Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Scottsdale memorial salutes the service of local American heroes
Residents of the Scottsdale area — including nearby Native American communities — have served with distinction in the United States military for more than 100 years. During the nation’s armed conflicts and in the course of military duty, 66 of those service members have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Their names are now permanently engraved on the granite faces of the Scottsdale Memorial for the Fallen.
The new memorial will be dedicated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 18. The public is invited to attend the ceremony at City Hall’s Memorial Lawn, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., which is on the east side of City Hall. The ceremony includes:
- Mayor David D. Ortega,
- Scottsdale Historian Joan Fudala,
- The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Band,
- The Scottsdale Fire Department’s pipes and drums,
- Bugler Gil Gifford and
- A wreath laying by representatives from Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
- Readers will announce the 66 names engraved on the monument.
Created by Scottsdale residents, to honor Scottsdale residents
In June 2014, a group of Scottsdale citizens formed the City of Scottsdale Memorial Action Committee. The effort was led by Jim Geiser, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, and a graduate of Scottsdale High School and Arizona State University.
Mr. Geiser led the effort to create the ASU Veterans Memorial Wall and was committed to ensuring fellow Scottsdale residents who died in service to the nation were similarly honored with a permanent memorial.
The nonprofit Scottsdale Memorial for the Fallen was formed and Mr. Geiser almost single-handedly raised more than $300,000 required to design, engineer and build the memorial. The city of Scottsdale supported the effort, including providing a location just east of City Hall. Dozens of community organizations, foundations and private individuals donated for the memorial’s construction.
Work on the granite monument began in Fall 2022. JE Dunn Construction Company is overseeing and building the project with help from DP Electric, Sun Valley Masonry, Southwest Metalsmiths, Mark’s Valley Grading, and Suntec Concrete.
The memorial area includes benches, one honoring the project’s champion, Jim Geiser, who passed away in August 2022.
Scottsdale’s fallen – from World War I through Afghanistan
Because Scottsdale didn’t have formal boundaries until it incorporated in 1951, the Scottsdale Memorial for the Fallen includes residents from the greater Scottsdale area, including what is now the Town of Paradise Valley, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
The common denominator among most early residents of the area was that they attended Scottsdale area high schools.
The young men whose names appear on the memorial served in the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force; and one served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. Three are World War I casualties, 25 lost their lives in World War II, 6 were lost during the Korean War era, 25 are casualties of the Vietnam War era, and 7 have been lost since 2001 in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
World War II casualties Travis Sipe and Clayton Peterson were Scottsdale High classmates and are memorialized in the name of the Sipe-Peterson Post 44, American Legion. Likewise, WWII loss Stanley Crews is remembered in the name of the Stanley Crews Post 3513 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
One was a Scottsdale High classmate of Jim Geiser’s – star athlete Curt Tarkington, who was killed in Vietnam in 1965. The most recent casualty was Chief Warrant Officer Josh Silverman who was killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash Dec. 17, 2013, in Afghanistan.
Scottsdale’s fallen earned many military awards, posthumously in most cases, including one Distinguished Service Cross, one Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eleven Bronze Stars, five Air Medals and two POW Medals.