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Special service to commemorate fallen soldiers
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By Joshua Pilkington

The base near Colorado Springs will again host its Mountain Post Warrior Memorial

Memorial Day for everyone is a time to honor fallen soldiers as well as those who remain in combat. For Fort Carson the Memorial Day holiday weekend has turned into one of remembrance for all the fallen soldiers who have called the fort home.

Tomorrow at the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial in Kit Carson Park near Gate 1, Fort Carson will honor fallen soldiers who lost their lives while deployed from the installation. The celebration and service is not a new one as For Carson has commemorated the soldiers and airmen from the Mountain Post who lost their lives overseas since 2004.

Honoring four soldiers and airmen

This year’s ceremony will honor four soldiers whose names will join the other 395 Fort Carson soldiers and airmen who died overseas. Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Wilbur, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; Maj. Andrew D. Byers; Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer; and Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) are the soldiers and airmen whose names will be read in honor of the service and sacrifice.

As with years past, Maj. Gen. Ryan F. Gonsalves, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, will again be the keynote speaker for the day’s ceremony.

“We commemorate their service, their bravery and their patriotism,” he said of the seven soldiers honored during the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial in 2015. “[These soldiers] stepped forward as guardians of freedom and they served the people of the United States when other people would not.

“These words can never adequately express the sorrow that (the families) bear every day,” he added. “Coming from every corner of our nation, each of these names is a reminder to all of us that the price of freedom is high.”

The honorees

Staff Sgt. Wilbur passed away in a non-combat related incident while serving in Afghanistan in 2016. He was buried in his hometown of Granite City, Ill., with full military honors.

Maj. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, Penn., died of wounds sustained while fighting enemy forces in Kunduz, Afghanistan, according to the Army.

Both were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal, according to a Fort Carson spokeswoman. They were also considerable Army veterans with expansive service time. Byers had been in the Army for more than eight years, including deployments to Italy and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gloyer had been in the military for almost 12 years and had completed two tours in Afghanistan and a tour in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well.

The two soldiers perished in the train, advise and assist mission called Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Regarding the mission, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement that Byers, Gloyer and four other U.S. troops were with Afghan forces as part of the mission.

“Some of our Afghan partners also died,” he said. “Our service members were doing their part to help the Afghans secure their own country while protecting our homeland from those who would do us harm. We will honor their sacrifice by finishing our important mission in Afghanistan.”

Staff Sgt. Thomas, 31, was on foot patrol supporting Afghan security forces in Nangarhar province when he suffered wounds from an improvised explosive device. He would later die from those wounds. A native of Tacoma Park, Md., Thomas joined the Army in April 2008 and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the time of Thomas’ death, Col. Isaac Peltier, commander of the 10th Special Forces Group gave Thomas high praise in a statement, “Staff Sgt. Thomas epitomized what it is to be a professional Green Beret and soldier.”

Tomorrow’s ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m.





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