Members of the Fort Drum community, Gold Star Family members and other invited guests attended the Annual Remembrance Ceremony on Sept. 2 at Memorial Park, upholding a tradition of honoring 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers who died in service to their nation. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Annual Remembrance Ceremony honors fallen 10th Mountain Division Soldiers
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 2, 2020) – Members of the Fort Drum community, several Gold Star Family members and other invited guests attended the Annual Remembrance Ceremony on Sept. 2 at Memorial Park. Although the gathering was small, due to COVID-19 safety protocol, the event upheld a tradition of honoring 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers who died in service to their nation.
The ceremony recognized two Soldiers who died while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel during overseas deployments in the past year. Spc. Branden Kimball, assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, and Spc. Vincent Sebastian Ibarria, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, were honored with the unveiling of memorial plaque bearing their names.
“The lives of those two Soldiers will be remembered forever here at Memorial Park,” said Brig. Gen. Brett Funck, 10th Mountain Division (LI) acting senior commander. “It is important to remember their lives, their courage, and the legacy and service of not just them but the many other Soldiers they now stand with at Memorial Park.”
Funck said that he spent many days as a battalion commander speaking to his Soldiers at Memorial Park. The monuments and bronze plaques serve as a constant reminder of a purpose greater than themselves.
Since 9/11, Funck said that the 10th Mountain Division (LI) has deployed units to Afghanistan or Iraq 47 times. In that same time period, 328 Soldiers from the division have died in support of overseas operations.
“Every one of these Soldiers did more than their fair share of the load,” he said. “They raised their right hand, they stood for something bigger than themselves, and they answered the call when our nation need them.”
Funck concluded his remarks with a request that their sacrifices are recognized by others through everyday actions.
“We have a responsibility, we have a right, and we have a duty to honor everything that they’ve done every day,” he said. “Their loss does not get easier with time – they will always be remembered here. Words do not repay their debt. It’s our actions and our deeds that must speak louder than our words, and longer than anything else.”
Preceding his remarks, Funck joined Command Sgt. Maj. Mario Terenas, 10th Mountain Division (LI) senior enlisted adviser, to place a wreath at the foot of the Military Mountaineers Monument.
The ceremony concluded with the singing of “Amazing Grace,” the playing of Taps, a moment of silence and the benediction.
The event is normally scheduled during the week of Mountainfest, which was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers participated in a variety of activities under the banner of Mountain Fest this week, including a four-mile road race, sports tournaments and military skills competitions.
Both the Annual Remembrance Ceremony and the inaugural Warrior Legends Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sept. 2 were livestreamed, and they can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/10thMTNDIV/.