Stryker memorial project raises funds


POSTED: Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spouses and soldiers of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Schofield Barracks want an 8-foot-high memorial honoring the unit's soldiers who died in Iraq.




How to donate to the Stryker memorial

        Donations for the memorial should be made to the 25th Infantry Division Memorial Fund Inc. and mailed to: 2/25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team Association, P.O. Box 860750, Wahiawa, HI 96786. Further information call be found at the association's Web site, www.warriormemorial.com.

They hope to raise $45,000 so the memorial can be dedicated on May 21 before the returning Stryker soldiers move on to other assignments.

The 4,000-member Stryker brigade began arriving home from Iraq yesterday following a 15-month deployment, during which 11 soldiers died.

A welcome-home ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. March 12 at Schofield Barracks' Sill Field. This is the unit's second deployment to northern Iraq.

Sarah Boyd, chairwoman of the 2/25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team Memorial Association, said the nonprofit group already has raised $35,000 through silent auctions, pastry sales and donations.

“;We are grateful to Cutter Ford in Aiea, which donated $2,000 early on which was our seed money,”; said Boyd. Her husband, Capt. William G. Boyd Jr., commands the Stryker Brigade's 66th Engineer Company.

A soldier for eight years, Capt. Boyd, like many of his colleagues at Schofield, is on his second deployment to Iraq. He also served in Afghanistan.

In 2003, the 2nd Brigade was one of two infantry brigades assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. The 2nd Brigade was sent to Iraq, while the 3rd Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan.

Thirteen soldiers from the 2nd Brigade were killed in Iraq in 2004-2005. When the 2nd Brigade returned to Wahiawa, it was restructured and became the Army's fifth Stryker unit, receiving more soldiers and 330 18-wheeled, 19-ton armored combat vehicles.

The newly transformed 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, led by Col. Todd McCaffrey, returned to northern Iraq in November 2007.

Last June, Sarah Boyd and McCaffrey's wife, Lisa, and a dozen other wives and soldiers stationed “;down range”; in Iraq decided to erect a memorial on the grounds of its new brigade area at Schofield Barracks.

“;The soldiers truly wanted something to honor the soldiers who had been killed,”; said Lisa McCaffrey.

“;These soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the memorial is a lasting tribute to the fallen soldiers themselves, their families, friends and communities,”; Boyd added.

McCaffrey said it was her husband who came up with the idea of the 8-foot black marble obelisk that will be inscribed with the names, units, dates and locations of each death. It is being built by Pacific Coast Memorials, based in Everett, Wash.

“;There was a lot of input from the soldiers down range who told us what they wanted, including building and sending a photo of a wooden mock-up of the memorial, which was displayed at our silent auction,”; she added.

Besides her husband, Todd, other Stryker soldiers in Iraq that helped with planning the memorial included Capt. Michael Emerson, Lt. Col. Glenn Blumhardt and Command Sgt. Maj. Karl Morgan.

McCaffrey said that she helped erect a similar Stryker memorial at Fort Lewis, Wash., where her husband was stationed with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. That memorial was erected near the post's museum in 2005 after the unit was transferred to Fort Wainwright in Alaska.

Both Boyd and McCaffrey said the entire project was “;challenging”; because neither wife had ever established a nonprofit organization and done any major fundraising.

The Army cannot officially participate in such efforts, McCaffrey said. However, Army lawyers helped them maneuver through the various Army regulations and state laws.

During their deployment, the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team soldiers conducted more than 30,000 patrols, many of them combined with their Iraqi Security Force counterparts. Together, they found more than 1,100 weapons caches; completed more than 150 school projects and 20 hospital projects; and provided more than 1,000 micro-grants to Iraqi business owners totaling more than $2 million.

“;Warrior”; Brigade soldiers earned four Bronze Star Medals with the Valor device, along with 15 Army Commendation Medals with “;V”; device and 35 Purple Heart Medals.