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Raider Brigade memorial is on track
Construction on the 1st HBCT’s memorial is slated to begin in two weeks. This rendering depicts the completed structure.
Army spouse Laura Chandler Rittenhouse is one step closer to realizing her vision for a memorial to the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s fallen soldiers.  
The 1st Brigade is currently deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division’s other three brigades. The Raider brigade has deployed three times to Iraq since the war began.
Construction on the memorial will begin in the next two weeks, Rittenhouse said earlier this week. “We’re trying to raise the rest of the funds,” she said.
Preliminary preparations for the site, such as removing some trees and
marking the location of utility lines has been done, Rittenhouse said.
So far roughly $27,000 still needs to be raised in monetary and in-kind donations, the Raider Memorial chairwoman said. For example, in-kind donations such as 80 bales of straw are needed to realize the project, she said.
“Pioneer Services donated $1000, Bennett’s Heating and Air Conditioning and AUSA Coastal Empire chapter gave $1000,” she said. “Shane’s Rib Shack donated $300. That was all last week. We’re still selling the ($50 memorial) bricks, too. We’re doing our final push here.”
Last fall Navy Federal Credit Union, one of the memorial’s main sponsors, donated $10,000 to the project. Other sponsors include Savannah Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Infinity Design Builders, BAE Systems, Southern Eagle Distributing Budweiser, GeoVista Credit Union, First Southern Services, Saturn of Savannah, Elm Press, Oglethorpe Marble and Granite Company and the Fort Stewart Officer Spouses Club.
Rittenhouse, wife of 1st Brigade rear-detachment commander Maj. Michael Rittenhouse, initiated the memorial project more than a year ago.
The Raider Memorial mission statement posted on the memorial website reflects Rittenhouse’s commitment: “We created the Raider Brigade Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial to remember the lives of our loved ones who are no longer with us. Following the completion of the brigade’s third deployment to Iraq in less than five years, we realized the need to honor our fallen soldiers and recognize the tremendous sacrifices of those who volunteered to serve. We can never repay that kind of dedication and selflessness, but we can and we must honor and remember them for their courage and dedication.”
“We have 107 names going on the (memorial) list,” she said. “The memorial design has changed just a bit.”
Rittenhouse said the original design was altered so the memorial’s dimensions will better fit its location. The Raider Memorial will be located on the grounds of the 1st Brigade’s headquarters building across from Warriors Walk on Gulick Avenue at Fort Stewart.
A dedication for the memorial will be scheduled for the first or second week in March 2011, Rittenhouse said. The brigade is due home in December.
Having the dedication in the spring will give brigade soldiers time to spend with family once they return, and give memorial organizers a chance to plan a proper dedication ceremony, she said.
To make a donation contact Rittenhouse by mail: Laura Chandler Rittenhouse, Raider Brigade Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Chairman, P.O. Box 4050, Fort Stewart, GA, 31315. Or, call 912-445-0186. For more information, visit

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