Speech given by LTC Michael Cloy at Ray Barracks upon the rededication of the 1st Brigade ("Ready First Combat Team") Casualty Monument on 4 July 1999
COL Orr, CSM Braggs, awardees, friends of the community, Ready First soldiers, Spartans, Bandits, Dukes, and Providers… It was just eight short years ago when another armored division guarded freedom's gate sitting astride the Fulda Gap. Soldiers of the Spearhead Division were ready to mount up from the Ready First Brigade at Kirchgöns, "The Rock", 2d Brigade at Gelnhausen, the Thundering 3d Brigade here at Friedberg, and the 4th Brigade , DIVARTY and Engineer Brigade from Hanau. For forty years the 3d “Spearhead” Armored Division kept their tanks loaded, GDP books up-to-date, and bayonets sharpened. Finally, freedom came when the backbone of our adversary – the Berlin Wall – was broken by our deterrence.
But we couldn't rest because a new threat to freedom arose in the desert of Iraq and Kuwait … and the Spearhead Division was summoned to defeat that threat. Soldiers just like the steely-eyed Dukes you see before you answered the call to defend freedom’s gate in the sands of the desert. Battalions from the 3d Armored Division Ready First Brigade at the Rock … Yes, this brigade which now flies under the 1st Armored Division “Old Ironsides” colors answered the call. Men and women of the Black Knights, Gunners, and Red Lions moved to the sound of the guns and fought along with the Spartans, Bandits, Dukes, and Pillars of the Thundering 3d Brigade.
But sadly, deterrence wasn't enough in the desert and that is why we are here today. For you see … not all the Spartans, Red Lions, Black Knights, Gunners, and Garry Owen soldiers of the 3d Armored Division came home.
Men such as SPC Michael Bishop of the Spartans. An M88 driver killed by a cluster bomb, a soldier in my company did not come home. Men such as SGT Tracy Hampton, a Gunner killed when his bunker collapsed on him. CPT Joseph Kime, a Ready First staff officer killed when his HMMWV hit a mine. SSG Christopher Stephens and PFC Adrian Stokes, killed in action battling the Iraqi
Tawakalna Republican Guard division, and SPC Pete Swano, a Black Knight who fell ill in the forward assembly area, but refused to report his condition so he could remain with his unit during the upcoming attack. He collapsed and died there just days before the ground attack started.
After returning home, we and our German friends took the time to build memorials to our fallen heroes. For example, the evergreen trees on each side of the Iraqi T-72 tank memorialize the 3d Brigade's soldiers. The 1st Brigade monument was originally established in the town of Kirchgöns where both German and American citizens often visited and placed flowers. Now that the
Ready First Brigade is in Friedberg, it is time to bring our fallen warriors home.
Home, where we can gaze upon their names and remember their legacy of sacrifice. Home where they once again hear the restful rhythms of reveille, retreat, and taps. Home where they can smell the coffee at the mess hall, the sweat of PT, and fuel in the motor pools. Home where they can see our nation’s flag, and soldiers who remind them of Black Knights, Gunners, and Red Lion
soldiers and finally home where they can look across the parade field and once again touch "the Rock" with their spirits.
Ladies and gentlemen, please honor with me a moment of silence for our fallen heroes.
Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the Ready First monument
as it is unveiled.
Staff Sergeant Stephens
Private First Class Stokes
Staff Sergeant Summerall
Specialist Pete Swano
LTC Mike Cloy, a member of the Association of 3d Armored Division Veterans, served in Operation Desert Storm as a company commander in the 5th Battalion, 18th Infantry of the 3d Brigade, 3d Armored Division. He currently serves at the commander of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, at Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany.