GRAFENWOEHR, GERMANY — Three U.S. soldiers, who were killed in action while serving with the Romanian Land Forces (ROULF), were posthumously honored during a ceremony at ROULF Headquarters in Bucharest, Jan. 16. The soldiers of the 1st Bn., 4th Inf. Regt. (1-4) were attached to the ROULF, when they were killed Jan. 9, in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Jaldak. "By conferring these awards, we offer these distinctions as a sign of respect and appreciation of the sacrifice made in the name of freedom," said Lt. Gen. Teodor Frunzeti, PhD, and chief of staff of the ROULF. "The U.S. and Romanian Army servicemen train together, fight together, and honor their heroes together."
Frunzeti, conferred the Medal of Honor of the Romanian Land Forces to U.S. Army Maj. Brian Michael Mescall; the Badge of Merit, "In the Service of Peace," 3rd Class, to U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Ray Parsons and U.S. Army Cpl. Joseph Michael Hernandez.
"We are devastated by the loss of Maj. Mescall, Sgt. Parsons and Cpl. Hernandez. But we are also profoundly proud and humbled by their service and their sacrifice in the defense of our Nation and the Afghan people," said Brig. Gen. David R. Hogg, commander of the 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command. "The selfless service and commitment to duty displayed by these soldiers, their Families, and 1-4 Infantry truly reflects what being a part of the Army Family is all about. We will keep Sgt. Lands, of the 1-4, and Lt. Col. Pegulescu, of the ROULF, in our prayers, as they recover from wounds received that tough day in combat."
The 1-4 has supported the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2004. It deploys a company-size unit, during each ISAF rotation to Afghanistan. When not deployed, the 1-4 serves as the Opposing Forces at the JMTC's Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, providing realistic training for U.S. and allied soldiers preparing for deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan.
"For the ROULF to decorate our fallen soldiers with their highest honors proves there is a commitment to peace, cooperation, and camaraderie that extends beyond the battlefield," said Hogg. "We are deeply honored by the recognition given our soldiers by the Chief of Staff of the Romanian Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Frunzeti and their continued commitment to fight side by side with our Soldiers in Afghanistan."
The awards were presented to Ms. Geri Guthrie-Corn, the Charge d' Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, to be sent to the fallen soldiers' families.
"The price for the defense of freedom has never been small. We are greatly honored by the way in which the memory of our compatriots was honored," said Guthrie-Corn.