Saturday, May 21, 2011

Memorial Day Events Tied to Our ROCK Paratroopers

As Memorial Day approaches I know of many events tied directly to the 173rd, 2-503rd.  I wish I could attend them all.  Since I cannot I want to at least mention them all here.  I hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend but please remember, this is a time to remember all of those who have given their lives on behalf of this great nation.

Beats for a Bench Veterans Memorial Benefit will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 4pm – 11pm at the Expo Center in Long Beach, 4321 Atlantic Avenue Long Beach CA. 

This is a memorial fundraiser being hosted for Sergeant Israel Garcia, who was killed in the battle of Wanat in Afghanistan in 2008. To acknowledge his sacrifice and accomplishments “Beats for a Bench,” will raise money for a memorial bench to honor Sgt Israel Garcia at his High School, Long Beach Poly. Additional funds raised at the event will support the Long Beach City College Veterans Group to create an on-campus memorial to honor veterans, and to US Vets towards helping them accomplish their goal of  "The suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion of mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies through the pro­vi­sion of hous­ing, coun­sel­ing, career devel­op­ment and com­pre­hen­sive support."

While it's not a Memorial Day event, Defenders of Freedom is hosting Tee It Up Fore The Troops at the Dallas Cowboy's Golf Course on Monday May 23rd.  Several former ROCK Paratroopers as well as men from 4-4, 3-61 CAV who survived the battle of COP Keating will be attending this incredible event along with many more Wounded Warriors and Veterans.  I am grateful to Donna Cranston and her organization for including them this year.

The field is full but there are still ways to support this incredible event.  More information can be found here.

On Tuesday May 24th family, colleagues and friends will gather in New York City to celebrate the life of Tim Hetherington.  Many ROCK Paratroopers will be in attendance at Tim's celebration of life.

Tim Hetherington - taken at OP Restrepo

On Saturday May 28th two events will take place to honor fallen members of the 173rd, 2-503rd from OEF VIII. 

CPL Jason Hovater, who died in the battle of Wanat, Afghanistan on 13 July 2008 will posthumously be presented the Silver Star for his actions that day.  CPL Hovater had been awarded the BSMV.  It is more than fitting that the award has been upgraded to the Silver Star.  The event will take place at the World's Fair Park in Knoxville, TN at 10:00 AM.  I know that many of The Chosen Few and their families will be in attendance.  You can read CPL Hovater's Silver Star Citation here.

Also on May 28th a War Memorial will be dedicated at Washington Park, Cheboygan, MI from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM.   This Memorial is for all those who have and continue to serve in the War on Terror, OIF & OEF as well as for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. SFC Matthew Blaskowski's name will be etched on the monument. SFC Blaskowski died as a result of a sniper's bullet during a firefight while serving at Firebase Vegas, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on 23 September 2007.  At the time of his death SFC Blaskowski was serving with the 173rd, 2-503rd Battle Company.

SFC Matthew Blaskowski

From Saturday May 28th through Monday May 30th many of the Battle Company ROCK Paratroopers will gather near Madison, WI to remember SGT Josh Brennan.  Josh died on 26 October 2007 as a result of  multiple wounds from an ambush in Afghanistan on 25 October 2007. 

SGT Joshua Brennan

While this coming Memorial Day weekend is a time set aside for us, as a nation, to remember all of our fallen heroes it is also a very difficult time for the widows, the families of the fallen and all of their friends.  Please keep them all in your prayers.

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