Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony honors Virginia’s fallen

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Diane place a memorial wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial to honor the Virginia National Guard may 27, 2013, at the Commonwealth's Memorial Day Service in Richmond. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Diane place a memorial wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial to honor the Virginia National Guard may 27, 2013, at the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Service in Richmond. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the ideals of freedom were remembered along with other fallen Virginians at the 2013 Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony May 27, 2013, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. The ceremony officially commemorates the national holiday to honor and remember Virginia’s valiant men and women who gave their lives in service to America.

“We must remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “Recognizing the sacrifice so many Virginians have made to protect us is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom. On behalf of a grateful nation and the more than 8 million Virginians, I wish to personally thank the men and women who serve and their families and loved ones, who also serve, for all of their sacrifice. I join all Virginians in expressing my gratitude.”

As part of the ceremony, the 20 Virginia men and women who have lost their lives since Memorial Day 2012 serving our nation during the ongoing Global War on Terror were specially recognized and remembered. Their names were read by Col.Terrence W. Singleton of the U. S. Army Reserve’s 80th Training Command:

From the United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Five John C. Pratt from Springfield, Private First Class Vincent J. Ellis from Suffolk, , First Lieutenant Stephen C. Prasnicki from Roanoke, Staff Sergeant Raul Madrigal Guerra from Norfolk, Staff Sergeant Brandon R. Pepper from Greenbackville, Staff Sergeant Jessica M. Wing from Alexandria, Staff Sergeant Jonathan P. Schmidt from Petersburg, Sergeant Robert J. Billings from Clarksville, Sergeant Aaron X. Wittman from Chester, Sergeant David J. Chambers from Hampton, First Lieutenant Robert J. Hess from Fairfax; from The United States Marines Lance Corporal Niall W. Coti-Sears from Arlington, Staff Sergeant Gregory T. Copes from Lynch Station, Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Jeschke from Herndon; from the United States Air Force Captain Brandon L. Cyr from Woodbridge ; From the United States Navy Gunners Mate 2nd Class Dion R. Roberts from Virginia Beach, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Kantor from Virginia Beach, Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin R. Ebbert from Virginia Beach, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque from Virginia Beach, and Commander Job W. Price from Virginia Beach.

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Diane placed a memorial wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial to honor the Virginia National Guard.

Fifteen members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to assist with traffic control.

The following Virginia Guard Soldiers were lost to hostile enemy action since September 11, 2001:

Staff Sgt. Craig W. Cherry, 39, of Winchester, Va., and Sgt. Bobby E. Beasley, 36, of Inwood, W.Va., died on Aug. 7, 2004 in Ghazikel, Afghanistan, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Both Soldiers were assigned to the Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 29th Infantry Division, Winchester, Va.

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Sgt. Nicholas C. Mason, 20, of King George, Va., and Sgt. David A. Ruhren, 20, of Stafford, Va., died Dec. 21, 2004 in Mosul, Iraq, when their dining facility was attacked. Both were assigned to the Army National Guard’s 276th Engineer Battalion, West Point, Va.

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Col. Paul M. Kelly, 45, of Stafford, Va., and Sgt. 1st Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Va., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 20, 2007 when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were in crashed. Kelly was assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Virginia Army National Guard in Blackstone, Va., and Booker was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia Army National Guard, Sandston, Va.

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Sgt. David E. Lambert, 39, of Cedar Bluff, Va., died Oct. 26, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command of the Virginia National Guard.

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Sgt. Derek R. Banks, 24, of Newport News, Va., died Nov. 14, 2007 in San Antonio of wounds suffered Oct. 25 in Baghdad, Iraq, when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command, Virginia National Guard, West Point, Va.

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Staff Sgt. Jeremiah E. McNeal, 23, of Norfolk, Va., died April 6, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command, Virginia Army National Guard, West Point, Va.

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Sgt. Jesse A. Ault, 28, of Dublin, Va., died April 9, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered in Tunnis, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 429th Brigade Support Battalion, Virginia Army National Guard, Roanoke, Va.