Virginia Guard supports dedication ceremony for Loudoun County memorial to Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team salute the U. S. flag during the dedication ceremony for a memorial to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Oct. 13, 2012, in Leesburg. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

LEESBURG, VA – Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team provided a color guard and fired a 21-gun salute in support of a dedication ceremony for a memorial to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Oct. 13, 2012, in Leesburg. The Loudoun County War Memorial Trust Fund Committee held the ceremony for the new memorial located on the eastern monument on south lawn of the Loudoun County Courthouse. Col. John Epperly, commander of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, provided remarks honoring the fallen Soldiers and Marine, and Veterans of Foreign War Loudoun County Post 1177 laid wreaths and unveiled the names on the memorial.

“The Leesburg and Loudoun County communities have been incredibly supportive of the Soldiers and families of Company C during our deployments, so we welcome this opportunity to join with them for such an important occasion,” said Capt. Kevin J. Hoffman, commander of Company C. More than 40 Soldiers from Company C performed community service projects in the Leesburg and Loudoun County areas June 2 to show their appreciation for the great support the community has provided in recent years.

The names of four Loudoun County residents who have been killed in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed on the memorial, listed in order by their death dates. According to Ben Lawrence, chair of the War Memorial Trust Fund Committee, there will be room to add more names if needed.

Since September 11, 2001, nearly 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized for federal active duty for homeland security missions and overseas duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Company C last mobilized for federal active duty in Iraq and Kuwait from September 2007 to April 2008, and individual Soldiers from the unit have taken part in multiple deployments including being among the last Virginia Guard Soldiers to serve in Iraq. Soldiers from Company C have also served on state active duty in support of emergency response operations during severe weather situations.

Full text of Col. Epperly’s remarks:

Congressman Wolfe, General Mills, Admiral Kemp, General Forsythe, Honorable Members of the Virginia Legislature, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the Leesburg Town Council, Distinguished Guests and most importantly, families of our Fallen Warriors…Good Morning.

Col. John Epperly, commander of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, provides remarks honoring the fallen Soldiers and Marine. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

On Behalf of the Virginia Army National Guard and the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, it is a profound honor to be with you on this crisp Autumn morning in Northern Virginia to pay tribute to our brothers in arms. Loudoun County, Leesburg and the surrounding towns and hamlets have provided Warriors for the defense of the Commonwealth and Nation since the dawn of our Republic. My own regiment was formed not far from here in 1742 to defend what was then the frontier of the Americas. Since then, men and women from towns like Leesburg, Reston, Purcellville, Sterling, Lovettsville and many more have served in every battle and campaign our nation has fought in. Our generation is no different and today we gather to honor the sacrifice of four extraordinary men who gave the last full measure of devotion in defense of our nation. I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to these men of uncommon valor.

Army Sergeant Scott L. Kirkpatrick fell while serving with the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division. Sergeant Kirkpatrick and his fire team were assaulting a sniper position in Arab Jabour, Iraq when he was lost. Scott was doing what Infantry NCOs do best. He was leading his men from the front in one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. But who was he? Well Sergeant Kirkpatrick was many things. He was a poet, a writer and a leader of men. Indeed, Sergeant Kirkpatrick was a Renaissance Man who felt strongly that his country needed him after the 9-11 attacks. When he fell, he was on his second combat tour in Iraq and he had already become what many aspire to be in this life. Sergeant Kirkpatrick, the Warrior Poet, had earned the undying respect of his fellow warriors, the gratitude of his community and the love of his family. Today we honor a life well lived. Sergeant Kirkpatrick’s decorations include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Army Specialist Stephan L. Mace fell while serving with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment in the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division. Specialist Mace and his platoon were fighting a savage defensive action to hold Combat Outpost Bostick in Kamdesh, Afghanistan when he was lost. Stephan’s outpost was attacked by over 200 Taliban fighters and his unit was seriously outnumbered in what would be one of the fiercest actions of the Afghan Campaign. According to his company commander, Specialist Mace fought valiantly from an exposed position with no regard for his own life. Stephan would earn the Bronze Star for gallantry in action that day. Who was this gallant Virginian? Stephan was a multi-sport athlete. He played Football, Basketball, Baseball and he loved Motor-Cross racing. He was a history buff and no doubt had an acute understanding of his difficult mission in the mountains of Afghanistan. Today we honor his courage in a land so far from his Virginia home. Specialist Mace’s decorations include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge.

Army Specialist Douglas J. Green fell while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment in the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division. Specialist Green and his platoon were engaged by Taliban forces with small arms fire and IEDs in Sperwan Ghar of Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province when he was lost. Specialist Green was on his second combat tour, with his first being in Iraq. In the cold and rugged mountains of Afghanistan, Doug was known for his warmth and the gift of bringing humor and hope to his brother infantrymen even in the toughest of times. Doug was one of those truly inspirational people who could raise the spirits and fortunes of others through the strength of his personality and positive attitude. He is remembered for his selflessness and care for others. Indeed, while stationed in Alaska he volunteered many hours of his time with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. There can be no doubt that his selflessness and courage were on full display in Kandahar as well. Today we honor a hero with a unique gift to lift the spirits of those around him regardless of the circumstances. Specialist Green’s decorations include the Bronze Star with V Device for Valor, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Marine Captain Michael M. Quin fell while serving with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 of the 3rd Marine Air Wing. Captain Quin, a UH-1 Yankee Pilot was flying a combat training mission in Yuma, Arizona one month prior to an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan when he was lost in a helicopter crash. Captain Quin was a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. His loss reminds us of the risks our warriors take in training before they reach the combat zones they are destined for. Captain Quin lived life with a zest few can muster. He was a notable athlete playing soccer as well as track and field. His was also a life of service rarely seen. Michael became an Eagle Scout with Troop 29 and the Gazebo he built for his Eagle Project still stands today at Arndt’s Lutheran Church. Mike was proud to be a U.S. Marine and wear the Gold Wings of a Marine Aviator. This morning we honor a gallant life of service from one of our Nations’s best and brightest. Captain Quin’s awards include the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Global War on Terror Service Medal.

These four exceptional American warriors and patriots remind us that it isn’t how long we live, but How we live. With this monument, we commit the valor of these four men to immortality. Fifty or a Hundred years from now on another cool October morning, people will stop and read the names of:

Sergeant Scott Kirkpatrick
Specialist Stephan Mace
Specialist Douglas Green
Captain Michael Quin
And their Legend will live on…

Thank You and God Bless America.

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire a 21-gun salute during the dedication ceremony for a memorial to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Oct. 13, 2012, in Leesburg. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

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Soldiers perform community service in Leesburg and Loudon County area
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