The Indiana Army National Guard on Sunday paid tribute to seven Guardsmen during a recognition ceremony at Valparaiso University with family members and friends of fallen soldiers.
Photo, top: Personalized shadow box displays of seven fallen soldiers are unveiled to family members and friends during a remembrance ceremony held at Valparaiso University, Nov. 3, 2013 to honor their dedication and sacrifices for state and country. US Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Tinsley.
“Today’s ceremony is great; while I have attended individual ceremonies for most of them, we get to put all of them to rest in our armory today,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Leonard, former platoon sergeant in the 713th Engineer Company.
Individually designed shadow boxes for each soldier were unveiled at Valparaiso University. Each display contained an American flag, military service ribbons and medals, as well as a photograph of the service member. The displays were permanently mounted in the Valparaiso Army National Guard Armory following the ceremony.
Major Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard, addressed the families and friends of the fallen soldiers by recounting past memorial services. “Today is all about the memory of each of our soldiers.” Umbarger then reflected upon personal experiences he had with each of the fallen. “They were all heroes in every sense of the word.”
Photo: The Indiana National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, hosts a ceremony to honor seven fallen soldiers of the 113th Engineer Battalion on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind. US Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Tinsley.
Indiana National Guard officials say Spc. Sergio Perez Jr. of Crown Point and Spc. Nicholas Taylor of Berne, Indiana, died from a direct fire ambush, July 2012 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Jonathan Metzger of Indianapolis, Sgt. Brian Leonhardt of Merrillville, Spc. Christopher Patterson, a Valparaiso University student who was from Aurora, Illinois, and Spc. Robert Tauteris of Hamlet died as a result of a roadside bomb, January 2012 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Chavez of Portage died July 2008 from an illness contracted stateside at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, during specialized combat engineer leader training.