Fort Campbell Honors Fallen Soldiers with 40 Killed In Current Deployment

Two Fort Campbell soldiers salute an upside down rifle topped with a combat helmet, called a battlefield cross.

Two Fort Campbell soldiers salute an upside down rifle topped with a combat helmet, called a battlefield cross.

A total of 40 soldiers from Fort Campbell have been killed in Afghanistan since March, with casualties escalating in June and July. Families and friends gathered at Fort Campbell Wednesday night to honor the most recent deaths.

The 24 notes of taps cap off every Eagle Remembrance Ceremony, named after the Screaming Eagle mascot of the 101st Airborne Division. The crowd is mostly civilian, since almost the entire division is gone to Afghanistan.

Tess Peterson wipes away tears as she coddles her sleeping 10-week old baby girl. Her husband served in the same unit with two of the men who died. She says the remembrance ceremony is a reminder of how dangerous the situation remains in Afghanistan.

“It’s always a reality. I’m just thankful every day that I get to hear his voice or get an email.”

Wednesday night’s ceremony honored seven soldiers. One soldier was a public affairs officer, who was described as someone who strived to tell the Army story to the outside world. Another high-ranking enlisted man was remembered as religious, someone who prayed before every meal. And Staff Sgt Eric Shaw had a sharp tongue, as Col. Dominic Caraccilo explains.

“Eric was a candid, upfront NCO (non-commissioned officer) who was never afraid to tell you what he thought about a plan, a mission or the situation in general, and usually he was right.”

Shaw died when his unit was attacked by small arms fire. The commander in charge of the Army post says he expected casualties during the first few months, just not this many.

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