For the 258 F.A Members Who Fell
Memorial Day is a day that America traditionally marks the sacrifices that members of the armed forces make in defensive of the United States and to ensure the concept of freedom is not taken away by zealots. Originally Memorial Day was called Decoration day and it was organized by a fraternal organization that composed of Veterans of the Union Army, Union Navy, Marines and the U.S Revenue Cutter Service. Decoration Day was first observed in 1868 as a day to decorate the graves of those who died in the American Civil War. As time went on both the Union and Confederate states merged the date of their observance of the Civil War dead and the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day in 1882. Eventually, Memorial Day became a day to remember the members of the Armed Forces who died in every war. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Act which moved some holiday dates from their original observance day to a convenient Monday. Thus, Memorial Day was moved from its original observance day of May 30th to the last Monday in May.
258 Field Artillery Charlie Battery
The 258 Field Artillery AKA Washington Greys have a long linage since being established by General George Washington; the unit has been involved in every war since the Revolution War. The C- Battery of the 258 FA has taken casualties on the recent War on Terror. Casualties were taken during the attack on New York City’s World Trade Center Plaza, In Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II and in Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom.
The first casualty was Sgt. Larry Bowman which occurred on September 11, 2001. Sgt. Bowman was part of C-Battery for two years before he fell during the attack on New York City’s World Trade Center Plaza. He recently became an ordained minister and was working to creating his own ministry. He did security work at the WTC on nights and weekends he stayed at his post and helped people escape the towers like a true soldier.
Sgt. Joseph Behnke fell on December 4, 2004 in Iraq. Sgt. Behnke was a long time member of the 258 F.A who used his carpentry skills to help his fellow soldiers. In Iraq he built bedframes, and book cases to ensure unit members were comfortable. He built the Tactical Operation Center (TOC) and shelves for the Como and supply rooms. Sgt. Behnke was a weapons expert and during the pre-deployment training he helped me become an expert on the .50 caliber machine gun and the M249 squad automatic weapon. He was always pleasant, I’ve never seen him raise his voice and he always helped if you needed it.
SFC. McKay fell on June 26, 2008 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was also a long time member of the 258 F.A serving since 1977. By the time he fell, SFC. McKay had over thirty years of service. I’ve known SFC. McKay since the first year I enlisted. I got to know him better when he became my squad leader during the unit’s deployment at West Point Military Academy as part of the homeland defense initiative Operation Noble Eagle. He was a quite person who never raised his voice; he taught me a lot of stuff. Plus he is the only working man I know who brought two houses in the same year. McKay was also an vivid bicycle rider. He competed and won may bicycle races as a member of the Flying Tigers racing bicycle club. He was good enough to be sponsored. SFC. McKay also deployed with the unit in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II; before deploying to Afghanistan SFC. McKay was on active state duty patrolling Grand Central Station and Pennsylvania Station. The deployment was individual and he was assigned to the 101 Calvary Regiment.
Sgt. Andrew Seabrooks fell on June 21, 2008 he was also a long time member of the 258 F.A. I remember him as being a fun guy who would always do something to piss off his section chief. Sgt. Seabrooks also organized parties to help unit members relive some stress during those stressful months of the 2004 pre-deployment activity. He followed a similar path of being deployed with the unit at West Point Military Academy in support of Operation Noble Eagle and he was with the unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom II in Iraq. Sgt. Seabrooks decided to accept the individual deployment to Afghanistan to make enough money to keep his home from being foreclosed during the housing crash. He was also assigned to the 101Calvary Regiment.
Other Fallen Members of the 258 Field Artillery
SPC. Roshan Singh; World Trade Center September 11, 2001
1st Lieutenant Daniel Farkas; Afghanistan July 4, 2008
Sgt.Deon Taylor; Afghanistan October 22, 2008