Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) is sponsoring a project to raise funds for the construction of the Fallen Warriors Memorial, a national monument to honor those killed in action or training since the activation of the 8th Special Forces Group (Airborne) on April 1, 1963.
There is currently no memorial recognizing the 120 Special Operations Forces (SOF) members who died in the line of duty in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) of Central and South America and the Caribbean. This fundraising effort, led by retired Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Lenaghan, will rectify that oversight.
“Over the years we’ve lost quite a few people,” said Lenaghan, deputy director of operations at SOCSOUTH. “Many have given their lives to uphold democracy in this AOR, but the American public is largely unaware of these quiet professionals and the vital role they play and have played in the defense and protection of the sovereignty of our allies in the region.”
The publicly funded project will unfold in two phases at Homestead Air Reserve Base, where SOCSOUTH is located.
Phase I, which is now halfway to reaching its estimated $45 thousand cost, will see a self-supporting wall in front of SOCSOUTH headquarters affixed with panels listing the names of the 120 memorialized SOF members. Freestanding illuminated stones commemorating those killed in action during the AOR’s four major combat operations—the Salvadoran War (El Salvador, 1979-1992), Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada, 1983), Operation Just Cause (Republic of Panama, 1989-1990) and Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti, 1994-1995)—will also be constructed in the vicinity of the American flag.
Phase II will unfold gradually as funds are raised after Phase I is completed. The memorial will be beautified during this phase, increasing its depth, width and height by adding black granite encompassing the wall. The total cost of this phase is still under bid.
“This is a sponsored but not supported endeavor,” he said. “The command is behind the idea but cannot support it financially. In order to build the memorial, it has to be built completely with funding from the private sector, but our hope is that it will become a national monument of sorts.”
All funds are being accepted through Special Operations of South Florida, Inc., a nonprofit organization created specifically for the memorial. Large donors have the option to be honored as well on an adjacent donors’ plaque.
“Special Operations Command South is responsible for Department of Defense activities including counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and counter trans-national organized crime in Latin America, so there’s an affinity there,” he said. “It’s our community and it’s our comrades—friends of ours that we’ve known over the years who have operated in Central and South America very quietly, professionally and without much fanfare. They gave their lives in the defense of democracy, but nobody knows it. I think it’s time we had some kind of memorial for them.”
Please send donations to: Special Operations of South Florida, Inc. PO Box 902213, Homestead, FL 33091-2213. For more information visit www.fallenwarriorsmemorialspecops.com.