Warriors Walk tree dedication ceremony honors 8 fallen soldiers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Warriors Walk tree dedication ceremony honors fallen soldiers

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HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) -

As a tribute to those killed in battle, eight trees were dedicated Thursday morning at Warriors Walk on Fort Stewart.

"I want to thank you all as we gather here today to memorialize these extraordinary 3rd Infantry Division heroes along Warriors Walk," said Staff Sgt. Micah Hall.

An eastern red bud planted along Warriors Walk now serves as a living tribute to the soldiers who died while serving our country.

"Each living their lives to the fullest, giving their lives for their country and making a lasting impact in all that they do," said Staff Sgt. Hall.

Fellow soldiers unveiled marble markers in front of the trees with the names of the eight fallen heroes. Last month, a black hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan claimed the lives of five 3rd CAB aviators, Capt. Sara Knutson, Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Henderson, Spc. Zachary Shannon, Staff Sgt. Steven Blass and Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo.

Chief Warrant Officer James Groves III was also killed in a chopper related crash. Also memorialized, Staff Sgt. Rex Schad and Spc. David Proctor.

"It is heart moving," said Randy Blass, father Staff Sgt. Blass. "This will be a living memory to Stephen. It makes us feel proud to be Americans and parents of a fallen soldier."

By uniting together in a time of darkness, these families are learning first hand what it means to be army strong .

"It is a devastating time,"said Claudine Ehlers, relative of Staff Sgt. Scialdo. "It is nice to come here and have a sense of family. They are an Army family. They love their Army family and they love their soldiers. It meant a lot."

"It is nice to be with the other families and let them know we know they are hurting just as we are," said Carol Blass, mother of Staff Sgt. Blass.

The eight new trees bring the total number of memorials at Warriors Walk to 453.

More about the eight fallen soldiers, according to a Fort Stewart Public Affairs Office news release:

Chief Warrant Officer James E. Groves III, 37, of Kettering, Ohio, died March 16 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division Hunter Army Airfield 

Staff Sgt. Steven P. Blass, 27, of Estherville, Iowa, died March 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield. 

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Henderson, 27, of Franklin, La., died March 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield. 

Capt. Sara M. Knutson, 27, of Eldersburg, Md., died March 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  She was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield. 

Staff Sgt. Marc A. Scialdo, 31, of Naples, Fla., died March 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield. 

Spc. Zachary L. Shannon, 21, of Dunedin, Fla., died March 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield. 

Spc. David T. Proctor, 26, of Greensboro, N.C., died March 13 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., from injuries sustained during a non-combat incident on March 3, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. 

Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad, 26, of Edmond, Okla., died March 11, in Jalrez District, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when he was attacked by small arms fire  He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

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