Wyo. National Guard dedicates memorial for GWOT fallen soldiers

Maj. Tom Blackburn, State Public Affairs Office

The Wyoming Military Department dedicated a memorial Wednesday in honor of the four Army National Guard soldiers who have died in the Global War on Terror since 2001.

Family members of each fallen soldier, known as Gold Star Families, attended the plaque dedication in the Joint Forces Readiness Center.

“We hope to never lose one of our soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general. “But if it happens, we are committed to taking care of our Gold Star families and to remember their loved ones.”

The memorial consists of four plaques, with each one detailing the soldier’s service record, career progression and when they died while deployed. During the ceremony, each plaque was dedicated individually, with a final roll call at the end.

A joint effort between the Army Guard and the Wyoming Veterans Commission was instrumental in making the memorial a reality.

“We looked at other memorials in other states to ensure we honor these soldiers right,” said Larry Bartellbort, director of the Wyoming Veterans Commission. “Everybody provided input, the museum, the personnel office, senior sergeant majors and the families. It was a thorough project.”

 

 

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The four soldiers who are memorialized on the wall are Capt. Robert Lucero, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Parrott, Capt. Bruce Hays and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrew McAdams.

Lucero was the first overseas combat loss for the Wyoming Army National Guard in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He deployed in 2003 with the 4th Infantry Division Rear Operations Center, a Casper, Wyoming, unit, and died Sept. 25 that year from wounds sustained in an explosion near Tikrit.

Parrott volunteered to go on a deployment in 2005 with the Pennsylvania National Guard. He died Nov. 10 that year in Balad, Iraq, from injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire.

Hays was the first loss Wyoming suffered in Operation Enduring Freedom, in Afghanistan. He deployed with an embedded training team in 2008, a team that advised and supported Afghanistan’s military or police units. On Sept. 17 of that year his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device and he succumbed to wounds sustained in the explosion.

McAdams was assigned to an aviation unit and deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. While on a flight mission on Jan. 10, 2014, his plane crashed on approach to Bagram Air Base, killing him.

All four men are now honored for their service to their state and country forever.

“Soldiers and families are the most important things we have, without them we wouldn’t have an Army,” Army Guard Command Sgt. Major Harold Pafford said. “We must never forget the sacrifices they make for this great country we live in and the freedom we have.”

The memorial is located in the west hall of the JFRC building and is viewable during normal work hours.

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