Stefan Zaklin  /  EPA via Sipa Press
US soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry take a rest between patrols in Mosul, Iraq earlier this year.
updated 2/17/2006 4:57:27 PM ET 2006-02-17T21:57:27

Your assignment: Are you or someone you know currently serving in our Armed Forces?  Are you a veteran who served in combat? Please share your special memory of individuals with whom you served? Submit your report below:

"None Braver"
This tribute is to the airmen and soldiers who served at Bagram AB during Anaconda and to our good friends who didn't make it home. A special tribute to the 274th Forward Surgical Team, who I was attached to and met my best friend, but also the small group of PJs who taught me to work and hard and enjoy life even while we were being mortared. "Always, live large!" There are truly "None Braver." That was a life-changing time for me as we evacuated the wounded, but I served with people of great quality and I am better for it. You are my heroes!
--Leigh Ann Erdman, Maj, USAF

Aloha and Mahalo
I remember! The Vietnam Memorial seems to attract me every time I visit Washington D.C., on business or on vacation. I no longer have to refer to the guide to find the names of my friends CPT Ellis Greene or CPT Robert Williams and others with whom I served. I see the reflections of these young men surrounding 62-year-old me. I think of what lives they may have lived and suffer a tinge of guilt that I survived. Aloha Bob, Ellis and all my fellow veterans. Mahalo to the soldiers of today--God Bless you.
--Ty Fuller, LTC (Ret) U.S. Army, Waipahu, Hawaii

A tribute to those I led
The men I lead and fought with in Iraq last year will forever be in my thoughts as I would surely not be here now without them. They were and are magnificent warriors. Sgt. Ryan Gilbert, my young but ever so intuitive right hand man and often my conscience. Spc. Nick Pangelinan, my driver and shadow. Ever alert on the road, and could get a HMMWV through the eye of a needle if he needed to. Spc. Conyers Lamb, my master of rigging things up and making them work, something out of nothing was no challenge for him. Spc. Emmett Jarvis, my pit bull, with him on the machine gun I never worried about being covered, on a raid he was truly an unstoppable force. PFC Brent Harmon, my rock, so very cool and calm in a fight with limitless endurance. Pfc. Glenn Brewer, my most versatile soldier, when pared with any in the section they became a deadly "one, two punch". He was often taken from me to be the Commanders gunner on certain missions. Spc. Devin "Dirty Red" Rogers, extremely intelligent and hardworking but accident-prone and a dirt magnet. Pfc. Louis Abreu, a good heart and such a happy go lucky persona, attributes not normally associated with a warrior. He could turn it off in an instant and make his machine gun sing. Pvt. Trevor Hawthorn, the last man to join our team. He came to us in what would turn out to be our last months in country and we all had our doubts about him. All those doubts went away on June 3 2004 when he earned his CIB in a raid that shook the pillars of heaven. Last but not least, Pfc. Bradley Cuatt, "THE Cuatt" as he was known, accident prone and disorganized but when the rubber met the road he was there. When my Section became "over strength" with personnel he was moved to another platoon. He was severely wounded in the leg during a night ambush in Kufa, Iraq. One of those things when the platoon did every thing right but stuff still went wrong. I will always wonder what would have been if I had fought to keep him with me. It was an honor and a blessing to fight with these fine Infantrymen. They were easy to lead and they pushed me to be a better leader, I will be forever in their debt.
--SSG Robert R. McBride U.S. Army, Ft. Benning Georgia

No monuments or statues yet, just memories
I would like to give special thanks to 5-52 ADA and the 507th Maintenance Company, who were the bravest of all air defenders and demonstrated that by going straight into the valley of death, braving bullets, RPGs and mortars on their dangerous trek to Baghdad. These brave air defenders and maintenance Soldiers took the air defense fight straight to the enemy's heart. For they complained to no one, they just simply performed their duty with undaunted courage never turning tale but facing a tacit adversary and fighting back against all odds. No monuments or statues have yet to be erected to honor these heroes of 5-52 ADA and the 507th only the memory of their heroic deeds remains in the hearts and minds of those of us, who witnessed their bravery in the line of fire. 5-52 ADA and the 507th Maintenance Company we salute you.
--Enrico Tamez, El Paso, Texas

Remembering one battle, fighting another
My thanks, I am a former soldier who served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm with HHC 2nd BDE 1st Cav Div. I fondly remember all the great soldiers that I served with through out that time, and I want to thank all the soldiers from the 244th Engineers who went over there. I was prevented from going this time because I am fighting the greatest battle of my life with terminal cancer. I am just grateful that everyone I knew in C Company 244th made it home alive and well. I also want to wish one of my best friends -- SSG Scott Spradling from Dallas, Texas, who I served with in Desert Storm -- the best of luck as he gets ready to deploy to Iraq with his current reserve unit. If I could, I would put my uniform back on and head over there with you. My thanks to all the soldiers from every country that are there putting there lives on the line every day so that others can learn what freedom means.
--SGT Robert Schneider (USA Retired), Denver, Colo.

Take notice of the women
To our troops now in combat, and especially the females, I am so proud of you, I could cry. I had 37 some years commissioned service (active, national guard and reserve) and I learned how wrong I was when I used to think that women would not be able to soldier. I wish that the Army and the media would take notice of the gallant service of the women, especially those in the reserve and National Guard units, which are winning the war. Keep your heads down, and watch out for your buddies. I was infantry all my time, with airborne, ranger and Special Forces service and hold a CIB, so I know how it is. God bless you all!
--David G. Hasselback, Westerville, Ohio

Remembering an anniversary
Today, 26, May, 2005, is the Thirty-sixth anniversary of my deployment to the (then) Republic of Viet-Nam, where I served with the 3d Sqd.,4th Cav, of the 25th Inf.Div. I remember, vividly, the men who served with me during the following year. Those who paid the ultimate price for freedom will always remain alive in my heart and mind. Those who left that world of hurt came home to a world of hurt. I am pleased to see that that has not happened to members of the Armed Forces since. God bless our Armed Forces and lead them safely home. God Bless the USA and her Allies.
--William T. Marthers. Leesville, S.C.

A tribute to all who served and serve
I often heard stories of war and really felt a little afraid and often prayed never to be in one. Yet I followed some big foot steps when the time came. I often thought of my grandfather who served during WW I in France, my father who served in Europe during WW II, an uncle who bled in the Korean conflict, a brother who served at the same time as I during the Vietnam War. I pray for all the young men who are in harms way and for all the men who never came home. May God bless you and keep you safe. Keep up the good work!
--Robert Fernandez C-14th Engineers 1968-1969 RVN, El Paso, Texas

Praying for a safe return
This tribute is for the soldiers of ADA Battery 1st Squadron 3rd ACR who lost their lives in combat and to those who are on their second tour of duty. I hope and pray for the safe return of them all. For SPC. Brian Peniston, SGG. Andrew Porkorny, and SSG Daneil Bader, they made the ultimate sacrifice for family, friends, and the love they had for their country. I will always remember and hold a place in my heart for the comrades that I served with during a time of war. May their families and friends find peace with their tragic losses.
-- Phillip B. Harden, SSG U.S. Army, Columbia, S.C.

Remembering Operation Anaconda
My fondest memory of my time served overseas was helping the armed forces in a joint effort during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan back in march and April of '02. I was serving under Colonel Bolger of the 66th Special Ops Combat Search and Rescue Squadron of the U.S. Air Force, and we were credited for 39 combat saves. Several of our aircrew members received a lot of medals during that time and helping the other branches of service was a valiant effort led by General Franks of the U.S. Army. It was an honor for me to work these patriots. Knowing that every action I made helped out with the saving of many lives of my brothers and sisters at arms is by far the best memory I'll ever have. I'd like to thank each and every soldier at arms who was there during the 9/11 attack that helped make a difference on the war on terror. All of the men and women of the 66th SO CSAR Squadron made my career worth fulfilling and I have loved it every day since. A salute to all of you out there that strive to make a difference no matter what capacity it may be in the form of, and to all of our loyal supporters that help us through the rough times.
--Daniel Brach, Okinawa, Japan

Tribute from a Brit
I am not a veteran of your Army, however I am of the British Army. I went to Iraq in May 2003, as part of a security team working in the northern areas of Mosul, protecting Bechtel engineers, I came across many of the 101st soldiers who were absolutely great and also the 165th MI. I was moved to Baghdad after eight months up there and worked again as a bodyguard for the reconstruction engineers. After a brief stay in Baggers, I went south to Najaf and the rest of the horrible areas, where again I met so many of you guys. It was great, you guys helped us on so many occasions whether it be a puncture in one of our vehicles or giving ground fire if we got attacked -- which was nearly every day. But I would like to thank all the boys on checkpoint 1 at the international airport. You guys were great especially Sgt. Woodcraft with the camera. He saved our lives so many times. A big thanks goes out to all the guys who helped me at the checkpoint when my good friend John Barker stopped a suicide car bomb by himself and got blown apart. To you guys, thanks for all the help and support .

After spending two years there I've finally quit to be with an American woman, yes who was serving over there Now we are in Florida having a great time. Guys all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart and I would go into battle with you guys anytime as you who do know me know I'm mad! Speak soon keep well and God Bless all of you and that's from a Brit !!!!!!
--Mathew Jenkins, Clearwater Fla.

Reflecting on two
First let me say may God bless all those who have served and are serving in the U.S. Military. I want to reflect on two that made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.  First SGT George Buggs and I went to AIT (Light Wheel Mech 63b School) together. What a GREAT guy! Buggs no matter what was smiling, laughing and no matter how bad things seemed, Buggs had a special way to turn everything into fun challenge. May God bless your soul, bro! SGT George Buggs was one of the first killed in Iraq during the ambush while attached to the 507th. The second fellow comrade I want to reflect on is MAJ Matthew E. Schram. MAJ Schram was killed in May 2003 in Iraq. MAJ Schram was my Commander while I serviced in Germany with the 574th Supply Co. MAJ Schram was a GREAT guy and also a great leader! He personally gave me advice on being successful in life. He was a hard-nosed leader, who would get down and dirty with his troops. He was a huge sports fan, a big time Green Bay Packer fan and very supportive of those of us who played unit level sports. He was Soldiers Commander and for those who served in the Army knows what I mean by that. May God bless your soul MAJ Schram; you made an impact on my life.
--Roger A. Riggle (SGT, US Army 94-04), Chester, Va.

A special Turkey day
The Squad is the tightest group in the military and for me it was 2nd Squad, in 2nd Platoon of C Company 244th Engineer Bn. We were a part of OIF 1 attached to the 4th Infantry Div. We were just a group of "weekend warriors", or Army Reserve soldiers, but the war made us a true "band of brothers". When the mortars fell, these men risked life to ensure 100 percent accountability, to ensure no man was left behind. Each mission was hard, and the promise of a break occurred everyday, but that break would only come after the first six months. However, as with everything, there is the human aspect. Turkey bowl 2003 took place on Thanksgiving Day. During a time when it was hard to spare soldiers from duty, the extraordinary happened on this day. The senior NCOs and Officers did voluntary guard duty to give the younger soldiers a break. A break that had never occurred for some of the soldiers prior to that day and we had been on orders since February 2003. It was the rainy season and the Turkey Bowl took place in a muddy field. Every soldier that day earned his shower. (Showers were hard to come by, but as Engineers we had a 6000 gal water distributor that doubled as a supply for showers). Turkey Bowl reminds us that we are human. It reminds us that there are still men and women still dedicated to preserving freedom. It reminds us that in the darkest of situation, a little humor will light the way. My favorite memory is not of bullets and firefights, but of Turkey Bowl 2003. My brothers-at-arms got together and we had Turkey Bowl 2004 here in Colorado. Though it didn't have the context of Iraq, it still allows us to remember. We cannot forget what Iraq taught us. We must remember.
--SPC Brandon Nye, Denver, Colo.

A tribute to the medical corps
To the men and women of the medical corps, you are my heroes. Troops on the front line are heroes, but our heroes are the ones that hold our hands, wipe our tears, ease our fears and put us back together. I don't consider myself a hero for what I did in combat, I did my job and that was all. The people who picked me up off the ground and put me back together went well beyond the call of duty to keep me alive. They did their job, but they also were caring and compassionate. Their medical care was top notch, but their kindness is what saved my life. I salute the technicians, medics, corpsman, nurses and doctors who daily put themselves on the line to "care" for troops in the field. Thank you and God Bless you!
--Greg Johnson USMC, Columbia, Md.

Staying on
This is to my good bud SMSgt Reid who I was deployed with in Kuwait for this past four months. He has volunteered to go to Iraq rather than go home. He has volunteered to stay on and insure that another Air Force member can stay home with their  family. He is strong leader and I am grateful for what he is doing for the Air Force and this great nation.
--TSgt Daniel Salinas, USAF (Ret), Alamogordo N.M.

To my fellow soldiers
I am a soldier serving in Iraq for a second tour. I want to say to my fellow soldiers, you are my heroes. I would trust any of you to cover down on me. I would do the same for you. The things we go through to make sure we all live in a world of peace. I want to thank my family for the love and support they have given me. It has been hard being away from you. I am not alone because there are mom's over here as well missing their families. We are all in this together and will see it to the end. I want to give a big thank to the people at KBR for all the sacrifices they give to make sure we do have a little bit of comfort. I know some of you are vets out there making a living after retirement keeping us in comfort. Thanks to the Lord for keeping me safe day to day. I have seen some of my fellow soldiers go but they will not be forgotten. You all fought a good fight. I have learned from the best. My all soldiers here and a far, be safe and go home soon.
--Becky, SSG, U.S. Army, Nebraska

A tribute to SSG Booker
I too served in the initial era of the war in Iraq and it is tragic to lose a soldier, because whether you know them personally or not, we are family in the Army so it really hits home. One soldier in particular I would like to remember is SSG Booker who was a soldier with the 3rd Infantry Division. He lost his life from an attack by insurgents. He gave his life so his young soldiers could keep theirs and for that, someone's brother, father, uncle etc. is possibly here today. He died a true hero.
--SGT April Goodman, Savannah, Ga.

War develops a brotherhood
B company 14th Engineer Battalion -- going to war is something that most people wish would never happen. However that time came for us in B-14 in 2003. I never once thought of who would make it or who would not. I just looked around at all the soldiers in my company and felt grateful for being with them. Our company was a very close bunch. We often complained about what was happening but we knew we still had a job to do and do it well. We all knew that failure was not an option. Most of all I will never forget SSG Harmon-Brown, SSG Litchfield, and the rest of crazy 3rd Platoon. I think of them often now that I am out. War develops a brotherhood that can never be found anywhere else. I don't miss Iraq but I miss the guys that made up B-14. 1SG Rasche without a doubt you were the best 1st Sergeant that I had the pleasure serving with. 1SG Rasche knew that his priorities were his soldiers and we all knew it. So, thanks TOP for taking care of us the best you could. BULLDOGS!
--Steve Holland, Martinez, Calif.

Never forget
I was a Infantry Platoon Leader and later Ranger Company Commander in Quang Tri province Vietnam from 1970-71. I remember the days of boredom punctuated by chaos and fear when you found the enemy or he found you. Mostly I remember the fine young men I was privileged to lead in that war which our political leaders never allowed us to win. These men never failed to impress me with their bravery and their integrity. Finally, I'll never forget the letters I had to write to loved ones whose men would not come home. We must not forget them and their service. This soldier sure won't.
--Fred Johnson, Madison, Wis.

'I'd dive in any foxhole with them...'
This tribute is to all of my fellow 1-3 ADA soldiers who crossed the Iraq border with me in March of 2003. We traveled for weeks and only stopped to refuel and to switch drivers not knowing how long it would take us to get there or if we would even make it. I grew close to my fellow soldiers especially my commo brothers who stuck by each other through thick and thin. A special thank you goes out to SFC PAYNE, SFC WILLIAMS,SFC COLEMAN,SSG JOHNSON,SSG FRANKS, LAMB WATTY, STADLER. These guys had my back just like I had there and I'd dive in any foxhole with them to fight anyday. To these guys and all the rest of 1-3 ADA God Bless and thanks for the memories. To the families of those who died for this country let me be one of many to send my gratefulness and heartfelt gratitude to you and these fallen heroes.
--Spc James C. Davis (Aka) Big D, Knoxville Tenn.

Remembered after almost 40 years
I remember all thirteen of the fallen soldiers in my company that made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom in Vietnam from April '67 to April '68. To these heroes, i say a prayer, that it may not have been in vain, and you are remembered. A company, 2-34th armored regiment (dreadnaughts).
--Mario A. Solis, Buda, Texas

A tribute to Robert Dowdy
Let me first say to my fellow military members to keep it tight and watch each others' backs.
I'm a retired Warrant Officer from the Air Defense community (Patriot) and the soldier I would like to mention in remembrance is 1SG Robert Dowdy, who was killed in Iraq during the ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company. 1SG Dowdy and I served together in the same unit at Ft. Bliss, Texas from 1998 - 2000. I last saw 1SG Dowdy while we were both in Kuwait about a week or two before their movement into Iraq. I was assigned to a unit in the Middle East at the time, which supported all deploying Patriot units to the region prior to the war beginning and through to the President officially calling an end to major combat operations in May 2003.
1SG Dowdy was a straight-up soldier and leader. There was nothing too big or too small for him to help someone else. I remember talking to him the last time I saw him and told him to be careful and get back with all his soldiers, safely. I guess it wasn't meant to be that easy. He's truly missed by many people and I truly hope and pray his family has found peace and comfort in this tragic loss. The same to all the members and family of the 507th, Fort Bliss, and the Air Defense Family worldwide.
--Edward L. Hines, CW2 (Ret.) U.S. Army

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