"He Cared More About Others Than Himself": Pensacola Native SSgt Forrest Sibley Visitation Today
More than 1,000 family members, friends and teammates from around the
country gathered here Sept. 14 to honor and remember two Special Tactics
Airmen who were killed in action last month in an insider attack.
As the procession of family members departed the memorial, nearly 2,000 Air
Commandos lined the roads and saluted to honor Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 23rd
Special Tactics Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 21st Special
Tactics Squadron. Both were killed Aug. 26 at a vehicle checkpoint near Camp
"There are no words, lessons [or] themes that could properly memorialize
Matt and Forrest," said Lt. Col. Paul Brister, 23rd STS commander, at the
memorial service. "They both lived lives bigger than that. The best way we
can memorialize them is to live life with as much zeal, humor and love as
they demonstrated in theirs."
Sibley, 31, a combat controller stationed at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., had
deployed four times to numerous sensitive locations in his seven years of
service. For his commitment in the face of consistent danger, he received
four Bronze Star medals, one with the Valor device for bravery against an
enemy of the U.S. in combat. He was a native of Pensacola, Fla., and is
survived by his parents and siblings.
Capt. Michael Bain, 21st STS commander, said Sibley was a selfless man.
"Men like Forrest run toward the sound of chaos," Bain said. "He cared more
about others than himself."
Staff Sgt. Bob Sears said Sibley was an incredible warrior, friend and
"We are hurting for Forrest and Matt, but they will never be forgotten,"
Sears said. "We will never stop talking about them."
As tradition dictates, during the memorial service, there was a final roll
call to account for Special Tactics Airmen. When Roland's and Sibley's names
were called three times with no response, Airmen responded they were no
longer present to report for duty, as they were killed in action.
After the conclusion of the ceremony, service members lined to salute the
two battlefield crosses representing both Airmen, which were a pair of
boots, a rifle, their special operations berets and dog tags. Special
Tactics Airmen also tacked their flashes, or special operations insignia
normally found on their berets or uniforms, next to the battlefield cross,
to honor their fallen comrades.
Following the memorial, hundreds of Special Tactics Airmen saluted Sibley's
coffin, draped in an American flag, as a FA-20 aircraft completed the
dignified arrival before his interment at a local cemetery.
Both Airmen will be interred at military cemeteries with full military
honors at a later date.
The obituary for Forrest Brent Sibley is online here. Visitation will be held today (Tues, Sept 15) from 2-5 pm at the Naval Aviation Memorial Chapel at Pensacola NAS. His funeral is Wednesday, same location at 11 am. Burial will follow at Barrancas National Cemetery.