Twelve veterans of the U. S. Army 6-9 Calvary, 1st Division, and the family of one of the troop’s fallen, are guests of the American Legion Post 143 in Highlands this Memorial Day Weekend. On Saturday the group served as Co-Grand Marshals for the borough’s annual Memorial Day Parade.
Veteran Tim Hallgring was inspired to bring the true meaning of Memorial Day to the annual celebration when the parade committee asked him to be the Grand Marshall. Hallgring and members of the community raised over $12,000 via gofundme to bring the soldiers/brothers to Highlands and provide their food and lodging while they are here.
On Memorial Day 2007 the troop was dispatched on an emergency rescue/recovery mission for a downed helicopter in Iraq. They were ambushed enroute and lost six of their brothers.
Staff Sergeant Andrew Clark of Savannah, GA was the non-commissioned officer in charge that night. Following the parade and ceremony, SSG Clark shared his memory of the ambush with MMM.
Hallgring said the reunion was especially important for him as an expression of love and support for Stacey and Daniel Markham, the widow and son of Sgt. Jonathan Markham who perished during that tragic mission. The Markhams traveled from Texas to be in Highlands for the remembrance.
In addition to Sgt Markham, Zackery Baker, Alex Alexeev, Kyle West, James Summers, and Anthony Ewing made the ultimate sacrifice in the May 28-29, 2007 mission.
In addition to Hallgring, Clark and the Markhams, Sgt. Hershel Beard of Virginia, Sgt. Miguel Castro of Austin, TX, Michael Acevedo of Bronx, NY, SSG Ernest Gonzalez of Brooklyn, NY, Sgt. Todd Wetsel of Amarillo, TX, SPC Kyle Aines of Rutland, VT, SSG Kyle Link (medic) of La Crosse, WI, Sgt. John Richter of Indiana and SSG Patrick Ziegler of Florida were the C0- Grand Marshals of the Highlands commemoration.