Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. Jeannette L. Winters

25, of Du Page, Illinois.
Winters died as a result of the crash of a KC-130/R aircraft in Pakistan. She was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352), the "Raiders," Combined Task Force 58, Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, California. Died on January 9, 2002.

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"I pray that you continue to rest in peace, Sgt Winters. You were always a Marines Marine, an inspiration to so many. I truly enjoyed knowing you and working with you at Comm Squadron 28 at Cherry Point NC. Once someone had the opportunity to meet you, they always tried hard to be like you, since you set the example of what a real Marine should do and say. I will always remember the night training at Bouge Field when you were bit by a spider and I had to take you to the hospital at LeJeune. We joked on the way that you looked like a cyclopse with a third eye on your forehead, (a large bump from the spider bite). :-) May your family always take comfort knowing you gave your life doing what you loved and believed in, being a US Marine!!! You are in a better place, and we will meet again. Please save a spot on the guard duty watch list up there for me, as our Marines Hymn says "If the Army and the Navy, ever look on Heaven's scene, they will find the streets are guarded, by UNITED STATES MARINES!" Semper Fidelis, Marine, and Ooh-rah!"
John "Landmine" Collins (Gunny C) of Flat Rock NC

"It takes me some time to find my old friends and it always saddens me to see that someone has passed. In bootcamp, I remember Winters to be full of life and a highly spirited team player. Rest in peace and Semper Fi. Platoon 4021 lost a team member; but we gained a hero."
January Zermeno of Corpus Christi, TX

"You are still missed and thought of often."
MSgt Rosson (RET) of 29 Palms

"Every Year it gets a little harder. You would think with time it would dull the pain but I clearly remember the day I was sitting at my parents house about to eat dinner when your picture came on the news to say you were gone. We weren't best friends, we worked together a lot and I had a huge respect for you. You were one of the best marines I ever had the pleasure to serve with. You cared so much about your Marines and our Corps. You are an American Hero. I wish I could have been half the Marine you were. Semper Fi SGT Winters."
CPL James Yankowski of Philadelphia, PA

"Sergeant Jeannette L. Winters,
I never met you, but remember seeing you running one morning down the main gravel road at a Pakistan Air base in Dec. 2001. Nothing special, but I remember, man, there goes an American military female! That was followed up a few weeks later with the sad news of the accident. The loss of you and your brave crew hit everyone on base very hard. When the flight took off to take you and your crew home, a siren was sounded signaling the entire Allied Forces on the base of your finial fight home. We all faced the fight line, where ever we were on the base, and at attention, saluted. I stood there until I could no longer see your plane. I have thought of you and your crew ever since and will the rest of my life. Gods speed and fair skies."
Msg. Sergeant Michael E. Covey of Ashville, Ohio/ Franklin

"I know it has been awhile since you left but, it seems like it was yesterday that I meant you at 29 Palms,CA MOS school. I was a new student, to become a Wiredawg. You were were my bunkmate for that brief couple of weeks. You showed me the ropes in that brief period of time cause you were about to transition to the fleet.You were definitely a special person. I still have that picture of you after field day, where you tried to cover the camera lens so we couldn't take your picture. You were smiling even then. Just knowing that you were a happy, energetic, positive person to be around lets me know that you are in a better place smiling down on us. You were a true role model Marine.. You are truly missed and never forgotten. Semper Fi!"
Sergeant Sharese D. Jackson of Baltimore, MD USA

"I think of you often. This time of year makes me think of you more. You were one of the best Marines I ever served with. I wish I was half the Marine you were.
Semper Fi"
Jim Yankowski of Philadelphia, PA

"Sgt Winters, still to this I remember our last conversation. Winters called on Dec. 23 from Afghanistan to the barracks on MCAS Miramar, where I was on duty. She was calling to check on "her" troops and to see how everyone else was doing! Great spirit. When I asked if anything special had been planned for Christmas she replied, " heck no Castro, we got lots of work to do out here. But you know us Marines, WE always find a way to make things happen!!! Remember? We adapt and overcome!" She was right. God bless her and her family."
Sgt Ramon Castro of Brawley, CA

"I'M SO SADDENED TO HEAR THIS I REMEBER EVERYBODY LIKE I'VE JUST IT WAS YESTERDAY FROM MUX AND WIRE AND DATA COMM.I FIRST MET HER IN COMM SCHOOL.SHE WAS AN EXCELLENT SOLDIER. SEMPER FI"
LCPL MCCLENNAHAN of SPRING LAKE NC USA

"Jaya- sitting with my daughters looking at pics of you. Miss you so much. Semper Fi sister! I love you always and will see you again in Heaven someday.
-Cherry Point roomie-"
LCPL J. Bates of New York

"I came across her name today, on the internet. Bless her Soul! Thank you."
Lourdes Montejano of Los Angeles

"Knew Jeannette in school was her advisor and her track coach. She was the most wonderful thoughtful teenager loved by all and missed by many. It was a real pleasure to work with her"
Alice Massengill of Hobart, Indiana USA

"Thank you all for you kind words,its been afew years since Jeannette left us, But thank all for keeping her memory alive. I miss my little sister so much. Semper Fi"
Sgt Matthew Winters Jr winters0612@yahoo.com of Gary Ind. / 29 Palms Ca

"I remember Sgt Winters she used to talk about her brother being a Marine also and how he liked boxing or was in boxing. She talked about her mom being a Nurse if I recall correctly. I remember she would try and take some tweezers and pick at my unibrow. She used to call me "little M&M which meant Miniature Marine. You are missed. SEMPER FIDELIS"
David Pena (SGT MWCS 38 97-2001) penasoccer@yahoo.com of Minneapolis, Minnesota

"Winters, You are missed. Rest In Peace

MWCS 28 Det A Wire"
Anderson A.W. of San Diego CA

"I was fortunate and privileged to know "Winters" going through boot camp. She exemplified what it meant to be a Marine. Winters was a Marine everyone could rely on and she was always there to help a fellow recruit. She also had the voice of an angel..."
Catherine Wood Toepfer of Lafayette, NJ

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,100 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
This is a gift! We have wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and want you know that everyone here at Project Compassion does and will always CARE.
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna
Projectcompassion@manti.com
www.heropaintings.com"
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah, USA

"Sgt Winters,

It was a pleasure working with you at MWCS-38 Alpha Co. Radio Platoon. Unfortunately it was a short time however, you left a strong, positive, and everlasting impression on all those us you worked with. God bless your family for their loss.

Semper Fi!"
Gunnery Sergeant Hector Ruano of Los Angeles Ca,

"Jeannette,

I met you at CAX in 29 Palms. I think we were gonna talk about our unit working with your unit. I remember your smile. It was a real joy meeting you."
Joshua Laferriere of Long Beach, CA/USA

"I did not have time to build a family, I knew love. Such a wonderful feeling. I did not fulfill all my dreams. I knew brotherhood with my comrades in arms, Unforgettable. I lived rare and hard times, Indescribable. Now, laying at eternal peace I still visualize, ponder,smile and hum my favorite tunes, but no one living can see or hear me. We are now alone and we share in death what united us in life: Love for Freedom. Facing the stars shining in the sky, as I have so often done before, I will offer another prayer for world Peace.(author unknown)"
Willaim Taylor of Florida

"My husband (also a former Marine) and I are in the Army. We both had done a few tours in Iraq. Now, we are approaching Afghanistan at the end of this year. We have two young boys, whom we talk to about Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, & Airmen; who gave their "Lives" and how we need to keep their memories alive. Our children believe that military service members are "Super Hero". To the family of Jeannette L. Winters, you will always be in my prays.

Scriptures of Comfort
2 Timothy 1:7
Matthew 6:9-13
1 Thessalonians 1"
Nicole GM of Gary, Indiana

"To the family of:Jeannette L. Winters 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. 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. 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"

"Winters, I'm coming back into the Corps. Please look after my daughter while I'm gone. Please comfort her while she sleeps, and watch over her. Please help her forgive me. Please let her know that I have to go, because heroes like you have preceded me...God bless you, Devil Dog."
MWCS-28 Det A MUX of Cherry Point, NC/USA

"Sgt. Winters, i remember you well when you was with MWCS-38 and you was most definately a motivator. you will surely be missed and have been for years. Keep looking upon us and keep us in your arms.

Peace,"
MSgt George Harrison of Jax, N.C

"Still remembering you and the brothers and sisters that fallen."
David Johnson of San Diego, CA

"Jeannette,

I know your fellow servicemen and women love you. I can see from their expressions to you. I admit, I cried when I read these beautiful notes to you.

I guess I'm the only one who was/ is not serving our country. I am your cousin from down South. I am one of the ones who you fought for. Forgive me for not serving with you. Forgive me for not calling you like I should. Forgive me for not being in your place.

I want you to know that I am in constant contact with your dad and Lisa. I love you always and thank you for what you have done.

And though I am not fighting with a gun, I do use my voice to speak against atrocities and hypocracies. To serve in duty as honors forge the colors of red in blood and blindness in truth."
Michael of MEMPHIS

"Jeannette,
I will always love and miss you."
Tameka Bradford Beck of Pontiac, MI

"May 4, 2007
To the family of Jeannette L. Winters. Jeannette 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."
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Jaya, it doesn't seem right without you in the Corps anymore. I wish I could just drop you a line or call you when i felt like it. My family still remembers the Thanksgiving you spent with us. You were too sick to eat but you still came along because you couldn't be with your family like you wanted to. I still have goofy pictures of you in the barracks and stuff. You could always make my day better and you still do when i'm having a crappy day and think about you and that chubby smile. You were an inspiration on runs because you would look like you wanted to fall out but you would refuse to and push on. That keeps me going through some tough stuff. I will always hold a special place in my heart for you."
Staff Sergeant Andre Smith of Jacksonvill, NC

"I was a Army soldier stationed in Pakistan,I visited the crash site.Me a some of my fellow soldiers left a Memorial for all the fallen servicemembers who lost ther lifes there In that teriable plane crash.It was back in 2002 but I still think about it everyday."
Josh Chilson of St. Cloud/ Mn /usa

"Jaya, you will be always in my prayers. I know you is in heaven watching over us all who are still fighting here for you. I will never forget you, J."
SSgt Augustine of Cincinnati, Oh

"Jaya-
I remember checking in at MWCS Cherry Point in B Co SCR with McCann. I remember the very first thing you said to us as you stared us down with your dark eyes. "Who the f*** are you?" Heh. No one worked harder than you, even though McCann and I tried- God knows. I learned so much from you about my job and what it means to be a Marine. It's taken me three years now to be able to say anything. I remember the first time you went to the beach; I took you and Malone and we spent the whole day goofing around in the waves. We had so much fun, it was a shame we all knew you were flying out soon. We went to Applebees to celebrate your re-enlistment that night. We drank Bahama Mamas and laughed about stupid stuff that suddenly doesn't seem that stupid anymore. Could it be almost four years ago that I dropped you off at the airport so you could fly to Miramar? Sure in those years we worked together it wasn't always easy. Hell you and I fought from time to time, but we always managed to work it out in the end, and you knew I always had your back- just like McCann/Guerrero, Malone, Almonte, and everyone else in that platoon. You had ours. I am sorry I didn't come to the barracks to see you that night you stopped back in Cherry Point before flying over to Afghanastan. I want to blame it on that wicked sore throat I had, but looking back, I just wish I would've pushed through it and gone. I didn't know it would end up this way. But girl you were always sure of yourself, always willing to lend a hand (and what small hands they were :)and always there to help a person feel better. We said we'd meet over there, once my MEU got in. How were we to know? Jaya, you cut our hair, you shared your food, you would've given someone the shirt off your back if they needed it and for that there is no better person. You deserve all the memories and more. All the recognition you get, is yours. Own it. You were my platoon mate, my teacher, my sister Marine. My world crashed down with you in that plane and I don't think that part of me will ever heal. For all the long nights on radio watch, for driving my car like a freakin demon to go get tacos cuz we were starving on our post, for the work-out pants I still have, for all the laughs, tears, and frustration (Greece 2000 when our radios wouldn't work), for everything big and small I thank you. I miss you, and I think you know that. For letting me know, in my dreams, that your ok- I thank you. You used to love that Destiny's Child song "Survivor" because it was true. You are that, and even now you survive in the hearts and minds of all those who had the privlege to know you. Sgt Winters, Lady Marine, Semper Fi- you are gone, but not forgotten.
-Sgt LaSalla USMC B Co SCR MWCS Cherry Point 1998-2002."
Sgt. Sara M LaSalla of Palm Bay, FL

"My name is Cameron Schilling and I have started “Portrait of a Soldier” which donates a portrait sketch of every Illinois soldier who has fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan. All 122 sketches will be on display for a Memorial Day Presentation in Chicago, Illinois on May 26-31 at the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. After the ceremony the sketches will be given to the immediate families of the Illinois soldiers. I would invite any friends or family members to come and honor these men and women from Illinois who have given their lives to our country. For more information please contact OperationHomeFront.org at 866-417-8889 which is an organization headed by the Lt. Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois who is in charge of the Memorial Day Presentation. Thank You.

Please check out www.portraitofasoldier.org
To contact Cameron email cameronschilling84@hotmail.com
To contact Operation Home Front call 866-417-8889"
Cameron Schilling of Charleston, Illinois

"Sgt. Winters,

It was so hard not seeing you open your door when I came to pick up Brandon for paintball the next weekend. I miss our conversations. Everytime I'm in San Diego, I stop by to visit your plaque."
Corporal Michael A. Roy USMC Sept '98 - Jan '04 of Seattle, WA.

"Jeannette, so much time has passed but you will never be forgotten. You will always be missed. My prayers remain with your family."
Sgt D. E. Apodaca of San Diego, Ca

"To the Family and friends of “Marine 7”, Your Marine will be forever in my memory. Our unit set up the base/tents/fuel system in late Sep. 2001. The Sep 11 attacks were still fresh on our minds. The day your Marines deployed to our forward location. I was asked to help set up the grounding wires for their aircraft on the parking ramp. As an Air Force member I was amused and impressed by the rock “sidewalks” around the Marine tents. On Jan 9th I had flags flown on a KC-135 for my Family and friends. The next day I found out a Marine plane had been lost. I sat down on a fuel bladder, saddened by the news. I wondered if I knew any of them or if they had come to listen to country music cd’s we played down by the beach. I can’t say I knew them, but they were ours for a short time. Everyone mourned their death. A “Soldiers cross” memorial service was held at the theater. Later when I presented my flags to Family and friends, I told them of the sacrifice your loved ones made and how they should always remember our “Freedom isn’t Free”. Thomas Jefferson 1787 "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Our Military isn’t for everyone, but some do more than just volunteer and show up. They go to the tip of the spear, where the fight is. God Bless you for raising a Marine that did more.

MSgt William “Bill” Cordes (USAF Retired)
Moody AFB Ga.
William.cordes@moody.af.mil"

"I did not know you or hardly anyone on that plane..We were stationed at VMGR252 at the time of this.. My husband, SSGT Warren, is an engineer currently at 234.. I just came across this site.. I want to say thank you for the ultimate sacrifice..God Bless and Semper Fi!!!"
Nicole of Ft. Worth

"Although you've been gone for a while now J, you will always live on in our memories. Semper Fi"
SSgt D.Wade of Marietta, Ga

"My name is Cameron Schilling. I am a college student from central Illinois. I am the first generation of my family not to serve his country. I am extremely grateful for the sacrifice you and your loved one has given for the United States. I am disappointed by the way the news media has covered this war and the deaths of our youth. The media has stopped listing the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq and people only talk about the soldiers when we reach a specific milestone in deaths. If you just started watching the news today you would not even know there is a war going on. Partisan politics have replaced coverage of our young generation who have traveled to a foreign land in the name of the United States. Whether you believe the war in Iraq is wrong, right, justified or not everyone should pay even just a little more attention to what these young men and women are sacrificing. This is what I would like to do. I want to do my part in honoring these soldiers and their memories. Along with being a college student I am also a budding artist. I draw pencil portraits of local people in my community. I want to offer a pencil portrait sketch to the immediate family of every Illinois soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Please contact me at cameronschilling84@hotmail.com."
Cameron of Illinois

"Rest In Peace Devil Dog... And God Bless"
Sgt. James T. Zilligen of Oakland, California

"Jeanette,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other Marines who were on that KC-130 with you. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"I cannot believe that it has been three and a half years. Jeannette, we still miss you."
James Bell of Glencoe, Oklahoma

"Jeannette was more than a soldier or a hero to me, she was a dearly beloved friend. I will miss her smile and sense of humor. She was a smart and beautiful person who I will always remember."
LaToya Harris of Gary, IN

"It is strong, brave women like Jeannette who make me proud to be a Woman Marine in todays Corps, and is a role model to be emulated for all those who come after us. You will always be in our hearts. Oohrah."
Sgt Kristy A. Meraz of Camp Mu Juk, South Korea

"Sgt Winters was an outstanding Marine."
"Her Co. Gunny"
GySgt Rosson of 29 Palms, CA.

"God bless you and your loved ones. You gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may continue to live in peace. Thank you!"
CWO Karl Duggin USMC(Ret) of Ramona, CA

"I was SGT Winter's next door neighbor back when she was PFC Winters at Cherry Point NC. She was truly liked and had a wonderfully funny personality. My thoughts and prayers are with the Winters' family."
Casey Gardner-Fulton of Fayetteville NC

"I first met Sgt Winters at MCAS Cherry Point. She welcomed me as if I was an old friend. There were many times that her cheery voice brightened my day. She is missed. God Bless,
Sgt K. R. Lewis USMC"
Karl Lewis of Okinawa JA

"Thanks for stepping forward when America needed you. To the family - Thank you for your contribution to our liberty and freedom. I'm sorry for your tremendous loss."
Ronald Carlson of Montrose, MN

"I had the privilage to be a recruit in boot camp with Jeannette and then to be a Sgt with her in Miramar at Comm Sq 38 Alpha Co. Oorah. She truly was a hard worker and knew her stuff. And yet she was a heck of a lot of fun. She could always make you smile especially if you didn't want to. She is in my thoughts and her family in my prayers till they can be reunited.
Semper Fi"
Sgt Marianne Knight, former USMC of Lititz, PA

"During my short time as a Woman Marine I learned more about strength of character than at any other point in my life. The small inroads myself and other Woman Marines made in the past seem somehow insignificant when compared to Jeannette's Marine Corps service and her ultimate sacrifice. To the Winters family Jeannette will never be forgotten by her "sisters".
Semper Fidelis"
Keo Gathman of Beloit, WI, USA

"Semper Fi and RIP sister!"
Mike (USMC) of Indianapolis Indiana

"Sergeant Winters, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Because of Marines like Sgt. Winters our country is free and our people safer. Thank God for people like her, willing to do what has to be done."
The Estes family of Phoenix, AZ

"It has been 2 years now since you lost Jeannette to this world. I want you to know that she is not forgotten. I have prayed for your continued comfort during the years to come until you are reunited with her. Dated Jan. 8th, 2004"
Ray Rounds of Wexford, PA

"Thank you Jeannette Winters, 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

""I was very touched by the crash and I think that all the soilders that died in the crash deserve to be call brave and a real soilder!""
Chantal Spates of Bessemer,AL

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Jeannette Winters:
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 Jeannette 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 Sgt. Jeannette Winters:
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 Jeannette, 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