Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Staff Sgt. John G. Doles

29, of Claremore, Oklahoma.
Doles died in Shah Wali, Afghanistan, during patrol operations when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, Vicenza, Italy. Died on September 30, 2005.

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"Hello John....Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you. You are still have huge part of my life and I will never forget you...Love you brother."
Joe Gentry of Moss Bluff, La

"John it has been 6 yrs since your passing. I remember your memorial at Kandahar. There was not a dry eye in the chappel. I can still remember your handshake before your mission and I am so sorry we got pulled from it. I do not know if we could have made a difference but I can't stop thinking we might have.
Every day I ask God why you and not me. You loved your family so much, all you ever talked about was getting home to your wife and children. How much you missed them.
John you are and where a great man. You made a difference in everyones life you ever touched to include mine. I can only hope to make your memory proud."
Carlos of AZ

"John, You were my brother-in-law and i will always regret we didn't get to know each other better. You were good for my sister and your two kids ( my neice and nephew) who are all better people because of the type of person you were. You will never be forgotten and you will always be a hero to many including me. Thanks for being my brother."
Chris Jenkins of Southaven, MS

"John, you are not forgotten and forever in our hearts. Those of us who knew you are better for it. Thank you for your friendship, service and the sacrifices you have made in the cause for freedom. God Bless you and your family."
Greg of Leesville, La. USA

"John, I miss you bro. I miss talking about us Rangers and the Geronimo Days. I miss getting drunk with Samaroo and getting kicked out of Joan Jetts dressing room. I miss the crazy time I took you and the misses to "Budapest" in Vicenza. I miss going to the memorial day celebration in Florance with the VFW. I miss the trash talking to your soldiers, telling them to watch a real Ranger, only to fall right on my face in front of BLUFOR. I miss that Country in ya. I miss how happy I got and the feeling of being in the presence of family when I first caught up to you in Iraq. I miss the feeling of knowing my Ranger Buddy is ok and we will drink beers again soon. Tell you what, I really miss how I would walk my dog in Villagio late at night and pound on your door. You were always welcoming and always had a cold one no matter what time the night..don't find that too often. I miss you bro. Lost two more of my soldiers exactly one month shy of 5 years since I lost you. Don't know what it is about Aug and Sep. I am not the best at staying in touch with heather and the kids, but I think of them often. Caro told me over the phone the other day that Heather posted something about you finally getting an earned Award..assuming it was the Silver Star. Now I have two Geronimo Sky Soldiers who earned that distinction. Almost lost sean too earning his. Love you bro, and I will catch up with you to have a beer in front of the Airborne Ranger in the Sky before he kicks me back down where I belong! RLTW!!"
Keith Marceau of Kandahar Afghanistan

"I've tried to post a message for many years now... I'm finally having the strength to do it. I knew SSG. Doles back in Fort Polk (Spc. Doles at that time) and even though i was just a PFC he was a good friend no matter what rank we had. I'am a Police Officer now here in the state of Texas, it's because of him i chose to follow my dream. He would always tell me that i can do great things if i put my mind and heart into any task. Our prayers go out to his entire family, friends and to other family members of Fallen Heroes. From the Estrada Family we Thank You SSG. John G. Doles for being a friend.

"Geronimo"
1st of the 509th Infantry Airborne

Officer Steve Estrada
ofc.estrada_s@yahoo.com"
Steve Estrada of Weslaco, Texas

"Hello Heather,

If you can remember me. My name is Joe Gentry. You and John attended my wedding in Moss Bluff, La when John was stationed at Fort Polk. John and I went through basic together and became close friends until his death. I don't think you know that I was home from Iraq one day before I got the news of Johns death by your email to me. Its something I will never forget because I read one from him right before opening yours. But there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about him and your family. I think about you guys all the time. The minute I got your email I stayed on the phone trying to reach you and talked to his mom instead. That was probably best because you could only imagine how beside myself I was and the way she consoled me is unforgettable. I woke her up early one morning and she explained what happen so I have had some closure. Anyways my email address is joe.gentry@yahoo.com. Please don't hesitate to call me if you need something. I hope you get a chance to read this."
Joe Gentry of Moss Bluff, La

"Re: SGT John G. Doles

Hello,
I represent PRAYER SHAWLS 4 FALLEN SOLDIERS (PS4FS), an organization that since October 2007 has sent over 2,800 prayer shawls to military families who have lost a loved one. We are an organization of over 240 groups from all over the country. We make every effort to reach families even when post cards are returned after they have moved. Would you kindly send me a contact email/address so that we may send a loving hand-made prayer shawl to the family? Thank you!

Cozette Haggerty, Prayer Shawls 4 Fallen Soldiers
Email: ps4fs@charter.net
Website Address: http://webpages.charter.net/ps4fs/shawls"
Cozette Haggerty of Wilbraham, Mass.

"To the family of:John G Doles I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"Thank you to everyone who has written about John. It has been 3 years and I am still trying to find out why the family has not received his silver star. Please, if anyone can help me get to the bottom of this, let me know.. e-mail is hrleigh2@yahoo.com"
Heather Doles of Big Cabin, OK/USA

"John Doles was a great person he had the biggest heart ever. John and his wife Heather where in my life alot when I was a kid John worked for my uncle cutting meat and such I can remember John working one day and my and my cousins playing with a cows parts... John told us not to be doing that. Then Heather would watch my brother and I when my dad would go to work. This to has a funny story. One day John had me on the 3-wheeler and he let me drive and i ended up running over my little brother. He was ok. john couldnt get on to me cause he was laughing to hard. You could always turn to him if you needed someone. I am now 20 years old and fixing to get married at the end of this month.I know if John was still here today he would he would be proud of me. I am sure he had a little something to do with guiding me in the right way of life. John i will always love you, near or far, here or gone one day I will see you again... Heather and kids keep you head held high for what his has gave for all of us."
Brittany Sutton "Stephenson" of Bulejacket,OK "Chelsea,OK"

"October 1, 2007
To the family of Staff Sgt. John G. Doles:
John gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"i am friends with john doles' son, him and i have been bestfriends since 6th grade. i knew john. he was amazing, he was pretty awesome. i know he was one hell of a soilder, my dad used to work with him. i went to john's memorial, and it was so sad. but logan [[his son]] still has the dog john had when he was over seas.. and he loves that "mutt" as he says to the very bit.
xoxo"
Brook

"john (jd) doles a true hero and hell of a squad leader we would always joked that he was the platoon sgt because he knew so much and being one of his soldier you couldn't help but learn something knew everyday they really don't make em like that anymore but on that day the day he died if he didn't do what he did then many more would have died so never forget but I think he is still with his family because winston made it back and as long as that dog is alive then jd's alive
fury from the sky"
ragz of pulaski virginia

"I was with John on many patrols through Kandahar and we were fast friends. Even after his death I had the responsibility to get his Dog Winston home to his family. I wont ever forget how comfortable he was in his skin and how his simple way of handling things made everyone around him feel better. I was glad to have served with him. I wont forget what he stood for. I miss you buddy. (Doc)"
John Newland(Doc) of San Antonio, TX

"It has been over a year since our country lost this fine service member. He was a husband and father, and was loved by his fellow soldiers. My son was one of those. I was reading over the letter my son wrote when he told of John's death. He writes: "If for some reason you desire to pass this along to others, for prayers or just like I said to recognize an incredible hero, please don't use my name. This is not about me, it is about a fallen soldier." A conversation with SSG Doles: "What do you think,Sir? You grew up in a military family, right? I just don't know about putting my kids through this. As a new platoon leader, this conversation was my first introduction to SSG John Doles: a Leader, a Soldier, a Father, a Friend, a Hero. John Doles was a man of values; a man who always put his soldiers and his family first; the kind of man this world desperately needs yet will sorely miss. His death on September 30th, 2005, is a tragedy to all; but his life will forever remain the standard for what a Soldier is truly made of, as exemplified by his leadership while I was fortunate enough to serve with him during our combat tour in Iraq.
From our very first missions, we knew that Doles was a cut above the other team leaders in the platoon. He joined the military later than most of his peers, and his maturity and wisdom shined. With his thick, southern drawl, we would listen to his crazy accounts of growing up in Oklahoma, patriotically joining the military, and graduating RAnger School before finally becoming a team leader. When his squad leader, an experienced E-6, left the platoon, my platoon sergeant selected then Sergeant Doles to replace him. At the time, it was extremely rare for a buc-sergeant to lead a squad in combat in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Yet our platoon sergeant, with much more troop leadership experience than I'll ever have, had full faith and confidence in Doles' abilities.
For some reason, luck or leadership, third platoon always made our giant cache discoveries with SSG Doles's squad. When led to a desolate farmhouse by an informant, the commander and I were ready to give up and head back to base. But his squad just kept digging around, finally uncovering 34 hand grenades, which led to the discovery of hundred of AK-47s, plastic explosives, and machine guns. It was our company's largest find. a month later, we were on patrol with his squad and a local informant and we unearthed another huge cache...After digging everything up and emplacing demolitions with the help of a disposal team, we all fled the area to a safe distance, hunkering behind the vehicles for cover. But as usual, Doles stayed out front with his video camera, cooly and calmly catching the fireworks display on film.
Even more than these discoveries, however, I will never forget his calm leadership by example during a platoon mission. During a cordon and search, we had isolated an entire block of around 20 houses in a city in Northern Iraq. Doles squad was the main effort, and as usual, all chaos ensued once we began the late night searches. One house in particular was quite stuborn, and as I moved to the scene I witnessed John's bravery, leadership, and compassion all at the same time. The man of the household, apparently drunk, wouldn't open the door. As the squad began to force their way in, John was right there, providing steady supervision. The door cracked open and you could see the man reach for a weapon in his house. SSG Doles jumped through the door, tackled the resident, and subdued him despite wild resistance while his men secured the AK-47. The scene inside the house was just as chaotic: three young children and their mother huddled in a corner, all crying and terrified to death. Doles could have easily shot and killed this man defending his home. But instead, just as effectively but requiring much more courage, he put his own life on the line for the sake of his squad members and for the sake of an Iraqi man, a stranger, and his family, the likes of who SSG Doles came to protect. Doles would have done anything to protect his soldiers, but he never abused the power or responsibility he had as an agent for the United States of America.
I'm sure SSG Doles was just as heroic and probably more during his missions in Afghanistan, but I was only able to visit him once in country. I'll never forget the last time I saw John Doles. I was down in Kandahar, attending a memorial service in September for another fallen comrade. Out of nowhere a big cowboy tackled me from behind. He knew times were dangerous, but he flashed his big smile and talked about the future. He was going to the RAnger Training Brigade, where he would have a lot more quality time with his family. John: well done. We will never gorget you. SSG John Doles isn't a hero because he died for a worthy cause; he was a hero because of the life he lived."
Signed, John's Platoon Leader
And from this Platoon Leader's mother, to the family of John Doles, our prayers are with you always. This story of John has been shared with a lot of people and I can not read it without crying for you all...even today."
Sallie B. of Stuttgart, Germany

"John,
I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"Fury From The Sky"(508th Inf. Motto)"

"I am deeply sorry for your loss. My father used to be in the Airforce and even though he made it through safely, I can understand the emotion. God Bless You All."
Doles Flasch

"I thought that I was a patriotic person until I heard about Johnny and what he and his family sacrificed for me to feel free and proud to be an American. Johnny was a very special individual who held a place in many hearts. Those who knew him should feel honored to have been blessed with what he added to our lives. Those who didn't should know that there aren't enough words to describe this man, this hero, this patriot. I have cried for his family because I have known and cared for them since childhood, but I also feel pride for them, that they will swell with pride when they think of what an amazing son, brother, husband, father, and friend he was. I thank God for John and though it has been a year now since his sacrifice, I haven't forgotten what he did for me and the ones that I love. The world is a better place because John Doles left his mark here. Peace be with his family and friends, and with those of our other fallen heros."
Angi Harris of Chelsea, OK, USA

"To the entire Doles family I can't tell you how bad I feel that you have lost such a great love in your life. But what I can say is that for the rest of your life your dad,husband,and son will be watching over you from the heavens above. Your dad,husband,and son may be dead but he will never be forgotten!"
Antonio Rios of Vicenza,Italy

"John Doles and his family are personal friends of my family. John Doles was an amazing father, firiend, and hero. He will always be remember and will always remain in my heart. He always told me that no matter what I was not allowed to give up. And I refuse to let him down. To Mrs. Heather, Logan, and Bri... you all are like my second family. I love you all! Mrs. Heather, you are like a mom to me. You were there for me through some good and bad times and I appreciate it. Logan, you are like a brother to me. Don't hurt yourself too much skateboarding. Bri, you are the most gorgeous little girl I have ever met. Don't let ANY boy break your heart. I can not wait for the day that our paths may cross again some day. I love you all and miss you terribly. Hope to see you all soon. Lots of love!!!"
Kristin Chandler of Vicenza, Italy

"My heartfelt sympathy to the Doles family in the loss of John. I did not know John, but my heart is broken and I am saddened for your loss of such a fine young person and hero. May God bring you peace in your heart as you reflect on all the wonderful memories you hold so close. Please know that you are in my heart and prayers. You are a hero and you will never be forgotten.
I send each of you a hug from the most inner part of my heart.
Love and Peace
Tom

To live in the hearts
of those you leave behind
is never to die"
~Robert Orr~"
Tom Gugliuzza-Smith of Springfield, VA

"As a mom of five young children, I am so grateful for the sacrifice of this brave solder Army Spc. John G. Doles. You are loved by many. Words can not express the emotion. He payed the ultimate price for our freedom and the freedom of so many other people who suffered under the rule of Sadaam. May God be with his family in this time of sorrow and may you find comfort in the fact that we think about John's sacrifice for the love of his country. May we NEVER forget! Thank you!"
jill hughes of Houston, TX

"To John's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our son returned safely from Afghanistan, only to lose his life in Iraq. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice. Our sons are true heroes!

By His Grace,

Gloria Caldas
Proud Mother of Fallen Hero
Capt. Ernesto "The Big Ern" Blanco-Caldas
82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003
San Antonio, Texas
gcaldas48@aol.com"

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness,
and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief.
Our nations HERO, John will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
God Bless you ALWAYS.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"TO THE DOLES FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY. AS WELL AS BEING A MILITARY BROTHER TO OUR SON. NEITHER OF YOU KNEW ONE ANOTHER. STILL A BAND OF BROTHERS UNITED TO WATCH AND PROTECT EACH OTHER. JOHN YOU HAD BEEN MY COMFORT NOT TO WORRY. MY TEARS ARE FLOWING DOWN MY CHEEK FOR YOU; AS IT DOES FOR MY SON AND ALL OUR FALLEN. LOSTING GREGORY LAST YEAR IN BALAD, IRAQ WAS DIFFUCULT. SO I UNDERSTAND THE PAIN YOUR FAMILY IS DEALING WITH TODAY. MY HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH YOU JOHN AND YOUR FAMILY TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER. ALL OF AMERICA TAKE'S THINGS FOR GRANTED. ANRARELY, APPRECIATE'S ALL JOHN AND OUR SOLDIER DO FOR THEM. JOHN YOU WILLINGLY BECAME A SOLDIER. ANSWERING A CALLING VERY FEW AMERICANS DO! RISKING EVERYTHING FOR US ALL. YOU HAVE NOT DIED IN VAIN!! YOU ARE A HERO AND MUCH MORE! YOU HAVE TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF SO MANY. TO THOSE YOU HAVE JOHN. ALL HOLD VERY PRECIOUS MEMORIES SHARED WITH YOU. YOU WILL NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN JOHN. YOU ARE SOMEONE'S SOMEONE AND SOMEONE TO OUR FAMILY. TODAY REACH OUT TO YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS. REQUEST A STREET BE NAMED IN JOHN'S HONOR. IT IS THE LEAST HIS COMMUNITY AND POLITICAL LEADERS CAN DO FOR HIM. IT TAKES YEARS AFTER A CONFLICT AND OR WAR TO HONOR OUR FALLEN. JOHN DESERVE'S TO BE HONOR TODAY NOT TOMORROW. HE HAS MADE AMERICA AND THE WORLD ALOT SAFR SINCE 911. JOHN MAY YOU REST NOW! GOD BLESS!"
leonard t. wahl of VALLEY STREAM NY

"Thank you John Doles, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. John Doles:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless John for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. John Doles:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of John, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on