Friday, April 11, 2008
2-69th Armor Regt. Soldiers Remember Fallen Comrade
By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers gathered to honor a fallen comrade of 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment at the chapel on Forward Operating Base Rustimiyah April 9.
Sgt. Dayne Dhanoolal, from Trinidad, was a driver in Company E, the battalion’s engineer company. The company’s responsibilities include route clearance of improvised explosive devices.
“Sgt. Dhanoolal was talented and confident,” said Lt. Col. Troy Perry, from Belfast, Maine, commander of 2-69th Armor Regt. “He loved the Army and he knew the dangers. He was the bravest of the brave.”
Dhanoolal, who was 26 years old, was killed when an explosively-formed penetrator hit his vehicle March 31 in Baghdad.
In his comments, Perry recalled an instance when Dhanoolal received injuries in a combat related incident. Perry spoke to Dhanoolal when he was recovering from his injuries.
“When I saw him, he told me, ‘Sir, I was just doing my job and I’m ready for the next mission,’” Perry remembered.
Dhanoolal enlisted in the Army Sept. 18, 2002. He was later assigned to 2-69th Armor Regt. and deployed with the unit during the battalion’s 2005 and 2007 deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During the memorial service, Dhanoolal smiled at the crowd in images projected on a screen from the current deployment.
“He brought the best out of all of us with his infectious smile,” Perry said. “We are all better people because we had the honor of serving with him.”
“He always had a joke, a song, or a speech to lighten the mood of everyone around him,” said Capt. Stewart Bailey, from Yelm, Wash., Company E commander.
Bailey said Dhanoolal was a caring leader, exceptional Soldier, a friend to Soldiers and leaders of Company E, and a dedicated husband.
“He always talked about the great plans and the future he had with his wife,” Bailey said.
The fallen hero is survived by his wife, Kynesha.
One of Dhanoolal’s best friends, Sgt. Larry Parker, from Baker City, Ore., talked to the large audience about the character of his comrade-in-arms.
“He was one of the most caring men I have ever met,” Parker said. “He would give and give no matter what he had to sacrifice.”
At the end of his speech, Parker talked, not to the crowd, but to his fallen comrade.
“I will always hold you close to my heart and I’ll never forget you,” Parker told Dhanoolal. “It’s been fun, brother. I love you.”
Dhanoolal’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, a Meritorious Unit Citation and a Combat Action Badge.
The 2-69th Armor Regt. is currently attached to 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. The unit is assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.