Division honors fallen Soldier
Story by: Mollie Miller
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The 1st Infantry Division Family honored a fallen "Big Red One" Soldier July 19 during a memorial ceremony at Morris Hill Chapel.
Spc. Richard Sandoval, petroleum supply specialist, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, died July 1 from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident in Junction City. He was 21.
"(Sandoval) was a hard working and dedicated young Soldier … a rising star in our Echo Company formation," said Lt. Col. Brian Hughes, 2nd GSAB, 1st Avn. Regt. commander. "The sting of the loss of this Soldier will be felt for a long time."
Sandoval was born in Indio, Calif., and enlisted in the Army shortly after his high school graduation. He arrived at Fort Riley in June 2011 following an assignment with the 3rd Aviation Battalion in Korea.
Capt. Nicholas Bingham, Sandoval's company commander, described his young Soldier as a quiet man whom the company could count on to make its missions successful.
"We knew with (Sandoval) on the team, failure would not be an option," he said.
The company commander said Sandoval proved his importance to the "Eliminator" team over and over again during a recent rotation to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. A quiet professional, Sandoval never complained as the desert temperatures soared and the work became hard and uncomfortable.
Cpl. Kimberly Walker offered a tribute to her fellow Eliminator, celebrating Sandoval's life and thanking him for serving his country when many others do not.
"This is not a goodbye," she said. "You will always be in our hearts as you watch over our lives."
Hughes offered his thanks to the local emergency personnel who tried to save Sandoval following the vehicle accident. The commander urged the "Fighting Eagle" team to always remember the young Soldier from California and the great hole his death left in the formation.
"We must learn from this and double down on our efforts to keep each other safe," Hughes said.
Sandoval's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and the Army Service Ribbon.