Army Rangers Dedicate Memorial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/18/07

Army Rangers Dedicate Memorial

The memorial was five years in the making. The memorial was five years in the making.
Soldiers in front of the memorial during today's ceremony. Soldiers in front of the memorial during today's ceremony.
The names of 29 fallen Army Rangers are on the memorial. The names of 29 fallen Army Rangers are on the memorial.
WTOC's own Sonny Dixon served as the master of ceremonies. WTOC's own Sonny Dixon served as the master of ceremonies.

The Army's elite fighting forces are remembering their own. Since the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment reactivated for duty in 1974, 29 Rangers have lost their lives in combat or training. Today, the Rangers dedicated a memorial in their honor to make sure their service and their sacrifices are never forgotten.

"We consider it an honor to join you in remembering those Rangers who paid the ultimate price," Lt. Col. Lee Rudacille told the families of fallen Rangers. "To rejoice in the dedication of a memorial that will forever remind us of their sacrifice. This memorial will serve as a source of inspiration for our Rangers, today and forever. From this day forward, when our Rangers deploy into harm's way, in support of our interests and to protect our way of life, they will find comfort in knowing that they do not stand alone. Someone, somewhere is looking out for them. They should not fear they'll be forgotten, should they pay the ultimate price, defending their nation."

One by one, the names of 29 fallen Army Rangers were read at Hunter Army Airfield. Each one is permanently etched in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment's memorial.

The memorial was five years in the making. After the deaths of Sgt. Bradley Crose, Cpl. Matthew Commons and Spc. Marc Anderson in March 2002 in Afghanistan, a group of determined volunteers decided they wanted to honor the sacrifice of all Army Rangers.

Susan Winters' son is among them. "His love of the 1st Ranger Battalion was awesome," she said.

Army Ranger Sgt. Frank Winters was with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment's Charlie Company. He died when his helicopter crashed during a training mission on September 25, 1987. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

"He was just a normal kid, but he had this intense, intense thing for the military," Winters said. "I was just happy that he chose to do it. I always look at it as, my pain but my pride, because I'm very proud of him."

She and other Ranger families are pleased their loved ones now have a memorial that shows the creed and the symbols of their service that the Rangers hold dear. It's a place today's Rangers consider humbling, sacred ground.

"To be standing here on hallowed ground in celebration of the memory of our fallen comrades is truly an honored feeling," said Spc. Heyz Seeker with the1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. "What I've done, all the accolades I've accomplished during my Army career, does not stand up to what these guys have done, sacrificing their lives. I truly feel privileged to be here."

Major General KC Leuer who formed the modern day Rangers in 1974 and co-authored the Ranger Creed, hopes all who come here will recognize the sacrifice and dedication of each man. "Those whose names are etched on there, gave it all they had," he said. "The ground we walk on freely is a result of the efforts like those soldiers have given."

Their efforts will now be remembered at the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment's memorial for all time.

WTOC's own Sonny Dixon served as the master of ceremonies. You can learn more about the memorial and the many people, from students to business leaders, who made it possible at, http://www.1stbn75thrgrregtmemorial.com/.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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