Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard

26, of Mountain View, California.
Ballard died in Najaf, Iraq, during a firefight with insurgents. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Friedburg, Germany. Died on May 30, 2004.

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"Dear family,
As a scout his platoon covered our 6over many missions. I will nwver forget the last mission.
The day started like so many others. Normal ak fire in the background. I had eaten lunch with him a few times and shot the breeze. I remember getting up and being tasked with a mission. He said, yeah we're going too.
Thats the last thing i ever heard from him. I said see you when we get back. I was mid mission when the first sergeant pulled along side my truck and had my section escort him for his resupply assessment. We came to his platoon sergeants tank and he said he had one wia and one kia. When we finished the firefight, i learned that it was lt Ballard. Kinda messed up that in a situation such as war, you are still shocked to find a friend even one just made has been lost.
To this day, the only names i remember without a picture are lt ballard, and Michelangelo mora.
I am sorry for your loss and honored to have served even just near such a man. I wish i had been able to know him better. I know that in the passing of time it still hurts. As im sure youve read he was a great leader and a hero among men."
Sgt. Haney, Joseph d of Tell City, Indiana

"It has been 9 years since Lt. Ballard made the ultimate sacrifice and I still remember the night my squad and I had to escort his body from one camp to another in Al- Najaf, Iraq. The escort was the most solemn drive I have ever had. If it was not for him and his fellow soldiers my squad and I might not of made it thru our tour in Iraq, he provided additional security while we were assisting the Iraqi Police in securing their Headquarters' Building from Sadar's Militia in Al-Najaf. Lt. Ballard will be eternally remembered.

SFC Richard Gaines, 2175th Military Police Co. (Ret.)
Missouri National Guard"
Richard Gaines of Fredericktown, Mo. USA

"R.I.P Brave soldier."
Unknown

"Its been over 7 yrs ago since u fell. I still think of u."
Jon Crane of Prescott, AZ

"To the family of:Kenneth Michael Ballard
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"1-11-11"

"LT Ballard is the soldier I met, Ken is the friend you turned out to be. I remember very well Winter of 2002, You were at one-Stop here at lovely Fort Knox. You were in the transportation brief with me and you were discussing how you were going to move all your things to Germany. I believe thats when we discussed that we were headed to the same location in Germany. I think we may have seen each other in Germany a couple times before we deployed. I definately saw you in Iraq, we discussed breaching procedures over T-Rat omelettes with salsa, and you kindly stated that backing up a tank into a wall is the way to go. I now agree. Those picket pounders us lil' scouts used just didn't bring the same shock and awe. Oh well, Love Ya Ken. I guess I wanted to converse with you a lil' bit more. It's kinda crazy how I think this is a link to your beautiful soul up in Heaven. Tell God to keep all your Brothers and Sisters serving safe. Thanks Ken. Talk to you later Bud."
SGT Andrew Mohr of Fort Knox, KY

"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"
Scott Steiner of Worthington, OH USA

"He saved my butt one day in Iraq I am a medic and my track was under heavy fire and Mike pulled his tank right in front of mine and gave us cover fire so we could get to a safe location. He is forever in my heart"
SGT Scott Hoehn of Gilbert AZ

"last time we talked we were headed off again, i remember when we went to berlin together see you on the other side brother!!!"
SSG Charles of germany

"To the family of Kenneth Ballard,
On 25 November 2008 at 11:00 AM the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment and the 2d Cavalry Association will gather in Vilseck, Germany, to commemorate a monument to our fallen brothers from Operation Iraqi Freedom. 1st Lieutenant Kenneth Ballard will be honored on that day. His name will be engraved on the face of a permanent black marble monument along with his fallen comrades. The monument will be located in a park of 50 trees which will form a living memorial to these fine young Soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation.
On that date and at that ceremony we will also honor the families of these Soldiers. We truly hope that the families can participate in the ceremony. It is the wish of the 2d Cavalry Association and the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment to place a personalized flag case and flag for each of these fallen heroes in the hands of a family member.
We are requesting that these families contact us via email at deddygetty1@comcast.net to learn more about the ceremony and how they can participate.
Toujours Pret!
Dave Gettman
2d Cavalry Association"
"Tacoma Dave" of Washington

"Happy Birthday, buddy!

Love, your fave ma

www.ltkenballard.com"
Karen Meredith of Mountain View, CA

"April 13, 2008
To the family of 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard:
Kenneth gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I canot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I wouldn't be writing this today if it weren't for 1LT Ballard and his men. On numerous occasions, they were our security while we performed the difficult task of assisting the Iraqi police in An Najaf. I used to talk to him sometimes while waiting in line to use the internet. Being an armor enthusiast, I was thrilled when he gave me a tour of his tank. It was our sad duty to escort the bodies of 1LT Ballard and another fallen hero to a landing zone outside of An Najaf, so they could return home. Since I knew 1LT Ballard, I was asked by the soldier who received his body that night to identify him. I think about that everyday. He was a hero and a man who loved his duty, and my friends and I probably owe him our lives. His family can be proud of the life he led.

SGT Dave Scott, 2175th MP Co
Missouri National Guard"
Dave Scott of St. Louis MO

"To The Family of Ken Ballard,
I remember reading of Ken's passing and feeling so sad for you. I read about your birthday celebration for him on Saturday and it made sense. Ken and I share a birthday (although I am 2 years older). I always say my birthdays are somewhat cursed (everything goes wrong that day), now I see that is just not true. Thank you for sharing your son with us, I feel honored to share a birthday with him."
Joy of Mountain View, CA

"Ken: Your MTSU Sig Ep Brothers miss you. Major Bettina Avent and I discuss you every time we speak. We'll never forget you. Take care, my Brother."
Major Dan Clark of Tuscaloosa, Alabama

"Kenneth,
I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF, but also for your service in Kosovo as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading all the reflections left here for you, I wish that I had had the opportunity to have served with you-sounded like one hell of an officer and soldier.

"Courage Conquers"(37th AR Motto)"

"I knew Ken from MTSU, he had the best sense of humor when we were shelving books at the library. I miss that, among other things. Thank you for your friendship."
Grace V. James of Murfreesboro, TN

"I had the priviledge of serving with 1LT Ballard when I was in Iraq the first time. There was an incident in Najaf where my vehicle broke down, and he was the first face that I saw coming to my aid. He was such a good friend and officer, and he will never be forgotten. Thanks LT for always thinking of me and my family. God Bless."
Sgt. Lewis of Ft. Huachuca, Arizona

""We won't forget your service to our country. God bless our troops!""
Betty Dunkin of New Braunfels, TX

"Happy birthday ken...
you are gone, but not forgotten.

to all of ken's family and friends, please take some comfort in knowing kens is still in our thoughts, today and everyday."
Christine (sister of mike mitchell, kia 04/04/04) of Atascadero, Ca

"I just received my Hero Bracelet in the mail with Kenneth Ballard's name on it. Thank you, brave soul, for your courage and strength. Thank you for defending me and my family. I will never forget what you have done to ensure our freedom. I will not take it for granted. You are not only on my wrist, but in my heart. I pray for your family and hope they find peace and comfort. Thank you, my hero."
Genie Krull of Roseville, Ca.

"I will probably never forget all the joy that being a line medic to C co brought me and even after some years I still have LT. Ballard in my mind. For the short time that I was there he was one of the ones who always gave me uplifting speeches and one of the many officers in that company who kept my morale up. I know that every person that has ever served with him feels the way I do... He was one of a kind."
SPC Garcia C co Line Medic of Fort Detrick MD

"hey cowboy how you doing this is SSG. Anthony. i dont even know where to start but it has to start some where. i remember days where i would sit and think he is a NCO breed soldier they way you thought. The respect you had from your soldiers. all of which is a NCO i miss you and wish maybe one day i can have just one of your trated we miss you and you are never left out of our prayers. We love you"
SSG. Gerald Anthony of C.co 2-37 ar . Friedberg .Ge

"Sra. Karen
Reciba usted mi mas sentido pesame, por la perdida de su hijo amado. Dios lo tenga en su santa gloria."
Adolfo Cordova of Atlanta, Georgia, EE.UU

"The survivors of LT Kenneth Ballard,

I had the honor and privilege of being Ken's Platoon Leader in 1/A/2-37 AR, Friegberg, back in 1997-1998. He was my loader, and one of the best soldiers I've seen before or since. I wrote a recommendation for his Green to Gold Packet and had stayed in touch with him for some time after that. This news has just reached me and hit me harder than any of the other friends I've lost. His energy towards doing what he loved for a country he believed in inspires those of us who continue serving America in his notable absence; he's one of the best men with whom I've ever served.

God Bless."
CPT Ted Kaiser of North Carolina

"Ken Ballard had many virtues that I never will. I will never know all the ways his leadership kept me safe; the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives his blood, sweat and toil improved never gave a second thought to the man inside that Army uniform. In spite of that, no, BECAUSE of that I will be telling his story till my great grandchildren put me into the ground."
Omid Zehtab of East Lansing, MI

"I want to say a few things about this great man and a fine LT. Ken Ballard was a remarkable man and had a high dedication to the mission in iraq. I was not in his platoon but if i had to do it all over again i would've liked to be in his. He treated his men very well and was always there for them in troubled times.He always took the time to say hi to me and see how i was doing in my bad times.... Lt Ballard I miss u and if u been my Lt i would've been so honored and u would not have given up on me. God has a seat for u up high and i hope u reside in celestial glory."
Jonathan Crane of Mesa, Arizona USA

"Ken, you were and still are one of my most closest friends. Heroism, bravery, honor upheld was your everyday gig, and the army and the states saw that in your actions. You touched so many lives within friendships, love, and passings, and to this day I do not forget you as a best friend, bloodbrother, and hero to our nation and to our everyday freedom we take for granted. Taken for granted by many from the soldiers who fight and overcome evil who give the highest price, their lives. I miss you dearly, and everyday is a reminder I do not have you in physical form in my life, but you are now higher than that, only reserved for the honorable and bravest. I have honored your memory with a memorial garden at the nursery, and always keep in touch with your mom. We will see you soon bud, and I won't hesitate for a second to talk with you on times and know you are watching over all of us.....Love ya buddy"
Trevor Floth of Arroyo Grande, California USA

"I am compelled to write to thank your son for his committment, duty, courage and sacrifice he has made for all of us, so that we may live in a better, safer place. On behalf of my own family, including several proud veterans, I very much appreciate and will not forget his service to our country. Thank you."
John Barrella of Boston, MA

"I had the privelage of working with Lt. Ballard in Sadr City. On several occasions his platoon as well as the other platoons from Crusader provided us security at the Sadr City DAC. My fellow soldiers and I have fond memories of sitting around and conversing with Lt. Ballard and his men. Hearing of his death was quite a shock to us. Lt. Ballard was one heck a good man and a good officer. My sympathies go out to his family and the soldiers that was under his command. It was easy to tell when working with his platoon that they got along well, they were a pleasure to work with."
Pvt. McClellan (Civil Affairs) of Texas

"HEY COWBOY BOB
I WILL NOT WRITE AS YOU ARE GONE
FOR YOU WILL NEVER LEAVE MY HEART
MERIDTH, KEN WAS ONE HELL OF A SOLDIER, TANKER, LEADER, AND AS YOU KNOW AND CAN ATTEST TO.. A DAMN GOOD FRIEND... I STILL CAN SEE YOU IN THAT CRAZY SHIRT ON A MISSION... KEN I MISS YOU... ITS BEEN NEARLY A YEAR AND I STILL TEAR UP THINKING ABOUT YOU AND NIC AND MIKEY... I MISS YOU BUBBA... KEEP WATCH OVER US FROM THE HATCH AND I WILL SEE YOU ON THE HIGH GROUND ONE DAY...
SSG DEATON WILLIAM J.
FORMERLY
C CO 2/37 AR C24 GOLF AND C32TC"
SSG DEATON, WILLIAM J

"There was a holiday-sing-along in Mountain View where Karen Meredith touched every heart present. I didn't know her then and just learned of her name.

Let's hope the good in all hearts and spirits may prevail to soothe the loss that Karen and thousands of others sustained.

B. Alavi,
Mountain View"
Bob Alavi of Mountain View, CA 94040 USA

"I went to Armor OBC and served in Iraq with your son. He was a fine leader and outstanding friend. I will miss him more than words can say."
1LT Ricci of Fort Polk, LA, USA

"My heart broke upon reading about Kenneth Ballard and seeing the picture of Karen Meredith, his mother, in the Washington Post. My son is also a first lieutenant in an Armored Division and is serving now in South Korea with deployment to Iraq in the future. While so many don't understand their commitment to serve, we have watched our children grow up with this one single purpose on their minds. Our children dream of wearing the uniform and serving our country with honor and pride. God Bless Karen Meredith and the Ballard Family for the ultimate sacrifice they have given to our country and the world. Her son is a true American hero."
Pam Ward of Millersville, Maryland

"God bless and give you peace. Lt. Ballard will be in our prayers. We cannot express with mere words how our hearts cry for you.

The Michael Taggart Family
Fountain Inn, South Carolina"
Mike of Fountain Inn, SC USA

"I am Kenīs company commander. Ken was my most aggressive lieutenant and a fine commissioned officer with a very bright future. Ken led every mission from the front as an officer should to be an example for his men. Ken knew his equipment, was a great tanker, knew and loved his boys and did not lose a single one of them. Ken was serving as my wingman on the night that he fell and I felt secure knowing he was there. I miss him every day and his personality is not replaceable. Ken was absolutely committed to his profession and our mission and it was a high honor to serve with him in battle. Karen, I am so sorry for our loss."
CPT John C. Moore of Friedberg, Germany

"Dear Mr and Mrs Ballard,

It was an honor to serve with Ken in Iraq and to serve on his funeral detail. Ken and his men were a vital part of our unit while we were on patrols in Sadr City. He showed friendship to us and lived by duty, and we knew he would never let us down in a tight situation. He was a close friend to me, and
he will be sorely missed and never forgetten."
1LT John Bruggink of Leesville, LA

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom...the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix AZ

"Iīm sooo sorry!!!"
Jasmin of Germany

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

"Ken,
Your loss has hit my husband and his fellow soldiers hard. They rock on in Najaf in your honor. Sleep well my friend."
Proud Crusader Wife 2/37AR of Friedberg Germany

"I used to work with Ken at the library at MTSU. I am very sad to learn that he has died. He was a really great guy. I am sure he will be missed dearly by his family and friends. My condolences to you all."
Laura Trajick of Seattle, WA

"Karen, I'm so sorry for your loss. Ken was a great man and friend. I met him in 1993 and looked up to him like a brother. There was a group of us who always hung out at Audrey's house. Me, Andrea, Krista, Cheryl, Blake and of course Ken. I will always cherish the time we all spent together. He will always have a special place in my heart. I just want you to know that we are grieving with you. I wish I could think of better words to help comfort you, but I'm not very good with words. But I will say this: May God watch over you always and know that Ken is there with Him watching over us all. Once again I'm so sorry!"
Christina Sierra of Union City, California

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

"To the family of LT Ballard. i am one of the medics that is in LT's company here in iraq. just to let you know that the entire company sends our condolensces and he is always in our hearts and minds."
Crusaders of Najaf Iraq

"To the family of Kenneth. When I heard of this tragic news I was brought to tears. My brother Michael Mitchell served with Ken and was KIA on April 4, 2004 just a couple days before their unit was to leave. My heart breaks for your family. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. May the Lord give you the peace that you need to make it through this time."
Terri Pedrino of Yucaipa, California

"Dear Kenneth,
Thank you for your fearless service to our country and for protecting me and other americans from evil forces. It takes so much courage to fight in combat and you proved yourself as a warrior by doing so. All Americans owe you a great debt for your efforts and heroism in Iraq. Your death is not in vain, for you did something courageous in a time of need."
Mark Reif of Winchester, VA

"Dear family, I am so sorry for the tragic loss of your loved one. Please know that many of us appreciate his service and sacrifice for our country."
F. Smith of Pennsylvania

"To Kenneth'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 Kenneth'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 his bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,
The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.

Gloria Caldas (Ernie's mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"Thank you Kenneth Ballard, 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. Kenneth Ballard:
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 Kenneth 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 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard:
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 Kenneth, 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