29 fallen military police honored with new monument

TACOMA, Wash. - Twenty-nine brave soldiers killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom from 2003-2011 were honored at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

A memorial monument, donated through community and unit support, was unveiled to families of the fallen soldiers during a ceremony held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Memorial Park on October 18, 2013.

"We dedicate this memorial to the 42D Military Police Brigade Soldiers who paid the ultimate price in service to their country - their lives," Command Sergeant Major Keith Devos, and Colonel, U.S. Army Commanding David Chase said in a joint statement.

The memorial stands as a remembrance, along with providing a sacred place for loved ones to mourn each brave man who lost his life in battle.

The ceremony opened with an invocation from Chaplain (MAJ) George Hammil, followed by remarks from 42D MP BDE Brigade Commander COL David Chase.

Debbie Ward, mother of fallen Army PFC Aaron J. Ward, wore her son's dog tags and recalled the last time she spoke to him.

"The last time I talked to him, he called and said 'Good morning beautiful.' He called to say happy Mother's Day."

Ward said her son had wanted to go into the military after watching the Twin Towers fall on television as a small child.

"It's something he felt he had to do," she said. "He was very proud to be in the Army."

Families flew in from all over the country. Grieving family member Marcia Westbrook said the unveiling was "healing and comforting," adding "it's very comforting to our family."