Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco

28, of Texas.
Blanco was conducting a support mission when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle in Qaryat Ash Shababi, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Died on December 28, 2003.

Memorial Service for Capt. Ernesto "The Big Ern" Blanco-Caldas
When: Tuesday, December 28th
Time: Meet at 4:00p, Balloon Release at 4:15 p
Place: Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Section 25
Harry Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, Texas
Note: BYOB (Bring Your Own Balloon)

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco.

Links:

Contributions to the Families of the Fallen

Messages:

Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

Please report inappropriate messages

"To those who served with Ernie, I'm working on a project in which I'll be including messages from people who served alongside Ernie, sharing their memories of him and the impact he had on their life. If you would like to know more about how you can participate, please email me at letterstoernie@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is December 18th, 2013."
Michelle Blanco, Ernie's fiancee

"Just came across this page. CPT Blanco and his crew always protected us on our missions to fix and recover vehicles. I always remember him playing guitar and singing worship songs at our makeship chapel on Camp Mercury! He has impacted alot and left a very big impression, even this many years later."
B of FBNC

"SSG Huff, you are so dear to remember Ernie in the midst of what has happened. I'm so very sorry to hear that you have been so deeply affected by the OK tornado. I'm so thankful you are safe. Praying for you and the other Okies who have been affected."
Michelle Blanco

"Ernie,

My home was stricken by an EF-5 tornado in Moore, OK on 20MAY2013... been a devastating week... however, i woke up today on Memorial day and started my yearly tradition... praying for your family and those you positively impacted. Airborne, all the way!"
SSG Duane Huff of Moore, OK

"Ernie, it was my distinct privilege to have known you. Thank you for spending time with me, encouraging me, and letting the love of Christ shine through you. I'm missing you today..."
Jerrell Wise of Little Elm, Texas

"I'll never forget that look on your face, I was a PVT straight from Airborne School and you were a brand new Platoon Leader the day I met you. Spent some time getting to know each other, and I thank you for the support. Almost 10 years since you have departed this world, till this day I still don't understand. Only thing to say........."All the Way. Sir!!"
SFC Daniel Wilhite of Springfield, MO USA

"Ernie, I still think about you all the time and how much of a pleasure it was being your buddy, serving with you, and even playing guitar with you! I'm going to commemorate you in my veteran's group and workplace as a true hero I was so blessed to have known"
Carl Legge of Massachusetts

"Never Forgotten, thinking of Ernie today. We graduated Ranger School together 11 years ago today! IOBC, Ranger School, Fort Bragg, Afghanistan.........Ernie was a tremendous person. I was lucky to know him, honored to serve with him and privileged to be his friend. The World is a better place because of Ernie!"
Thomas Clark of Strongsville, Ohio

"I had the pleasure of meeting Capt Blanco while serving in 1/504th PIR. He was a great man and touched all of us that knew him. Strike Hold Sir. You are missed.You may be gone but you are not forgetten. My prayers go out to you and your family."
Sam Wood of Cape Coral, FL

"I only met Ernesto once, when he came to North Florida, but I have never forgotten him or his sacrifice. He was an amazing young man. My heart goes out to his family whose loss is so great. On this Memorial Day, I hope you know how much of an impact he had during his short time on earth. Thank you for his life and your sacrifice."
Kelly of Orange Park, FL

"You are never forgotten. Still remember our conversations about coming home to Texas. As well as our last mission together. Thank you for being there for us and guiding us. To the Blanco Family I am Truly sorry for your loss, and can not express my condolences enough. He definitely held a special place in all of us. May he rest in peace."
Cesar Garcia of San Antonio, Tx.

"When we were deployed to Afghanistan, and soon after, attached to C Company to go to Pakistan for about a month in 2002, he kindly and generously offered to let me play his acoustic guitar one hot day. I was also in HHC, 1/504th PIR of the 82nd ABN DIV at Fort Bragg, NC. Also, sometime during that same deployment, we had had a conversation for, say, 5-10min in Kandahar, Afghanistan when I asked him for advice on running (PT) and getting better with my 2-mile run time. I was very concerned. From that conversation, I could tell he had a great attitude about his occupation in the U.S. Army. He exuded that ideal attitude and demeanor that the Army attracts, especially, if I might add, paratroopers. He assimilated his rank as an officer very well. Where he was, his placement, seemed like a perfect fit and he was definitely a credit to his unit, the 82nd ABN DIV, the U.S. Army, and to our country. He was a great guy, and I am glad I found this web site to tell whoever is interested."
Rob Hutten of West Chester, OH

"I remember seeing lt.Blanco almost every day at camp mercury. He always seemed cheerful and always smiled at me when i would walk by him. There were so many days when i was sad and depressed over there, but this guy would always bring a few seconds of cheerfulness with that smile of his. i used to think ''how in the hell can this guy always seem so happy?'' I think he must have had a good life. i'm sure he left a lot of broken hearts behind. i'm sorry that such a happy face is gone from this world."
john of philly

"To the family of CPT Blanco,
I met your son while he was a 2LT and a PLatoon Leader during ITC for Bco 1/504 PIR. I am a medic and I was covering for his normal medic for the training event. The whole time I was treating him, he was mad because he could not lead his men onto the objective. The love for his men and the honor he felt in leading them was self evident. I had the honor to serve with him for the next 2.5 years and watched him grow as a leader of Soldiers. I can attest to that on the day he was taken from us, that the complete battalion was crushed, that was the impact CPT Blanco had on the Red Devils. I was blessed to have known and served with your son, and remember him often."
SSG Joshua B. Martelle of Afghanistan

"Happy Birthday, Love. Miss you and love you so very much."
Shell

"CPT Blanco,
Thank you for your sacrifice; you went on every mission when the mechanics needed security when you didn't have to."
1SG Wetzel of FBNC

"I served in iraq with cpt. Blanco and this memorial day weekend I remembered how he tought me some songs on the guitar. He was always so kind despite the rank barrier"
Joe macadam of green, ohio

"To: CPT Blanco's family

May God continue to bless and keep you. May His comfort and grace be yours. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23)

Ernie is not forgotten -"
Chaplain Christopher Dickey of Fort Bragg, NC

"Miss you brother. This side of heaven isn't the same without you."
Eddy

"oh babe, how I miss you. love you."
Michelle Blanco

"Hi my name is CDT Ryan Hines. Three years ago I was given a fallen soldiers bracelet before I entered the army by a soldier who served that day. The bracelet is dedicated to Cpt. Blanco. I didn't truly understand the meaning of the bracelet at first. When I received it I was told this is what makes a true hero. Be good to your men and remember people have risked their lives for us to live on in freedom. I never met Cpt. Blanco but he will always be an inspiration to me. I am training to become an officer and will strive to succeed just like he did. I like to give my condolences to the family. Your son is a hero to me and I will always keep this bracelet to honor his name."
CDT Ryan Hines of Indianapolis, Indiana

"I have a great snapshot of Ernie and me, arms around one another. It was taken after lunch at my father-in-law's house in Fayetteville, NC. My father-in-law was Ernie's pastor while he was at Ft. Bragg. How I love that picture. My boys ask me from time to time, "Who is that man with you on the refrigerator again, Daddy?" And I get to tell them about a hero of mine who lives with Jesus. I trust the Lord will continue to lift up your family."
Steve Coleridge of Columbia, SC, USA

"Darling Son: Just came from the cemetary to leave your Happy Birthday Balloon and Flowers. On a day like today, 35 years ago, your dad and I were on our way to Hartford Hospital from New York, where I had gone into labor. Several hours later, just after midnight, you were born! It was one of the happiest days of my life. If you were still with us on this planet, you'd be turning 35 in a couple of hours. Oh the things you could have accomplished! But our Heavenly Father had other plans for you and called you Home in his time, not mine. I'm sure that you know that as long as I have a breath in my body, you are alive in my heart. I love you. (08/10/2010)"
Mommy of San Antonio, TX

"dear tio, i miss you and i wish you were still alive. i dream of you every night."
your nephew, trystan of san antonio TX

"All the Way. Sir!!
Gone but not forgotten!"
MSG Null, Lonnie R. of FBNC

"I attended a citizenship ceremony last week and amidst the tears of joy for a good friend who was finally becoming an official "American" I noticed a picture of a Soldier- CPT Blanco. Immediately my tears turned to heartache as I realized what that picture signified. I met CPT Blanco when he was SPC Blanco during AIT. He was my platoon sergeant. He was the first leader I respected and admired. I pray that you all are comforted in knowing that his legacy lives on in me. I have been in the military for 12 years now. I too plan on becoming commissioned and mentoring people through my example. CPT Blanco will forever remain a "Hero" in my heart. God bless!"
SSG Brandi Taylor-Cuevas of FT Sam Houston, TX, USA

"To my fellow para troop you will never be forgotten you showed texas pride and you were an officer the troops can relate to you were a great person and I am proud to say I served with you this country is built with people like you god bless your fam and the 504"
Tommy E.Nester Jr of Cottontucky AZ

"" Never Forgotten," He is often in my thoughts and I still miss him so. I pray for his family and feel blessed to have known him.

Airborne!
MAJ Thomas W. Chandler III"
Thomas Chandler of Ft. Leavenworth, KS

"Oh, my Love. I can't believe it has been 6 years....an eternity and yet it was just yesterday. I miss and love you still so very much. You have my heart, and you always will."
Shell

"Darling Son: It's coming on the 6th anniversary of your "Home Going." Still miss you every day. Every once in a while, I still feel you watching over us! We love you."
Mom of San Antonio, TX

"Son ... almost six years since your home-going. Still miss you."
Mom of San Antonio, TX

"Forgot to leave my contact it is Dean.Jasonl@gmail.com if anyone would like to talk."
Jason Dean of Buckhannon, WV

"I too wear Cpt. Blanco's Bracelet i now have a permanent scar on my wrist from it. I miss him very much. I relive that day everyday while im awake and everynight while I sleep,for I was with him. Miss you big Ern. I know your watching over us all. I can hear your guitar from here. (9-13-2009)"
Jason Dean of Buckhannon, WV

"To my Angel. Happy Birthday, my dear son. Today is your 34th birthday. You continue to live on in my heart and I think of you every day. 8/10/2009"
Mom of San Antonio, TX

"CPT Blanco,

I think about you and your family everyday as I continue to wear this metal band on my wrist. It has grown sharp on on edge and I continue to cut my wife and kids but I refuse to take it off. You are truely missed, as I can see by all your messages. I know you are taken care of. To the family of CPT Blanco, my prayers go out to you. He was a great man and did great things for our country. I was on patrol that day with my squad on a LTC escort detail and was one of the trucks that arrived on the IED sight. take care and God bless."
SSG(P) Fahn, Justin (Drill Instructor) of Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

"Fallen, but never forgotten!"
CPT Dennis (CATA-41) of FOB Salerno, AFG

"Happy Veterans Day, young Captain..."
Uncle Mano of Atlanta, Ga

"To my Ranger Buddy, fellow 504 Devil, and friend....I soldier on a little more lonely without you....I miss you Bro."
CPT Bill Chesher of Fayetteville, NC

"To the loved ones of Capt. Ernesto Blanco-Caldas, you have my deepest condolences.The world could not afford to lose such a soldier as he. I also wear a bracelet with Ernie's name,rank,unit and date he left us. I'm very proud to know what a fine man he was and how many cared for him. I'm sure he is in peace and watching over his loved ones."
Richard J Fiske of Charleston, SC, fiskerj@aol.com

"Happy Birthday Love"
~Shell

"This Memorial Day 2008 I saw your picture with your Mom in our local Raleigh paper. I felt compelled to send my deepest sympathy to you and your family. No Mother should have to endure what it is like to lose her son. There are no words to explain the grief. My heart goes out to her. I know you are surrounded by love in God's presence and are at peace. It is just missing you here on earth that is the hard part.
My Dad lost his brother, one year younger in WWII. George Potts has never been forgotten and is still loved by this next generation. All George's 6 sisters and brothers have joined him now. The nieces and nephews carry him still in our heart. Some of us were not born when he died in 1944 but thru our family stories we feel we know him and love him. We have witnessed the sadness in our parents and saw how you continue on.I have handed these stories down to my children so he is still alive in many hearts all these years later. Ernie will live on too in all who knew him and of him. That is the one thing death cannot take...the love we have shared & our memories.Love continue to grow. Look at Jesus some 2000 years later. He is still loved greatly. Ernie will continue to live thru others.
Peace to all your family and God give you comfort and help heal your heart."
Eileen of Wake Forest, NC

"May 24, 2008
Ernie and I were best friends at A&M. I will never forget the moment I first saw him standing there with his hat and boots in the hallway of my dorm before school started our freshman year. I was lucky to be Ernie's friend from the beginning because once he joined the Corps and met more people, it would have been hard to work through all the people who wanted to spend time with Ernie. By our senior year, I couldn't walk through campus with Ernie without half a dozen people yelling out to him. He was a true shining star and people were just drawn to him. Reading some of the posts here, I know he continues to be as loved and popular as ever. I was at Ernie's funeral and was really touched to see that same hat and boots he had on the day I met him. My love to his mother and sister."
Kathy Goss Atanasov of Williamsburg, VA

"good memories can help you get through life"
sahid souus of miami, usa

"Ernie,

I knew you at Texas A&M- we were in the Corps together and were both Corps Chaplains for our outfits one of those years. You know, I have a brother and his name is Ernie too...can't help think about you sometimes when I'm talking to him....well, I just wanted to say thank you Ernie. See you in heaven =)"
Yvette of Chicago, Il

"April 23, 2008
To the family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco:
Ernesto 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

"Cpt. Blanco, you will always be in my prayers.."

"Happy veteran's" day to the Blanco family. Let me introduce myself,
I am Mrs. Ted Campbell. Ted and Ernie were room mate's in OCS. He will forever be a special part of our memories. The weekend before they graduated, OCS had a barbecue and I drove down from Nashville TN and on the way got lost and was late. As I drove up to the Arche's at the OCS school, I saw a figure standing there at parade rest with a big grin on his face. I knew who it was even though I had not met Ernie, except through Ted's letters and calls. He waited there patiently for me since Ted was busy at the grill. I later found out Ernie took the time out of his celebration to wait for me and make sure I got to the right place at the right time.

I never had the blessing to be a mother, but if I could have been, I would want my son to be like our Ernie. He will always be in our hearts and prayers. He and Ted had many wonderufl memories in OCS, and Im so thankful My husband had the best OCS buddy ever!!!"
Kristen Campbell of SIerra Vista, AZ

"The day that Ernie was killed Isaac Rademacher and I sat in silence trying to comprehend what had happened. Isaac broke the silence by saying, "Ernie carved himself in me.""
CPT Josh Holst, joshua.holst@us.army.mil of Fort Leavenworth, KS

"To Ernie's Family and Friends,
Ernie and I were Officer Candidate School (OCS) roomates in the fall of 1999, graduating class of April 2000. During this time as most roomates do we became very good friends. I always remember during the early morning hours of OCS hearing the hard slap of his feet as he sprung from the top bunk and on to the cold, hard floor ready to start another long day of training. That was Ernie always the first one to leap into action. Ernie would always speak highly of his family and friends and how much he loved them and being back in Texas. Ernie was always ready to help others and never hesitated to volunteer or do the dirty work. At the end of a long day when we finally had a chance to talk about the day's events he would pick my brain about Ranger School. He was very excited to be an Infantryman and all the challenges associated with it. In OCS Ernie spoke mostly about being a respected and caring leader which in my opinion he already was, echoed again and again by all of the soldiers and friends who knew him. Ernie inspired me everyday with his motivation and deep Christian beliefs. I remember Ernie reading the bible and writing letters to his family with a red lens flashlight on the top bunk late at night after "lights out"...such an act in OCS was very risky but again, that was Ernie, putting his God and others first. Like so many others I was saddened by the news of my friend Ernie, but more for his family and friends who will be forever without his companionship for this is truly a lesser place without him. I have since retired from the Army where I work as civilian for an organization attempting to help defeat IEDs. Above my computer in a small and air conditioned cubical hangs a smiling picture of Ernie in Iraq. It serves to remind me of the sacrifices Ernie and others like him make everyday. I guess in many ways he is still around motivating and enspiring me like he did in OCS so many times. My prayers go out to his family and friends, Ernie will forever be missed."
CPT Ted Campbell (USA Ret.) of Arizona

"To the Blanco family,
I served in Afghanistan with Cpt Blanco, used to call him "Mighty Mouse". He was a wonderful person, and I remember always sitting around and listening to him & Doc White talk about Texas, they were so full of it (lol), you would think Texas was Heaven the way they described it. He was our company XO, but he was more than that to those that knew him. I kept in touch with the unit while they were gone to Iraq, and remember the day I got the letter telling me about Cpt Blanco, and about others who had been wounded. I regret not being in Iraq everytime I think about him. I ETS'd about 2 months before our unit went to Iraq, so while he was out doing the job, I was at home learning to be a civilian, and I regret that. I know that the Blanco family must be proud of their hero. He certainly is a hero, and you should certainly have no fear for him now, because there is no doubt he's sitting in heaven with a smile."
SPC Tidwell, Benjamin of Dalton, GA

"I had the privilege of knowing Ernie through junior high and high school. It has been many years since I last saw him but I always have remembered him as a solid guy. When I heard of Ernie's passing, I was working in news in Washington and was sitting at my desk in a busy newsroom. I opened my daily email from the Pentagon and my heart dropped. Seeing Ernie's name there was heartbreaking. I have learned more about where his life went over the years and I am proud and humbled to be able to say that I knew him. It seems that he never changed. He was solid. I wish I could be more like he was. Thanks Ernie. Thanks."
Sarah (Schueneman) of San Antonio, TX now living in Richmond, Va

"God Bless You All!

I read about Ernesto, after his mother posted a note on a memorial to a friend of mine killed in Iraq."
Ed of Connecticut

"Its been a long time crawling out of my shell. But I stand here a new man. For those who dont know I was soldier driving the vehicle that day. I have lived with a heavy mind since that day, and still do, always wondering if there was something I could have done more or different. So that is now why I have transfered to a training brigade and train soldiers so that they will be ready in case anything ever happens. Love to hear from you all.
House - (603)413-6292
1070 Quailmeadow Dr.
Fayetteville, NC 28314
sud8me@yahoo.com
william.hunker@us.army.mil"
CPL Hunker, William E. of Fort Bragg, NC

"My brother served with Capt Blanco and (I believe)was there when the truck was hit. He refuses to discuss that day with us. It was, I believe, one of his darkest moments.
I searched your previous messages for an idea of what took place that day. I came back with a better idea, but not a clear picture. What came through loud and clear though, was why my brother felt so deeply for his Captain.
Ernesto was obviously a man to look up too and a man to "follow into hell".
I'll forever remember your soldier and my hero,
Yours truly,
Jamie
SSG Huff's big sister
RED DEVIL'S FOREVER"
Jamie of Mukilteo, WA

"I am copying this from an email I sent to another person, because I thought it was fitting this the week of Memorial Day:

"This last Monday I observed Memorial Day at the Marietta National Cemetery. I took my 3 year old daughter Shoshana and my 9 month old son Marco with me. I figured I'd give Mom a morning off without the kids, and take time to reflect on the sacrifices of our military men and women, their families and all those afflicted by war. My daughter kept me busy and on my toes asking questions about everyone and everything: "Why are there so many flags?" "Why are the people so sad?" "Why are so many people dressed like that (the soldiers)?" "Why are the hurt soldiers resting under the ground?" I hope I gave good answers to her. Answering these simple questions from her really helped me come to understand some of the complex feelings I have about this war. I told my daughter about [her cousin]Ernie who was hurt so badly that he had to go to rest, and about her older brother Alec who also was a soldier, and had only been hurt a little bit, and was now at school with her older sister Rachel. Shoshana and Marco liked the VFW band that played after the morning's memorial service.""
Jose (Ernie's Uncle Mano) of Atlanta, GA

"THINKING OF YOU TODAY!
THANK YOU!
05-28-07
Ernesto, Say hello to Raymond White from his Aunt.
Join me in boycotting Rosie O'Donnel!!!
LET FREEDOM RING!!!"
Legeta of Artesia,New MexicoUSA

"On this Memorial Day my thoughts turn once again to those who died in service to our wonderful country. Ernie Blanco comes to mind and I'd like to take this time to let you, the Blanco family know that I'm continuing to uphold you all in my thoughts and prayers. May God give you extra strength today, an especially peaceful sleep tonight and a blessed assurance that one day you will see him again. To say merely 'thank you' for your sacrifice seems so very inadequate... but thank you!"
Droeen of Oregon

"Big Ern, was a great man and soldier. When we were In afaginstan I would go down to their tent and Jam. He played guitar and was a very good mentor. I was also in Iraq with him my brother Ben was in his platoon Ive met some good men in the military and Cpt. Blanco was one of them. I hope that his family remembers him for the great things he has done."
Robert Latta of robbieshonda@aol.com

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about The Big Ern."
Josh Holst, Ernie's roommate

"IT HAS TAKEN ME A LONG TIME TO COME ON HERE AND LEAVE THIS MESSAGE. I FOR THE LONGEST TIME HAD BLAMED MYSELF FOR CPT BLANCO'S DEATH. I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO ON THE MISSION THAT HE WENT ON THAT DAY BUT AFTER BEING ORDERED TO GO BACK TO BED AND GET SOME REST HE TOOK THE MISSION. I FEEL IN SOME WAY THAT IF I WENT ON THAT MISSION EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN ALRIGHT. THERE IS NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY THAT I DON'T THINK OF HIM. I AM NOW A DRILL SERGEANT STATIONED AT FORT KNOX, I HAVE A PHOTO OF CPT BLANCO AND HIS BIOGRAPHY HUNG OUTSIDE THE BAY WERE THE PRIVATES STAY. THE BAY IS NAMED AFTER CPT BLANCO AND IT IS THERE FOR ALL THESE FUTURE SOLDIERS TO READ ABOUT IN MY MIND THE GREATEST OFFICER AND HUMAN BEING TO EVER WALK ON THIS EARTH. EVER TIME I GET A NEW GROUP OF PRIVATES I SIT THEM DOWN AND TELL THEM A STORY OF A MAN WHO WOULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING FOR ANYONE ESPICALLY HIS MEN, ABOUT A MAN WHO WAS SO FULL OF LIFE, A MAN WHO WAS ALWAYS SMILING NO MATTER WHAT, A MAN WHO MADE EVERYONE AROUND HIM SMILE, A MAN WHO I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR WOULD FOLLOW ANYWHERE. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MICHELE FOR ALL THE LETTERS AND PACKAGES THAT SHE SENT TO THE PLATOON WHILE WE WERE IN IRAQ, AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK HIS PARENTS FOR HAVING AND RAISING SUCH A REMARKABLE MAN. I KNOW THAT I SHOULD HAVE KEPT IN CONTACT WITH YOU BUT I WAS HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME DEALING WITH THIS. IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT ME YOU CAN WRITE ME AT RMCASEY@BELLSOUTH.NET"
SSG (P) ROBERT M. CASEY of FORT KNOX, KY

"To Lalin,Ligia,and Manolin,ya ha pasado un tiempo y todavia hoy me entristece la perdida de tu hijo,Lalin y de tu nieto,Ligia y Manolin.Siempre los hemos querido mucho,espero que todos se hayan resignado y que Dios les siga dando fuerzas para esta tan terrible perdida,muchos besos, Sahid Souss y Ebe Font."
ebe of san juan, puerto rico

"Dear Blanco family,

My husband served with Ernie in Iraq. They were Red Devils together at Ft Bragg. I know how deeply he respected and appreciated him. Please know, that we have not forgotten. And that my respect and love go out to you all. I think of Ernie and his loved ones often. My prayers are with you all. To his fiance, Michelle, my heart goes out to you, from one military wife to another. Please contact me if you would like to talk. bluenile14@yahoo.com God bless you all."
Carla Peterson/ wife of Capt. Nate Peterson of Eglin AFB, Florida

"We remember you often and call you a hero. Thank you for what you gave, Ernie. Thank you, also, to your family for what they have given. Our prayers continue for them."
Brian & Jen Easley of McKinney, TX

"We miss you, Ernie."
Brandon Lamb of Houston, TX

"Today is the day sir. I would have followed you to hell sir but you sure didnt go there. We all miss you. "It's 5 o'clock somewhere Big Ern""
Jason Dean of Buckhannon, wv

"It has been almost three years since I have revisited this website, but I have you in my thoughts and prayers every day! It is both comforting and heart-wrenching to read all of the messages. but we are proud of you and of all of the lives that you touched. Once again, we will be together in San Antonio on New Years to raise our glasses for that tequila toast in your name!

Te quiero mucho! Tu Madrina,"
Titi Joanie of Salt Lake City, Utah (USA)

"My love and deepest symphaties go to you, Gloria, and your family."
Frankie Hestres of San Juan

"Ernesto M. Blanco. He was the perfect example of what every junior Army Officer should be. I served with him in the 82nd ABN DIV and was deployed together in the same Battalion to Afghaniston (OEF). I will never forget his positive attitude. Their is not one single day that goes by that I do not think about what a great human being he was and the positive impact he made on me. You will NEVER be forgotten."
CPT Russell Hoffman of Pittsburgh, PA

"I just wanted to say that no matter how much time passes, Ernie will never be forgotten by those who knew him. Who could ever forget a man like Ernie? I met Ernie at Ft. Benning in 2000 at the Infantry Officer Basic Course. He was in my squad and I immediately liked him. He was so friendly and his positive attitude was infectious. No matter what the circumstances, weather, or conditions, you could always count on Ernie to have a smile and an encouraging word for you. I ran across some pictures of Ernie from IOBC recently during our move and would love to share them if anyone would like to see them, please let me know: jeffrey.blank@us.army.mil

Ernie was an amazing man, soldier, and friend. When I think of him, I see what a true hero should be. Rest in Peace my friend and I'll see you again, I promise.

Respectfully and gratefully,"
CPT Jeff Blank of Spokane, WA

"Hello my name spc. cesar garcia i was one of his soldiers, he was our PL. the man took us under his wing i still recall him playing his guitar, conversations about Texas , Christmas Dinner at St.Mere , and all the times he was with us. We still miss him I can't imagine the Blanco Family's over whelming feeling.Big Ern was one of the few we would follow through thick and thin with out him asking us to do so no matter when or where."
Cesar Garcia of Vicenza, Italy

"I found your son's name in my grandson's Fallen Heroes Memorial site. We know your pain and want to send our condolences to you and your family. Our young men and women gave so the future children may live in peace and freedom. I will pray for you and your family. Here is a poem that gave me a little comfort, hopefully it will you to.

Warrior

This morning my thoughts traveled along
To a place in my life where days have long since gone
Beholding an image of what I used to be
As visions were stirred, and God spoke to me


He showed me a Warrior, a soldier in place
Positioned by Heaven, yet I saw not the face
I watched as the Warrior fought enemies
That came from the darkness with destruction for me


I saw as the Warrior would dry away tears
As all of Heaven's Angels hovered so near
I saw many wounds on the Warrior's face
Yet weapons of warfare were firmly in place


I felt my heart weeping, my eyes held so much
As God let me feel the Warrior's prayer touched
I thought "how familiar" the words that were prayed
The prayers were like lightening that never would fade


I said to God "Please, the Warrior's name"
He gave no reply, He chose to refrain
I asked, "Lord, who is broken that they need such prayer?"
He showed me an image of myself standing there


Bound by confusion, lost and alone
I felt prayers of the Warrior carry me home
I asked "Please show me Lord, this Warrior so true"
I watched and I wept, for Father, the Warrior was you.

May God bless you always

buddystark@aol.com"
Shirley Stark of Huntingdon, TN.

"To Gloria - and the whole Blanco family. I didn't know your son but I have an 18 year old son just starting his career in the Navy at Nuclear Power school in Charleston, SC. I also have 2 dear friends who lost their sons in Iraq recently. I read your post on Erik McCrae's memorial (my friend's son) and looked up your Ernesto. In reading these messages about him, my heart breaks for you and at the same time swells with pride for Ernesto. I know some time has gone by, but I'm sure it's as fresh as if it were just yesterday that you got the news of your son's sacrifice. I want you to know that I'm praying for you today and that I have added your son to my list of "heroes" - and that list does NOT include actors, actresses, sports"stars", or any of the kind. No. TRUE heroes are these unsung young men and women who have sacrificed their ALL for others. Thank you for the sacrifice your family has made for our wonderful country. I'm shedding tears for you but am also praying that the Lord holds you in the very shadow of His wing today and every day - and that He sends the Comforter to help you to sleep soundly at night. As one military mom to another - here's a big hug for you ((((Gloria))))

In Christian love,"
Doreen of Tigard, OR

"4TH OF JULY IN gATLINBURG'S tENNESSEE PARADE AND FIREWORKS. REACHING OUT TO FALLEN FAMILIES TO ATTEND AND DONATE. tO ENTER A FLOAT IN THE PARADE. TO HONOUR ALL OUR FALLEN SOLDIERS AND TO ASK AMERICAN'S TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT OUR TROOPS."
leonard_wahl@hotmail.com of Spring Texas

"I THINK OF EVERY FALLEN SOLDIER AND FAMILY. ANYWAY, YOU CAN REACH ME AT 281-719-0141 AND OR 4235 ROSEGATE DRIVE HOUSTON TEXAS 77373 AFTER I SETTLE IN I WANT TO VISIT WITH YOU AND YOUR SON. CALL ANYTIME AFTER 5PM"
LEN WAHL of SPRING

"Crawford Texas easter week to confront Ms. Sheehan, I will be with laura youngblood and other fallen families to support our troop I recently moved to Spring Texas 281-791-0141"
leonard wahl of Spring Texas

"Today (March 26, 2006) I read an account of Captain Ernesto Blanco in the newspaper, The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville). The article was the story of the soldiers' experiences and accounts of the war. One soldier, a mortar gunner, named Army Spc. Casey Culler, recounted his memories of Ernesto. It so impacted our family that I would like to post it to this site:
"Capt. Ernesto Blanco got killed a few days after Christmas. Everyone knew him. When he died, morale hit (bottom) for a week. He was a great soldier and a great officer; he was a people person. He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, and he was a virgin who was saving himself for marriage. He was like the chaplain with a gun. And he had just asked his girlfriend to marry him on Christmas and had ordered an engagement ring online. We thought, if he out of all of us can get killed, then everyone can." Even in the midst of battle, he was a living testimony of God's love and strength. I wanted his family and friends to know that Ernesto's life is still impacting others. His testimony of his love for his Master still lives on. His was a life of integrity that so moved his fellow soldiers that they still speak of him.
Someday when I move to Heaven, I want to meet your Ernesto and tell him how his life encouraged others."
Jan Vroegindewey and family of Jacksonville, FL

"To all the wonderful folks who continue to post messages ....

It's been over two years since Ernie's "Home-Going" but I still check this page daily, to re-read old messages and to read newly posted ones. I would like to thank you all for your condolences and support over the last two years. We still miss Ernie terribly, but know that he's preparing our place for when we, too go Home. I just received a wonderful e-mail that I'd like to share with you all. It give's a new perspective to all this ...

"A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the exam room and said "Doctor, I'm afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side." Very quietly, the doctor said "I don't know." "You don't know? You, a religious man, do not know what is on the other side?"

"The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

"Turning to the patient, the doctor said "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

"I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing ... I know my Master is there, and that is enough."

Much love to you all,

By His Grace,

Gloria Caldas
The Big Ern's Mom
San Antonio, Texas
gloria.caldas@sbcglobal.net"

"I met Ernie in basic training at Ft. Jackson back in the summer of 1998. Him and I graduated basic a week earlier than the rest of the company. He was a great guy, always willing to help and to lead. He treated everyone with respect, and due to that he has always stayed in my memory. I learned that he had passed when I was reading Army Times while in on my way to Baghdad. I was greatly saddened... I wish I was taken in his stead, he was too bright and such a god send to people around him. I give his family my condolences, he will always be remembered by this soldier..."
SGT Duane Huff of Amarillo, TX, USA

"FANSATIC! WHILE YOU RELEASE BALLONS NAVY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS TRAVIS YOUNGBLOOD WIFE LAURA,UA ARMY SPC JAOB FLECTHER'S FATHER MARLOW FLECTHER AND MYSELF FATHER OF US ARMY "DRAGON SOLDIER" SGT GREGORY WAHL. PLACED CHRISTMAS WREATH AT CALEVERTON AND PINELAWN NATIONAL ON LONG ISLAND IN NEW YORK. THEN TRAVELED TO ARLINGTON. 150 CHRISTMAS WREATHS DONATED BY GARDEN WORLD OF FRANKLIN SQUARE. EVERYTIME I READ MEASSAGE'S TO GREGORY AND OTHERS. YOU ARE THE FIRST ONE WITH A MESSAGE TO THE FAMILIES. I AM VERY PROUD OF YOU SON! HE HAS NOT DIED IN VAIN! AN HE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBER, NOT JUST AT SAM HOUSTON. VALENTINE'S DAY WE SHOULD REACH OUT TO EVERY RESTING PLACE ACROSS THE COUNTY. TO A BYOB NATION WIDE. I WILL BE IN THE HOUSTON AREA IN MARCH. I HAVE PLAN TO STOP BY TO VIST WITH OUR FALLEN. GOD BLESS! THINKING OF ERNESTO!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"To the family of:Ernesto M Blanco I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully, we will 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, Gateway Community Church, 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Ballew of Covington,Ga

"To the family the memory of your son lives on. Thank you for the post on our grandsons site. Through that I feel I have made a friend who in her on pain reached out to us. Gloria your son had to be a wonderful man. Thank you for the sacrifice of letting him serve his country and giving the ultimate sacrifice. We have a white cross with his name that was placed in the city park of Bluefield, Wv last summer for the annual "Freedom Ride" of Harley-Davidison. We also placed this cross at a memorial service for WV Fallen Heroes and lit a candle for him. This cross will be placed back in the park this summer along with all the other Fallen Heroes. He will be honored. Thank you for your kindness. The family of L. Cpl. Juston Thacker 21 KiA Afghanistan 6/24/04. We will light a candle for "Big Ern" on Dec. 24th when we honor Juston."
Dixie Sisk of Princeton,WV

"He was my company XO in Afganistan and we still knew him in Iraq when he went on to other things.We all will miss him."
SSG Tim Jalbert of Recruiter,Portland Maine

"Ernie was always a good guy to be around. Goin out for a beer or working late, he always made whatever group he was with a little better. He would give you the shirt off his back if he could. We are going to miss you Ernie."
Kevin Kane of Charleston, SC

"As the mother of a son who spent 16 months in Iraq and was safely returned home to his family, I share in your grief for your loved one who didn't make it back. I can only say that during our sixteen months my saving grace was that I knew my son was where he was because he chose to be a soldier and was willing to give his life for his country proudly should that happen. Your son's life was not lost in vain. We are still free! As I wear my bracelet with his name, he is our hero and I pray that in your grief you will also honor that he died proudly for his country. I received his name on my bracelet by chance and it was so wonderful to read all the kind things about him on this web site. My prayer is for you to be strong for him now as he would want you to be. God Bless you and your family."
Scarlett Cox of Laredo, Texas

"My husband was in the Corps of Cadets with Ernie and served with him as a Chaplain and as a Ross Volunteer. Nearly two years after his heavenly homecoming, we still remember Ernie often. Though there were a couple thousand cadets on the Quad, Ernie ALWAYS stood out. He was never without that beaming grin and that enthusiastic bounce in his step. It was clear to see he had the light of Christ in him and it sounds as if he continued to bless others with his faith while at war. It must tell you something that I barely knew Ernie, but his countenance stood out so much, I can still recall his smile. In my mind's eye, I can see him walking down the Quad, wearing his senior boots and that unbounded smile.

We lift up our prayers for your hearts, especially this holiday season. There is no way to thank you for raising such a beautiful man. Ernie had an infectious joy and we praise God for giving us such a gift in him."
Jen Easley, Class of 1999 of McKinney, TX

"I am extremely sorry for your loss. I also have children and I could not imagine losing a child. My prayers are with his family. I do not know your family but we may be related. I was married to Richard Blanco in Arizona. We had 4 children together. His father was Ernesto Blanco from Texas which is how I found this site. Again, I offer you my heartfelt sympathy and wish peace for your family. Rosemary rblanco@cox.net"
Rosemary Blanco of Phoenix, AZ

"I can remember haveing long talks with Erne, everything from A-Z. He was always able to understand what I was saying. He was my friend and the friend of Kevin and Chris. We will miss the days we all road through the trail near Ft. Bragg and the "Beers" we had after at the Highlander! From our time with him in the 504th, OEF and OIF. WE WILL NEVER FORGET HIM!!! Thank you Erne!"
Phillip Anklin of Syracuse, New York

"Our sons are now in God's army. They have become our guardian angels."
jacquie cruz of windsor,ca.u.s.a.

"To fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord

No more weeping,
No more fight,
No friends bleeding through the night,
Just Devine embrace,
Eternal light,
In the Mansions of the Lord

Where no mothers cry
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lord

(We Were Soldiers Soundtrack)

I was a classmate of Ernie's at OCS in 2000. He was a great guy who I still think about b/c he never had a negative thing to say about anyone, always maintained a positive outlook, and truly lit up a room. I always respected his strong faith, and I know that if there is a Heaven, he is definitely there. The Army was lucky to have him as a leader."
Anonymous of Tennessee

"To Ernie's Mom and Dad, and especially to Michelle, I am still hanging on to Ernie's memory, still in Fort Campbell, KY. I have just been informed that I will not be deploying with my soldiers to Iraq this Autumn. I am simultaneously relieved and saddened; I have trained my guys for a year to send them off without me, but I had secretly dreaded returning. For you I have a question; I carried a Combat Lifesaver Backpack in Iraq, and Ernie knew it well. It was special in that it could carry the usual Combat Lifesaver equipment and also a half-Sked made by Skedco. Bud Calkin, the owner of Skedco, who has been a personal friend of mine for some time, has consistently made a habit of naming his equipment after fallen heroes. He knew of, though did not know, Ernie, but knowing his high place in my heart, has asked if you, his family would give him permission to name the M3A Combat Lifesaver Bag (the official name of the one I carried) after Ernie. I am personally touched that Bud wishes to break from his tradition of naming gear after medics to remember Ernie. Please let me know your feelings on this; my email is brian.andrew.heitman@us.army.mil or SDAJumpmaster@Yahoo.com."
SSG Brian A. Heitman of Fort Campbell, KY

"I had the privilage of meeting the Blanco family when I first moved to San Antonio. Ernie and Carmen were classmates of mine, and they took me in as my single parent was working all the time. I remember having great moments down at the pool at the Mark At Parliment Apartments, with Ernie and Carmen. As the summer of 1992 ended, we started school, and Ernie Graduated before Carmen and Myself. Then I graduated in 1994 and had lost touch with that family. Years later I found myself a SGT in Iraq, in a chow hall that had a memorial on the wall to a few Army soldiers that had fallen. I was shocked to see Ernies name and figured it wasn't the same guy. I researched the net and was shocked to see it was in fact the same person I once knew. We spilled the same blood in the same mud. I would like to extend my condolences to the Blanco Family. Every time I look at my little girl, I thank men like him in the back of my mind. For she is in a great place to live because of them. In addition I would like to thank Gloria Blanco for her message to the Bowling family as he was in my platoon. My email address is cajunito2001@yahoo.com"
Sgt James D Regan of Denver, Colorado

"Note to Cpt. Fisher. Thank you for your note of condolence. You are stationed in our home town, San Antonio. Please write me at the attached e-mail. We'd love to meet you!

By His Grace,
Gloria Caldas
The "Big Ern's" Mom
San Antonio, TX
gcaldas48@aol.com"

"To the Family of CPT Blanco. I was a nurse on the 782nd Forward Surgical Team at MEK near Falluja. I was on duty when he was brought in to our Aid Station. I never got to talk to him, but I provided his care that day. I could tell immediately how the soldiers that came with him felt about their Captain, he was truely Loved and Respected. It wasn't until later that I saw his class ring and found him to be an Ag. I've always wondered if we'd ever met, I was in ROTC at A&M-Kingsville and we competed with (and usually lost to) the College Station guys at Ranger Challenge. Based on the troops around him, I know that your soldier was a wonderful man, great leader, and good friend. May God bless you all and keep you safe."
CPT Michael S. Fisher of Ft Sam Houston, TX

"I knew Ernie Blanco in the Corps of Cadets and was drawn to him since he was the Christian in my dorm who was the most on fire for Jesus Christ. He was a great friend and a sharp cadet and I admired him for his Godly witness. My prayers are with his family. I look forward to seeing him again in his heavenly mansion one day."
Elizabeth Leavitt Keller

"I am sorry about your loss. We all lost a great man that day. I was also with Cpt Blanco on that day. I was the Gunner in the vehicle behind him. I miss him every day and live through those memories every night. He was a better man than I could ever hope to be. The world is a worse place without him. I Have not yet been to his resting place to pay my respects but will be there around 01July2005. If there is anything you need from me you can reach me at Jason.Dean1@us.army.mil"
Sgt. Jason L. Dean of Middletown, NY

"Thank you very much for the message you left reguarding my father. I understand all you are going through. It takes brave men like ours to keep america going. Again, thank you"
Jessica, daughter of SSG Stephen G. Martin

"Hello
My name is SSG Williams and I knew Cpt Blanco from the "red devils" I want to say thanks to his parents for their blessing of him on this earth and to the fiance whom never got the chance "I'm Sorry". May God Bless and keep you dear to his heart and know that he will be missed."
Sean Williams of Camp Buehring, Kuwait

"Dear Doña Gloria and Carmen:I'll never forget Ernesto. He was a very good science student and also a lovely and wonderful human being. Although we are very proud for Ernesto,we feel so sad,yet I can't belive he is not among us. Carmen yet I explain to my students how you got the first prize on that science fair.Doña Gloria our thoughts are with you, Carmen and your grandson. With all our love,Mrs.Judith I. Quiñones(Science teacher Julián E. Blanco) & José Galarza my husband
jjlluvia@prtc.net"
Judith I. Quinones-Roman of San Juan, PR

"From Puerto Rico with love to the Blanco Family and Ernesto's Legacy. There are 3.7 million Puerto Ricans that are proud of you and what you have done for our country. To "El Capitan" , Gloria, family, and fiancee have our respects. Gracias!!!! In this little island we will not forget you also."
RS of Carolina, Puerto Rico

"Gloria,

Thank you for taking the time to send a post on behalf of my brother, CPL Gary Walters. My mom was especially touched as she knows what you went through losing your son. I can only pray that one day his memory will again bring laughter instead of the pain we feel now. May God continue to bless you and your family, and you are in our prayers."
Michele Carter of Kitzingen, Germany

"Feliz dia de las madres con todo mi corazon Gloria . Rosalba Kuhn"
Rosalba Kuhn of Laguna Vista Tx

"It is difficult to understand why the Lord allows things to happen the way they sometimes do. As with the annonymous posting herein, I too was in the vehicle in front of Ernie the day he was killed (making that posting somewhat less than annonymous to me). I was that vehicle's commander and second-in-command of the convoy. It fell to me to make all decisions once he was hit. Now, nearly 18 months later, I often dream of Ernie coming to me to tell me that everything is okay, that it never happened that way, that he is alive and well and happy with Michelle. But I always awaken, heart pounding, sweating. How I wish the dreams were true. Ernie, I know your faith. I know you and I will talk and laugh again at our Savior's feet. I look forward to seeing you there. To Ernie's family, and especially to Michelle, who I feel as though I had known a lifetime, I think of you and pray for you often. Let's make it a group reunion. See you there."
SSG Brian A. Heitman of Fort Campbell, Kentucky

"Ernie was a truly good friend of mine at Texas A&M- we knew each other and worked and studied together throughout our time there. Although Army Ranger was never a path I would have expected, it didn't surprise me- Ernie has always been following a calling, whether it be from God or country, and was never one to take the easy road. I lost touch with Ernie when we left school, and wish I could have seen him again. We have all suffered a loss without him, but I am proud to have been able to call him my friend. God bless those who have gone ahead, and God care for those they left behind."
Eric Lull, LT USN of Newport, RI

"My Dear Gloria,

I would off never thought I would find this website. God is so good. I remember Ernesto and Coqui, when they were small running in the apartament and playing. Ernesto grew up to be a special man. And most importantly a man of GOD. I look forward to seeing him in heaven. May the Lord Bless you and your family. Love YA Wynett"
Wynett Gual of Orlando, Fl

"To the Family and Loved Ones of Ernie,
I find myself thinking of Ernie often. He touched my life while in the Corps and I am a better man for knowing him. God Bless Ernie and God Bless you all."
Capt. Craig Ilschner USAF of San Antonio, TX

"THANK YOU CPT. ERESTO M. BLANCO FOR YOUR SACRIFICE TO BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD. ACCORDING TO MY BELIEFS, JESUS SAID,"BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS FOR THEY SHALL INHERRIT THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS"
JAMES MATTESON of CELORON,N.Y.

"Captain Ernie Blanco.

The sacrifice you gave for America, the greatest country on this face of this earth...we will never forget. Your love, devotion and the living out your faith for Christ...has inspired all of us to examime our own "walk" with the Lord and to push upward. Although we've never met, you've left a Legacy that's made a positive impact for everyone around you. We will meet up in Heaven some day. Upward and Onward!"
LT COL E. KENT WONG '86 - FALCON 16 - Class of '86 of SHEPPARD AFB, TEXAS

"in 1997, I was blessed to service as a summer camp councilor at Camp Balcones Springs near Marble Falls TX (just outside of Austin). I remember a young A&M cadet who was loved and well thought of by everyone. He would sit and play the guitar to any song we requested and we would sing along. He was a human juke box.

I was the oldest councilor there in 1997 and I a former Marine who has special affection for all those cadets like Ernie who gave of there time so freely. I only recently returned to Camp Balcones Springs for a Men's Retreat with my church and it was then that I learned out about the loss of Ernie. So I had to write this express my sorrow and to say I know that Ernie was always giving of himself. I know that he was stil doing just that now. God must have had special plan for him and He must had had a greater need for Ernie there in heaven than with us.

I am deeply sadded by his loss and he will live forever in my heart and in my prayers along with all his fellow defenders of freedom and his family. May God Bless You All!"
Dan Rankin of Austin TX USA

"I proudly wear the Fallen Soldiers bracelet with Ernesto's name on it to honor him. He has made the ultimate sacrifice for all of our freedom. I know he sits at the right hand of Jesus and our Father. God Bless Ernesto and the Blanco family. Respectfully.
John Oliva
Atlanta, Ga.
2.30.05"
john oliva of Atlanta, Ga.

"Gloria, thank you for the wonderful words for my son, Staff Sg Marshall Hugh Caddy, 11/16/04. Sometimes I think that no one else can feel the heartache that I feel, then I read other mother's remarks and know there are too many parents experiencing the same feelings. We know our sons were exceptional sons, people, and soldiers and now the entire world knows. I think it helps me heal to talk or write to someone who has lost a son or daughter fighting for their country.
swilliamson@beachaccess.com"
Shelia Williamson of Kill Devil Hills, NC

"To the family of CPT Ernesto M. "Big Ern" Blanco-Caldas,

CPT Blanco made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. I pray that his honorable service will never be forgotten. R.I.P. CPT Blanco, a true American hero."
1LT Cary James Barrett, USAR Nurse Corps of Buda, TX [Reserve Unit; 5501st USAH FSH, TX]

"To the family of" Ernesto Blanco" What a fine young man your son was, and as you've shared the same pain before us. I now find the words and the strength to Thank You for the prayers of our lost son "Elias Torrez" from San Angelo, Texas. Our prayers are always with everyone's loss and How proud we are of every one!! God Bless These men and woman as the fight for our country!! Always in Our Prayers and especially in our Thoughts, Always The Proud Parents of Our "E.T""
The Torrez of San Angelo, Tx

"My heart especially goes out to you, Michelle. Ernie loved you with all of his heart and was looking forward to finally being united with you in marriage. You were all he talked about. You were the answer to his prayers. You made him so happy. He loved you and so do we."
Stacie Dietsch of Macon, GA

"To the Blanco family, I am proud to say I served with Cpt. Blanco, he was my XO in C co. in Afghanistan and always enjoyed talking with him when ever I saw him in Iraq. He was an outstanding paratrooper and a great person to talk to. I truly miss him. My heart goes out to you and you are always in my prayers."
SGT. Alan Weddle of Columbus, IN

"My heart fell very hard when I read about the life of Mr. Blanco. On May 7th 2004 I lost my only sibling and brother Cpl. Ron Payne in compat while serving in Afghanistan. The similarities between the two men are amazing! I wanted the family to know that I will lift your name up in my prayes for I know this pain very well. My brother was also a strong Believer and I am overjoyed to know I will see his beautiful face soon. If there is anything that I could ever do please email me ANYTIME: RaeRie81@gmail.com. We are honored to have such amazing men as Mr. Blanco and my brother to have graced us and protect us. May God allow them to draw near to us during this time without them."
Rachel Ascione of Orlando, Fl , USA

"Thank you Ernesto for the gift of freedom you have defended for us all. My family deeply appreciates what you did and you will be remembered each day we raise our flag in the front yard. From a very grateful American family."
The Shaw family of Pasadena, Maryland

"Not a day has gone by this past year without thinking about Ernie. I'm honored for having known him. I'm humbled by all he's done... and what he continues to do. He's a roll model to my children... and me. God bless you, your family and country."
UT of Peapack, NJ USA

"My thanks to everyone for the messages you have left....memories you have shared. Though reading them brings tears to my eyes, they also bring a smile to my lips. Thank you for your continued prayers and support."
Michelle Blanco ~ Ernie's fiancee

"Hey there "Sir" Just wanted to say that today is Dec. 28th 2004 can't belive that it has been a hole year since I last talk to you... I just wanted to say that I finally got my Yeti together with my riding gear. It is a passion that goes deep. Went out riding today it was chilly here in Korea. I just wanted to say I think of you often mostly when riding wishing we could of had the chance to do it together... I carry you every were I go though, on my wrist. The men always ask who you are I tell them that you were a great guy and a damn good leader. Any way I will see you around hopfully not to soon... But in do-time..."
SGT. Geuke of Korea

"Gloria,
Every time I try to write I just can't seem to find the right words. My heart truly breaks for you and your family.
I've read what's been written about Ernesto, what a phenomenal man and what a reflection of his family. You all must be awesome folks to have raised a man such as your son. It must be difficult to hold in so much pride.
There just aren't any words to make things better for you so let me say this....I'm always here if you just need someone to talk to even in the wee hours of the night.....and just know that when you really need prayers, we're praying.
God Bless all of you!"
Meg Hamill Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"Ernie was a great Officer because he cared so deeply about his Soldiers. I had the great fortune to work with Ernie in 1-504 PIR from 2000-2001. I know God has kept him close to Him and I hope Ernie's family knows how well he was loved by all those who served with him."
Ed Rowe of Fort Polk, LA

"Sir,
What a group of soldiers you had at mercury huh? WoW a hand full and somehow you and your PSG kept in together and supported us all. God Bless all of your family this Holiday Season. Thanks Sir! ATW"
SFC Null, Lonnie R of FBNC

"To Mrs. Blanco and the Blanco familiy. I spoke with your briefly in NC San Antonio on Sunday 12/12/04 outside "Michaels". I noticed the "gold star" emblem on your vehicle and asked about your loss. While I never met Capt. Blanco, I was extremely moved by our brief conversation and remembered his name. I have served in Iraq and have know some of our service members lost there. I have had the sad duty of presenting the flag to the family of one Marine killed in my unit. I found that speaking with you that morning was very meaningful and I was moved in a way that I have not been moved before. From reading the website, I know that he was a Christian. Perhaps there are unknown reasons why we are touched by things. His presence is still felt in that way, even by someone like myself who never knew him. His sacrifice will not be forgotten."
Mike Visconage, Col., USMCR of San Antonio, Texas

"I had the privledge of meeting Captain Blanco when he was a young Lt. I served with B. Co 1/504 from 98-02. I did not get to know Capt. Blanco very well, but the soldiers were always touched by him, and he could shed light on any situation. My thoughts and prayers are with the Blanco family, and the families of our armed forces. God Bless.

Kenny Henry
Kenhenro@yahoo.com"
Kenny Henry of Lakeland, Florida

"This message is for Ernesto Blanco's family--and all of the other military families out there--from a civilian who is in awe of every one of you. You, along with your children and spouses fighting overseas, are the real heroes of this war. For all the anxious days you must endure between phone calls and e-mails and, in the worst possible case, for all the pain you suffer if your loved one is killed, words cannot express our respect, love, and gratitude for your sacrifice. God bless you all. We will never, ever forget your loved ones."
Andrew Carroll of Washington, DC

"To the family,
I am sorry that you lost your family member, he will always be in your heart. I am an eight grade student in Tenn. and I hope that you are OK. He is in a better place."
Riley L. of william.gant@mnps.org

"I served with Ernie while I was with B Co 1/504, he was my Platoon Leader. Never have I known a better soldier or man, I still relate to the soldiers in my unit stories of him. I was in Iraq when I learned of his death, my heart goes out to his parents, family and friends, I share your grief. I consider myself extremely luck to have known him. May your wings of silver take you to a better place. God Bless"
SSG Eric Skasik of Vilseck GE

"I left a message on the wrong page. I am sorry that you lost your son. This pain will never go away. Please read the main page."
Debbie Drexler of Berryton KS (Topeka)

"Thanks Capt. Ernesto Blanco for your sacrifice to this nation. I hope you get to meet my son (in heaven) Capt. John Javier Boria (Blanco), he passed on Sept. 6, 2004. To the Blanco family, someday we will see them again. "Que Dios les bendiga" May God bless you."
Boria family of Broken Arrow, Ok

"To the family of Capt. Blanco,
Thank you for your message on our son's memorial, Capt. Brent Morel, KIA 4/7/04. You know the pain and the loss
but also the pride in knowing a true American hero such as your loved one and ours. Thank you for the sacrifice of Capt. Blanco and all of his family. We will always remember all of the fallen as we remember our beloved son. America is great only because of heroes like Capt. Blanco."
Mike & Molly Morel of Martin TN

"I met Ernie in high school and we attended A&M together. He was, far and away, one of the kindest people I've ever had the honor of knowing. He and his family will forever be in my heart and prayers."
Rich Pecoraro '97 of Richmond, VA

"This old paratrooper will never forget the brotherhood of the greatest division in the world. Although I never ran across Blanco my heart still hurts for my brother. May you rest in peace."
Anthony of Denver, CO

"I knew Ernie at A&M and always remember him with a huge smile on his face. Three years later, I ran into him at Eglin AFB where he was in the Swamp Phase of Ranger School and I was there as a Blackhawk Pilot to fly the students around. Now, I've never been to Ranger School, but I've flown the students on more than one occasion and they NEVER look happy to be there. And the Swamp Phase was the end of the line, so they've had weeks of difficult training at that point. Ernie was the one exception! He looked so ecstatic to be where he was doing what he was doing. His attitude put everything into perspective. The difference was he had an "eternal perspective" as another Christian at A&M always said. Well, that perspective served him well as his is now enjoying eternity with his Savior. Still, those of us waiting for that day miss him here. Ernie, your sacrifice will NEVER be forgotten!"
CPT Heidi (Ridenhour) Ratliff of Ansbach, Germany

"Thank you, Capt. Blanco for your service to our country. You died an American hero and we're all indebted to you for your bravery in serving a higher cause. Our hearts are filled with sorrow for your family and friends; may God's peace be with them."
Brian & Pam Martin of Leander, TX

"While watching the news on 12/31/03 I was shocked to see Ernie’s picture. (I was just visiting my parents in Texas).
I met Ernie’s family, his loving mother Gloria & his beautiful sister Carmen in San Antonio while studying in Churchill high-School.
My heart was broken for this great family for the loss of a wonderful son and brother. I remember Ernie’s BIG smile, such a warm and loving family they are.
He will always be in my & my family’s heart. God bless him. He will NEVER be forgotten. Thank you for being our HERO."
Shelly Aharonson of Danced with Carmen in San Antonio.

"To the Blanco family,
Thank you so much for your son, husband, brother and father who gave his life for our Great Country. My son BU3 Doyle "Wayne" Bollinger also gave his life June 6, 2003. They will always be heros to me."
Wyvonne Bollinger of Poteau, Okla

"I saw the message of your mom on my husband's (SSG Oscar D. Medina) page. And with this I want to thank for the message. In my most difficult time someone was thinking of me, that really can understand, what I'm going through. You and my husband lost their lifes for what you believed in. I'm proud of my husband for the way he was and I know your family is proud of you. This and all the memories we have, that's left for us. But God gave us one gift: we were allowed to know a very special person... that happened to be a soldier. I know you all have a good place in heaven. I hope your family has all the strength they need to go on with life, like I try to do... because I know: You all were so strong... you don't want us to be weak.
God bless your family and thank you Mrs. Caldas for your words. They came at the right moment."
Beate Medina of Wahiawa, HI

"I didn't know Ernesto but I do know his fiancee Michelle Sorrel from way back. Knowing what a quality young woman she is, and how much she loves our Lord, I can easily believe Cpt. Blanco shared the same qualities. I was heartbroken to read of her loss, and that of his parents, on one of the Aggie websites. Michelle, if you read this, I wanted to tell you how sorry I was to hear the news,and that I've been praying for you and for Ernesto's family. God be with you all."
Jenny (Kaspareit) Duncan of Dallas, TX

"Ernie and my son Sgt. Charles Scott worked together in the Cross Creek youth group. What a joy to know a young soldier who loved the Lord. His guitar playing and singing brought paise to his Lord. Our nation and families will miss him. Job 1:21"
Bob Scott of Allentown, PA

"To the parents of "Big Ern", My deepest sympathy goes out to you although we all know that Ernie is in a far better place now. Christmas morning I got stitches in my hand and as I sat there getting stitched up in walks Ernie with his Santa Clause hat on walking around the base spreading cheer. He told me and the medic of the engagement ring he had just got and asked us for suggestions for a honeymoon location. After being assured I was ok he left to go spread more cheer and happiness throughout the base in a depressing time. That was the last time I saw him alive. 3 days later my heart sank as I learned who it was in the back of the truck that flew past me on the way to the hospital. And numbness set in shortly after learning his fate. But it was God's plan and I know you understand. I will always remember Ernie as a smiling, joyous, wonderful christian man who I wish I could only be half of the man that he was. Your son will not be forgotten. Keep an eye out for your fellow "Devils" Ern.
We miss you."
Sgt Bart Barcelou of D. Co. 2/504

"While watching Nightline's tribute to fallen soldiers I was shocked to see my high school friend's name and face on the screen. Even though it has been several years since I've seen Ernie, I still consider him my very good friend. People like Ernie cannot help but to engrain themselves into the hearts of those they encounter. Ernie was everything everyone has said and more. Ernie was talented and fun, but had an admirable humility at the same time. He was sincere in all he did, especially when he focussed on the good in people. He was unselfish and kind and a person we all need to emulate. It hurts me to think that Ernie isn't out there pursuing life's goals and happiness right now, but I know that he is being glorified in heaven. God must have missed him and needed him home. I know I do."
Elena Winston Tillman of Churchill High School , currently in Saratoga Springs, Ut

"I first met Ernie seven years ago at Camp Balcones Springs in the Texas Hill Country. As most posters have said previously, I remember vividly his love for Christ, his Country, and his music. His enthusiasm for life and everything he did impressed me then and have been a constant reminder of how I want to live my life. I had not been in touch with Ernie in some time, and I only recently learned of Ernie's death in Iraq, yet I am deeply saddened for we have lost a truly great man.

This upcoming Memorial Day, the Capital of Texas Sprint Triathlon in Austin gives all participants the option to race for a soldier -- selected or assigned. I am honored to have selected Captain Ernie Blanco as the fallen soldier in whose memory I will participate."
Chris Brown of Austin, TX

"Though i never got the chance to get to really know Capt. Blanco, he was one of the first people i had met here at the 82d. He spoke to me kindly and freely, reaching out a hand when i was in a jam and wasn't sure where to turn. I served with him in Operation Iraqi Freedom and will never forget the level of professionalism and courtesy that he showed me. God bless, sir."
Spc. Seelinger of Ft. Bragg, NC, USA

"My husband served with Ernie at FT. Bragg. My fondest memories of Ernie, was sitting around a bonfire, listening to him play the guitar. Currently, my husband is in Afghanistan, though, our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with Ernie's family. Ernie will be greatly missed."
Nicholas and Kelly Cox of Mililani, HI

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

"The Sacramento Texas A&M Club will be honoring Ernesto at our local Muster Ceremony on April 21, 2004. The club together will all answer “here” for Ernesto’s when his name is read during the Roll Call for the Absent. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Ernesto’s family and friends.

Sacramento A&M Club Muster - Wednesday April 21st, 2004
Lionsgate Hotel - Sky Room at McClellan AFB
3410 Westover Street
6pm: Happy Hour/Dinner
7pm: Muster"
Michael Fisher '99 of Sacramento, CA

"I was stationed at Ft.Bragg when I first met Ernie in 2001. Ernie always seem to smile, I do not think I ever saw him with out a smile. He loved to play that guitar and sing away. He had a good voice and sung with a passion. I was a pleasure to know him and he will not be forgotten."
Enrico Margioni of Newport News

"Just last week I met Ernesto Blanco's mother at the post office, here in San Antonio. Mrs. Blanco shared her story while she was buying Purple Heart Stamps for her thank you cards. I could see her pain while she was proudly and courageously showing everyone the newspaper articles; telling us how her son died for this country. Never did she show any negative or reproachful feelings for the loss of her son; making me believe her son died a true hero. I do admire her strength and I thank Mrs. Blanco and all other families for allowing and encouraging their sons and/or daughters to serve our country and give their lives for our freedom. May the Lord richly bless them and comfort them in their grief. All we can hope for is that we will one day see our loved ones in Heaven. We too have a son, presently there in Iraq with the 1st Infantry Division. This gives us more reason to continuously pray and ask our Heavenly Father to guard and protect all the military and that the Lord also give our President and his administration the necessary wisdom."
S. Urbina of San Antonio, TX USA

"I served with Cpt Blanco in C Co when he was our XO. I cant say enough good things about "Big Ern" He was a wonderfull soldier, man, and friend. And one of the most faithfull men I have ever known. That gives me comfort in this time. Cpt Blanco touched many lives and I feel lucky to have been one of those. We all miss you Ern."
Spc. Casey Culler of C Co. 1/504, Iraq

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

"Hi my name is Sgt. Geuke I'm in Iraq at the moment. I served with CPT. Blanco not by his side but in his Battalion. It's still hard for me to except the fact that he's not here..... I still rember the first time that I saw him at Ft. Bragg. I did'nt know who he was just that his looks and the way that he carried himself stuck out in my mind oh,yea and his beat up Ford pick-up truck... The last conversation that I had with CPT. Blanco was about horse's and he wanted to know if I rode I told him that I did,he had a passion for riding and he loved to Mt. Bike and at the time after or Deployment from Afghanistan I learned that he rode. I wanted to get back into the sport... But, I was going threw a divorce at the time and was tight on cash we talk about going a couple of time's but, every time I saw him I did'nt have my riding gear. But, this deployment I've learned how quickley one can be taken away..... And still have a life time of things to still do.... We'll I'm not making those mistake's and when they sent me back to the States in Dec. I propose to my girlfriend, and on my way back to Iraq Lt.Hermasan told me what had happen it stuck with me the whole trip back to Iraq.... And thats when I knew that I did the right thing with my girlfriend... and even now I bend alittle further and reach out a little harder to tell my loved ones how much that I love them... And there is'nt a day that goe's by that I don't think about him or hear someone talking about him.... I may not have known him like you have... But I miss seeing him around and he will forever be imortalized in my mind that day that I first saw him.... He was a great guy and you were all very lucky to have had such a remarkable guy in your live's... You all will be in my thought's and also in my prayer's he will forever be missed..........."
Sgt. Geuke of Ft. Bragg

"MY SON IS IN IRAQ. HE IS SPC MOORE. I LOOKED EVERYDAY TO SEE ABOUT NEWS OF WHERE HE WAS. I LOOKED ON WEB SITES FOR PICTURES. FOR MONTHS NOTHING. YESTERDAY I FOUND A PICTURE OF HIM STANDING IN FRONT OF A MEMORIAL OF YOUR SON IN THE CAMP. HE WAS STANDING THERE ALL ALONE SAYING A PRAYER. I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR RASING SUCH A GOOD SOUL FOR MY SON TO SERVE NEXT TOO. IT GAVE ME COMFORT TO READ ABOUT CPT. BLANCO. TO KNOW THAT MY SON HAD SUCH A WONDERFUL LEADER TO LOOK TO AND TO HAVE AS A ROLE MODEL. THANK YOU FROM ANOTHER ARMY MOM"
EMMA MOORE of RINDGE N.H.

"To The Family of Capt. Blanco:
Please accept our deepest sympathy for the loss of this great hero.
He will be with you always and what he's given to the rest of us will NEVER be forgotten.
God Bless!!"
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"We owe you more than a debt of gratitude. If men like you were not fighing and dieing for the campaigns of this country, I am not sure I would want to live or raise children in this world for all that it would be. Your death was not for loss but for the continued development and improvement of the world. God bless you."
Aaron Games of Austin, TX

"You are now an Angel. Rest Easy Soldier...God Bless you and your family and loved ones left behind. Your name will live forever in everyone's hearts."
The Taylor/USMC of NC

"I served with Capt. Blanco in HHC with the Red Devils. Everyone has remembered his smile and love of the Lord which was the two things I noticed about him right off. He was an officer that I could look to as a role model of both career and lifestyle. Many times he lead bible study here in Iraq and played the guitar at church. He gave me his 1st LT. bars when he made Captain and I shall wear them with honor when I get promoted. It is hard here with out him, but he is with Jesus and smiling all the time. His death also focused several other men here about their relationship with Jesus. Even in his death the Lord continues to work through his memory and lead people to Christ which I think is what makes Ernie smile the most."
2LT. Craighead of Iraq

"Capt. Blanco was a member of my squad at the officer candidate school (OCS) at Ft. Benning, Georgia. We were commissioned as a class on 13 April 2000. I remember his smile and his meek spirit most. To his family and friends I offer my prayers that the peace of God will keep your heart and minds. CPT Blanco ran his race and finished his course and this world is a better place because he was here. May God continue to show himself mighty in your lives during this time of grief."
CPT Kelley L. Greene of Atlanta, GA

"To the family of Capt. Ernesto Blanco, I send my condolences to you, we share the same loss, the same pain. How God works in mysterious ways, that my son is buried beside yours, and that was Davids wish to be buried with his 'comrades'. My prayers go out to you and your family. Rosalba Kuhn
chililico@aol.com"
Rosalba Kuhn of Laguna Vista, Tx

"CPT Blanco was the kind of soldier, and man, who would make himself available at any time of need. I knew him well when I served with him in 1/504 PIR in Afghanistan, and he would always have a quick smile and a helping hand whenever needed.

I won't forget that we pulled our first duty as Jumpmasters together on the same aircraft.

I won’t forget his friendship. He will be missed."
SFC William Harlan of Fort Richardson, AK

"What I remember most about Ernie was his boyish smile and contagious personality. He was a friend during my time with the Red Devils. His ability to lead and take care of his troops will always be remembered. But most importantly, his love for Christ lived larger than anything else. My prayers are with his family and friends."
Glenn Page

"Thank you for all of your kind words about Ernesto. I am his aunt and godmother and appreciate learning about the wonderful man Ernesto and all the lives that he touched...He had the same wide grin and energy as a child. Your kind words are helping me to remember that, just like Ernesto, I must keep the faith."
Joan Maymi of Salt Lake City, UT

"Cpt Blanco was a great man. I was with him the day he died, in the vehicle in front of him. In some wierd sort of irony, minutes before he was killed, he pointed out a cemetary and said how nice it looked. He was a great man who will never be forgotten. I still have feelings of guilt. Numerous what if questions plague me every day. I will never forget Ernie."
of Iraq

"We have always been proud and gratified that Ernie was our son, Erich's ol' lady (term for room mate in Corps of Cadets) almost the whole four years Erich was in Sqdn. 16, Texas A & M Corps of Cadets. The friendship and brotherhood that developed between them blessed both their lives. Ernie was more than just a room mate - he was Erich's best friend! Among other things, they shared a love of Sqdn. 16, the Corps of Cadets, Texas A & M, and their God.

Though life led them in different directions they remained close through email, an occasional phone call, and prayer. Erich spoke to him last Fall, shortly before Ernie left for Iraq... and received email from Ernie as late as November. Ernie treasured his friends and his friendships.

It was a pleasure and blessing for us getting to know the special person who was Ernie Blanco. We are so grateful that we had the opportunity. We have never met a finer young man!

It is the wisdom, sense of humor, energy, integrity, honor, dedication, courage, and devotion to his family, friends, country, and his God that those who knew and loved Ernie Blanco will miss most... and that brilliant smile!!!! Ernie embodied such joy and enthusiasm!

We are praying for God's peace and comfort to envelop his family, fiance, and friends during this time of great sadness.

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5"
Steve and Eleta McElroy of Houston, Texas, USA

"You will not be forgotten, Ernesto, enjoy heaven and thanks for leaving an example for us to follow."
LT Eduardo Gomez of Sicily, Italy

"Ernie was a great person and a great Aggie. He loved the Corps, the RVs, and the university. The most important thing, however, is that he loved the Lord. Ernie's passion for Christ was contagious. Ernie is receiving his reward now for the love and dedication he showed Christ. I will miss him."
Jeff McDonnell '99 of Dallas, TX

"Ernie, Fight'n Texas Aggie Class of 1998, was Wing Chaplain in the Corps of Cadets the year before me. I spent my Junior year both under his organizational command, and under his discipleship. He had a love for the Lord and and a passion for motorcycles, Harleys (of course!) I remember him showing me the Harley Davidson 1999 catalog, and proclaiming to me that he WOULD one day own such a fine bike. As an outgoing senior in the Corps of Cadets without a military contract, I remember him talking to me about signing up with the Army upon graduation. He hadn't decided whether he would go reserves/active or enlisted/officer yet, but one way or another he wanted to serve. I don't know where or how Ernie made his way from the halls of the Corps Dorms to the roads of Iraq, but I'm sure it would make a great story. I hope to one day learn of it. Ernie embodied joy. Never seen without a smile, his joy was infectious to all. Well, maybe not when he was a sophmore "Pisshead"), but that year came more naturally for some than others. I have four pictures of Ernie. In two of them, he is surrounded by friends, and his smile is as wide as it is authentic. In a third, he is laying back in the grass of Wolf Pen Creek Park listening to a Christian band, smiling with the joy of the Lord. In the fourth, he is praying; kneeling low before God, his maker, in humility of spirit. I know where Ernie is right now. He's bowing before the Father and Son in Heaven. And just like in my pictures, he is smiling, for he is in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God for blessing me with the friendship I shared with Ernie. He will not be forgotten."
Jerrell "Pete" Wise, Class of '99 of Mesquite, Texas

"I also had the priveldge of knowing Ernie through my husband who was in his platoon at Ft Bragg 2 years ago. He was an amazing man and always had a smile to share everytime I saw him.We have many memories to smile about when thinking of him. We feel honored to have known him and he will always be in our hearts and thoughts.Our deepest condolences and prayers are sent to his family. God Speed Ernie. We love you!"
Josh and Christine Boots of Columbia, South Carolina

"I had the privilege of knowing Ernie in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. He was a freshman and I was a sophomore in Squadron 16. Ernie was a great person. He was always very conscientious and respectful of others. He earned the respect of his fellow classmates. I imagine he made a top-notch soldier."
Caleb Rackley of San Antonio, Texas

"Thank you. It's not enough but it's all that I can think to say."
Christy Reed of The Woodlands, TX

"I had the great joy of knowing the Big Ern through my husband who served w/ him at Fort Bragg. I remember sitting around the Hacienda listening to him play his guitar,joining in praise songs, and best of all, singing "It's a Great Day to Be Alive." The Big Ern drove down to Beaufort when Josh and I got engaged and played our favorite songs and helped set off fireworks. I really appreciated how passionate he was about his work, his relationships, and his Lord. Heaven surely had a wonderful homecoming party for him on Dec. 28th. I like to picture him singing to the King of Kings. To his family and friends, I am deeply sorry for your loss. May God comfort you in your grief."
Katie Gilliam of Savannah, GA

"Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Ernesto's family and loved ones. Through Ernesto’s father, I realize that Ernesto had a profound belief in his duty and responsibility to protect freedom. Ernesto’s bravery goes beyond words and will never be forgotten.

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there no torment shall touch them. Wisdom 3:5"
Grant McMichael and family of Toronto, Ontario/Canada

"Ernie and I met our freshman year at Texas A&M, fall 1993. Classes had not yet begun and we were participating in a scavenger hunt. I looked at him and knew we were going to be best friends. He taught me how to two-step (it took five hours before I finally got it), we watched the bonfire come down year after year, and we became friends with each others’ friends. I was there when he joined the Corp of Cadets in the spring of 1995, and we were still in touch when he was shipped to Afghanistan and later Iraq. He was the best of men and people were drawn to his charisma, energy, and optimism. Best wishes to his family and all his friends that he has left behind. He will be missed."
Kathy Goss of Boston, MA

"I had the privilege to know Ernesto very briefly in person but I knew his dad José and his step mom Thaimí very well. My wife Maria Marta and our son Gaston and myself are with you, José and Thaimí. We are certain that Ernesto's soul will be with you forever and will help you deal with this difficult moment."
Patricio Zapata and family of Mexico City, Mexico

"To the family and loved ones of Ernie,
My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to each of you. I was in the Corps at Texas A&M with Ernie and knew him through the Ross Volunteers. It is rare to find a person so genuine and so caring, and his heart for the Lord was inspiring. May God be your strength and comfort in this time of grief."
Cris Franklin of Houston, TX

"Ernie was a friend of mine from our church. He was a great singer and musician. It was nice getting to know him and a pleasure singing with him in our youth group. We will miss him greatly."
Andrew Gillis of Fayetteville NC

"Thank you Ernesto Blanco, 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 Capt. Ernesto Blanco:
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 Ernesto 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 Capt. Ernesto Blanco:
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 Ernesto, 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