Virginia’s fallen honored at Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Cheryl place the Virginia National Guard wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Memory honoring the Virginia National Guard May 28, 2018, at the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginians from all branches of the Armed Forces who gave their lives in service to the United States of America were remembered May 28, 2018, at the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. Virginia. Ten Virginia National Guard Soldiers have been killed by hostile enemy action since Sept. 11, 2001, and they are among the more than 300 Virginians remembered on the Wall of Honor at the Memorial.

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Cheryl placed the Virginia National Guard wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Memory honoring the Virginia National Guard. Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax and Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins, a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia National Guard, placed the Commonwealth of Virginia wreath.

“Each of us should remember, recognize and honor the ultimate sacrifice made by fallen Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen,” Williams wrote in his Memorial Day message. “This is a chance for us to remember their lives, their courage, and their service, as well as a time for each of us who wears the cloth of our country to reaffirm our commitment to selfless service. Each of us should strive to carry on the legacy of excellence embodied by those we remember on Memorial Day.”

Members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to provide traffic assistance for the event.

Thirty-two Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be remembered among the nearly 900 Virginia public safety officers who died in the line of duty at the dedication of the Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial June 1, 2018, at the memorial site at Capitol Square in Richmond, Va.

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 Class 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.

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The following Virginia National Guard Airmen are remembered on the Public Safety Memorial:

2nd Lt. John H. “Jack” Loving: Airman from the 149th Fighter Squadron, 192nd Tactical Fighter Group died Dec. 28, 1948, when his F-47 Thunderbolt fighter plane crashed in the Chickahominy Swamp near Roxbury, Va.

2nd Lt. John L. Harris, Sgt. Robert F. Drewry, Sgt. Carl J. Toomey and Pvt. Benjamin F. Renick: Four Airmen from the 149th Fighter Squadron, 192nd Tactical Fighter Group were killed Jan. 22, 1949, when their B-26 invader plane exploded and crashed into the James River near Fort Eustis, Va.

Tech. Sgt. James A. Childress: Airman firefighter died 9 May 9, 1960, during an accident while on an emergency response call at Byrd Airfield in Richmond, Va.

2nd Lt. Frederick A. D’Amico: Airman from the 149th Fighter Squadron, 192nd Tactical Fighter Group died Nov. 17, 1962, when his F-84 fighter jet crash in the York River near West Point, Va.

Lt. Col. James P. Gunter: Airman from the 149th Fighter Squadron, 192nd Tactical Fighter Group died March 10, 1981, when his F-105D Thunderchief fighter bomber crashed during a training exercise at Fort Bragg, N. C.

Maj. William J. Monahan: Airman from the 192nd Fighter Wing died Feb. 9, 1982, during a routine training mission while piloting a single-seat A-7D fighter-bomber which crashed into the water 20 miles north of Cape Hatteras, N. C.

Eighteen Airmen from the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron were killed on March 3, 2001, when they were returning home after completing a two-week military construction project at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The C-23 Sherpa they were flying in crashed in a cotton field near Unadilla, Ga.:
Senior Master Sgt. James Beninati
Tech. Sgt. Paul Blancato
Master Sgt. Ernest Blawas
Tech. Sgt. Andrew H. Bridges
Senior Master Sgt. Eric Bulman
Tech. Sgt. Paul Cramer
Master Sgt. Michael East
Tech. Sgt. Ronald Elkin
Tech. Sgt. James Ferguson
Tech. Sgt. Randy Johnson
Staff Sgt. Mathrew Kidd
Senior Master Sgt. Michael Lane
Master Sgt. Edwin Richardson
Master Sgt. Dean Shelby
Tech. Sgt. John Sincavage
Tech. Sgt. Gregory Skurupey
Tech. Sgt Richard Summerell
Maj. Frederick Watkins

The following Virginia National Guard Soldiers are remembered on the Public Safety Memorial:

Staff Sgt. Phillip S. Menaugh: Soldier from Company B, 116th Infantry Brigade died in a training accident June 9, 1984, at Fort Bragg, N. C.

Staff Sgt. Maynard W. Pitcock: Soldier from Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment died July 21, 1985, from medical complications during annual training.

Master Sgt. David W. Powers: Soldier from Company A, 116th Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade died July 26, 1985, from medical complications during annual training.

2nd Lt. Maria Anne Sherer: Soldier from 1032nd Transportation Company died in a vehicle accident Sept. 13, 1987, during a training exercise.

Staff Sgt. Larry H. Comer: Soldier from 116th Infantry Brigade Headquarters died in a vehicle accident July 31, 1988, at Fort A. P. Hill, during a training exercise.