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Task Force Warrior Conducts Final Roll Call

By SPC Jacqueline Robinson, NJ Army National Guard Soldier    

August 3, 2019
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Task Force Warrior Soldiers salute the flag during CPT Joseph S. Cecere III’s Memorial Service August 2nd, 2019 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CPT Cecere was the commander for Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment. (New Jersey Army National Guard photo by SPC Derek Vasquez)

Heavy footsteps sank into the floor as the room filled with Soldiers gathering in honor and remembrance of CPT Joseph Cecere, on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti August 2, 2019. CPT Cecere was Charlie Company Commander of the NJ Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment in Djibouti, serving as Task Force Warrior, a part of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. July 29, 2019 CPT Joseph Cecere passed away, leaving behind memories that will live on in a family of Soldiers that will never forget him.

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Task Force Warrior Soldiers view photos of CPT Joseph S. Cecere III during his Memorial Service August 2nd, 2019 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CPT Cecere was the commander for Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment. (New Jersey Army National Guard photo by SPC Derek Vasquez)

A slideshow of photos flashed across the screen portraying a small glimpse of the large impact he had on many lives. The National Anthem played and the Honor Guard posted the colors as CPT Jennyne Jenkins, Task Force Warrior Chaplain, took her place at the podium to say a prayer for all those affected by the loss of CPT Cecere, “We pray for the family and for all those who loved him. Grant them strength for the days ahead…”

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LTC Richard T. Karcher, Task Force Warrior Commander, speaks to 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment Soldiers during CPT Joseph S. Cecere III’s Memorial Service August 2, 2019 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CPT Cecere was the commander for Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment. (New Jersey Army National Guard photo by SPC Derek Vasquez)

After the invocation LTC Richard Karcher, Task Force Warrior Battalion Commander, made his way to the podium and paused as he stared out into the crowd of Soldiers. As they sat shoulder to shoulder looking up at LTC Karcher for words of guidance and comfort, he delivered just that. He spoke of CPT Cecere’s motivated ability to lead and the care and dedication he had for his Soldiers. He talked about his decision to place CPT Cecere in charge of Charlie Company, and how he knew he was the man for the job because of his passion, perseverance and honorable character. Towards the end of his speech LTC Karcher displayed the heart of CPT Cecere by saying, “You knew CPT Cecere was happy when he was with his troops; that’s when he was at peace, when he was with his family, whether military or back home.”

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SSG Steven Sanchirico (left), SGT Jonathan Klos (Center), and SGT Joseph Giard (Right) share stories of their late commander, CPT Joseph S. Cecere III, during his Memorial Service August 2nd, 2019 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CPT Cecere was the commander for Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment. (New Jersey Army National Guard photo by SPC Derek Vasquez)

The impact and display of CPT Cecere’s character grew throughout the room as the memorial continued on. A Task Force Warrior Charlie Company Soldier, SGT Jonathan Klos, was accompanied by SSG Steven Sanchirico and SGT Joseph Giard as he stepped toward the podium. SGT Klos was not short of stories to share about the times he’s had with CPT Cecere. He had known CPT Cecere since 2010 and blessed many ears with humorous stories of career beginnings, training mishaps and workout challenges. The meaningful words of his speech portrayed exactly who CPT Cecere was and what he cared about most when he shared, “One thing that he would always remind us, was that every night he would pray for us, his Soldiers, and our families and every single one of us sitting here today. CPT Cecere was a genuine man, and cared deeply for the Soldiers he led, through thick and thin. This is his legacy. A part of CPT Cecere will live on through us and our memories of him will not be forgotten, not only as our Captain, but as our friend.”

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CSM Keven P. Kirkpatrick, Task Force Warrior Command Sergeant Major, conducts a final roll call during CPT Joseph S. Cecere III’s Memorial Service August 2, 2019 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CPT Cecere was the commander for Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment. (New Jersey Army National Guard photo by SPC Derek Vasquez)

CSM Keven Kirkpatrick, Task Force Warrior Battalion Command Sergeant Major, marched forward to the front of the room and conducted the final roll call, “CPT Dalton…”

“Here.”

“CPT Clark…”

“Here.”

“CPT Cecere…”

Silence filled the room.

“CPT Joseph Cecere…”

Silence.

CSM Kirkpatrick gave the final roll call as Taps began to play, “CPT Joseph Sebastian Cecere.” The memorial concluded with eyes of tears and hearts of loving memories that will live on forever.

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Task Force Warrior Soldiers mourn the loss of CPT Joseph S. Cecere III during his Memorial Service August 2nd, 2019 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CPT Cecere was the commander for Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry Regiment. (New Jersey Army National Guard photo by SPC Derek Vasquez)