Saturday, December 22, 2007

War memorial is full

This is from Kevin Maurer from the Fayetteville Observer:

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Wolf Amacker can tell a story about almost every paratrooper whose name is etched into the 82nd Airborne Division’s memorial to the war on terror.

He can tell you about a woman helicopter pilot shot down over Fallujah. He knows how a rifleman died in the mountains of Afghanistan, how a soldier jumped into a canal in Iraq to save his buddies trapped in a Humvee and never surfaced.

When Amacker dedicated the memorial in 2005, three of the sides were blank. Today, the monument is full.

“We’re out of room,” Amacker said. “I really thought it would be big enough.”

Some of the division’s former and retired sergeant majors and officers, led by Amacker, are trying to raise money to expand the monument.

Eighty-nine Fort Bragg soldiers —more than 60 in Iraq alone — have been killed in 2007. Three times in 2007, seven or more 82nd soldiers died in Iraq in a single incident. The division has lost more soldiers this year than in any year since the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq began, according to 82nd officials.

The memorial — a 26,000-pound granite column — is located behind the 82nd Airborne museum on Fort Bragg. “In memory of the Paratroopers who gave their lives in support of the Global War on Terrorism” is written across the front.

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