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    • New combat vehicle commemorates Soldiers’ sacrifices

      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      The U.S. Army hosted a commemorative ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to pay respects to Pvt. Robert D. Booker and Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, as well as to christen the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle, named in honor of two Soldiers’ sacrifices.

      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      The ceremony also honored the Families of Medal of Honor recipient Pvt. Booker, who died during World War II, and Distinguished Service Cross recipient Staff Sgt. Booker, who perished due to injuries sustained during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The two Families were joined by Soldiers from 34th Infantry Division and 3rd Infantry Division, units the two Bookers served in, respectively.

      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      “These men both paid the ultimate price,” said Reverend June Jeffries, the pastor of New Life Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “So we honor their service, and we honor the families from which they come. This nation is standing at a time where we need to remember that we are more united than we are separated.”

      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      The M10 Booker Combat Vehicle is a small glimpse of the U.S. Army’s ongoing effort to modernize and dominate multi-domain environments and large-scale operations. It provides infantry brigades with overwhelming firepower, while remaining maneuverable enough to keep pace with Soldiers in nearly all terrains. However, not even the Army’s most groundbreaking equipment is developed without a deep, reverent look to the past. The vehicle was named for these two Soldiers who sacrificed everything for the nation.

      The two Booker Families christened the first M10 Booker vehicle, named “Another Episode” in honor of Staff Sgt. Booker’s tank during his second deployment to the Middle East, at the end of the ceremony. Additionally, the 3rd Infantry Division Band performed during the ceremony, rendering honors and respects to the fallen Soldiers and their Families.


      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      “Soldiers need more than weapons,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Glenn A. Dean III, the program executive officer with Ground Combat Systems. “They need the indomitable wand the boundless confidence that comes from knowing they do not sacrifice needlessly or alone.”

      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      Staff Sgt. Booker, a Detroit native who enlisted in 1987, served under the 3rd Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this period of service, on April 5, 2003, Booker’s unit participated in what is now known as Thunder Run - the armored offensive into Baghdad, Iraq that resulted in the collapse of Sadam Hussein’s rule over the country.

      U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jonathon Downs

      “Booker was one of those special troops everyone in the unit knew,” said Jim Bell of Fort Knox, Kentucky, Booker’s Company Commander during Desert Storm. “I was not surprised to learn that he had matured into a fine noncommissioned officer and a superb leader. He touched my life and I’m proud to say I served with him. Booker, you will never be forgotten.”

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