Never leave a fallen comrade

Ranger honors friend during annual We Will Not Forget

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Story and photos by Pvt. 1st Class Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Holiday tears up following the We Will Not Forget memorial service for Sgt. 1st Class James Hunt II, June 4, in Lumberton, N.C. Holiday served with Hunt in the Kentucky National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group. Hunt was killed in 2005 in Iraq while serving as a contractor. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Pfc. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

FRANKFORT, Ky. —“Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some.”

Rangers lead the way. It’s a common notion in today’s Army.

On June 4, a warrior in the maroon beret stood somberly over the hushed grave of Sgt. 1st Class James Hunt II, in Lumberton, N.C.

Gathering his thoughts and choking back his emotions, Kentucky National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Holiday, the hardened Soldier, the Ranger Veteran, the friend read the Ranger’s Creed.

“It was an honor to serve with him,” Hunt told the Family.

Holiday and Hunt served together for eight years in the Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group before Hunt was killed in 2005 while working as a contractor in Iraq.

Each year, the Kentucky National Guard remembers Hunt’s sacrifice and that of 20 other Kentucky Guardsmen who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Global War on Terror during the We Will Not Forget ceremonies.

“Soldiers in the Kentucky National Guard like to think of ourselves as Family,” said Spc. Christopher D. Martin, a logistics specialists from Joint Forces Headquarters who participated in Hunt’s ceremony.

“What a great way of showing just how strong of a Family we are by honoring our own fallen Soldiers,” he said.

For Holiday, the assignment of memorializing Hunt – fellow Soldier, battle buddy and friend – was not just for the Hunt Family. As the ceremony concluded and Holiday found a brief moment to be alone with his thoughts and with Hunt, tears welled in his eyes and fell from his  It was also a time for Holiday to reflect, just as his Ranger Creed says …

Kentucky National Guardsmen and the Family of Sgt. 1st Class James Hunt II, honored the fallen Soldier June 4 during the We Will Not Forget Ceremony. Since 2006, the leadership of the Kentucky National Guard visits 20 grave and memorial sites of Kentucky National Guardsmen who died in support of the Global War on Terror. Named the We Will not Forget Ceremony, a wreath is placed at each site while the Kentucky Guardsmen remember the sacrifice of our fallen heroes. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Pfc. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

“Readily I will display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.”

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