Soldiers from the 34th Military Police Company hosted a July 14 ceremony in Stillwater to dedicate a memorial to fallen comrades Spc. Daniel P. Drevnick, Spc. James D. Wertish and Spc. Carlos E. Wilcox.
The three soldiers were killed after their base in Basra, Iraq, was attacked by indirect fire on July 16, 2009.
Drevnick, 22, of Woodbury, had planned to get a degree in law enforcement upon returning from his deployment. Drevnick felt that his unit was part of his family and said he was happy to be back with family, upon returning to Iraq after a two-week R and R.
Wertish, 20, of Olivia, Minn., loved snowmobiles and working on his family farm. Fellow soldiers said he would give you the shirt off his back and that they could always count on him to improve their day with his humor.
Wilcox, 27, of Cottage Grove, a health care specialist, had plans to continue in the medical field by going to medical school and becoming a doctor. His fellow soldiers described him as a good friend that was always there to take care of anyone who was hurting or had a medical issue.
Nearly three years later, family, friends and soldiers, past and present, joined together to remember and celebrate the lives lost.
“Whenever anyone pauses by this memorial to reflect or remember,” said Spc. Nicholas Pedersen, of Little Canada. “It is my hope that we will not simply mourn the immeasurable loss suffered, but also recall the lives they lived and the incomparable level of dedication they all displayed.”
The memorial was designed to replicate the one used to remember the three fallen warriors at a service held in Basra.
Although it’s been three years since they were lost to enemy fire, they are remembered daily.
“I think about it every day,” said Pedersen. “I use it to empower myself to live a life worth their sacrifice, so that I know they didn’t die in vain.”