Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Army 1st Lt. Laura M. Walker

24, of Texas.
Walker died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated underneath her HMMWV during ground assault convoy operations. She was assigned to the 864th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 555th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (Provisional), Fort Lewis, Washington. Died on August 18, 2005.

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"I learned about 1LT Walker's death when LTG Walker called to ask me if I could get someone from the National Fourth Infantry Division Association to honor her by attending her funeral. Fortunately, we managed to do that. Afterward, the Walker family stayed the course, continuing to protect the USA. It was such a privilege to meet some of them, if only for a minute. 1LT Walker resides in heaven now, forever a soldier and forever young. God bless all of you."
Mike May of Baltimore, MD

""Thank you for your service and sacrafice. My condolences to your family and friends.""
jeffrey k. Heck USAF 82-86 of columbus ohio

"I felt like today, Memorial Day 2014, would be a good time to reflect. As with Tolb, this affects me all these years later. We miss you Laura."
Matt Schwind

"I served with Laura in Afghanistan as sister platoon leaders. She was my mentor and best friend in Bravo Company. 8 years later this still affects me. Love you always - MAJ Ashshanae Chew (Tolbert)"
Ashshanae Chew (Tolbert)

"I look at 1LT Walker's sign daily while I am here at FOB Salerno. What an honor to have Salerno's Army Airfield named after her."
Jennifer Collins of Kwost, Afghanistan

"Dear Warner Family: Today being Veterans Day, thought it would be a good time to send a short email to wish the family well and to also let you know that many of us are still mourning Laura's passing. I was your pilot while you was at the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry, and although I have not kept in close contact as I should, I have never forgotten what a great leader you were and so, do not have any questions as to the type leader your Laura would have become if only God had not taken her so soon. I think of you all often and every time I recall those days when Blackjack 19 was called for a mission and only wish we could have been there for Laura when she needed us."
CW2 Donald J Long of Navarre, Florida

"Never forgotten Lt. Walker.

SSG Jimenez"
Roger Jimenez of Von Ormy, Texas USA

"I served with Laura at Fort Lewis where she proved to be a top notch officer and a person of the highest caliber. I was saddened to hear of her passing. My thoughts and prayers to her family on this Memorial Day."
LTC(R) Kelly Crigger of Washington, DC

"You are remembered every day. Thank you for your service.You have touched so many lives."
Rempel Family of JBLM, Wa

"Lest we forget this sacrifice"
Lt Col Matthews REME of UK

"To Laura's Family:
I did not have the honor of knowing or serving with Laura. However, I walked by the sign everyday that dedicated the Airfield on our FOB in Afghanistan to her where I served as a Chaplain. Even though we never met, she touched my life through her service and sacrifice.

I prayed for you and continue to pray for all of you. May the Lord bless you and keep you."
Chaplain Kurt Bishop of Phoenix, AZ

"to Laura's Family
Just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers. I wear a Hero Bracelet with Laura's name engraved on it and I think of her sacrifice every single day. God Bless America"
Dawn Rucker USMA 1982 of pittsburgh, pa

"My deepest sympathy goes to the Walker family while gbürht my respect. I'm sure Laura with all your heart and soul and the soldier was always with the utmost conviction has performed their service.
I would feel honored to her grave flowers off their respects to my work.
My thanks to all the denjenihgen your life for freedom and democracy eisetzen.
Yours sincerely, Danny Schäffner from Germany"
Danny Schäffner of Kirrlach Germany

"To Laura's Family. Sir, I never had the honor to serve with you but I did get to serve as Laura's First Sergeant for her first 4 months as a Platoon Leader. I have told the following story many times and it's lesson is about "judging a book by it's cover." The first time I met Laura, I had walked back to the company from battalion. I saw an unfamiliar BMW in the parking lot in front of the company. It caught my attention because there were few spaces in that lot and only PSGs and PLs parked there. I went into the orderly room and my Company Commander introduced me to Laura. I immediately figured out that the nice BMW was hers. My initial thought was that this young woman who had just graduated college and had never "worked" a day in her life might have been smarter to arrive to the unit in some sort of geo metro or something of the like. I thought that the Soldiers recently returned from OIF1 would look on her as being a well taken care of rich girl and I was concerned that she would have a difficult time leading those Soldiers. Over the following 4 months, I got to know Laura. Her Platoon was tasked for some sort of training support. I can not remember what exactly, but it was support. Tasking type, 7 days a week. She had no opportunity to train her own element. Anyway, I watched her work with her platoon Sergeant and I saw her absolute dedication to making certain that her Platoon provided first class support and that every detail was taken care of. She cared for her Soldiers and she immediately became one of the hardest working Lieutenants I had ever met. I left the Company, after having been the First Sergeant for 3 years, 4 months after she arrived. Back to that first impression. On the day I left, the Officers and NCOs of B Company all gathered and said good-bye to me and presented gifts. We all said our peace and I was ready to move out. I don't know why, possibly guilt of having judged her so quickly and wrongly, (and I pride myself on being able to judge quickly and I think this is a valuable skill for NCOs) but for whatever reason, I called Laura aside and told her what my first impression had been and then told her what a great lieutenant she had proven herself to be. She was the last leader in B Co that I talked to before I left. When I heard about Laura and SGT Davis, I immediately thought back to our last conversation that day. To this day I thank God that I took the extra 3 minutes to right my mistake and let her know that I thought she was doing a great job and that she was an outstanding Platoon Leader. I can not imagine what your family has been through, but it's obvious that you have hundreds of people that care about you and support you. While Laura's time with us was short, her influence is enduring. She has made a great impact on me, and now as a Command Sergeant Major, I share that with Platoon Leaders everyday. God Bless you and all that Laura impacted."
Command Sergeant Major Ron Johnson of BSTB, Spartan Bde, 10th MTN

"I was online looking to see if I lost any old Army buddies in the war when I came across Laura's name and noticed she was the daughter of my former Brigade Commander. I had the honor of serving with Laura's father in Germany and I remember he was a fair man and respected leader. Sometimes I was assigned to drive for him and I remember one trip when he popped in a cassette tape and told me with obvious pride that his 1st born had made it for him. Laura's death puts into perspective the sacrifices a military family such as the Walkers make for our country. Even though sometimes I disagree with the direction of our country, I can't help but respect and appreciate the Walker family's service to my country. I give my condolences to Gen. Walker and his wife and children, a great American family we should all salute."
Pietro Rotondi of Dallas, Texas/U.S.A.

"Remembrances of Laura

As the calendar pages turn inexorably on my desk toward that fated day, August 18th, when Laura was killed in Afghanistan, my thoughts turn as well, but to days past when she was but a little girl and with us still. The smile, the laughter, the sheer excitement of young life that possessed her waking moments were a joy to see and share. The emotion of the call that day from her Mother Valerie truly pierced my very soul with wound as yet unhealed: “Something has happened to Laura”—What?---“She’s dead.”

The finality of that statement. The helpless feeling of total devastation it generated. Do I cry out? Do I call Afghanistan in hope that there has been a mistake? Or do I simply hang up the phone and submit my being to course apace the classic stages of grief. Even now, three years later, emotions remain raw and doubts abound.

Guilt—That perhaps the storied military past of too many family elders unduly influenced her selection of career.

Disbelief----That the Lord knowing of our love for her would take her from us so soon.

Remorse—That she lives in our collective memories soon to fade with advancing age.

Hope—that in God's plan for the Ages we will once again be together as a family in the Hereafter.

Mourn With Me-volney warner-grandfather"
volney warner of McLean, Virginia

"To Lt. Walker's family: Laura's smiling face has haunted me since I first saw her photo while creating my tribute site. I just came across this thread and am pleased to have added a link to it and another testimonial I found elsewhere. Laura was clearly a very special person of whom I know you are proud, and we all honor her this Memorial Day and every day.

RIP, Laura.

http://www.zeitlangers.com/monthly_html_pages/fallen_Aug_2005.html#2129
(hit 'refresh' after page loads)

webmaster@Zeitlangers.com"
Don of Wheaton, Il

"To General Walker and Family:

I'm sadden by the lost of your beautiful daugther. She truely was one of our nations best. I hope you find comfort knowing that she gave her life doing what she loved. She sacrificed her blessed and promised future so that strangers in a far off land can enjoy the blessings of freedom. Her sacrifice was not in vain and a grateful nation will never forget Laura.

I believe that we have met before General. About 20 years ago my JROTC unit was visiting your base and a Major Keith Walker was assigned to organize our unit activities for the week that we were on the base. I'm sure that you thought baby sitting about 60 high school juniors and seniors was a waste of your time. But you did not let it show. Our whole unit believe the trip to your base was the most rewarding that we went on. I had many conversations with you and you had a positive influence on my life. I will never forget you for all that you did for us. Thank you.

Laura may you rest in peace and may god grant comfort to your family and friends. I will always honor your sacrifice."
Bill L of Rome, NY

"5/13/2008
to Lt Laura Walker:

Rest In Peace my Hero. I will never forget your sacrifice for America"
Bill of Rome, NY

"Mere words simply fail to adequately describe the life of Laura M Walker. Bright,pretty, funny,feminine, dedicated, professional, she selected a tough path to follow in her choice of Corps - and how brilliantly she did it. It's never an easy task for young officers to earn the trust and respect of their soldiers but earn it Laura did, as evidenced by so much that her troops have written on this and other sites. Laura, your loss is a tragedy, to your family, to all those who loved and respected you, and to your country. But you chose a life of service to Country before self, and I'm certain you died while doing what you wanted to do. You were a proud graduate of the USMA and a fine example to young people everywhere. May you rest in peace. With kindest regards to your family, from Kim and Jim Straker (both former members of the Australian Army - (Royal Australian Engineers)"
Kim Straker of Qatar, Middle East

"Dear Walker Family;
I had the blessed opportunity to come upon this website because I was googling myself. And what I found what tragedy, courage and love. How humbling! God has a story for all of us. I pray for you with all my heart and thank your beautiful Laura on behalf of my family.
God Bless,"
Laura Walker of Rochester,MN

"October 11, 2007
To the family of 1st Lt. Laura M. Walker:
Laura 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 Nevada

"To the Family of Laura,

I knew Laura only for a short time. I was a member of her team handball squad at West Point before I transfered out the next year. She was a great leader, a good friend, and a hard worker. Her sacrifice and life will stay with me forever as I go on and try to live up to the example she left behind.

Blessings

Former Cadet Tavi T. Riddle"
Tavi T. Riddle of Nyack, NY USA

"To the family of: Laura M. Walker
I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. She 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. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Ballew of Covington, Ga

"To the family of 1LT Laura Walker, I wear a black bracelet everyday for a year for your daughter and Sgt Robert Davis. They were part of my husband's unit. We wish you the best a year after!"
Tina Nelson (Sgt. Carl Nelson) of Fort Richadrson, AK

"To the family of Laura Walker, our deepest sympathay goes out to you. My husband served in OEF with Lt Walker and we all respected her as a great soldier and a great person. She will always be rememberd in our home."
tate family of Fort Lewis, WA

"Laura, I honor you on Memorial Day. As a fellow Engineer officer -- one who served with your Dad in 1AD. Your sacrifice was not in vain."
MAJ Elizabeth (Lisa) Griffin of Woodbridge, VA

"Dearest Laura,

We remember you this weekend as we do everyday for your sacrifice. Your grandparents, who loved you very dearly, kept us informed of your accomplishments. We are greatful for your sacrifice as well as that of your brothers and sisters in combat. We know that we are safe because of it."
Gus and Alice Moreno of Dania Beach, FL, USA

"I wanted to send my condolences to the family of 1st Lieutenant Laura Walker. I was the flight medic who evacuated her on that day. I just wanted the family to know that on this mission the dustoff crew gave it their best to bring her home safe. I am truly sorry that it did not happen this way. If you should have any questions for me please feel free to email me at luis.ramirezjr@us.army.mil"
SGT Luis Ramirez Jr. of San Juan, Puerto Rico

"Laura and Family,
I served with you for 2 tour's in Iraq and Afghanistan. You were a leader of leader's. You could adapt and overcome better than any soldier I know. You were one of the best Platoon Leader's that I had a chance to work with in my military career. I have devoted my life to the Army to fulfill what you and Sgt. Davis did not accomplish. I know it was not for your own will. But ya' were one of the few friend's that I had in the Battalion. I will try to do the thing's you set out to do and fix all the wrong that I can. God bless and you will alway's be remembered!"
Spc. Gary M. Dearman of Fort Lewis, Washington

"What a great woman and soldier.I read her story on various pages.So young and so full of life.I also come from a military family from Germany.My deepest respect and my prayers are with her family and friends.God is with you,you fine and brave american hero.Thanks.B.S.--Germany"
B.Splete of Germany

"Dear 1LT Laura Walker,
I met your Dad on the 4th April 2006, when they opened the memorial for 1.CAV fallen soldiers here on Ft. Hood. First I saw the pain of a soldier in his face. The pain I saw in all the soldiers, when they came back from Iraq without my husband SSG Oscar D. Medina. But then he told me that he is also a dad who lost his daughter. I know my pain was a lot, but I can't imagine how immense his pain has to be. Please find a way to give him all the strength he needs. Thank you for fighting for democracy, because it is more than freedom, it stands also for the respect we should have for one another in this world. I have the most respect for you and your family.

Sir, to meet you was so important for me. To receive that hug from you made me feel for the first time in this 2 years that I am not alone. Thank you!"
Beate Medina (writebieti@hotmail.com) of Ft. Hood, Texas

"To the Family and Friends of 1LT Laura M. Walker: My prayers are with you as you endure this difficult time. I had the pleasure of serving with Laura while assigned with Task Force Pacemaker in Afghanistan. I recall how wonderful of a person she truly was; always with a smile and helping hand. A tremendous person to know and I am blessed to have met her. I had dinner with her at Pacemaker the night before she passed and to this day it seems surreal. She will be greatly missed. I will never forget her and always wear this KIA bracelet to remember her sacrfice for the nation she loved. God Bless."
1LT Dan Zisa (2/B/44th Signal Battalion of Sullivan Kasserne; Mannheim, Germany

"Lt. Walker,
Maam, I would like to say thank you to you and the other soldier who was in that Humvee with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"Deepest sympathy from a British Royal Engineer."
UK Sapper of UK

"You fought for something that we believe is right -- Freedom. Even though you're not with us in flesh, your spirit is. Now that you're in heaven I pray that you rest in peace and watch over your family because they're the ones that need you most. I'm sorry that it wasn't me instead of you but I promise that as long as there is breath in my body your name and beliefs will not be forgotten. Rest in peace ma'am."
Guillermo Vargas of Afghanistan (June05 - Dec 05)

"As a mom of five young children, I am so grateful for the sacrifice of this brave, young solder Laura M Walker. 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 Laura's sacrifice for the love of his country. May we NEVER forget! Thank you!"
Jill hughes of Houston, TX

"To the warriors that served with Laura. Listen for her voice in the wind...you will hear her. She is with her higher power, but will not leave you alone in battle."
White Buffalo of Stamping Ground, Kentucky

"I would like to offer my condolences to 1LT Walker's family. I remember the first time I met her it was in Kuwait in 2004 and I just remembered how beautiful she was, and I remember seeing her on the freeway every morning on our way into Ft. Lewis for P.T. formation. She will be missed!!!"
Terron Watson of Bellevue, WA/USA

"A soldier death is painful because we love our soldiers, but hardly tragic. They have taken an oath, and will be doing what men and women do at war. Laura was doing what she wanted, volunteered for and had a short, yet wonderful life by all accounts. Spartan mothers, it is said, told sons to return with their shields or upon them. In other words, death before dishonor. Our culture does not allow us to say such things today. But the ethos still lives.

If you argue this is wrong, I point out that we have never been free of armies since before the flood. We have soldiers because the human race has always had to have them. We are not a peaceful species, and some tribes always permit the others no peace. So Thucydides wrote, and nothing's changed since his day. For Laura was doing her DUTY, with HONOR for her COUNTRY, which is why we honor her.

With deepest sympathy and respect."
Philip Castaneda of US Army (Ret) Operation Desert Storm(1991) Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)

"I remember Laura from Geissen, she was one of the best friends I have ever had. I still kick around in the addidas she gave me almost eight years ago. She had a beautiful smile which I will always remember, an amazing singing voice which I'll always hear and a laugh that I'll always recall when looking at all of the pictures of the two of us together. I was shocked and am still shocked to hear that she's actually gone. She was an amazing person. Amazing. I will always cherish all the notes that we gave each other during school that I've thankfully kept and can read over and laugh and remember all the awesome times we've had, all the cigarettes we snook and the soccer games we'd play the trip to Ibiza. She was such a beautiful person inside and out, you could honestly say that about her. I will miss her terribly, and I wish the Walker family all my love. Laura Walker will always live on in my heart."
Jackie Bennett of Seattle, WA

"Dear Chris ,Valerie and family, (not computer savey), After attending your wedding with my father,Keith, and watching your family grow into a beautiful clan, I followed Lauras endeavors over the years, and want to let you know what a valiant path she took, my greatest sympathies, Love, Cousin Jan(Seattle)"
Jan Walker of Seattle, Washington

"3 weeks before her tragic death, Laura had penned an article called: "The Route to Democracy".

We will continue to spread the gift of her article for many more years to come. Her insights were on the importance of how continued development is essential to peace-building in Afghanistan. Many citizens of Afghanistan may never know of her sacrifice, but we will never forget her!"
CK of Wisconsin, USA

"God bless this family and everyone else having to go thru this"
Katie of FT. LEWIS WA

"To Laura's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To the Walker Family,
It has been nearly 14 years since I have seen Laura. Our family lived upstairs from you while stationed in Wurtzburg, Germany. A big smile and a warm feeling comes to me when I think of Laura, Ginny Cook and myself having a tea party in our dress up clothes or playing Little House on the Prairy out on the park. I remember she had the biggest smile and warmest heart. I know she grew into an amazing person. I am very sorry to hear this knews. Your family is in our thoughts and our prayers."
Julie Stocker of Hampton, Virginia

"TO THE WALKER FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. LAURA ALTHOUGH YOU HAD NOT KNOWN OUR SON. WE LOST HIM LAST YEAR IN BALAD, IRAQ. GREGORY IN A CONVERSATION TOLD ME. DAD YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ME! MY BROTHER'S AND SISTER'S HAVE MY BACK. I WILL BE ALRIGHT! THEN NEWS OF GREGORY. AN I REMEMBERED THE ABOVE. HE NEVER ONCE IN HIS MILITARY CAREER REFERRED TO SOLDIER'S AS SOLDIER'S. ALWAYS HIS BROTHER'S AND SISTER'S! SO LAURA I THANK YOU FOR BEING HIS MILITARY SISTER! I REALLY NEVER WORRIED OF HIM. FOR I NEW HE WAS WITH VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE SERVING WITH HIM LIKE YOU, LAURA. MY TEARS NEVER STOP; FOR WITH YOU THE TEARS FALL UPON MY CHEEKS. AN MY HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH YOU LAURA AND YOUR FAMILY. LAURA HAS TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF SO MANY! TO THOSE SHE HAS, ALL WILL HOLD VERY FOND MEMORIES BOTH SHARED TOGETHER. AN LAURA WILL NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN. GOD BLESS!"
WAHL FAMILY of TEXAS / NEW YORK

"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, Laura will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
God Bless you ALWAYS.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Laura'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 children 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"

"Although Laura was a part of the SHAPE community only a short time, those of us who remember her and the family have a heavy heart at this sad news.

We pray that the Walker Family will eventually find comfort and peace with the memory of how this fine young woman served as a role model for others to achieve academically and seek to serve their countries."
The Hash Family of SHAPE,Belgium

"It was two days ago that my mother walked up to me and told me that Laura had been killed. I could not believe it and am still having a hard time grasping it. I had not seen her since we were neighbors ten years ago. I will always remember how she was the first friend I made when I moved to Carlisle and she was standing in my driveway waving goodbye when my family moved away.

Our fathers and our brothers were classmates at West Point and I was hoping I would get to see her at our little brothers' graduation this past June. It wasnt until she was killed that I realized why she wasnt there.

My deepest sympathies to her family and friends."
2LT Michael Barno of the Medical University of South Carolina

"To family and friends,
Thank you to Laura for making me want to be a better person for the brief time I knew her. She touched my life in so many positive ways. My thoughts and prayers with the family.
Most Sincerely,
Jen"
1LT Jenny Kirk of Fort Riley, KS

"Thank you Laura Walker, 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 1st Lt. Laura Walker:
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 Laura for the sacrifice she has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of 1st Lt. Laura Walker:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. She 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 Laura, 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