The 309th Military Intelligence Battalion honored the legacy of two fallen Soldiers Feb. 28, dedicating the forward operating bases of their field training sites to Human Intelligence Collector graduates Sgt. Faith Hinkley and Cpl. Bernard Corpuz.
Soldiers, Civilians, Family members and friends gathered at Site Uniform to unveil two bronze plaques in their memories.
Hinkley’s plaque is located at Site Papa, while Corpuz’s resides at Site Uniform. After the ceremony, their dedication plaques were taken to each site to be mounted on specially-donated Arizona granite boulders.
“[Hinkley and Corpuz were] students who went through the Human Intelligence Collectors’ Course taught by the 309th,” said 1st Lt. Lindsey Hutchison, supply logistics officer in charge, 309th MI Bn., as she described the significance of the event. “Every 35M student from this point forward will see these plaques, honoring Sergeant Hinkley’s and Corporal Corpuz’s dedication to their training and sacrifice to our nation.”
Corpuz trained here as an Army interrogator in 2005. In December that same year, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade. On June 11, 2006, Corpuz was killed in action while performing human intelligence collection in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, 309th MI Bn. commander, highlighted Corpuz as a Soldier with a great sense of humor and sharp wit, adding how he was a natural at communicating with others.
“Bernard is remembered by his peers as always gravitating to people, always speaking to them on their level and never talking down to anyone,” she explained during her remarks. “He’s also remembered as a mentor to his peers, dedicating personal time to help younger Soldiers.”
Present for the ceremony, Capt. Ryan Chaney, Company A, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, first met Corpuz in 2004 at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. He said Corpuz took him under his wing and showed him the ropes of the Army — not for praise, not because he was told to, but because he truly cared. Chaney added, one of the tough things he had to grasp was why his “battle buddy” was taken from this earth.
“The fact of the matter is, a kid that could be born today could come through here in 18 years and still learn his story and his legacy,” he continued. Chaney honors Corpuz’s memory in his own way, by wearing a metal bracelet with the fallen Soldier’s name and date of death engraved in it.
The second fallen honoree, Hinkley, came here in 2007 for training as a human intelligence collector. In 2008, she was assigned to the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, at Fort Lewis, Wash.
Her brigade deployed to Iraq in 2009. On Aug. 7, 2010, she was killed in action from wounds sustained during a rocket attack in Iskandariya, Iraq.
“Sergeant Faith Hinkley is remembered by her leaders as the kind of Soldier a commander would always want to have in his or her unit; dedicated to training, mission, the task at hand, and the desire to learn, grow and excel,” Knapp said. “She’s also remembered for her work ethic, being one of the only ones on a Saturday night answering the phone, devoted to duty, completely dedicated to mission accomplishment.”
Hinkley’s father David, mother Annavee and sister Shannon came from Colorado to attend the ceremony. According to David, the site dedication to their daughter was hard to put into words. Annavee expressed that she should be remembered for her commitment to the military and strive for perfection, her friendships, and how she would always keep a smile on her face no matter what.
“A brief time earlier, [Hinkley’s] Family shared with me that when she was in college and she began considering the Army as a possible career choice, her mother asked her, ‘Why would you want to do that?’” Knapp stated. “‘There’s plenty of other people who can go,’ Faith said. ‘What if everyone felt that way? I should go.’”
Following the ceremony, attendees were invited to tour the battalion’s training sites. Soldiers training to be human intelligence collectors, counterintelligence officers or agents, interpreters and translators use these locations for each course.