Five soldiers assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were honored Thursday morning with a tree-dedication ceremony at Fort Stewart’s Warriors Walk.
With the dedication of these new trees, a total of 466 eastern redbud trees now memorialize the sacrifice of 466 Marne Division soldiers who’ve given their all since the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan began 10 years ago.
The youngest of these Vanguard Brigade soldiers was only 22, but the oldest was only 26. Three of the five soldiers were members of the same platoon with the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment. A fourth man was also assigned to the 3/15th Inf. The fifth soldier was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment.
Soldiers honored in Thursday’s memorial ceremony included:
First Lt. Jonam Russell was a 25-year-old platoon leader with only two years active service. Guest speaker Maj. Gen. John “Mike” Murray, commander of the 3rd ID and Stewart-Hunter, called Russell a born leader. Russell was from Cornville, Arizona. Several members of Russell’s family attended the ceremony.
Sgt. Stefan Marc Smith was a 24-year-old junior noncommissioned officer with three years active service. Murray referred to as a “good old boy” from Valley, Ala., who was a big fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Smith was a husband and a father of three. His wife Kristi, two of his children and several other family members attended the memorial.
Read more in the Sept. 21 edition of the News.