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Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, friends and Family members gathered for a memorial ceremony at Marshall Auditorium Jan. 13 to pay their respects to two Rangers who lost their lives in combat. Sgt. Patrick Hawkins, 25, and Spc. Cody Patterson, 24, assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were killed Oct. 6, 2013, by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lt. Col. Patrick Ellis, commander of 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regt., said Hawkins and Patterson were true examples of what the regiment stands for and sacrificed their lives to uphold the mission.
They chose to be a part of something bigger than themselves, they chose to lead a life that could have been easily safe and comfortable, but decided to walk down a path where they would be challenged everyday, Ellis said. They both participated in numerous trips overseas and chose to remain in the regiment and knew that they would deploy again.
Capt. Peter Leszczynski, commander of B Co., offered words of encouragement to their Families, describing both Hawkins and Patterson as great role models because of their upbringing.
The Ranger Creed picked up where you left off and was lived to the letter until Pat and Codys final moments, Leszczynski said. Both refused to leave a fallen comrade to the hands of the enemy and both fought on to the Ranger objective knowing they may have been the lone survivor. Hawkins enlisted from his hometown of Carlisle, Pa., in February 2010 and completed one station unit training at Fort Benning as an Infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. Upon graduation he was assigned to B Co., in September 2010, where he served as a rifleman, gun team leader and Ranger team leader. Hawkins is survived by his wife, Brittanie, and his parents, Roy and Shelia Hawkins.
Friend and fellow Ranger Sgt. Luke Ryan said Hawkins possessed the duality of courageous warrior and compassionate comrade from the moment they entered the battalion together. He said he aspired to follow Hawkins example of being a loving son and husband.
Patrick was a great Ranger all around, he said. I often see a regiment turn regular boys into great men, but Patrick Hawkins was that rare breed of man that makes this regiment great.
Patterson enlisted from his hometown of Philomath, Ore., in January 2012 and completed one station unit training at Fort Benning as an Infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. He was later assigned to B Co., in November 2012, where he served as a rifleman. Patterson is survived by his mother, Nancy Wilson, his father, Randy Patterson and siblings Taylor Patterson, Nicole Patterson, Letitia Williams, Elijah Williams, Kapriel Wilson and Mara Wilson.
Spc. Nicholas Terry described Patterson as kind, fearless, intelligent friend who met few strangers and was an avid sports fan.
Cody James Patterson was a son, friend, a Ranger and most importantly, our brother, he said. Hell always live on as an Airborne Ranger in the sky for those of us who had the honor of knowing him and for those future Rangers to come.