‘Dagger’ Soldiers remember fallen friend
A Fallen Soldier Battle Cross stands at Morris Hill Chapel at the memorial service of Cpl. Bobby Sonnenburg, cavalry scout, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., who died as a result of injuries sustained in a training accident at NTC in February. Sonnenburg was remembered by peers and leaders as having a generous spirit, easy smile and strong desire for self-improvement.
Story by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
2ABCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Soldiers and leaders from across the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division gathered March 28 at Morris Hill Chapel to remember a fallen hero and celebrate his life.
Cpl. Robert "Bobby" Sonnenburg, a cavalry scout with a combat deployment to Iraq serving with Troop C, 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd ABCT, succumbed to injuries sustained in a training accident during the brigade's recent rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
"Bobby was a true and honest man," said Sgt. Jeffrey Thomas. "He lived for the Army, his Family and his friends. He had a smile – a tilted-head smile – and a laugh that could motivate anyone throughout the hardest times."
Sonnenburg's death reinforced the fact that even without an enemy to engage, the risks that come with being a Soldier are tangible and omnipresent.
"As those who train to fight the nation's wars, we struggle the most with death outside of combat as if to believe we can control every factor," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Powell, commander, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "The risks in our training are real, and the sacrifice for the freedom we defend becomes personal when reality and sacrifice are joined."
How Sonnenburg died is only a minute fraction of his legacy. Thomas and his other friends and leaders in the squadron spoke of his infectious laughter, easy sense of humor and generous nature – something that was in evidence even after he lost his life.
"He had a way of brightening the room with his voice, (his friends) said, always hopeful, ever optimistic that tomorrow would be better than the past," said Chaplain (Capt.) Robert Fry, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "Even in his death, through organ donation, he has given life to five other people, and from his passing, (he) has created a bond with his Family and many of his friends that will last a lifetime."
On top of his easygoing and kind nature, Sonnenburg was remembered as a conscientious Soldier, one of the few among all Americans who raised his right hand to stand between his country and those who wish to do it harm.
"He was a Trooper of the 'Longknife' Squadron, part of the 1 percent of this nation that has answered the call to arms, and every day did his duty," Powell said.
Thomas, one of Sonnenburg's noncommissioned officers, agreed.
"Bobby gave every day a new try and worked harder and harder every day," he remembered.
Sonnenburg's troop commander said his fallen Soldier's life would continue to be remembered and celebrated within the ranks of the Longknife Squadron and beyond.
"Bobby had decided that he wanted to re-enlist while he was at NTC and continue his service for his country – instead, he has re-enlisted others in life that he never knew by providing them a long-awaited need," said Capt. Terence Gaspich. "He continues to live through those individuals, in our thoughts and in our hearts. He will not be remembered for his final hours, but all of the years of happiness, doing what he loved and sacrifices he made so that others remained safe."