On Tuesday morning, Fort Stewart officials and soldiers gathered at Warriors Walk to dedicate a tree to fallen solider Cpl. Joseph Maciel, who died serving his country in July 2018.
Cpl. Maciel was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning. Maciel was deployed in support of the 1st Security Assistance Brigade, and died in the Tarin Kowt District, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, according to a media release from Fort Stewart.
Maciel’s family and platoon mates gathered to place the memorial white-blooming Crape Myrtle tree on Warriors Walk, bringing the total number of trees to 469. Maciel died from wounds sustained during an insider attack, the initial July 2018 media release read.
“Today we gather on this hallowed ground on Fort Stewart to dedicate the 469th tree on Warriors Walk, in honor of Cpl. Joseph Maciel,” 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas said.”
Maciel was deployed as a Grenadier in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, one of three tours currently honored at Warriors Walk. The other two include Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
To dedicate the tree, Quintas first spoke a few words, remembering and honoring Maciel.
“Joseph was larger than life,” Quintas said. “While small in stature, he had the personality of a giant. Cpl. Joseph Maciel leaves a lasting impact on soldiers in his platoon, his company, and his battalion. He was a son, brother, a dear friend, and a comrade in arms.”
Maciel’s mother and brother had the opportunity to decorate the memorial tree, placing trinkets and taking a moment of silence together to remember both their son and brother. After the ceremony, the Maciels received condolences from a long line of attendees—including several of Maciel’s platoon mates and comrades.
“What made him such a good solider, is that he was always willing to try,” said Sgt. First Class Joshua Florio. Florio was one of Maciel’s platoon leaders. “He was motivated, he had a lot of heart, and never turned down the opportunity to go above and beyond what he was told or asked to do.”
Those who remember Maciel recall his personality, his drive, and his heart. Many of those who got the opportunity to serve next to him—platoon leaders, comrades, and friends— spoke highly of him, and remember him fondly.
“He was always trying to be better,” Staff Sgt. Eddie Negron said.
“I knew Cpl. Maciel more as a friend and brother,” Sgt. Roger Ucles said. “When I initially got to the unit, we clicked immediately. He was the first friend I made. He and I shared everything together. He didn’t expect anything in return. He helped me when I needed it. That’s what I remember about him most.”
Placed across from the busiest intersection on Fort Stewart, the Crape Myrtle trees on Warriors Walk remain a living monument to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Every day it serves as a reminder of those dog-faced soldiers who served and died, Quintas said.