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Funds needed to build monument to 'Screaming Eagles'

Jul. 12, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Artist rendering of the Screaming Eagle Aviation Memorial, planned for Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Artist rendering of the Screaming Eagle Aviation Memorial, planned for Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Screaming Eagle Aviation Association)
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The Screaming Eagle aviation soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) have flown and died and become legend in decades of missions, from Quang Tri province, Vietnam, to Kunar province, Afghanistan.

What’s missing from the astounding history of the 101st Airborne is a memorial to the aviation soldiers on their home terrain of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Four men are on a mission to fix that, and they’re calling out to Screaming Eagles, past and present.

They are working toward a memorial to be dedicated to the Screaming Eagle aviation soldiers of the 101st, and the names of their hundreds of fallen brethren will be inscribed on a wall at the site.

“We’re an all-volunteer force of about four individuals trying to make this happen,” said retired Col. J. Scott Schisser of the nonprofit Screaming Eagle Aviation Association, which works to support the soldiers and families of the 101st and 159th Combat Aviation Brigades. “The memorial is long overdue, and all of the elements are now in place.”

The design for the memorial is nearly complete, and the garrison commander has approved land at Campbell Army Airfield for the memorial site, at the intersection of Glider Road and Wickham Avenue.

Now the SEAA needs about $600,000 to build it, and it will come solely from donations, Schisser said.

The SEAA hopes to break ground for the memorial, appropriately, around next Memorial Day. But the time frame will depend on how fundraising goes. The group wants to make sure there are assets to build and also sustain it, Schisser said.

When it is complete, you’ll have a ground view of an obelisk with an eagle taking flight.

“ ‘An eagle has soared’ is a reference to a Screaming Eagle aviator who has lost their life,” Schisser said. “There is a lot of symbolism.”

Any Screaming Eagles who see the memorial from the air will recognize the shape as their own 101st patch.

At one end of the site will be a curved wall, representing the upper part of patch. The wall will be inscribed with the names of the fallen.

The memorial will honor those who died in war and in peace.

“If you’re a Screaming Eagle aviator and you’re out there executing a night-vision-goggle air assault in peacetime, it’s just as deadly without bullets flying as with bullets flying, just by the very nature of what you’re doing,” Schisser said.

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