Story by: Spec. J.P. Lawrence - 42nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Dated: Wed, Jun 26, 2013
FORT DRUM-- Soldiers of the New York National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division conducting annual training at Fort Drum, visit the 10th Mountain Division’s fallne soldier Memorial Park.
FORT DRUM Soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division paid their respects to fallen Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division while visiting Memorial Park at Fort Drum, N.Y., during annual training June 27.
Memorial Park is home to the names of 10th Mountain Soldiers who have died while serving overseas.
Soldiers walked through a wooded path to the memorials, where they read out the names of the fallen. They then walked back in silence through the wooded path, saluting a memorial on the way.
“[It’s] to make Soldiers think, to get beyond just the routine of the work,” Capt. Glen Lightfoot, Chaplain of the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, said. “It’s just a good thing to do. We’re all green, we’re on their post, we’re going to honor their dead.”
One name, in particular, caught the eye of a 42nd Inf. Div. Soldier.
Spc. Ray Sauter, a Soldier with the 42nd Infantry Division Intelligence and Sustainment Company, held back tears as he saw the name of his brother-in-law: Pfc. Matthew Wilson, an ammunition handler with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.
Wilson and two others died in Nerkh, Afghanistan on June 1, 2009. Wilson was just 19 years old, with a six-month-old child.
Sauter was 19 at the time, and he joined the National Guard shortly after.
Sauter, who three months ago completed a deployment to Afghanistan with the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, said he was very glad to have gone.
“It hit home,” Sauter said of seeing his brother-in-law’s name. “I was thinking of those lost, praying for those still out there.”
Sgt. James Andrews, a maintenance sergeant with the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters Support Company, took the trip as a chance to pray and to pay his respects. Andrews, who enjoys visiting historical sites, called the experience “humbling.”
“It’s part of our country’s history,” Andrews said,” and everyone should be part of that.”
Lightfoot, who has organized several trips to the memorial, says that visiting the memorial shows Soldiers how connected they are to each other.
“It’s just another aspect of why we’re here,” Lightfoot said. “Touching base with who we are as soldiers and human beings.”