("TURN, TURN, TURN" IS SUNG.)
INTRUDERS! Families of Intruders, Friends,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
WELCOME! Welcome to our memorial ceremony here at Arlington National Cemetery.
[Photo by Steve Matthews]
I'm Dr. Steve Matthews, and it is my great honor and distinct privilege to be your Master of Ceremonies. We are sincerely grateful to see all of you here today to help honor our fellow comrades who paid the ultimate price for our country.
First, let me introduce our distinguished guests here on the stand. We are fortunate to have with us today family members of two of the men we are here to honor. Lindy Paschall, on your far right, sister of Les Paschall. Next to her is Karen Heintz Forcht, widow of Ned Heintz, and Mr. Heintz, brother of Ned Heintz, who is accompanied by his wife. We are grateful that these family members were able to be here with us for this memorial ceremony.
This remembrance ceremony is No Greater Love's tribute to the courage and sacrifice of America's Intruders, the men of the elite 281st Assault Helicopter Company.
Today's program was opened by the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" performed by LtCol Mark Gibson, USMC (Ret), Col Don Meno, USA, Cpt Roger Jaskot, USN, and Cdr Tina Jaskot, USN.
No Greater Love has been named by the United Nations as one of the U.N. Peace Messengers. It is the only organization that brings families together in remembrance of their loved ones who have died in service to our country or by an act of terrorism. The fact that this humanitarian organization, founded in 1971, remembers long after others have forgotten, is a mark of its uniqueness.
This memorial tree and stone, dedicated
to Special Forces in 1995 by No Greater Love, is in the heart of Arlington
National Cemetery. It is right and just that the remains of these
special heroes are located in this most hallowed ground in America.
Here they rest as tangible reminders of a special breed of warriors such
as the 281st whose deeds of valor and selfless devotion maybe seldom noticed
by those whose freedom they defend.
[Photo by Donald Corkran]
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of colors.
(COLOR GUARD ADVANCES)
(PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE IS RECITED)
[Photo by Steve Matthews]
(COLOR GUARD RETIRES)
Please be seated.
INTRODUCTION OF CARMELLA LASPADA
I would like to introduce Carmella Laspada,
Founder of No Greater Love and the sponsor
of today's tribute. Carmella is the only woman to date to be awarded the
United States Special Operations Command Medal.
We gather to remember those members of the 281st who gave the last measure of devotion, their lives, in service to their nation and their flight members. Each one truly irreplaceable. Each loved by family and friends. Each so desperately missed and needed in those lives and the life of our country. Young men with the strength, the vigor, and the faith to endure what was beyond endurance and to see what was beyond comprehension in the savagery of that war.
Two hallmarks of the 281st are teamwork and teammates. You worked with and through each other. Always there for one another. I am reminded of a story about geese that may best describe how you depended upon each other in carrying out your mission. By flying in a V-formation, "geese create an uplift for the bird immediately following. The whole flock adds at least seventy-one percent greater flying range in this formation than if each bird was flying on its own." Flight members who share a common direction and sense of team can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the energy of one another. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. Finally, and this is critical for us, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshots, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with the stricken bird until it is able to fly. Only then do they launch out on their own, to catch up with their group. This is how, I am sure, you support each other."
Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that we your fellow Americans could live in peace and freedom. And however you managed to summon the strength to fight that war, thank you for the even greater strength it must have taken to come home to an ungrateful nation and put it behind, and become even greater American patriots and compassionate human beings.
What endures until your last moment on earth is the honor you earned and the love you gave. At a moment in your youth, you sacrificed with your fellow Intruders for something greater than your self-interest."
ROLL CALL OF REMEMBRANCE
(NAMES OF SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED
BY CARMELLA LASPADA)
JACK GREEN, JOHN HYATT, JERRY MONTOYA, CORKY CORKRAN, FRED MENTZER, JACK MAYHEW, KEN SMITH, RON SCHWACHENWALD, LANCE HAM, DENNIS CROWE, JEFF MURRAY, BOB MITCHELL, JIM BAKER, ROGER GREEN, DENNIS CANFIELD, KEN BOLING, JIM TORBERT, and STEVE MATTHEWS
(INTRUDERS TAKE THEIR
PLACE BEHIND THE PODIUM)
(THE NAMES OF 44 KIA/MIA INTRUDERS ARE SPOKEN)
("AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL"
IS SUNG SOFTLY DURING THE SPEAKING OF NAMES)
(A TRIANGLE IS STRUCK AT THE SPEAKING OF EACH NAME)
(A ROSE IS PLACED AT THE SPEAKING OF EACH NAME)
[Photo by Donald Corkran]
THANK YOU, to all you Intruders. I know speaking the names of our comrades was not easy for any of us. But this memorial was much deserved and long overdue.
An excerpt from the poem "Remember" will be read by Bob Mitchell, President of the 281st Assault Helicopter Company Association. This poem was written by a soldier for his friend who died in action.
("REMEMBER" By MSG
James J. Richard, USA, IS RECITED)
("ON EAGLE'S WINGS" IS SUNG)
Reverend Norman Kaufman, a member of
the 281st Assault Helicopter Company, will now offer a prayer for those
"Heavenly Father, we have come here today to lay this wreath at this memorial to honor the young men from the 281st Assault Helicopter Company who gave their lives so that we could be here today. We are thankful that they were willing to give their all for their country and their friends. Most of all,
Heavenly Father, we ask that the leaders of this country and the world would find a way to peace so that no other young men will have to lay down their lives as these men did. We pray in the name of the One who laid down His life for all of us ...... Jesus.
The remembrance wreath will now be placed by Fred Mentzer, Col Jack Mayhew, fellow Intruder and Board Member of No Greater Love, and Carmella Laspada.
(THE MEMORIAL WREATH IS PLACED)
[Photo by Donald Corkran]
This will be followed by taps.
Will you all please rise.
President John F. Kennedy said; "A nation reveals itself not only by the citizens it produces, but also by the citizens it honors, the citizens it remembers."
So, ladies and gentlemen, let us take with us today memories of our brothers who gave the last full measure of devotion for their country. . . for their comrades on the battlefield . . . and for all those who struggled for peace and justice. The world is a better place because they lived and because they served. God grant peace to those who loved them.
PRESENTATION OF GIFT
Before we leave, the 281st Assault Helicopter
Company Association would like to present our host, Carmella Laspada, with
a token of our appreciation. To present the gift is Jack Mayhew.
Carmella, we owe you and No Greater Love a debt of gratitude for putting this memorial ceremony together. As a token of our appreciation, please accept this personalized picture of a Huey helicopter with the 281 numbers on it.
Thank you so very much. I've enjoyed working on this project for the 281st. I will hang it in my office to remember this ceremony and the men of the 281st Assault Helicopter Company.