Gold Star mom Deborah Tainsh was the guest speaker for the graduation ceremony of US Army cavalry scouts from the 5th Squadron 15th Cavalry Regiment Echo Troop at Fort Benning, Georgia, on December 6, 2018.
Tainsh Barracks, which houses members of the 5/15 Cavalry at Fort Benning, was named for Deborah’s son, Sgt. Patrick Tainsh, a cavalry scout who was killed in action February 11, 2004 while serving in Iraq. He was a recipient of the Silver Star. Deborah’s book, Heart of a Hawk: One Family’s Sacrifice & Journey Toward Healing, is about Patrick’s life. The author gifted copies of the book to the graduates.
In her address to more than 140 graduates and their families, Deborah reminded the newly minted scouts, “Always do what’s right, even when it isn’t easy.”
“No matter where your journey takes you,” she said, “be willing with courage to face fears, danger, and adversity whether physical or moral. Always remain focused and strive for excellence in tasks and training so you can meet objectives above and beyond the norm.”
She also spoke to the families about their responsibilities as members of a military family.
“It is now your duty to show your strength and caring support as your soldiers serve,” Deborah said, “which in turn will provide them with the strength they need to serve at their best and grow as a professional soldier.”
She read part of a letter from her son, who wrote: “It’s been an honor to serve with the American flag on my shoulder. Honor, that’s a big word, and some people don’t know what it means. It’s not something that happens right away, it’s something that builds up inside your soul.”
After Patrick’s death, Deborah recalled that she and his father met with a number of Patrick’s battle buddies, who remembered Patrick’s dedication and positive attitude. She said, “One of them told us it’s not the Silver Star that will mean anything to the troops. It’ll be knowing about the man behind it.”
Deborah’s husband and Patrick’s father, Sgt Major David Tainsh, who retired from the US Marine Corps, died of cancer in 2014. Together they had comforted many other grieving Gold Star parents by serving as volunteer mentors. Deborah now writes children’s books and delivers inspirational keynotes like her address to the 5/15 Cavalry graduates. She is a volunteer with the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning.
Photo courtesy of Deborah Tainsh. With Squadron Commander LTC Daniel Enslen and Executive Officer Major Matthew Scott.