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Monday, April 20, 2009

JSOTF-P Group Photo

Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
Headquarters Photo
April 2009

NCO honors fallen servicemen with painted memorial wall

Lieutenant Lara R. Bollinger
Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines Public Affairs

ZAMBOANGA, Republic of the Philippines – A U.S. Army Non-Commissioned Officer was recognized Sunday for her work on a mural honoring fallen comrades from the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines, based at Camp Navarro.

Staff Sgt. Rose Wattenbarger, who is deployed to the Philippines from the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., painted a pastel-toned sunset on the ocean as a backdrop to the photos of the 15 servicemen who have died supporting Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines. Above, a quote written by the sergeant reads: “The sun has set on your lives but not your memories. Fallen, but not forgotten. Operation Enduring Freedom, Philippines.”

"I don’t want us to forget the lives of these men,” Wattenbarger said. “Their lives, memories and service should never be forgotten.”

For Wattenbarger, the mission was personal because one of the fallen servicemen, Spc. Scott J. Mullen, was a friend of hers. Mullen, a U.S. Army psychological operations specialist assigned to 5th Battalion, 4th PSYOP Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., died of injuries sustained from a non-combat related injury while supporting OEF-P in 2005.

“This mural was a personal investment for me,” she said. “Scotty was my friend, so I wanted to honor him as well as all our fallen comrades with an artistic piece that held real symbolism and meaning to me and the members of JSOTF-P.”

According to Wattenbarger, the painted ocean symbolizes the mission of OEF-P, since some of the men died in an MH-47E helicopter crash during routine training over the ocean in February 2002. She said the pastel shades in the clouds around the sunset represent the lingering light and memories that remain after the sun has set on the lives of the fallen.

As a testament to her artistic passion and dedication, Wattenbarger completed the mural in 31 hours over the course of two consecutive days.

“A few months ago I put out a feeler for putting finishing touches on the JSOTF memorial wall, and ultimately Master Sgt. Wattenbarger took on the project by herself,” said JSOTF-P Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Randall. “I think it’s very appropriate, and truly honors the guys who lost their lives here.”

The mural is located inside the JSOTF-P Headquarters building on Camp Navarro.

JSOTF-P remembers the brave men who lost their lives:

SSG Kerry W. Frith, USA, February 21, 2002
SGT Jeremy D. Foshee, USA, February 21, 2002
SSG James P. Dorrity, USA, February 21, 2002
SSgt. Juan M. Ridout, USAF, February 21, 2002
CPT Bartt D. Owens , USA, February 21, 2002
MAJ Curtis D. Feistner, USA, February 21, 2002
SSG Bruce A. Rushforth Jr., USA, February 21, 2002
SGT Thomas F. Allison, USA, February 21, 2002
MSgt. William L. McDaniel II, USAF, February 21, 2002
CW2 Jody L. Egnor, USA, February 21, 2002
SFC Mark W. Jackson, USA, October 2, 2002
SFC Robert K. McGee, USA, July 1, 2004
SPC Scott J. Mullen, USA, October 14, 2005
CPL Timothy D. Lewis, USMC, February 15, 2007
SSG Joseph F. Curreri , USA, October 26, 2007