War on Terrorism

Friday, June 12, 2009

Landing Zone Named After Fallen Battalion Commander

Propeller wash from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter christened the official renaming of a landing zone on Forward Operating Base Marez, March 20. The landing zone was renamed to honor the memory of Lt. Col. Gary Derby, former commander of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and four members of his personal security detail who were victims of a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in February while en route to a combat outpost in Mosul to conduct a combined operations patrol with Iraqi security forces.

Col. Gary J. Volesky, commander of 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Task Force "Greywolf", gathered with fellow soldiers to memorialize Derby and his team's dedication to the preservation of freedom both at home and abroad.

"We will never forget our fallen Soldiers," Volesky said. "They were great Americans who fought for the freedom of others."

Command Sgt. Maj. James Pippin, who cut the ribbon to reveal a new sign designating the landing zone as "Derby LZ," bypassed the proverbial scissors and sliced through the ribbon with a combat knife, a gesture he felt that Derby would deem appropriate. The sign itself was erected as a reminder that fallen Soldiers should never be forgotten.

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