By MC1 Patrick Gordon, NMCB 25 Public Affairs
Members of the NMCB 25 flag detail prepare to parade the colors past a memorial display of an upturned rifle during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan, May 26. Photos by MC1 Patrick Gordon
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 25 gathered to honor the fallen of conflicts past and present in a ceremony at Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan, May 26.
After parading the colors and rendering honors, members of the battalion’s First Class Mess spoke on the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in the defense of our nation.
“We acknowledge those who nobly gave of themselves, even unto death, for a purpose that they believed was greater than them,” said Builder 1st Class (SCW/PJ) Michael Fleck. “We remember those who, even though they returned home, they left something behind, a part of themselves, and could not live with the memories of lost friends.”
Fleck spoke on the history of the holiday, which officially began in 1868 following the carnage of the American Civil War. Army Maj. Gen. John A. Logan issued General Orders No. 11, which set aside May 30, 1868, for the decoration of graves for those who had fallen in combat. Throughout the years the holiday has grown into a solemn remembrance of the sacrifice and duty of all American service members who lost their lives as a result of conflict.
“One day a year, if even for a few moments we should set aside the hectic business of our everyday lives, our screaming kids, bills due, taxes paid, all that life throws at us,” said Fleck. “And as it is easy to forget the real significance of this day, remember. Remember on this day set aside, for us, for all of us to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives while serving in our armed services.”
After Fleck’s remarks, other members of NMCB 25 read the names of fallen. Those listed, reaching as far back as World War I, were all known to the battalion in some way or another. Some of those lost were friends, others family, but all shared a common bond as they were remembered by those in attendance.
Of note were the names of three former members of NMCB 25 who were lost during the battalion’s deployment to Iraq in 2006. Some currently deployed with NMCB 25 had served with the three, and remember their service and sacrifice quite well, eight years on.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. It’s tough to deal with and I don’t think anybody came back [from that deployment] the same that they left,” said Utilitiesman 1st Class (SCW) Scott Kallas of the loss of his comrades. “When they went out it was always…you know…you don’t ever say goodbye. You go out and do your job and come back safe. Stay as safe as possible. I mean if I could go back, I’d say don’t go, but they would have gone anyway.
“[I would like] to tell them how much they meant, all three of them,” Kallas continued. “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about you. I know that they’re in a better place and they’re doing everything that they would be doing here. We miss you.”
With the solemn ceremony, NMCB 25 ensured that the sacrifice of their members, and all American service members, was not in vain, so long as their cause and their dedication are remembered.
Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SCW) Timothy Martin lowers the National Ensign to half-mast, while other members of NMCB 25 render salutes on Memorial Day at Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan, May 26. Members of the battalion performed honors throughout the day to remember the nation’s fallen service members.