Night Stalker hangar dedicated in honor of fallen Soldier

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2009/September/090921-02.html

FORT LEWIS, Wash. (USASOC News Service, Sept. 21, 2009) – A recently built 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) hangar here has a new name honoring the memory of a fallen Night Stalker pilot who died in combat on Feb. 18, 2007.

The 4th Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) hangar, formerly named Building 3025, is now named McCants Hangar in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hershel D. McCants. It was formally dedicated in a ceremony at Fort Lewis, Wash., on Sept. 17, 2009.

“CW3 Dan McCants was an amazingly courageous and strong man,” said Lt. Col. Michael Hertzendorf, Commander, 4th Bn., 160th SOAR (A). “As every Soldier enters the hangar I hope they think of the value that men like Dan bring to our unit, Army and Nation.”

McCants, who had served with the 160th SOAR (A) for two years, died in southeastern Afghanistan when his MH-47E helicopter crashed while conducting operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

McCants was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash., twice during his service in the army. His initial assignment was with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) as an engineer. His second assignment was as a Tactical Operations Officer and an Aero Medical Evacuation pilot with the 54th Medical Company, 62nd Medical Brigade.

The hangar dedication occurred during a week-long event referred to as the Week of Night Stalker Activities. The event incorporated activities for the Soldiers and their Families including a battalion picnic, a unit run and softball tournament, a battalion safety day, professional development sessions, a golf scramble and culminating with a battalion formal.

“WONSA is an important event in building unit cohesion, morale and esprit de corps,” said Hertzendorf. “Many of the younger Soldiers don’t know of the great Night Stalker legacy and all those that have gone before them and their accomplished tasks.”

The battalion moved to Fort Lewis, Wash., in 2005. In 2008 the unit occupied its permanent facilities where it currently resides. In its relatively short history, the battalion has deployed in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom; operationally supporting Special Operations Forces representing all four services.

An engraved plaque is prominently displayed near the hangar entrance as a visual reminder of McCants’ sacrifice to the thousands of Night Stalkers that will enter the hangar for generations to come.
 
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