By Maj. Gen. James Bonner and Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Sept. 23, 2021) — Family members are our strength and support. They are there for us each day, whether we are present, in the field, deployed or working long hours. Their service enables our military’s mission success, and it comes with a burden. When one of our teammates pays the ultimate price in the defense of our nation, families bear the weight of that sacrifice. Each Gold Star family member feels an unfilled void and experiences the ultimate tragedy.

On the last Sunday of September, we honor America’s Gold Star mothers and families — those whose loved ones have died while serving on active duty. As members of a grateful nation, we owe these mothers and families an unpayable debt. As military members, we owe them our connectedness, our time and our care.

At Fort Leonard Wood, we are committed to supporting the Gold Star families of our regiments and within our region. Our Survivor Outreach Services team offers information and services to Gold Star families, ranging from general support to assistance with questions about finance and benefits. Along with our units and leaders, the Survivor Outreach Services team here in the heart of our nation is committed to caring for and taking care of these families.

If you know or meet a Gold Star mother or family member, remember and recognize their personal sacrifice. Show them that they are valued and that they will always be a member of our military family. Talk to them, ask about their service member’s life, and offer your personal support. Lastly, please thank our Gold Star mothers and families for their continued resilience and support to one another and to our armed services.

To learn more, or to help others learn more about available services for Gold Star families, visit the Survivor Outreach Services webpage at


About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: