As part of NASCAR’s third-annual 600 Miles of Remembrance, all 40 Monster Energy Cup Series drivers will have their names replaced on their car windshields with those of fallen service members. That includes Army Specialist Douglas Green of Sterling, who will be featured on the No. 47 car driven by AJ Allmendinger during the Coca-Cola 600.
“It definitely makes us feel good that he’s still being remembered in our area. That’s what we want,” said Krissy Green Caracciolo, one of Green’s two sisters. “I think the biggest fear for those of us who has a family member who has passed is that we don’t want them to be forgotten. We want their memories to live on.”
Green enlisted in the U.S. Army shorty after graduating from Potomac Falls High School in 2007. He lost his life on August 28, 2011 at the age of 23 while serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was killed in action when insurgents attacked his unit using a makeshift bomb and small arms fire. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, posthumously, the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
“My brother was one of a kind. He had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met,” Caracciolo said. “When we met his fellow brother (soldiers) when he passed, they all had the same exact same thing to say about him: he always looked to the bright side.”
Caracciolo said in duty or at home, Green maintained that same lighthearted demeanor that kept everyone around him cool, calm and collected no matter what the situation.
“That’s so hard to find in genuine people, and he made it so easy,” Caracciolo said. “He was so funny. I can still hear his laugh to this day.”
In his honor, Green’s friends and family established the Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation, which provides care packages during service members’ deployments and celebrations when they return home. Caracciolo also helps soldiers as a USO employee, and her brother’s story drew the attention of Kroger grocery stores. The primary sponsor of the No. 47 car, Kroger decided Green’s name was the best fit to be recognized during this year’s race.
“They fell in love with the story and what we’ve done with the foundation,” Caracciolo said.
On May 27, Caracciolo as well as her and Green’s mother, Suni Chabrow, will be flown to Charlotte for the May 28 race. Taking place just a few days before what would have been her brother’s 29th birthday, Caracciolo said she can’t wait to see what will be her first-ever NASCAR race in person. More importantly, she’s grateful to witness one more way to preserve her brother’s memory, especially by an event he loved watching.
“We’re really honored,” Caracciolo said. “I know my brother would be proud and honored too.”