Nightstalkers honor their fallen

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2010/May/100525-04.html

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (USASOC News Service, May 25, 2010) – The dark rain that fell, at times in torrents, seemed fitting to the somber tone of honoring those Night Stalkers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country during the past year at the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s (Airborne) memorial ceremony held Thursday, May 20.

Ten Soldiers’ names were added this year to the granite stone memorial located at the center of the unit’s headquarters at Fort Campbell, Ky. As the rain drummed the roof of Fox Hangar, more than one thousand Soldiers, friends, and Family huddled inside to pay tribute to the fallen.

“I would like to offer a special welcome to our Gold Star Families who are joining us,” said Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher, 160th SOAR (A) commander. “You more than anyone else understand the meaning of true sacrifice, and we are honored to have you here.”

Three separate helicopter accidents resulted in the loss of the 10 lives from the unit during 2009. The first occurred Aug. 19, in Leadville, Colo., claiming the lives of four Night Stalkers:

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert M. Johnson, 41

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Terrance W. Geer, 40

Staff Sgt. Paul R. Jackson, 33

Staff Sgt. Chad A. Tucker, 28

The second accident occurred Oct. 22, off the coast of Virginia claiming the life of Sgt. 1st Class James R. Stright, 29.

Four days later, on Oct. 26, five Night Stalkers died in Afghanistan during operations in support of Special Forces Soldiers and members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency:

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael P. Montgomery, 36

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Niall D. Lyons, 40

Staff Sgt. Shawn H. McNabb, 24

Sgt. Josue E. Hernandez-Chavez, 23

Sgt. Nickolas A. Mueller, 26

“The lion’s share of the credit for the 160th capability belongs to the men whose names are engraved on our Nightstalker Memorial,” said Hutmacher. “Whether they lost their lives pioneering the use of Night Vision goggles, honing their skills for combat, or during actual combat operations; our nation owes these men and their families a debt of gratitude that can never adequately be repaid.”

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A formation of MH-47G Chinook helicopters conducted a flyover in honor of the 10 fallen Nightstalkers from 2009 at the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) memorial service held at Fox Hangar on the unit’s compound at Fort Campbell, Ky., May 20. (Photo by Ruth Farwell, 160th SOAR)
 
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