Gabriel Field Legacy Project
SFA Chapter 38 has taken on a project, which has been years in the planning process, and moved it to reality. On the grounds of Gabriel field at the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), each member of the unit that has passed away due to combat or training for combat since 1988 is memorialized with a Red Maple tree and memorial stone. In contrast, the approximately 800 names of Soldiers lost due to the Vietnam War have all been represented by a single magnolia tree with no individual names. Our intent is to recognize them individually. We have worked with Hunt Memorials out of Nashville to design a monument that will contain all of those names. The granite has been ordered and Chapter 38 paid a down payment to keep the process rolling. Our estimated total is $385,000.
Gabriel Field is dedicated to Specialist 5 James (Kimo) Gabriel, Jr. On April 8, 1962, Specialist 5 Gabriel became one of the first Green Beret killed in action in Vietnam. The field traces its lineage to the Gabriel Demonstration Area and the Special Forces demonstration teams first established in 1962 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The present field has been in use since June 16, 1988, when Major General Teddy G. Allen and then Colonel Harley C. Davis uncased 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) colors after the unit relocated from Fort Bragg. The ground, which had been unofficially referred to as Gabriel Field for over 20 years, was officially dedicated on May 22, 2010.
On March 12, 1989, 11 members of 3rd Battalion, 5th SFG(A) were killed along with 4 aircrew members near Tucson Arizona while conducting a night infiltration exercise. Memorial trees and plaques for each member were planted thus starting the 5th SFG tradition to honor those who were killed either in combat operations or training for combat. To date there are 69 trees honoring those that made that sacrifice. An additional 30 Soldiers are recognized at the Soldiers Monument, whose deaths were not combat related but stand as a testament to their service, the nation and the Unit. The nearly 800 Special Forces Soldiers who died during the Vietnam war are represented by a single tree and plaque.
The Chapter took the concept plan that was provided to us by the Unit and began the process of finding someone to take on the project. We hired Hunt Memorial out of Nashville Tennessee due to their reputation and ability to see the project from beginning to end. We designated that all the materials used in the project be from America.
After receiving the material bid, Chapter 38 made a $100,000 downpayment out of the Chapter’s general fund. All materials for the Vietnam Memorial should arrive by November-December 2024. It is feasible that construction could begin after the Gold Star Ceremony 2025.
The second phase of the project will be to construct an entrance way to Gabriel Field on the east side of the field in the form of arch. It will be similar to the Roman Victory Arches, a direct reflection of the Unit’s nickname the “Legion.
The Chapter is totally committed to this project. We have set a goal to raise the estimated $385,000 it will take. We would encourage all “Legionaries” and Special Forces Soldiers to help with this project. No donation is too small. You can donate on our website at sfa38.org or by mailing a check to SFA Chapter 38, PO Box 223, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Any questions about this project can be directed to Mike Cunningham at email@example.com