Memorial Day 2002

Special Forces Command (Airborne)

Monday,  27 May 2002

Fighters Honor Fallen Soldiers

A soldier struck a triangle on Monday after each time a speaker read the name of a Special Forces soldier or veteran who had died during the past year. One of the rings was for Buzz Harriman’s son.


Chesley F. 'Buzz' Harriman, left, and Steve Harriman look at names of people who died in combat. 

The Harrimans are the father and brother of 

Chief Warrant Officer 

Stanley Harriman

who was killed in action in Afghanistan. 

Staff photo by Ethan Hyman 

Harriman, who is 66 years old and lives in Hope Mills, served two tours in Vietnam. During the height of the war in the late 1960s, he fought with the 1st Cavalry Division and flew helicopters. He retired from the Army after a 20-year career. 

His son, Stanley, a 34-year- old Chief Warrant Officer, was killed in March in Afghanistan while serving with the 3rd Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg.

‘‘I spent 20 years in,’’ Harriman said. ‘‘You never think that something like this is going to happen to you. It’s always somebody else, but the odds catch up with you after a while.’’

Harriman made his comments after the Special Forces Memorial Day Ceremony 2002 on the plaza at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command headquarters.

‘‘Stan was very special to the family,’’ Harriman said. ‘‘He was a good soldier, loved what he was doing. If he had to go, he went exactly the way he’d have wanted to go.’’

During the ceremony, taps was played and wreaths were laid on the plaza, which is covered with memorial stones honoring special operations units throughout U.S. history.

‘‘Memorial Day now gives a new significance to me and my family and his brothers and sisters,’’ Harriman said.

Peter Astalos, a Retired Sergeant Major

 salutes as Taps is played during the 

Special Forces Memorial Day 

Ceremony at Meadows Field.

Staff photo by Ethan Hyman 

Jimmy Dean, a retired Master Sergeant, read the names of more than 100 men who had worn the Green Beret and died since Memorial Day in 2001. It’s called the Last Manifest. 

The names included soldiers who died in Afghanistan, in training ccidents or in car crashes, and veterans who eluded death on foreign battlefields.

‘‘As we read the Last Manifest, there are some of you and some of the men whose names that you hear that will be remembered and you will know them,’’ said Col. Manny Diemer, chief of staff of U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg. ‘‘There are many that you will not. But we will know this of all of them. They were Special Forces soldiers. They wore the green beret with honor, and they will always remain a part of our heritage.’’

The names included Sgt. Eugene Vance Jr., the 19th Special Forces Group soldier from West Virginia who died May 20 while on patrol in eastern Afghanistan when his unit came under heavy fire. His funeral was this week.

Also among the names was Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory, 32, a 5th Special Forces Group soldier who died in December in Afghanistan. Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry attended his funeral in Cheshire, Mass.

‘‘This is a year that has seen Special Forces doing what it has been designed to do for the last 50 years,’’ Diemer said after the ceremony. ‘‘This is absolutely a unique year, and it’s a time for us to do a lot of reflection.’’

During the Last Manifest, Col. Andy Anderson heard the name of a Special Forces veteran he knew who went to Vietnam five times and served in one of the most secret units in the war. The veteran died of cancer.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Special Forces at Fort Bragg. The founders included World War II veterans who served in the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. ‘‘We’ve probably had some names read here today that could have been OSS veterans and early members of Special Forces when this course first started in 1952 up until a guy who was just killed by enemy fire last week in Afghanistan,’’ Anderson said.

Diemer said, ‘‘If nothing else, I know that one of these days there will be some people standing right here, and they will hear my name, and somebody out there will remember. ‘Yeah. I knew that guy, and I was proud to serve with him.’’’

By Henry Cuningham Military editor, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer

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