Tiger Brigade Soldiers run to honor fallen comrade

Story and photos by 1st Lt. Angela Fry
256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team public affairs
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq — The day before Memorial Day, Louisiana National Guardsmen with the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom at Contingency Operating Base Adder, ran with heavy hearts in honor of a fallen comrade. 

Thirty Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment and 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment — all under the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) — ran in the 36th Sustainment Brigade’s Texas Memorial 10-kilometer run May 30, to honor the memory of one of their own — Maj. Ronald Wayne Culver.

First Sgt. Trinity Edwards, first sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd. Sqdn., 108th Cav. Regt. and a Shreveport, La., native, said participating in the 6.2-mile event gave him the opportunity to keep the memory of his close friend alive.

“This Memorial Day is especially personal this time after recently losing a

great friend,” he said.  “Maj. Culver and I had planned to run the 10k after spending the last two months running and working out together.”

Culver was killed May 24, when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in southern Iraq.

Edwards explained the importance of completing the race.

“At first I did not really want to run because of the lack of sleep and the fact that I had not ran since his passing,” he said.  “He would have convinced me to do it if he was here … and in a way he still was. I ran this 10k for him, because I truly believe he would have run it for us.”

Although honoring the memories of fallen comrades presented a more somber tone for the event, the chance to relax was an added benefit for many Soldiers who participated in the race

"We've been in country just long enough to see some strain on our guys," said 1st Lt. Patrick Wilson, operations officer with A Company, 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. and an Arlington, Va., native.

"Most of us have yet to get a day off,” he said. “The idea of the Texas 10K race just gave us something positive to focus on and mark the Memorial Day weekend. No beach, beer or bratwurst, but we did at least shake the schedule up a bit."

Wilson also took a moment to express his gratitude to the 13 Virginia Soldiers who participated.

"I was very proud of the (1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt.) for having so many guys come out for the race," he said. "Spc. Solomon Zemene of Alexandria, Va., made us all look good by finishing at the top of the field."

Zemene, a crew member on a convoy escort team with B Company, 1st Bn., 116th Infantry Regt., finished second in the 24-29-year-old-category and a respectable third place overall.  Capt. Mike Ruffin, plans officer with the 2nd Sqdn., 108th Cav. Regt. and a New Orleans, native, finished third in the 36-39-year-old category and 1st Sgt. Patrick Sellen, first sergeant with A Battery, 1st Bn., 141st FA Regt. finished in first place in the 40-44-year-old category.

Soldiers with Louisiana’s “Tiger Brigade” are deployed to support the upcoming responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq. The brigade is scheduled to return home some time at the end of this year.

 

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Maj. Ronald Wayne Culver’s name (lower left) is reflected on the Memorial Wall at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, to honor his sacrifice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The executive officer with 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) was killed May 24 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. Thirty Soldiers from the 256th IBCT participated in the 36th Sustainment Brigade’s Texas Memorial 10-kilometer run to honor his memory. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Angela Fry)

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Maj. Keith Robinson (second from left), operations officer with with 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a New Orleans native, and 1st Sgt. Trinity Edwards (second from left), first sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Bn., 108th Cav. Regt. and a Shreveport, La., native, participate in the 36th Sustainment Brigade’s Texas Memorial 10-kilometer run May 30 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Angela Fry)

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Solomon Zemene (center), a crew member on a convoy escort team with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Alexandria, Va., native, crosses the finish line in third place during the 36th Sustainment Brigade’s Texas Memorial 10-kilometer run May 30 on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. Zemene is currently deployed with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Angela Fry)

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Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) pose after the 36th Sustainment Brigade’s Texas Memorial 10-kilometer run May 30 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Angela Fry)