Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sgt. 1st Class John Beale Honored by Cedartown-Based Troop A, 108th Cavalry

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard.


Crystal Beale is joined by Command Sgt. Major John Ballenger and Lt. Col. Christopher Powell, command team of the 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry in
dedicating a training field at the Cedartown, Ga. Armory in memory of Sgt. 1st Class John Beale who was killed in action in Afghanistan June 4, 2009.
Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the Cedartown-based Troop A, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry stood at attention for the dedication of a training field in honor of Sergeant 1st Class John C. Beale who was killed in Afghanistan June 4, 2009. The dedication was attended by family, friends, fellow Soldiers and Veterans who served with Sgt. 1st Class Beale.

Sergeant John Beale in 2005 with Troop E, 108th Cavalry in Griffin, Ga. preparing to mobilize a relief convoy to Mississippi following
Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Photo by Spc. William Carraway

“Sgt. 1st Class Beale embodied the attributes of the United States Army Noncommissioned Officer’s Creed,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Powell, commander of the 1-108th Cavalry. “His professionalism, leadership, selflessness, courage, technical and tactical competence as a 19D Cavalry Scout and love for Soldiers was unmatched. No commander could ask for a better NCO than him.”

Powell observed that Beale balanced his service as a Soldier with his role as a husband to wife Crystal and father to children Christopher and Callie who attended the ceremony.

“As we honor Sgt. 1st Class Beale’s service and sacrifice, we also honor yours,” said Powell to Beale’s family.

Soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard's Troop A, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment stand in formation during a ceremony honoring
Sgt. 1st Class John Beale at the unit's Cedartown Armory Oct 4, 2020. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Major General Randall Simmons, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard spoke of Beale’s service and legacy. Simmons commanded the 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

“Those of us who knew Sgt 1st Class Beale hold him in a special place in our hearts,” said Simmons. “But this day is not about sad reflection, it is about a celebration of the courage and sacrifice and service of this hero.”

Simmons called Beale a consummate professional noting how approachable and welcoming he was to all Soldiers and how he was absolutely dedicated to the Soldier’s craft.

Sgt. 1st Class John Beale in 2009.
Ga. National Guard Archives.
“John was a warrior.  He served with distinction. He was a team builder who was widely respected and loved.”  Said Simmons.  “For those Soldiers going forward who will train on this field, when you feel tired, when you feel like you can give no more, if you need to draw on a source of motivation, think of the sacrifice of Sgt. 1st Class John Beale and the other fallen Rough Riders who paid the ultimate price so we could be here to move forward.”

Sergeant 1st Class Robert Freeman, who deployed with Beale in 2009 recalled leadership lessons Beale imparted as a mentor and teacher to the Soldiers of Troop A.

“Beale was in charge of all our supplies,” recalled Freeman.  Every single morning, He would literally go over every single thing we loaded,” said Freeman. “But I learned so much from that.  It made me a better NCO. He always wanted me to know my mission, and my routes. He was a constant professional and teacher.”

Crystal Beale, wife of John and long-time supporter of the 108th Cavalry thanked the Soldiers for the dedication and thanked them for their service.

“I just want to thank you all for this day,” said Beale. “I pray over every one of you and thank you that you serve.”

After sharing some of Sgt. 1st Class Beale’s favorite quotes from military history Crystal was joined by Powell and Command Sgt. Major John Ballenger, senior enlisted advisor for the 1st Squadron 108th Cavalry in revealing the sign dedicating the field in honor of Sgt 1st Class Beale. Captain Samuel Jerome, commander of Troop A, closed out the ceremony and invited Soldiers, veterans and family members to share stories and fellowship.

Following the ceremony, the armory grounds resounded with laughter as family and friends recalled the life and times of John Beale, consummate Soldier, gregarious personality, and friend to everyone he met.

Sgt. 1st Class John Beale's family and military family joined together for the dedication of the SFC John C. Beale Field at the Cedartown Armory of Troop A,
1-108th Cavalry Oct 4, 2020. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.