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Family, friends and service members gathered to honor and celebrate the life of Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle Jr., in a memorial ceremony at Lewis North Chapel Dec. 5.
Battle, a 25-year-old native of Rocky Mount, N.C., died Nov. 13 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Staff Sergeant Battle was one of those rare noncommissioned officers who simply shined, said 1st Lt. Marcus Forrester, rear detachment commander of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., who spoke on behalf of Capt. Jefferson D. Mason, 38th Eng. Co. commander.
A tremendous leader with an intrinsic ability to perform magnanimously under pressure, Forrester said. (Battle) always displayed a positive attitude and was a deeply respected leader in his platoon, the company and the brigade.
Mason said in the days and nights that followed the tragic accident, he searched for the right words to convey the level of positive influence and the impact Battle had made on the unit.
Throughout his career, Mason said he had heard individuals describe the intangible qualities of great leaders and Soldiers as professionalism, dedication and personal courage.
Through Battles continued acts of selfless service and sacrifice, I have found these to be more than words. They are lifestyle choices. They are the qualities that our country was founded upon and they are the qualities that Staff Sgt. Battle readily displayed, said Mason.
I first met Staff Sgt. Battle when he came to the 38th Engr. Co. during our Iraq deployment in 2009 to 2010, said Sgt. George Fuller in a Soldiers tribute downrange.
Fuller said in the years following their deployment, he and Battle became best friends.
Staff Sergeant Battle was the first person I would call with good news or bad, Fuller said. We told each other everything. We had similar childhoods growing up, so we could always relate to one another. We even had a handshake to greet each other.
Fuller said it feels as though he lost his right-hand man; Battle was the first person he told that he was getting married.
He was my witness (at Fullers wedding) and held my phone while the judge led the ceremony, so that my mother could hear, Fuller said.
Staff Sergeant Battle was our brother, a brother-in-arms, said Forrester on behalf of Lt. Col. Thomas Feltey, 2-23 Inf. commander.
A brother who helped regardless of the task, who fearlessly led his men, Feltey said.
He was courageous, he added. He was our friend. He is already missed but he will never be forgotten ... May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, may the sun shine warmly on your face, and may the rain fall softly upon your fields."
Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand, Feltey said.
Staff Sergeant Rayvon Battle Jr.
Staff Sergeant Rayvon Battle Jr., of Rocky Mount, N.C., was born Aug. 28, 1987, and graduated from Northern Nash High School in 2005. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he earned the military occupational specialty 12B, Combat Engineer.
Following graduation, he arrived at JBLM in Nov. 2005, and was assigned to 1st Special Forces Group Support Battalion as a gunner. He deployed with the unit to Iraq from May 2008 to February 2009.
In September 2009, he was assigned to 38th Eng. Co., 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., as a team leader. He deployed to Iraq from February to September 2010. In November 2012, he deployed to Afghanistan as a squad leader.
Battle told relatives that he left Rocky Mount to serve in the Army in the Middle East to become a man. Known to family members as Junior, he was lauded by relatives and school officials as a young man determined to do what was needed, whether in the military or at home in Nash County. He is remembered as someone who would do the right thing, no matter how difficult, as a result of upbringing and training.
Battles military education includes: Airborne School, Combatives Level I, Warrior Leaders Course, Short Range Marksmanship Course, Combatives Level 2 and the Advanced Leaders Course (2012).
His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd award), Iraq Campaign Medal with 3 campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 2, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 2, the NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and Drivers Badge.
Battle is survived by his wife, Dorris Battle, father, Rayvon Battle Sr., and sister, Chiquita Waterman.