Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Roberto C. Baez

19, of Tampa, Florida.
Baez died in Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Died on October 3, 2005.

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"Dear Biaz, family it's been a long time and I'm sorry I hav'ent written alot sooner but it's been almost 8 years since I first enlisted and since I met was Inspired and later torn apart by the loss of such a dear kind and extraordinary man such as he was. You may not remember me but we were In basic training together and we were very close. Roberto was the best! for me personally he was like some super being, there was a sweetness and a work ethic beyond belief he was something to see, way back in basic Roberto established himself with a degree of fortitude and heart that forever made him beloved long before he went to Iraq. ultimatly losing his life while I'm most happy to contact the family of Roberto, I'm also most angry over how everything turned out in the end, and how Beautiful men like Roberto and myself got either hurt for the rest of their lives or lost their lifes In rapture that It appears was not worth the scarifice some gave.
I remember roberto all the time I'm always thinking about him telling stories of his sweetness and his an equal ablities made him very special.
The year was 2004 we were In Basic Traning, and Roberto had got hurt on the first obstacle course so therefore he was on profile or Phyiscally unable to perform for the first five weeks of Basic Training. Therefor he could not build Himself up as far as phyiscal endurence but when Roberto came back he Immediately established himself as an elite soilder he would run with the hardest groups everyday after he come back from getting hurt on the first obstecle course he simply was amazing to witness his work ethic seperated him from all the other soilders in the Platoon. I thought of him like some sort of super man this man Baez was 5'ft7'inch, and was easily not only the best in our own Platoon but also the Entire Company, and a lot of men felt that way about him, because of how sweet and cool Roberto was we developed a friendship and bond like two brother's also Roberto was super intelligent we would converse on nearly every subject one could think of Roberto was thoughful and always considerate if not the best, one of the best most polite people I had ever seen, and it was not just the things that I've mention also there are things I've not mentioned but what I tell you Is true because I loved him I admired him I wanted to be as good as he was and fearless as he was all the time in the face of any circumstance he took it on most bravely always doing his job. always fulfilling the mission I mean his ablilty's surpassed everyone elses but he was always humble always friendly I never seen him in a bad mood he did not drink or do drugs his instant leadership made him a very good soilder to know and to help you Baez would work out with anyone staying up late after work when a lot of guy's would be writing letter's or performing our duties of maintaining our living courters or sleeping Roberto would be working out or helping someone on something they needed to improve on lifting weights something! his work ethic was amazing so was his chracter. Both of our drill Instructors were Veteran Paratroopers from the 82 Airborne, So myself Baez and other men wanted to be Commando's since not only were we good enough we also had the heart nessercary to jump out of Airplane's Roberto was Number 1 jumper threw out Airborne School and Ranger Indoctrination Program or R.I.P, It was only As Far as I'm concerned Racism and B.s politics was the reason alot of men like Myself and Roberto did not become Rangers and as fate would have it be sent to the 82 Airborne Div.
Me and Roberto stayed together our whole entire time In Hell those Infamous first 6 months In Hell.
I'll never forget how sad we were, on the bus ride going to the 82 Airborne men enlisted to become Airborne Rangers and it was not what I thought It was and I sure it was not for Roberto neither. But we pulled ourself's together and arrived at the 82 Airborne Div and we were split up Since, I went to 1-325 Roberto went to 2-504 but they were sister units so he was right across the street from me we were the only one's out the whole Platoon who had stayed together the entire way so we were very proud to have been the only two who had stayed friends and would go to combat and aqcuire a C.I.B, or Combat Infantry Badge we had Airborne wings but we wanted this because it was most coveted as not just and badge of manhood and something sort of a measuring rod of one's entire struggle In the Milatary. So It meant alot and we use to talk about all the time what we would do when and if we ever got one or where we would go all kinds of un foretold things would letter change the very fabric of life forever. Before we went to combat I myself and Roberto had to endure some of the Hardest training known to Man. We ended up being seperated once again the 1-325 went to Afganistan and Baez unit went to Iraq.
the last time I saw him or spoke to him he had come by my apartment or dorm and I hug him tell him I'd see him when we got back I from Afganistan and he from Iraq. I gave him the dvd of our basic training so he could make a copy for his family I tell him I love him we hug shook hands talked about earlier times our drill instructors and wished each other good luck. We left what seemed like Earth for the last time july 15 th 2005 I went to Afganistan and what I saw and exprienced In that country the amount of hurt and heartbreak I wondered what was Baez going threw but I never once thought he would not make it back from his war. So I went threw my own hell In Afganistan and it was a almost unreal exprience In terms of poverty and Just pure sadness I Know the two country's were the lonlyest place on earth I end up losing two brother's right before Roberto. ssg Robert F. White Semptember 26 2005 and P.F.C Benny S. Franklin October 7 2005 both men were Killed In Action while on combat operations In Kandahar.I think certain Men are forever affected by tramatic events and lost I will forever miss mourn cry pry think of talk about and most of all keep alive those men whom I've mentioned I was at a point of disillusion when I return from Afganistan not knowing what to do when I got back to America I tryed to find my friend. I returned to America November 7th 2005. I could not find Baez or Anyone from his company when I return So A few days passed and I started to hear rumor's from a few men that A man fitting the Discripion of Roberto had infact been Killed In Iraq I was just devestated devestated!!! I hoped most heartadly that it was not true but finally his company return a few weeks later, and it was confirmed. I have never gotten over his death and I never will him or the other men, but me and him were like brothers and more than anyone I admired him everything about Roberto I use to tell him how he was cool as Ice under pressure Baez was the first man out the Airplane when we were In Airborne School on all except our last jump which I was first our only Night jump In Airborne School he never quit anything ever In Basic Baez was the best shooter he could do more push ups than anybody else sit ups and he ran the thoughest run group fresh off of profile every man used stop on the obstecle course and be In awk stunned how Roberto would go threw flawless and be like a robot A true super man. I am proud to have been his friend and Brother and to have known him. I shall never forget Roberto. Hommie I will never forget. "You know Roberto was the best example of everything you can do right and it's just not fair he had to lose his life I remember back In Airborne School Roberto telling me one of the reasons he joined the Milatary was citizenship how it sadden me to know this beautiful human being warrior champion liberater Emancipating Hero! he was one hell of a guy and it's not fair he gone too soon but their are never forgotten yes Roberto was A special young man forever young. at 19 forever great!!!
I'll forever miss my friend and brother may GOD be Pleased with your soul. your best Airborne buddy Omar Coleman Airborne All the way.."
Omar Coleman of Detroit Michigan

"We are thinking of you and your family today, 5 years later! We will always remember!"
Pamela Shucart of Saint Louis, MO

"To the family of Robert Baez, my name is Jim Vanderbleek and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida. This Memorial Day 2010 I wanted to do something special for the “Fallen Floridians” since 2001. I wanted to honor them in a way that would be a touching tribute in the eyes of the community as a reminder that we must not forget the sacrifice they and their families have given for all of us. A special cross, along with the other 238 fellow Floridian brothers and sisters, was erected on the church grounds of Northeast Presbyterian Church. Your Son's cross is on display through June 5th, 2010. The photo attached shows the entire display. The link attached will take you to a slide show in Honor of Brave Men and Women of our Armed Forces. There will be many prayers for your Son this weekend as we pay tribute to all of the Fallen Soldiers from 1775 to 2010 during our worship service on Sunday May 30th.

http://s579.photobucket.com/albums/ss234/JimVanderbleek/Northeast%20Presby%20Church%20Memorial%20Display%202010/?albumview=slideshow

Blessings to you and your family.
Jim Vanderbleek
727-895-9525"
Jim Vanderbleek of St. Petersburg, Florida

"I found out today what happened I'm a few years too late...But wanted to let you know that even though we havent kept in touch I knew you since we were gits. You were always a caring & funny person. We will miss you!!"
JuJu of TC - Tampa,FL,USA

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEjz-wAQLSA&feature=PlayList&p=477CB1585D5551F3
A hundred times a day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am receiving. - Albert Einstein"
Scott E. Steiner of Worthington, OH USA

"rob,i miss you so much. you and i go way back to middle school. we use to be the first ones at webb middle school before everybody and we would,joke around and play. i really miss your laugh. i us to laugh at your laugh...lol no one knows this but i remember the week before you left, you and i met up at a store in tampa where you asked me to join in going to the amry i told you no, but i should have went with you, i would have been honored to die along side my brother. i remember the day you died. i was changing into scrubs to get ready to enter O.R and channell 10 news came on to tell the world you lift us. my leg weaked and i couldnt believe the news i heard. i still cant believe you are gone. i love you, and i miss you my brother....Robert i promise you this once i join the airforce as a 2Lt. in honor of you and all the fallen soldiers of our great country i will solute thee. im sure everyone from webb, leto high and alonso high that knew you misses you too.i love u and i will never forget you. love always brandon.email me at:sketch04@live.com(if anyone knew robert and wants to email me feel free)"
Brandon Gilbert of Tampa,Fl USA

"Baez, sorry it has taken me up until now to drop a line. Usually I can find the right words when I started to write prior to now those words kind of escaped me. The entire flight to Kuwait you tried to teach me Spanish so I could impress my gf not even letting me sleep until I recited it back to you lol, still to this day you have remained one of the most reliable people I ever met always an hour early for everything. I just wanted to let you know my thoughts and prayers were with you. usted se pierden para siempre, amigo! To the family of Roberto usted ha planteado a un hijo notable...God Bless!"
Sgt Hamel, Matt of Bethel Park, PA

"March 28, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Roberto C. Baez:
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

"To the family of:Roberto C, Baez 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 for what you've done for this country. " The only thing evil needs to suceed is for good men to do nothing"."
T Conory of Norfolk VA

"While I only knew Rob Baez for two years in high school I can honestly say that he had changed the way I viewed life. He was always such a caring and funny person, and he could lighten my day with his laugh. If you ever insulted our country or president, you could see the anger in his apperance yet he held enough respect for your opinion that he would remain silent. He made my years in high school enjoyable and I was sad to hear that he would be going away to Iraq. I realized that if he left he would be faced with the same slim chance of survival that most soldiers face on a daily basis. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones. He has been and will be missed forever."
Eric Lamontagne of Tampa, FL

"Dear Baez family, I don't know if you remember me... my name is Clint Marsh. Roberto was a brother of mine. We stuck side by side through basic, javeline, airborne, and ranger indoc. Those six months of hell will always be special to me because Roberto was there to push me all the way. He was a excellent soldier and a great man. I have a tattoo with Roberto's name accross my arm, followed by the 13th verse of the 15th chapter in the Book of John. It will be there the rest of my life as a reminder of the real heroes who have gave their lives to protect the freedoms we all love. Please accept my sympathies.
Clint Marsh 1/75th Ranger Regiment"
Marsh of Deerfield, Ohio

"I was the Executive Officer of Baez's company in Iraq and was not much more than a hundred meters away when the IED detonated.

He was a great troop, respected by all who knew him and an example to serve by for peers and superiors alike. My condolences and best wishes to the Baez family."
Jeff of Fort Bragg

"I went to basic training w/ Baez. always looked up to him and wanted to be just like him. He taught me many lessons on a physical level and always got the best out of me even in the worst of situations. I respected him for the things he himself accomplished. I hope to live w/ the hard fighting spirit that Roberto carried w/ him out onto the field of battle. I miss you!!!"
PFC Trevelle Hudson of Ft. Bragg, NC

"Baez you will not be forgotten, ever. Love, you 504 brother"

"my name is Cassidy and i am a volunteer for the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run. We are a group of people that have built a memorial wall in Marsielles Illinois for all the fallen soldiers in Mideast conflicts since Beriut. Your loved one's name will be permenently added to this wall. For any further information visit our website www.ilfreedomrun.org please e-mail me at me1196@aol.com to let me know that you have recived this message. If you decide to come to this memorial on June 19th, 2006, you will recieve VIP seating and treatment for the cermonies that day. ALL OUR WELCOMING TO HONOR OUR FALLEN SOLDIERS
**Cassidy"
Cassidy of Brookfield/ILL/red,white,blue

"John 15:13
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.""

"To the Family and Friends of Roberto. I was just informed of the death of Roberto by a friend from Basic Training. When I heard my heart dropped. I went to Basic and airborne school with him and always remember him as a great guy with alot of character and everyone else seems to come to the same conclusion. I am so sorry for your loss but know that he is an inspiration for many of us."
Specialist Brett M. Perry of Fort Myer, Virginia

"I'm sorry for the loss of your son and knowing that he was just two years older than me hurts me. I don't know him in any way, but I am writing a poem about our fallen heroes in OIF. I chose your son, because he is the American hero and an angel that no one will forget. I promise that as soon as I finish my poem about him I will post it up. God Bless you and your family and remember Roberto will forever live on in our lives."
An 17 year-old in Pine Forest SR. High of Fayetteville, North Carolina/USA

"To Roberto's family and friends,
I have just received a letter from my son who is in the 3/504th and I wanted to share it with you. Cody wrote "The 5th platoon just walked in. They are the ones who lost 4 guys. Baez was my motivation. He was smaller than me and had this attitude that was what every soldier should have. Nothing was ever too hard for him. At West Point we did a 12 mile road march and I was feeling pretty good and I noticed Baez was having a little trouble around mile 10. I asked him if he wanted me to take his ruck and he could take my lighter one. He refused and finished the 12 miles. When we finished I picked up his ruck and it was heavy as hell but he wouldn't give it up to anyone. He was carrying more than us all and wouldn't let us do his share. His laugh I will always remember. It was so distinctive I could literally tell when he was in the courtyard at Bragg from my 4th floor balcony. Everytime we had a physical fitness test, he and were always the 2 highest scoring. No matter how bad I felt, I would always push myself because I knew he'd look at me like a [expletive deleted] if I didn't...I know I'll see him again on some plane of existance. I guess Valhalla is waiting for all the young warriors".
I am sorry for the loss of Roberto. I am sorry that I did not get to meet this courageous young man who was my son's friend and inspiration. I know that he will not be forgotten."
Belle Baccheschi of Torrington, CT

"I wore Roberto's name during a vigil held on 10/29/05 to honor the 2,012 (to date) service members killed in Iraq. When I got home, I looked up his name and saw that he was only 19 at the time of his death. I am the mother of a 19 year old son, and I want to offer you my heartfelt condolences. My husband served in the Army in Vietnam, at the same age as Roberto. In Sept. 05 we were in Washington, DC and he took a rubbing of the name of one of his high school classmates killed in Vietnam. The loss of his Army buddies is something he has never gotten over, but that pain pales in comparison to the loss of one's son. Please know that I will hold your family in prayer, also those still serving in Iraq, those who are now home and trying to heal from physical and emotional wounds. I will also continue to fervently pray for peace and an end to this war."
Debby Pattin of Olympia, WA

"To the Baez family,
We honor and celebrate the life of ROBERTO, who was taken from you in service to our country. Words will not ease your pain, but we hope you find some comfort in knowing he is an American Hero and Will Not Be Forgotten.
ROBERTO - thank you for your service and sacrifice. God Bless and may the Angels surround your family as they try to heal.
From the family of an American Soldier, stationed at Ft. Campbell with the 101st AVN REGT, now serving in Iraq. 10-19-2005.""
---The Erwin Family of Oregon, United States of America

"I am so sorry to hear about your loss my son is also in the 3-504 i cannot even imagine what you are going thru but one thing is he died for what he believed in and he is in alot better place than where he was..God is with him now and he is with you all to. My son has called me and i can tell he is having trouble dealing with the deaths of his fallen sodiers and his friends. All i can say is i am sorry God Bless you all in this Time...."
Beth of Ok

"My condolences go out to all the friends and families who have been scarred from this war. Rob, you will never be forgotten and always honored for what you did. I know deep inside you did what you did for all the right reasons and i thank you for leaving behind all those great memories. Class of 2004 will live for you and i promise your family will be fine. I will hold my head up because I know you would, but you will be missed by all."
Jose Jimenez of Tampa, FL

"ROBERTO THANK YOU, FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY AND FOR BEING A BROTHER TO OUR SON. YOU HAVE NOT GIVEN YOUR LIFE IN VAIN! NOR HAS OUR SON, HE DIED 05-03-04 IN BALAD, IRAQ. OUR HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH ROBERTO AND HIS FAMILY. GOD BLESS!"
leonard wahl of VALLEY STREAM NY

"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 Red Devil. Our boys 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
gloria.caldas@sbcglobal.net"

"Roberto and my boyfriend went to basic and to Airborne school together. Roberto was the nicest man I have ever met and he will NOT be forgotten. He was one of America's true hero's!! To his family: may you find a moments grace in knowing how well loved your son was. God Bless"
Sarah of Diamond, Ohio

"To the Baez family, I am deeply sorry to hear about your son. My husband is in the 3 504 with your son/husband. I just broke down when I heard the news. The guys from 3rd bat will not give up they will continue in your sons honor."
Erin of Fort Bragg, Nc.

"Hi Jeanette,

My name is Dede. I am one of the co-founders of Gold Star Families for Peace. We share in your grief and want to support you. Please contact us www.gsfp.org."
Dede of Bellflower Ca

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

"To the friends and family of Roberto Baez.
Please accept the deepest condolences from another Army "family." I read in the newspaper about your loving family and can only
hope that our prayers from across the State, provide some solace. A grateful nation salutes you."
Mark Scheinbaum and Family of Lake Worth, Florida

"To the parents and family of Roberto, I saw the piece on the news last night about Roberto's death. Your grief is felt all over this country. May God bless you all! Know that Robert did not die in vain. He died defending our freedoms, and his heroism and sacrifice will not go unrecognized. My heart and prayers go out to you in this difficult time. May you find the strength to carry on in life, and find ways to make it be known that Roberto died a hero."
Franci of New Port Richey, FL

"To the parents and family of Roberto, I saw the piece on the news last night about Roberto's death. Your grief is felt all over this country. May God bless you all! Know that Robert did not die in vain. He died defending our freedoms, and his heroism and sacrifice will not go unrecognized. My heart and prayers go out to you in this difficult time. May you find the strength to carry on in life, and find ways to make it be known that Roberto died a hero."
Franci of New Port Richey, FL

"Thank you Roberto Baez, 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 Pfc. Roberto Baez:
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 Pfc. Roberto Baez:
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