FORT HOOD, Texas – In the cold morning hours of April 22, the entire 3rd Cavalry Regiment competed in a commemorative race in honor of Spc. Vanessa Guillén.
The day marked the first anniversary of his murder, and it was important for the 3rd Cav. Regt. Commander Col. Kevin Bradley let the whole regiment honor his memory.
“She was a sister, a daughter, but also a soldier and a member of the Brave Rifles. We wanted to… remember her as one of our teammates and make that part of our tradition, part of our history. Bradley said. “What we wanted to do today is demonstrate our ownership and take responsibility for this gate to maintain it, care for it and protect it in the future.”
April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Bradley has emphasized the importance of being there for other soldiers who have stepped forward and those who suffer in silence.
“We have victims inside, we have survivors in our formation who suffer in silence and it’s up to us to have the moral courage to step in, prevent harassment, step in and protect our teammates. because combat is a team sport. and we need everyone on the team to feel like part of the team and loved by the members of this organization, ”Bradley said. “We all have a role to play in ending harassment and eradicating assault, then caring for our family members and training survivors.
Three wreaths were laid at the foot of the Vanessa Guillén gate by members of her squadron. The first crown represented her dedication to duty, the second represented Guillén’s commitment to excellence and the third represented her caring nature and the impact she left on the 3rd Cav. Regt.
“Vanessa’s death was a tragic event, and one the regiment will never forget, and that is why we are leading this race. Vanessa loved to run, and that’s one way we can honor and remember her today, ”he said.
Bradley knows that Vanessa’s memory and impact will live on in the 3rd Cav. Regt. fully intends to honor its legacy by maintaining the newly dedicated site.
“The 3rd Cavalry Regiment manages this gate and we take possession of it. We will never forget Vanessa as we take care of this site every day and it is part of the Brave Rifles legacy. His legacy is the People First initiatives that have led to building trust and team cohesion throughout the regiment and throughout the army, ”he said.
After the crown was laid, taps were played. Then, after the dark moment, the more than 3,500 soldiers of the 3rd Cav. Regt. went on to finish the race.
“These are the three things we’re trying to do today: remember, take ownership and raise awareness,” Bradley said of why they raced. “Vanessa’s legacy is a foundation for building mutual trust and cohesive teams across the regiment. We are committed to ensuring the safety, respect and dignity of every team member and to preventing harassment and sexual assault. “