Local groups looking to honor fallen Clark County soldiers are resuming their series of events aimed at ensuring that the community remembers its lost military members.
The “Never To Be Forgotten” ceremonies — hosted by the Community Military Appreciation Committee, the Patriot Guard Riders and the American Veterans Post No. 16 — will start back up this month, with the next ceremony on Saturday.
The event will recognize two fallen soldiers from Clark County: Army Sgt. Earl D. Werner, killed in action in 2009 in Rashid, Iraq, and Army Sgt. Bryce D. Howard, killed in action in 2007 in Jaji, Afghanistan.
Both men died on Aug. 28. The ceremony marks the anniversary of their deaths.
Lynn Vaughn, Southwest Washington district captain of the Patriot Guard Riders, said that the “Never To Be Forgotten” ceremonies started in 2018 and will continue to be held every three years. The series recognizes the 15 military members from Clark County who died overseas fighting in conflicts after Sept. 11, 2001.
“We contact the families again every three years and tell them we’re conducting the ceremonies,” Vaughn said. “It’s individualized for each of the 15.”
This month marks the second cycle of ceremonies. It started with a ceremony on Aug. 13, to honor Marine Lance Cpl. Kane Funke.
“We as a community, and members of CMAC and Patriot Guard Riders have now obligated ourselves to ensure these 15 will never be forgotten,” Vaughn said.
Saturday’s event will include the families of the two soldiers, whose names are engraved on the bottom right corner of the Clark County Veterans War Memorial, as well as any community members who wish to attend.
Members of the public are encouraged to arrive at the memorial site, located at Fort Vancouver Way and McClellan Drive at the Fort Vancouver National Site, at 12:30 p.m. for a 1 p.m. start time. The event will conclude at the families’ direction.
According to an obituary published in the Military Times, Werner, 38, died when his convoy was struck by an armor-piercing explosive. He’d been on his third deployment with the Oregon National Guard and had received the Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Badge.
An obituary for Howard, 24, states that he was a technical engineer of the 864th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade. He was one of three soldiers who died in a suicide bombing while constructing a bridge in Jaji.