Remember Your Regiment! Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) honored the men who died in the line of duty in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1963. The 142 names are etched on a memorial in front of the command’s HQs.
The memorial commemorates shows the true joint nature of the command and lists U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force Special Operations Forces members killed during combat operations or while conducting training in U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility.
“[These fallen warriors] paid the ultimate sacrifice as they trained for and participated in combat operations during a critical period in our nations’ history,” said presiding officer and SOCSOUTH Commander Navy Rear Adm. Collin P. Green.
Stones were laid next to the four service flagpoles to honor the operators that were killed in action during four major combat operations: Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, the EL Salvadoran civil war, Operation Just Cause in Panama, and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.
During the ceremony, a SOCSOUTH member from each service read off the names of all 142 members who paid the ultimate sacrifice while a bell was tolled for each. The idea of the memorial was brought to the command by former SOCSOUTH Deputy Director of Operations Pat Lenaghan. He worked behind the scenes to ensure that he saw this thru.
Lenaghan formerly served in the 1st Bn, 7th SFG (A) at Ft. Bragg and in Panama during Just Cause. The guest speaker was retired BG Hector Pagan, former Commander of SOCSOUTH and who also served in 7th Special Forces Group in Panama.
“These great Americans were every bit like you and me,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Hector Pagan, guest speaker at the ceremony and SOCSOUTH’s 11th commander. “Heroes as they were, I’m sure they would never acknowledge anything they did as special; but also like you and me, what set them apart was they loved being in Special Operations, they loved our country, and loved the work they did.”
“And to our SOCSOUTH command, use today and the rest of our time here as will I, to know and respect the many chapters of SOCSOUTH’s history and pay tribute to those that have gone before us,” added Green. “Learn how they led and bled before us and built the culture and legacy we enjoy today.”
“We will not forget because as long as we remember they will be with us,” said Pagan.
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Photo courtesy SOCSOUTH