Billings Memorial Day Speaker Remembers Ramadi, Iraq
He's a Sidney, Montana native who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and continues to serve as a firefighter in Billings. Former US Army Captain Travis Norby remembered fallen comrades during a Memorial Day address at Mountview Cemetery in Billings on Monday.
After telling his personal story of how he ended up heading to North Dakota for college, and eventually joining the Army National Guard before joining ROTC at Montana State University- Norby remembered a fallen soldier he served with in Ramadi, Iraq: 1st Lieutenant Tyler Brown.
He described Lt. Brown as a "stud" who took honor grad of his class at Ranger School. According to a transcript of Norby's remarks, he then added:
This was our battalions first KIA. Of all the men to lose. We've only been here for 3 weeks, we are just getting started! The Second Brigade, Second Infantry Division lost 93 men, First Battalion Ninth Infantry Regiment lost 18, and Delta Company 2-72 Armor the company I would go onto command lost 8. 6 of whom were under my command. One day when I was in command after I had lost my first soldier I stopped by my Battalion Commanders office. We to talked about the process of when someone is KIA, and what was required of everyone. At some point the conversation turned more sentimental and the thing that he said was, "Each one of these leaves a black mark on my heart..."
Norby concluded his remarks with a quote from Joseph Galloway, the reporter who was at the "Battle of the Ia Drang Valley" in Vietnam 1965. He and Hal Moore later went on to write the book "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" which was also turned into a movie.
Here's the Galloway quote he shared: They call those who fought in World War II 'The Greatest Generation.' The Vietnam veterans may not be the greatest generation but by God they are the greatest of their generation. They did their duty and they never turned their backs on our country, even when the country turned its backs on them. If there is one word that captures them it is honorable.
Norby then added this:
I would like to think that the Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom are the best of our generation as well...
By the way, we interviewed Travis Norby for our special Monday morning statewide radio broadcast. Listen to the full audio of our conversation below: