What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
- Albert Pike
As another day passed into memory the men of the Nightstalker Battalion gathered together to pay their final respects to SSG Alfredo B. Silva. In this world of growing shadows SSG Silva burned as bright as the morning star. Chamuco’s resplendent inner fire and fierce love for his men were beyond earthly measure – he was the stalwart lighthouse whose radiance ensured others could navigate these troubled waters.
I wish with all my heart I had the ability to properly memorialize SSG Silva, but any words I could weave would be but a hollow echo of our fallen hero. Instead I will include part of 1LT Irish’s final respects.
How do you summarize a life of an individual? That is what I have been asked to do here today. It is impossible for anyone to do justice to a lifetime in a few moments. Every individual is something to someone. To your mother you are always her baby, and to your child you are always a parent. Time will not and cannot change those things. I cannot be so presumptuous as to speak to what SGT Silva was like prior to the time I met him. Nor can I speak as to how he was viewed by his family, for unfortunately fate did not allow me the chance to meet them. Instead I will speak to you about the man that I knew and loved as a comrade in arms.
The last memory I will share with you is from about a week ago. I was in the S7 office and Chamuco walked in and shook my hand. I could tell by looking at him that something was the matter. He seemed a little bit sad. I asked him what was going on. He told me that he was worried because he felt his time was up. I told him that I understood how he felt. He smiled and said that he wasn’t worried about himself; he was worried for his guys. He said it’s all just a matter of time until we get it. That worried me, and I tried to assure him that everything was going to be alright. I guess he knew better than I.
I know that in my heart SGT Silva would have done anything to prevent his soldiers from getting hurt. These men were not just his soldiers they were his friends. Those of you who have been around FISTER’s know that it we are a tight knit community. Even by our standards, Delta was tighter than most. I dare say that SGT Silva viewed his soldiers as his own children. He wanted nothing but the best for them. He was willing to go out even after he felt that his own death was imminent. He was willing to lay down his own life for those men.
So what can I say further? There is nothing left. SGT Silva was a man who walked uprightly before all. He conducted himself bravely as a soldier and nobly as a Non-Commissioned Officer. He died as an NCO leading his men. He would have wished that things were different and that he would be going home to see his wife and family. But I believe that he also would be grateful that it was he who died rather than one of his boys. So SGT Silva until we fall in for that last roll call before the Gates of Heaven you will remain in our hearts and in our prayers.
SSG Silva was the living embodiment of an Army NCO, but he was more then just a collection of diamond hard skills. He was a good and honest man, and his heart burned with an unyielding love for his wife, his daughter, and for his soldiers. And he in turn was loved by all who had the good fortune of knowing him. God Speed SSG Silva, your light will ever burn in the hearts of the Nightstalkers.