Task Force 34, One Team, One Fight, Attack! 3-142 34th Infantry Division 834 ASB 2-149 3-159 1-244 2-641 Home
Remembering "Red River 44"

On September 22, Soldiers of Task Force 34 gathered together to remember the life of seven of their recently fallen comrades.

CPT Robert Vallejo II, CW2 Corry A. Edwards, CSM Julio C. Ordonez and SSG Anthony L. Mason from the Texas Army National Guard and SGT Daniel M. Eshbaugh, CW3 Brady J. Rudolf and CPL Michael Thompson from the Oklahoma Army National Guard were aboard a Chinook CH-47 in route to Joint Base Balad when it was unexpectedly and catastrophically lost.

“As these teams fly missions, bonds of trust are made, and friendships are strengthened,” said CPT Jason Rowe, B Co. 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion Commander. “Over the years that I have been with this group, our friendship has grown…I am proud to say that the men we honor were more than friends, they were like family to me.”

Each of the command staff, who addressed the crowd, spoke of the fallen Soldiers like they were their own brother or son.

“As their commander, I will be forever indebted to each of them for their personal sacrifice,” said LTC MacGregor. “It breaks my heart to know the pain and sense of loss their family and loved ones will experience in the coming months and years. I take great comfort in knowing their families and their loved ones back home have the full support and love of the Texas and Oklahoma National Guard families and our Army family.”
The company commanders reflected upon the Soldiers’ lives and their deep bonds to unit and camaraderie.

“Strength, bravery, dedication – these are some of the words we can use to describe our brothers,” said MAJ Matthew Masias, D Co. 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion Commander. “Let us not forget their families and sacrifices they have made and the challenges they will face, and together we will remain courageous and will honor their memories as we continue the mission at hand.”

When the final honors were completed, the service members were able to say goodbye to their brother in arms.

“As aviators they understood the inherent risk and danger associated with flying but they also knew the joy, love and excitement of flying,” said LTC MacGregor “They were professionals who loved their work and loved their country.”

“Soldiers and units are not judged by how they respond when faced with easy decisions, when things are going well, Soldiers and units are judged by how they respond when faced with adversity,” said LTC MacGregor. “I know that in the final analysis, history will depict our Soldiers and this unit as resilient, courageous, professional and steadfast – for that is who and what you truly are.”

“So now great Task Force 34 Soldiers, aircrewmen, and commanders, we will not forget our fallen seven. In honor of their selfless commitment to duty; carry the memory of our friends in your heart and go forward to finish the good race that was set before them and still lies before us today,” said COL Clay Brock, commander, Task Force 34.

The funeral arrangements for the Soldiers stateside are being finalized.

SGT Lynette Hoke
22 Sep., 2008

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