Yesterday, the men of Forward Operating Base Bernstein gathered in the hot mid-day sun to honor those Americans who had fought and died in uniform. They assembled near a sign commemorating the base’s namesake, 1LT David R. Bernstein, who was killed in action on October 18, 2003 in Taza, Iraq. Words were spoken about the historical origins of Memorial Day, about soldiers in the Civil War fighting to secure the liberties guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, and about the bravery of their grandfathers, who stormed Normandy and freed a continent. Then Lt. Col. Stevens of the 120th Infantry said a few words. His voice cracked as he remembered one of his own who had fallen—Spc. Jocelyn Carrasquillo, killed by an IED near Baghdad on March 13, 2004. There was not a day that he did not think of the soldier, and of the cowardice of the soldier’s attacker.
For these men, today was not a day for barbeques with family and friends. There was work to be done. During the day, villages were visited, and plans were made to improve roads and to provide water. At night, a raid was conducted, in an effort to apprehend a man who was believed to be a source of IEDs, like the one used to kill Spc. Carrasquillo.
Here are some pictures from the service.