ISAF Commander Bids Farewell to Fallen Troops

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2011 — The U.S. mil­i­tary must remain com­mit­ted to the free­dom, peace and sta­bil­i­ty of Afghanistan, the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force com­man­der said today.

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen returned to his Kab­ul head­quar­ters after see­ing off and pay­ing respects to the “mag­nif­i­cent troops” who died Aug. 6 when their coali­tion CH-47 Chi­nook heli­copter crashed, killing 30 ISAF ser­vice mem­bers — includ­ing 25 spe­cial oper­a­tions per­son­nel — and eight Afghan com­man­dos. All ISAF ser­vice mem­bers on board were from the Unit­ed States.

“Today we hon­or the lives and ser­vice of our brave Amer­i­cans and their valiant Afghan broth­ers in arms, who fought coura­geous­ly against the ene­mies of the free­dom and secu­ri­ty of both our nations,” Allen said.

“In life they were com­rades in arms and in death they are bound for­ev­er in this vital cause,” the gen­er­al added. “We cher­ish this self­less sac­ri­fice.”

The remains are being flown tonight to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, offi­cials said.

Allen paid con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies and friends of those who were killed and pledged to sup­port them through the dif­fi­cult days ahead.

“They too have made enor­mous sac­ri­fices and we also hon­or them as we move for­ward,” Allen said.

The gen­er­al said ISAF would con­tin­ue to relent­less­ly pres­sure the ene­my and devel­op the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces so that “on their shoul­ders they can defeat this insur­gency and bring last­ing and endur­ing peace to this his­toric land and this great peo­ple.”

Allen recalled the lines of Lau­rence Binyon’s World War I poem, “For the Fall­en.”

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years con­demn; At the going down of the sun and in the morn­ing; We will remem­ber them.”

Allen added, “We will remem­ber them … We will pre­vail.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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