Community supports ‘running’ tribute to the fallen

Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Smith, the Special Forces Command senior enlisted advisor, places the dog tag he carried during the Run to Remember 5k race July 19 onto a fallen soldier memorial. Smith ran in the race as a tribute to a former colleague Air Force Capt. Derek Argel, who died May 30, 2005, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  — Photo by Eric Steen, Training Support Center Stuttgart.

Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Smith, the Special Forces Command senior enlisted advisor, places the dog tag he carried during the Run to Remember 5k race July 19 onto a fallen soldier memorial. Smith ran in the race as a tribute to a former colleague Air Force Capt. Derek Argel, who died May 30, 2005, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. — Photo by Eric Steen, Training Support Center Stuttgart.

By S.J. Grady
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

How does one properly honor a fallen comrade, brother- or sister-in-arms, a mentor, a friend?

You could pen an eloquent eulogy, commission an engraved marble plaque or join in for a moment of silence.

Or you could run.

That’s what hundreds of Stuttgart military community members did July 19 during the Run to Remember half marathon and 5k run.

The 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), along with U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Family and MWR hosted the seventh annual edition of the event on Panzer Kaserne as a tribute to those who gave their lives.

The Run to Remember began in 2008 when the then unit chaplain, Capt. Jerry Waldrop, teamed up with Family and MWR to host a unit run to recognize service members killed in action since 9/11. At the time, the unit had lost 10 Soldiers in what was called then the “global war on terror.” Today, that number stands at 18.

Nicole Vose, a Gold Star family member, fires the starting pistol to start the Run to Remember half marathon July 19 on Panzer Kaserne. Vose, the widow of the widow of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas Vose III, a 1/10 SFG Soldier who died in Kabul Province, Afghanistan, July 29, 2009, fired the pistol for  both races, then ran the 5K in the name of her husband.

Nicole Vose, a Gold Star family member, fires the starting pistol to start the Run to Remember half marathon July 19 on Panzer Kaserne. Vose, the widow of the widow of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas Vose III, a 1/10 SFG Soldier who died in Kabul Province, Afghanistan, July 29, 2009, fired the pistol for both races, then ran the 5K in the name of her husband.

Since its inception, the Run to Remember has grown in size and sophistication, from 200 participants that first year to more than 400 this year.

The 2014 event included opening ceremonies with the national anthem sung by Denise Woodmansee, taps played by bugler Sgt. Jason Baguley from the U.S. Army Europe Band, an invocation by Chaplain (Capt.) Carson Jump, and the reading of the names of 133 fallen service members that were submitted by community members. One hundred and ten of those names made it to the back of the commemorative Run to Remember T-shirt.

Many runners carried specially made dog tags with the names of the fallen, the dates and locations of their deaths. The 1/10th Family Readiness Group also sponsored a cookout as a fundraiser.

“The men and women we remember today make it possible for us to raise our children in freedom,” said Lt. Col. Joshua C. Kennedy, the 1/10th SFG (A) commander, during the opening ceremony.

Kennedy gave the runners a preview of the course, which started in front to the headquarters building and weaved through the Panzer Local Training Area.

“This course will test you … it is designed to force you to dig deep and to remember why you are running here today. As you’re fighting to ascend those hills, remember whom you are running for. Seek your strength in those who we honor; remember their sacrifice. Remember that they gave everything, and I guarantee that you will find a second wind,” he said.

Gold Star family member Nicole Vose fired the starter pistol for each race. Vose, the widow of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas Vose III, a 1/10 SFG (A) Soldier who died in Kabul Province, Afghanistan, July 29, 2009, then ran the 5K in the name of her husband.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas M. Vose III, died from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Kabul Province July 29, 2009, with ODA 0114, A Co., 1/10th SFG (A).

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas M. Vose III, died from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Kabul Province July 29, 2009, with ODA 0114, A Co., 1/10th SFG (A).

Afterward, she said it was an emotional experience. “There were a couple of emotional points, like the trail we were on … it’s a trail that my husband and I would run, and since he is gone, I [have] never run it again.”

Nicole Vose, who is German and now resides near her husband’s family in Oceanside, Calif., said even though her husband has been gone for five years, she still is supported by the SF community. “I have so much support still. People call me, send me flowers, send me emails,” she said.

On this trip “home,” she was accompanied by sons Aidan and Connor, and said she was grateful for the reception she and her sons received by 1/10 SFG Soldiers. “They showed my sons where their daddy worked and the team room. They have so many questions. [Doug’s] friends, his team leaders … they can answer what I cannot.”

If Col. John Stack, the USAG Stuttgart commander, has his way, the names of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Vose and Staff Sgt. Patrick Kutschbach, a 1/10th (A) Soldier who was killed in action on Nov. 10, 2007, in Afghanistan, will continue to live on.

He has petitioned the Department of Defense Educational Activity to name the new high school and elementary school under construction after the Soldiers.

“We have submitted a formal request that the elementary school named be named after Kutschbach, and the high school after Chief Vose,” Stack said.

He added that Vose and Kutschbach are logical choices.

“These are two Soldiers who served at Panzer … the schools are being built at Panzer. They served here — they deployed from here — they were part of our community, and they never came back,” Stack said.

Master Sgt. Stefan Generally, the 1/10th Area Operating Base Bravo rear detachment operations sergeant, had the pleasure of knowing both.

“I was on Operational Detachment Alpha 0114 with Doug for a year and a half and remained on 0114 for another six months after we lost him,” he said.

They served together from 2007 to 2009 and according to Generally, Vose was confident, professional, and physically and mentally strong.

“You couldn’t go wrong with that guy. He was amazing,” he said.

To illustrate, Generally recounted a story where Vose, who had been injured after high winds during a sandstorm blew over his tent while on a 2007 mission in Mali — in the incident Sgt. 1st Class Sean Mitchell was killed and another 1/10th Soldier seriously injured — cut short physical therapy to join the halo team. “He just had that strength. He was a formidable guy,” Generally said.

He said Solders are told in the qualification course that earning the Special Forces tab is only the beginning – earning it does not mean one deserves it. Generally said that on occasion he would see Vose without the tab. “Maybe he didn’t have time to put it on, but I always like to think that it was his way of saying ‘I haven’t done enough for my regiment today.’ That’s the type of person he was – he was always striving to do more. That’s how he was all the way up to the end,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Patrick F. Kutschbach, 25, was killed in action on Nov. 10, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan with ODA 021, B Co., 1/10th SFG (A).

Staff Sgt. Patrick F. Kutschbach, 25, was killed in action on Nov. 10, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan
with ODA 021, B Co., 1/10th SFG (A).

Although he never served with Staff Sgt. Patrick Kutschbach on an ODA, Generally did serve with him during Robin Sage, the four-week culmination exercise for the SF qualification course.

According to Generally, “Paddy,” was a big man who always had a smile. They were both assigned to 1/10th after completing the “Q” course, but on different teams. “Unfortunately I never had the privilege or honor of serving on an ODA with him, but he was my brother-in-arms,” he said.

Brothers-in-arms … this sentiment is why the garrison commander feels that naming the schools after Vose and Kutschbach is proper and fitting.

“We never, ever forget the sacrifices of our service members,” Stack said. “It’s what communities do throughout the U.S. … they look to honor members of their community. We’re no different in that regard.”

Stack’s recommendation has been endorsed by the senior mission commander, U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, local 1/10th leadership and by the past and current Special Operations Command Europe commanders. The recommendation has been forwarded to DODEA leadership, who will make the final decision.

The following service members were also commemorated at this event:

WE WILL NOT FORGET YOU

MSG Danial R. Adams, USA

SSG Patrick F. Kutschbach, USA

SFC Sean K. Mitchell, USA

CW2 Douglas M. Vose III, USA

MAJ Jeffrey P. Toczylowski, USA

SSG Todd A. Chittenden, USA

SSG Blake Whistler, USA

MSG Thomas Biddle, USA

SFC Matt Harvey, USA

SSG Luis Serrano, USA

SSG Lee C. Przytulski, USA

CPT Garrett C. Slaughter, USA

SSG Patrick H. Quinn, USA

MSG William T. Copeland, USA

SFC Richard M. Worden, USA

SFC Robert P. Smith, USA

SGT Robert F. Newby, USA

COL Edward P. Cutolo, USA

SGT Miguel O. Roman-Cancel, USA

SGT Christopher M. Albrecht, USA

SFC Miguel Mitchell, USA

SFC Clifford Strickland, USA

MAJ Lee Devault, USA

SGT Andrew Stay, USA

SFC Robert Blair, USA

CPL Michael Hasenfus, USA

SSG James B. Wright, USA

CPT Joseph P. Curry, USA

SFC John Duryea, USA

SGT Charles B. Earnest, USA

MSG Mark LaRochelle, USA

SSG Christopher Cummings, USA

SFC Joseph Gradzewicz, USA

SFC Jose A. Hernandez, USA

MSG Timothy Martin, USA

MSG Gary I. Gordon, USA

SSG Ricky L. Robinson, USA

SSG Paul Barclay, USA

SSG Chad D. Devoll, USA

SFC Michael M. Granns, USA

SSG David T. Kowaleski, USA

SSG Joseph E. Suponcic, USA

MSG Richard L. Ferguson, USA

SSG Robb L. Rolfing, USA

MSG Kevin J. Snyder, USA

SSG Robert R. Pirelli, USA

SGT Frank J. Gasper, USA

SFC Duane A. Thornsbury, USA

MSG Jeremy M. Hougdahl, USA

MSG Sean Mocabee, USA

MSG Kelly L. Hornbeck, USA

SGT Matthew Ingram, USA

MSG Trevor Bast, USA

1LT Tyler E. Parten, USA

SGT Tim Martin, USA

SFC Dan Crabtree, USA

Michael Biles, USA

CW2 Michael S. Duskin, USA

SPC Ryan Long, USA

SGM Michael B. Stack, USA

Capt Nicholas S. Whitlock, USAF

CPL Charles E. Hagan, USA

SSG Justin Whiting, USA

Capt Derek Argel, USAF

Capt Todd Siebert, USMC

PO2 Mark Mayo, USN

MAJ Tim Vakoc, USA

MSG Kevin Morehead, USA

CW3 Corey Goodnature, USA

SSG David C. Dunlap, USA

SGT Barry K. Meza, USA

SSG Daniel D. Merriweather, USA

SGT Jacob M. Schwallie, USA

SPC Chase S. Marta, USA

PFC Dustin D. Gross, USA

1LT Brian N. Bradshaw, USA

SSG Jacob G. McMillan, USA

1LT David R. Bernstein, USA

CPT John L. Hallett, USA

CPT Joseph A Ryan, USA

LT Bret Miller, USN

SSG Errol James, USA

SFC Gregory Rodriguez, USA

SGT Richard Dempster, USA

SPC Jordan Roberts, USA

SGT Darren Blazer, USA

SSG Byron Chaney, USA

SGT Chauna Corethers, USA

SPC Lee Coffman, USA

SSG Robert Cowdrey, USA

SFC Dave Hansen, USA

CPT John Brainard, USA

CW5 John Pratt, USA

SGT Ryan Isaacs, USA

CPT Kevin Sirucek, USA

SSG Fred Duggan Jr, USA

COL Lewis J Storck, USA

LTC David B Barton, USA

CW3 Timothy R Breneman, USA

CW2 Terry M Thomas, USA

SPC Ryan Grandstaff, USA

SGT Kamien Stanford, USA

SSgt Michael Mingey, USAF

SPC Frank Cady, USA

SGT Carlos E. Pernell, USA

SSG Stephen New, USA

CPT Joshua Lawrence, USA

SGT Tanner Stone Higgins, USA

SGT Caesar B. Ruiz, USMC

SFC Christopher R. Brevard, USA

SFC Severin Summers, USA

CW2 Thalia Ramirez , USA

CW2 Jose Montenegro, USA

SFC Nate Winder, USA

SPC Marisol Heredia, USA

1LT Francis L. Toner IV, USN

SGT Jesse A. Blamires, USA

SO1 Mike Monsoor , USN

SOC Chris Kyle , USN

SPC Jacques Brunson, USA

1LT Joseph D. Helton, USAF

SSG Richard Vazquez, USA

CPT Robert Yllescas, USA

CPL Tom Saba, USMC

SSG Tyler Martin, USA

SSG Terry Hemmingway, USA

SGT Anton R. Phillips, USAG

SGT Joshua Robinson, USMC

1LT Sal Corma, USA

SSG Scott Studenmund, USA

MAJ Michael Green, USA

1LT Tim Cleary, USA

SSG Jason Brown, USA