Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Roberto Arizola, Jr.

31, of Laredo, Texas.
Arizola died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. He was assigned to the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Gordon, Georgia. Died on June 8, 2005.

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"I love you and I miss you brother! I am trying everyday to make you proud of my accomplishments! I just wish you could be around to see what I have done with my life. For now, Happy Veterans Day! +"
Ricardo Arizola of Laredo, TX

"I hand the honor of serving with SGT Arizola in Iraq - Couldn't ask for a better person to serve with. We went on quite a few missions together even up to the morning of the incident he was playful. We were playing war inside the laundry facility with clothes and using the laundry machines as cover :)One of my favorite memories. Thank you."
SGT Nicholas Barbour of Des Moines, Iowa

"I trained with Rob in Arizona before our deployments in 2004. We became friends and Rob and his gang used to invite me to barbeques and on hiking trips. When we graduated, we found out that Rob was going to Iraq and I was going to Guantanamo. This time of year, 10 years ago we returned from Guantanamo and immediately learned that we lost Rob. I still think of him often and I hope his family is doing well."
Andy Hise of Madison, WI

"Roberto,
Wow, it's been 10 years...we never did finish our last conversation in Baghdad. Your brothers and sisters will never ever forget you. THT 624"
SSG Dan Widger (US-Retired) of Calif

"Arizola, I met you when you were a Specialist in 1997. I was a brand new Private assigned to your squad in B 1-6 FA in Bamberg, Germany. We had a rough start with each other but you were a good guy and a good Soldier and I am glad to have known you. I am sorry to the Arizola family for your loss and will keep him in my thoughts."
SSG Steven Rise of Fort Hood, TX

"Today, April 27, 2015 we will plant a tree and place a plaque in honor of Roberto Arizola Jr at the Haynes Recreation Center in Laredo. The South Texas Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans Association has done Operation Earth Day/Fallen Hero twice now and will continue to honor our fallen brothers annually. May you rest in peace brother, and thank you for your service."
Homero Prado Jr. TSgt/USAF Retired of Laredo, TX/USA

"God bless you Sgt. I think about that day all the time. I still have not built up the courage to visit your grave because i still feel it was my fault. I will come soon"
John Iverson of lancaster ca

"Its been 8 years already and the pain is the same. Everyday we still think about you. I still wait to see you but I realize that you are not coming back. So I wait for the day that I see you again in heaven. Love, Mammy"
Cecilia Arizola of Laredo,TX

"I had the honor of serving with SGT Arizola in June of 2005 in Baghdad. I was in the vehicle with him when an IED exploded on the road next to our HMMWV. We both offered to drive that day.

I sometimes wonder how differently things could have been had I been the one driving. Would SGT Arizola be alive today? Would the incident have been avoided? These and other questions I will never be able to answer.

I didn't have time to get to know Roberto very well, but what I did learn about him was that he was a friendly and caring person who made friends with many in our unit.

My condolences and prayers go out to his family."
SFC Joel Allen of Piscataway, NJ

"To the family of:Roberto Arizola, Jr.
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""

"After all these years, I have not forgotten him. He had so much joy and life. I am sure a lot of us who served with him in Iraq remember when he would walk into a room and say, "AT EASE! Hola". I am sorry for his great loss to his wife and children. I can't imagine how they feel, but I am very proud to have known him. RIP"
Kevin R of FOB Sharana

"It has been six years now and still feels like yesterday. I have never forgotten you or what it felt like that day. You are dearly and sorely missed. May God Bless your family."
Jason L of AZ / USA

"A hero to us all."
Steve C of CA

"I remember Arizola from basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood. He had the best smile and was always so upbeat and positive. Though many years have gone by since then, I can still picture him so clearly in my mind with that same smile and am saddened by his loss. My deepest condolences go out to your family Arizola-you were such a great person."
Brinson of Boston, MA

"SGT I am sorry I did not see the bomb that day I apologize. I feel it is my fault. I wish it was me who died that day. you are a good soldier I strive to be a soldier of your caliber. I write this in hopes your family reads this so that they know you were a good man. I was the gunner that day and cant get over the feeling I let you and your family down."
SGT John Iverson C 250 of lancaster, ca

"Roberto, I am sorry we didn't get to finish our conversations and talks about life. You are a good soldier and a good man. I miss you dude!"
SSG Dan Widger of California

"My heart feels your pain. I did not know your son, but if he was like my husband (his name was also Robert Arizola) I know that the pain was unbearable. My Robert died on March 3, 2008 and I am still in mourning. God bless you and your family."
Julie Arizola of Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

"Compadre, I will always remember you. You are a true friend and I can not forget the times we spend in Grafenwoehr, Holensfeld, Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR). Your friendship made the difference during those tough times. Yes, I do crack a laugh when I remember us signing in the middle of nowhere (while deployed) our Spanish music and joking about our childhood stories.

I am sure you are in a better place now looking out for your family and the rest of us.

God bless Monica and Robertito.


Nazario Baez.
nazbaez@hotmail.com"
NAZARIO BAEZ of BAHAMAS

"”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 you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,550 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!
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"
Kenna - Project Compassion of Manti, Utah USA

"SGT Arizola...you are missed by your Army family. We served together in Iraq, brother, and I will always honor your memory. You are a hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice for your nation and your brother-in-arms. You will be remembered and honored always."
1SG Judd Sweitzer of Madison, WI

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Roberto Arizola, Jr.

I am saddened by the loss of you loved one. I will always remember him as Junior. We knew each other from the broadacres Apartment a long time ago. He was a Great young man and I am honored to have known him! My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Jesse Munoz of San Antonio, TX.

"I know Robert back in "Basic Training" Ft. Leonard Wood, MO back in 1997.He was one out of my seven room mates in the barracks. He gave me the nickname "Bomb Dropper", when I let out a big one in the middle of the night that woke almost everyone in my dorm.We called him "Bear" because of his husky size and ability to run faster than anybody in my platoon. He's always a role model in my platoon due to his positive attitude and loyalty to his friends and fellow soldiers. He has motivated me during road marches and APFT by chanting my nick name "Bomb Dropper" when I'm down to the last drop of my energy. He stood beside my when I almost got my * kicked by a soldier twice my size. One thing I missed the most is when we have downtime in the barracks, and we just hang out and made up stories and jokes. Robert has full of jokes and bullshit stories even in a stressful situation during FTX. I missed Robert and my fellow bunk mates during basic training.

" Robert, you are always a hero to me bro"."
SGT ULEP of COLORADO

"March 28, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Roberto Arizola, Jr.:
Roberto 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

"Sorry for your lose' i to just lost a family member. you don't know me i'm also a arizola from grand rapids,mi My father cipriano rivera arizola just passed nov-24-07 i know i have alot of family in tx. just like to say i'm very sorry'i can say i know you feel couse i feel like my heart been ripped out of me. MY grandparents were beradino-lucy arizolafrom fredrickberg tx i believe or that were my father was born , if were realated please contact me i go to tx every yr."
esther r arizola teniente of grand rarids ,mich

"Sorry for your lose' i to just lost a family member. you don't know me i'm also a arizola from grand rapids,mi My father cipriano rivera arizola just passed nov-24-07 i know i have alot of family in tx. just like to say i'm very sorry'i can say i know you feel couse i feel like my heart been ripped out of me. MY grandparents were beradino-lucy arizolafrom fredrickberg tx i believe or that were my father was born , if were realated please contact me i go to tx every yr.esther.teniente@yahoo.com"
esther r arizola teniente of grand rarids ,mich

"Even though I never met Roberto, I feel that I knew him all my life. I feel so proud to know that a fellow Laredoan was such a good person who later became a true heroe. Monica, you and your son are so fortunate to have had a man like him in your lives. May God bless you always."
H of Laredo, Texas

""Thank you Robert, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To his 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,""
Ivan Zavala of Houston, TX

"Robert, an exceptional guy. He was a member of our THT that served with B Co., 502d MI BN in OIF II. I just wanted to say that I'm glad for the time I served with him over in Baghdad,Iraq. He was the type of guy who made you laugh all the time, and you could almost forget that you were in Iraq. You are a Hero and I will never forget you."
SPC Denise Fridley-Lindman "Dakota"

"I had to distinct honor and privelge to serve with SGT Arizola while deployed during OIF II with A Co,502D MI BN. His BN was attached to the actice duty BN I was assigned to. What he did made a difference. It's men like him who make me proud to have served in the ranks. My prayers are with you."
SPC Christine Elliott of Fort Lewis, WA

"To The Arizola Family, I wish to offer my deepest condolences to you. Your Roberto is a true American Hero who will always be remembered and honored. May God bless you."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"To the Family of Robert Arizola my heart goes out to you. Even though it has been years since I last saw Robert I will always remember that beautiful smile and great attitude. Thank you for being my hero! I will not forget you."
Mary G of Laredo, Texas

"Dear Family and friends of SGT Roberto Arizola Jr. I had the destinct pleasure of training this fine soldier, and have no doubt that he did an outstanding and vital job during his enitre time serving our great nation. I want his wife and young son to know that he is a hero to many of us. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless the Arizola Family."
SFC J. David Noble of Arizona

"God bless sgt Arizola. and his family thanks for everything"
manuel r of escondido,california,usa

"As a fellow OIF veteran I feel your loss as a personal one that will always be remembered as the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. God Bless you and you family during this time of grief."
BU1(SCW) Labrada, Fernando of Miami Fl, USA

"Your Honor, your courage, and your commitment has given to all of us the pride of heart to live and the love of freedom. I would not remember you as a fallen heroe, but a heroe that will always shine in our hearts. My love and condolences to the Arizola family of their lost.
From: Family Cuellar 6/12/2005"
Ismael Cuellar Jr. of Laredo, Texas, USA

"Robert, I will forever remember the great times we shared together and with friends. Your strength and courage will never be forgotten. You will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always regret not keeping in touch.

To the family of Robert Arizola, I am sorry for your loss. He spoke highly of his mother and brother and how he would do anything for them. His courage and admiration will carry on in the life of his son. God Bless."
BAB of Laredo, Texas

"To the Arizola Family,

I would like to extend my sincere and deepest condolences. I am deeply saddened to know that Robert lost his life and left a wonderful family behind.
Robert was an exceptional individual and friend whom I will never forget. I had the privilege of meeting Robert in 1995 and I will never forget when he told us he had enlisted in the Army. It was a decision he was set on and a duty he knew he had to fulfill. We were and always will be impressed by his courage and bravery. The last time I saw Robert was a couple of years ago and I will always regret not thanking him enough for his sacrifice that ultimately cost him his life.

THANK YOU ROBERT WE LOVE YOU AND ARE PROUD OF YOU!

I will always hold Robert's memory so dear to my heart.
To the family:
May the loving memories you hold close to your heart light your way down a path of comfort and peace.
With Deepest Sympathy"
Linda Vela of Laredo, Texas

"To the Arizola Family,

I am deeply sorry for the loss of your loved one, my deepest condolences go out to you and all of your family. I met Robert in the summer of 1995. My sister Linda and I had a great friendship with Robert. He was a very special and kind friend to us. We will forever have Robert in our hearts. I am so proud of his courage and bravery to fight for a war where we can be free of terror! There is no replacing him and he will be forever missed. We Love You Robert!!

Anabel Kristina Pottin"
Anabel K. Pottin of Harlingen, TX

"In the short time that I had spent with Sergeant Arizola, I learned what a great person he was. I was blessed with the opportunity to be assigned to the 297th along with him in Baghdad, Iraq. Robert was a great soldier, and a great leader! I wish to extend my condolences to his friends and family, may God bless you and comfort you. Every time I saw Robert he always had a smile on his face, he made the hardship of being away from home easier with his bright personality. May God bless you all!
Spc Mathieu C. Greczkowski (Ski)
US Army"
Mathieu Greczkowski of AR Ramadi, Iraq

"I dont know what to say. The one thing that I can think of is that he wished we could all appreciate what we have. Thanks to all of you who have left a message. We really appreciate it."
Danny Arizola of Laredo, TX, US

"To Roberto'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 prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice as we mourn the loss of yet another of Texas' children. Our sons are truly heroes!

By His Grace,

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

"May God Keep you in the Palm of his Hand, and may his face shine upon you and your beloved family"
MAJ Art Anthony of Fort McPherson, GA

"My husband and I new Robert very well, we were the closets of friends. He was a special individual with a lot of heart and will be missed dearly. We were fortunate to have him in our lives, his memory will live in our thoughts and prayers for ever."
Dora Alicia Rivera and Albert Rivera, III of Austin, Texas

"To Roberto'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

"Rob was a friend of mine. We were mobilized together in Texas and attended Army training together. He was a good man, and everyone in the class remembers him fondly. He always had a smile, no matter how tired we got. During our combat training for Iraq, he never batted an eye. I personally know that the job he did out in Iraq saved American lives, and the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians. Rob lived the Army values.
I will always remember standing guard duty with him during our training, on the coldest night on record in New Mexico. We shivered together, and talked about our plans for the future. All he could talk about was his family, so if you're reading this, he loved you a lot.
Rob, you were a great soldier, a great friend, and we will miss you. My unit is demobilizing now, and we wish you were here. The Latin Connection will live forever!"
Andy of Wisconsin

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio

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

"To The Arizola Family,
Our Family, Our City, Our Country grieves with you. We are so saddened by your loss. Your Soldier is OUR HERO! We will never forget him or the others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless You and your Brave Soldier.."
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN 6/10/05

"Thank you Roberto Arizola, Jr., 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 Sgt. Roberto Arizola, Jr.:
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 Roberto 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 Sgt. Roberto Arizola, Jr.:
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 Roberto, 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