Seven new names were unveiled on the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Memorial Wall during a ceremony that brought together Gold Star Family members and Soldiers at the USASOC Memorial Plaza last month.
“On behalf of the United States Army Special Operations Command, I welcome each of you to our Fallen Warrior Memorial Ceremony,” Lt. Gen. Kenneth E. Tovo, USASOC commanding general, said. “Today, we take a moment to reflect on the lives, the service, and the sacrifices of the teammates, friends, and Family that we’ve lost.”
The service members who were added to the wall all made the ultimate sacrifice over the last year while supporting USASOC operations in Afghanistan and Jordan.
“On this field, and in the presence of all the names inscribed on our Memorial Wall, we renew our commitment to always remember our Fallen and to support the loved ones they left behind,” Tovo said.
“The vast majority of those present here today have at least one friend, teammate, or loved one represented on this wall, or on one of the many like it on military posts and monuments across the nation,” Tovo said. “We know full well what the nation has asked of us and the price that has been paid.”
During the ceremony, USASOC leaders called the names of seven service members, four who gave their lives in the previous year, while the audience quietly looked on during the somber occasion. Following the calling of the names, USASOC leaders placed wreaths in front of the wall in honor of the fallen Soldiers.
“This year, we solemnly add the names of seven exceptional ARSOF Soldiers to our Memorial Wall: Maj. Andrew Byers, Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gloyer, Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe, Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, Staff Sgt. Adam Thomas and Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson,” Tovo said. “Seven unique individuals, seven very different paths in life.”
“They came from the width and breadth of America: from California to New York, Texas to Minnesota, from small towns to big cities. Musicians, mechanics, and athletes. They all volunteered to serve the nation, they chose the Army, and they committed themselves to becoming Green Berets. They chose to do a job few of their fellow citizens would do.”
The laying of the wreath, which is common in memorial ceremonies, is a time-honored tradition. In the ancient societies of the Egyptians, the Chinese and the Hebrews, the evergreens of the wreath were symbols of a continuance of life and the shape of the wreath is that of a circle — as a symbol of immortality.
“Though there are many heroes on the wall, it is not a monument to heroism, it is a tribute to sacrifice,” Tovo said.
“It honors the incredible sacrifice of 1,206 Army Special Operators. They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, teammates and friends.”
Following the laying of the wreaths, Tovo reminded the Gold Star Family members that their loved ones’ sacrifices will not be forgotten.
“To all of our Gold Star Family members here today, we mourn your loss with you, we are grateful for the incredible sacrifice of your loved one, and we vow that we will always honor their memory,” Tovo said.
As his speech came to a close, he then praised the brave men and women of USASOC who have given their lives so that the oppressed may one day have freedom.
“Your loved ones truly lived our Army Special Operations promise to the nation,” Tovo said. “They protected the nation without fear, without fail, without equal.”