Memorial to Honor Fallen Task Force Ironhorse Troops

By Donna Miles

A statue commissioned by Task Force Ironhorse will form a focal point for a new memorial to task force soldiers killed in Iraq.

Courtesy photo

A bronze statue of a soldier mourning a fallen comrade traveled from Tikrit, Iraq, to Fort Hood, Texas, this week to become the focal point of a memorial to the soldiers of Task Force Ironhorse who have died during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The statue arrived at Fort Hood’s Robert Gray Army Airfield Feb. 16, along with the first 60 soldiers in the task force to redeploy from Iraq, said Capt. Charles Armstrong, secretary of the general staff for the rear detachment.

Armstrong said the statue will be moved today to a 4th Infantry Division storage site as preparations for the memorial continue. Groundbreaking is expected to take place within the next two weeks, he said.

Task Force Ironhorse soldiers donated the $18,000 to cover the cost of the statue, created by an Iraqi sculptor from the melted-down remnants of statues he had been forced to sculpt for former dictator Saddam Hussein, said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, public affairs officer for the 4th Infantry Division at its Iraq headquarters in Tikrit.

The 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood is raising private contributions to cover the $60,000 cost of the larger memorial project, Aberle said.

The Ironhorse statue depicts a soldier kneeling before a memorial of boots, rifle and helmet. With him stands a young Iraqi girl with her hand reaching out to touch the shoulder of the mourning soldier.

Army 1st Sgt. Glen Simpson, former first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, posed for the picture used to create the statue.

"The memorial will recognize those brave Ivy Division soldiers that have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our nation during Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Ted Kostich, president of the Ironhorse Chapter of the National 4th Infantry Division Association of Fort Hood.

Aberle said 84 Ironhorse soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

To donate funds for the memorial, write: Ironhorse Chapter of the National 4th Infantry Division Association, PO Box 5009, Fort Hood, TX 76544.