor to the ceremony were Air Force Maj. Gen. Bill Essex, commander of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Bethel, Ohio, native and Brig. Gen. Robert E. Milstead Jr., 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) commanding general.
“When we lose friends there’s often a concern that they are lost, gone and soon forgotten,” said Milstead, a native of Abilene, Texas. “Times like today dispel that concern. No greater honor exists than to protect that which we cherish most–our faith, our families, our freedoms, our values, our way of life–many individually different, yet each distinctly American.
“We participate in a cause with honor that we will look back on with pride. Just as generations before us, we too have a responsibility to the future. Our fallen brothers and sisters have met that responsibility head on, they have held the standard high and we are all better for it.”
The service members whose lives have been lost establishing a free Iraq will be in the minds of Al Asad residents as they stroll down Memorial Lane. Their sacrifice demonstrates that freedom is never free and serves as encouragement for others who continue to forge a brighter future for the people of Iraq.
- For more information about the service members reported on in this story, please contact Sgt. Juan Vara by e-mail at email@example.com -