Guam – The Guam National Guard conducted a solemn and private ceremony Friday morning marking the first anniversary of its Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Army Readiness Center in Barrigada.
The ceremony was attended by family members of the four Guam Guard Soldiers who had died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan. Fellow Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees of the Guard were also on hand to join in the commemoration.
The Soldiers honored during the ceremony were SGT Gregory Fejeran and SGT Christopher Fernandez, who both died during their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Horn of Africa, and SGT Brian Leon Guerrero and SGT Samson Mora, who were killed in action while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Two officers, who were the commanders of the Soldiers in the two different missions, spoke about their fallen Soldiers during the ceremony.
“In battle or combat a bond is forged amongst your buddies to your left, right front, and rear. It is a bond that is unbreakable! We must never forget that freedom isn’t free and we should never take what we have for granted. We may have lost our brothers but let us not forget their sacrifices,” said Army CPT David Santos.
Santos was commander for Alpha Company which deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. SGT Leon Guerrero and SGT Mora were under his command.
CPT Charles Douglas, commander of Charlie Company which deployed to the Horn of Africa in 2006, served with SGT Fejeran and SGT Fernandez.
“Both Soldiers were dedicated to the success of the mission, motivated Soldiers to do what was right, were proficient in their skills, believed in the purpose of our cause, and were focused on the task at hand,” Douglas said.
The memorial consists of a bronze Inverted Rifle Display, atop a three-foot high Latte Stone pedestal. A large bronze plaque adorns the front side of the pedestal inscribed with the dedication of the memorial to the Guam Guard’s Fallen Heroes. On the left and right sides of the pedestal are two smaller bronze plaques with the names of each of the four fallen Guam Guard members.
The Latte Stone has become a traditional icon for Guam. It looks like a pillar capped by a hemispherical stone capital with the flat side facing up. The structure was used as building supports by the ancient island inhabitants, called Chamorros. These stone pillars are found throughout most of the Mariana Islands.