Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Jose Casanova

23, of El Monte, California.
Casanova was in a HMMWV when an Iraqi dump truck swerved and rolled over on top of his vehicle. Casanova was one of two soldiers who were killed in this incident. Casanova was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Died on October 13, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Pfc. Jose Casanova.

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"Happy Birthday Joe ... I miss you so much,I know that one day I will get to see you again. Happy 33rd Birthday. You will always be in my heart."
of El Monte, Ca.

"" HAPPY 32nd BIRTHDAY " Joe
Your always in my thoughts.

Love you always"
of EL Monte, Ca

"Dec-21-2011. I got to HHC 1-325 in Sep 2003. I was getting ready to join the rest of the unit in Iraq when word came down about the accident involving SPC weismantle and PFC Casanova. A small group of us went to california to perform in PFC Casanova's funeral service. It was my first funeral service I ever did and the one I most remember. I never felt so proud to be apart of something and to Honor a fallen soldier. Even though I had never met him I still found it hard to hold back the tears during the service. From my point of view the service was amazing and there was incredible support from everybody.
Two weeks later my self and another battle buddy went to Iraq. We joined up with the unit and ended up living were PFC Casanova and SPC weismantle use to live. Even though I never met him I will never forget the way he has affected my life."
Robert Burgard of FT Lewis WA

"Casanova, I just wanted to say that 8 years have passed since your tragic death, and your memory is still fresh in my mind as if it was just yesterday I saw you.I think about you all the time. I miss you alot your in my heart and you will never be forgotten. I love you. 10/15/2011"
Oreste Salazar of Indiantown, Fl

"To the friends and family of Jose.
I never met him but I think of him often. My husband also served. I wear jose on my wrist in the form as a black military remembrence bracelet. I just wanted to tell you that even in death he touches people and it a reminder of the freedoms we have because of people like him. You have a lot to be proud of. His legacy lives . God bless you and God bless the USA!"
Laura of Virginia

"Hey joe, I can't believe it's been so long since you've been gone, we all miss you! i Remember you since grade school and junior high and high school you were one of the nicest person i have had the pleasure to meet! i still remember the time when i was a sophmore and i couldn't walk in my high hills and we were crossing the street and you were holding my arm making sure i didn't fall and you told me to walk slowly and take it one step at a time and then theres another time when you (joe) had tried to teach me how to play drums it was our senior year and since i didnt have good hand cordination you had told me to stick to playing my clarinet. But i thank you for being a friend and for protecting our freedom"
Stephanie Olmeda of El Monte,Ca., los angeles country

""HAPPY 31ST BIRTHDAY" JOE-JOE

Love you & miss you so much....."
of El Monte, Ca.

"I honestly can't believe that it's been so long since he's passed, the memory of the last time I saw Joe will forever be embedded in my head. I can remember his sweet, sarcastic, and shy personality and the way he carried himself as an individual. Always friendly and willing to help whenever you asked it of him. I will never forget Joe eventhough we weren't that close, I really looked up to him as a musician and only wished that I could be as talented and respected. Every time I go to Lamppost I see his plaque up on the wall and get a sense of pride that runs through my body, so proud to have had the opportunity to know him and his family. I remember at the wake that his brother Sergio told be to "Never Forget Him" as I cried and cried those words stood with me forever. I will always remember the courage, strength and heart that Joe gave everyday through his passion for music and his country. "He will never be forgotten!" Love and miss you Joe!"
Heidi Contreras formerly Pinuelas of El Monte, CA

"I was with Jose almost every day in Iraq and he really was a great person.
I was going through some old pictures I have from Iraq and found a nice pic of Jose. If anyone in his family would like it sent to them just let me know. shanebigelow@yahoo.com"
Shane Bigelow of NYC

"Hi Joe.... i recently was at Lambert Park and stopped by the tree that was planted in your name.. you will never be forgotten... i stood there and remembered our fun Arroyo H.S band times... i know you are watching us all from above and know that you are more then loved from below.."
Rosie Buentiempo of El Monte/Los Angeles

"I miss you so much. When u passed I cried for ours. You are my brother and always will be. I'm sorry u r gone and it hurts me alot. My life changed that day. I will make u proud. I miss the talks we had and the friendship u gave to me. I hurt and think about that day all the time. I should have spoken up and not let you go on that convoy. U should have never been on that convoy. It should have been me there and not you. I know it's not my fault but, maybe I could have done something or said something to first seargent. I miss you. Our talks and music sessions. I miss hearing You play music with your drum sticks. You and your family will always be in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you brother. Thank you for everything you taught me. I love you man. Thank for being there for me in that time that I needed you. I love you brother and I will make you proud. Sorry it's taken me seven years but like I said, your death really impacted my life. Rest In Peace brother."
Nathan de Leon of West palm beach

"To the family of Jose Casanova ,I am so sorry for the loss of your love one.He died a hero.May you know the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need someone to pray with you or talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church,Rev John B Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015""

"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

"To Joe and family. I met Joe in highschool and we were in the band together for three years as he was a year ahead of me. He was a great guy from day one and we hung out from time to time outside of school. I remember him teaching me the most fundamental stuff about percussion and even lending him a piano book so he could help his little sister learn. I was a drummajor and had problems controlling 50-60 people sometimes, and Joe would be one of those few people or stepped up and helped keep people quiet or in order. Not many people stand up to their peers or exert that kind of leadership at a young age. We all mess around at times though. He was a very good musician and thought he was one of the few that would continue after highschool. Anyway, After I joined the Army in 2000, I heard that Joe entered. I'm not sure exactly when, but I'll never forget that phone call i got informing of me of the incident in Iraq. I was heartbroken. It's hard to see a fellow Soldier go down, and even harder seeing someone you grew up with. I was not able to make the funeral. I'm sorry. Well I was in Washington DC and visiting Arlington, and Joe was one of the first men that came to my mind. There is a section (section 60) in Arlington dedicated to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice over these last 8 years. Many of us have gone over there and seen combat. Some more than others, and we are all thankful for the great men and women who serve this nation. Many people have wrote amazing things about you, Joe, but I'm not surprised. This is an incredible website and I am going to look up the scholarship fund. I'm currently serving in the Army Band. You would be proud. If there is anything I can do to help, you can count on me being there. We will continue to fight this War for Soldiers like you and honor all who have served. Me regards go out to the Casanova family."
SFC Leon T. Butler of Fort Leonard Wood, MO

"I don't even know where to start..... I heard so many stories about you pfc casanova well let me introduce my self my name is Christian Vera future brother in law : ) I'm just here to stop bye and show my respect as a young man . I wish I could of met you Pfc casanova. I don't know the way melisa will tell me her memories with her big bro joe joe it touch me so hard .... when my big bro past away I felt like the end of the world ...... but I know he's with u in gods kingdom.... I love ur bby sis so much and I will promise you joe joe I will take care of her and my 2 boys Adam and isaack with my heart and never give up no matter what it takes there's always faith .....and also I will love to say ur father is a good man things haven't been so perfect but hopefully things will... like our Mexican quote says... Primero Dios..... May you rest in peace big bro PFc casanova"
Christian Vera of El Monte ca

"I MISS YOU TOO......"

"To whom it may concern:
We are in the process of locating the families of our fallen heroes - those heroes who served in the military and gave their lives for our country. We, Calvary Chapel Santa Fe Springs, are hosting a community event at Santa Fe Springs High School on Sunday, May 24, 2009 to honor the "Fallen" as well as their families for the ultimate sacrifice they made. There will be music, food and a special ceremony/tribute. If you have any information that would aid us in locating these families, we can be reached at the following number - 562-906-0697. We desire to honor these heroes and their families by "recognizing them" and presenting them with an honorary token of our respect and gratitude. If you can help in any way, please call 562-906-0697 and ask for Pastor Greg Gutierrez. For more information regarding this event, log on to: www.ccsfs.com"
Greg Gutierrez of Santa Fe Springs, California

"HEY JOE IT'S YOUR BABY SISTER MELI. I KNOW IT'S BEEN 5 YEARS YOU'VE BEEN GONE. BUT NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY TO KEEP MY SORROWS INSIDE THERE ARE DAYS I CAN'T HANDLE IT I JUST BREAK DOWN. THE DAY YOU WENT AWAY IT FELT LIKE IT WAS A LIE. NOW THAT I HAVE GROWN TO REALIZE HOW REAL IT REALLY IS IT HURTS ME AND LEAVES ME ON MY KNEES. I WAS ONLY 15 WHEN U LEFT US. ON MY 15TH BIRTHDAY YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE WITH ME AND YOU WERE THERE. I JUST COULDN'T SEE U. I WISH YOU COULD BE HERE TO SEE HOW MUCH I HAVE ACHIEVED IN MY LIFE. I WISH YOU COULD OF MET ADAM AND ISAAC MY 2 BOYS. I TALK TO THEM ABOUT YOU AND THEY KNOW WHO U ARE. ADAM SOME TIMES GIVES ME A LITTLE HOPE THAT THERE IS SUCH A THING AS LIFE AFTER DEATH. THERE ARE DAYS I WON'T MENTION YOU AND HE WILL POINT TO THE WINDOW IN THE LIVING ROOM AND SMILE AND SAY "MOMMY LOOK ITS UNCLE JOE". BUT I KNOW IT CAN'T BE. SOME TIMES I QUESTION MY FAITH BUT U TAUGHT ME TO BELIEVE. I ASKED YOU ONE DAY WHAT IF THERE REALLY ISN'T A GOD AND YOU RESPONDED " IF YOU HAVE FAITH YOU WILL BELIEVE". NEVER WILL I LET GO OF ALL THE BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES YOU GAVE ME. THANK YOU FOR MY VIOLIN LESSONS. I HAVEN'T PLAYED THE VIOLIN FOR 3 YEARS BUT I MISS IT AND WILL PLAY AGAIN IT COMFORTS MY SORROW OF LOSING YOU. JUST WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT YOUR MY INSPERATION TO GO ON FURTHER IN LIFE AND PUSH MY SELF TO THE LIMIT TO SEE HOW FAR I GET. MY DREAM IS TO DO SOMETHING IN LIFE TO HELP HUMANITY JUST AS YOU DID. I'M STILL UNDECIDED TO EITHER TO BECOME A R.N. OR ULTRASOUND TECH. BUT I KNOW U WILL HELP ME DECIDE. I MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU JOE THERE ISN'T A DAY THAT GOES BY THAT I DON'T THINK OF YOU. JUST AS YOU SAID IN YOUR FARWELL LETTER " YOU MAY GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN JUST LIKE A WHISPER IN THE WIND HEARD BUT NOT SEEN"

LOVE ALWAYS YOUR BABY SISTER
MELISA <3"
MELISA CASANOVA of EL MONTE, CA, US

"I was a cook in the 1-325 and casanova would allways come and hang with us. He would be hanging out and pick up to sticks and be playin with them like drumb sticks, Had rythem though so it was cool. I remember he let me borrow the new linkin park CD Meteora, so now everytime I listen to any of those song it reminds me of him. Him and I would talk about how we would meet up on leave after this deployment and go snowboarding in lake tahoe, so when the day I found out he was gone, it hurt me really bad. I saw him just hours before it happen, it felt so unreal. My heart goes out to his family and I know it cant fill up the one he has placed, but I just wanted to let you know, Friends and Family will never forget him. He was a brother as well as a friend, Love ya allways Casanova."
Robert Lough of CA

"I can't believe it has been 5 years. I miss you so much."
Nadia Silva Mendoza of Riverside, CA

"To everyone that spent even a little time with Joe, I would like for you to talk about him in this site. It gives me lost of comfort and helps me through hard times like right now. I miss him alot. When someone leaves a message and talk about how they remember Joe it gives lots of comfort to know he was loved and is still remembered. I know Joe reads the messages too. I also want to tell his friends he met in his short military career, to leave a message because you were with him on his last days of life. Let us never forget!

I MISS YOU JOE, SO MUCH"
of EL MONTE, CA.

"JoeJoe no words can ever be descrived on how great people felt about you, and the life long everlasting memories u left every one of us. Joe u are missed so much by your fam,& friends. You touched so many people that never meet you, just with one word alone that any one would descrive u with, was enough 2 touch a person & fill them with awsome toughts & unimaginable images of hopeing 2 of have the pleasure of seeing, sharing, and meeting U, 4 just 1sec. Well JoeJoe Im proud2 say that I lived that moment 4 so many years. Little Joe tnks 4 all you taught me about life, courage, kindness, taking chances, respect, & living life 2 the fullest. Eventhow you are much younger than me little Joe, I learned a great deal from u. It dosent always take an older man to show a youngster. But how the youngster carried him self in life, 2 earn the respect of the older man. JoeJoe we deeply miss u, you will always B in our prayers,toughts, & hearts. I am proud every time I see my wife & 2 now that U are here little brother. my prayers & condolenses 2 all our FALLEN, BUT NEVER FORGOTEN. MEN & WOMEN and your FAMILY'S. JOEJOE TNK U 4 YOUR MEMORIES."
RayRay Castellanos of Baldwin Park Ca

"JoeJoe no words can ever be descrived on how great people felt about you, and the life long everlasting memories u left every one of us. Joe u are missed so much by your fam,& friends. You touched so many people that never meet you, just with one word alone that any one would descrive u with, was enough 2 touch a person & fill them with awsome toughts & unimaginable images of hopeing 2 of have the pleasure of seeing, sharing, and meeting U 4 just 1sec. Well JoeJoe Im proud2 say that I lived that moment 4 so many years. Little Joe tnks 4 all you taught me about life, courage, kindness, taking chances, respect, & living life 2 the fullest. Eventhow you are much younger than me little Joe, I learned a great deal from u. It does'nt always take an older man to show a youngster. But how the youngster carried him self in life, 2 earn the respect of the older man. JoeJoe we deeply miss u, you will always B in our prayers,toughts, & hearts. I am proud every time I see my wife & 2 now that U are here little brother. my prayers & condolenses 2 all our FALLEN, BUT NEVER FORGOTEN. MEN & WOMEN and your FAMILY'S. JOEJOE TNK U 4 YOUR MEMORIES."
RayRay Castellanos of Baldwin Park Ca

"My name is Sergio Casanova and I have no relation to your family except for having the same last name. I stumbled on this site because I was looking for any information related to my name. After reading all the entries about Jose Casanova I sit here in tears for not having the opportunity to know this great American and Spanish hero. Just the person he was makes me feel great to have hist last name. I will always remember your son and will keep coming back to read the notes. God Bless Him and I will tell my son Chase to look him up when its time to name his new born."
sergio casanova of Houston, Texas

"for the family of jose iam very sorry. i do not no your family but i understand the pain you must be going threw,i have my little brother over there now in camp bucca i pray every dayfor all the solders there.my botfriend will be there in a month so all my prayer go to all us men and women.god bless you all. thanks for making sure we still have our freedom."
tammy b. of alt,beach fl 32225

"May 26 2008 Hey buddy, it's been sometime since i left you the last message. So I'm out here again, yep 4th voluntary tour but it's a voluntary tour because i want to make you proud and know that none of this was in vain. we all have our reasons for coming out here or being dragged out here but I do it to honor and respect my fallen comrades. Specially you, I spent my early childhood with you. You were my first real friend. I remember getting in trouble with you for running in the 5th grade and we had to stand in the yellow line for the rest of lunch time. Time sure does pass but you're always going to be embedded in our hearts and mind whether it's memorial day or not. You're in my prayers bro, I know everyone misses you and i wish
we had stayed in touch after i moved. I know you;re looking down at us from heaven so just know that we're looking back up at you.. we miss you!"
SSG Rick Ramirez, 422nd MDVS of Camp Bucca, Iraq/ La puente Ca/ gew up in El Monte

"May 25, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Jose Casanova:
Jose 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

"DEAR JOE'S FAMILY, I KNEW JOE FROM HIGH SCHOOL. HE WAS IN BAND AND I WAS IN DRILL TEAM. HE WAS ONE OF THE SWEETEST PEOPLE I EVER MET. WHEN I WOULD SEE HIM HE WOULD ALWAYS SAY HI AND GIVE ME THIS SHY SMILE. WHEN I HEARD OF THE SAD NEWS I WAS DEVESTATED. WHEN SOMEONE TALKS ABOUT THE WAR I WILL ALWAYS MENTION MY FRIEND JOE. I TALK ABOUT WHAT A HERO HE WAS FOR OUR COUNTRY. I AM GLAD I GOT TO MEET SUCH A RESPECTFUL YOUNG MAN. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH ALL HIS FAMILY."
TIFFANY JAIME of MADERA, CA.

"Jose,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other soldier who was also in that vehicle for your service and sacrifice for our Country. 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 the opportunity to have served you with you. Even though you weren't a citizen of the United States, you still chose to serve-that says it all about the type of man and soldier that you are.

"Let's Go!"(325th PIR Motto)"

"i went to AIT with Jose he was a dear friend and a great person to be around i missed him as soon as we all left for home after AIT without him wouldnt have been as fun if he wasnt there the days would have dragged for Jose's family i give my deepest sympathy and wish you nothing but luck on your hard journey."
Spc. Brian Dennis of Herkimer Ny

"hey uncle joe i know your watching me post this message and im proud to say that i miss having you around and you giving me drumming lessons. i also miss how you would take me places and you jerry and i have good times. i also want you to know that jerry is witha beatiful girl and you need to give him a sign telling him thats not what he need right now but anyways i love and miss you tio
peace Anthony Castellanos casanova"
anthony castellanos of baldwin park

"Joe, I know there is Internet in Heaven so you can check this web-site out and read what i am writing to you and the ones who love you that you left behind. I got pretty teary-eyed just reading what your family wrote about you. Well, you know i pray for you all the time and i know you pray for us down here. you were a great role model Joe. I remember in drum- line while most of us would pick on or make a joke about Jaime, you would tell us to knock it off and help Jaime learn not to take any abuse from us. You stood up for him, and i thought you had something special that made you not afraid to do the right thing. That's why you served your country--you wanted to do the right thing...you were always looking for the most out of life...well, now you have it! Heaven is the most out of life anyone can get and your there now. But, pray for us Joe...because I miss you, and sometimes it just doesn't seem real that your up there and we're down here. Thank you for your friendship...And to Joe's Family, thanks for sharing him with the rest of us."
Victor Cancino of Temple City, CA

"Its still unreal that Joe left us all so soon. I went to school with him from jr high school to high school and in the drumline At Arroyo,and as his teamate in football all 3yrs . I lived in Akansas at the time When my sister vicky called from Kuwait to tell me of his passing.I was in disbeleif .And their is not a moment that i dont forget him. Joe thanks for helping me when others didnt.And thanks for defending our freedom.I will tell my kids about you."
Mauricio.Figueroa of San Bernardino,Ca

"Joe, it's been three years since you left and it still feels like yesterday. I miss you so much. I hope you're having fun with my Dad in Heaven."
Nadia Mendoza of Riverside, CA

"I have no words to express the feeling of losing a family member. When we lost Joe, the pain was extremely overwhelming for me. I even lost touch with my loved ones because I feel lost, and dont know what to say to my family. Forgive me....... Joe was a guiding light, he was the smallest of the six cousins who would always be together whenever we were at functions or visits. He would always do the right thing even though I tried to make him act up a bit. He would tell me to do whats right, and I guess I have ever since. Funny how a little kid can make you see the brighter things instead of the negative. I could always talk to him, it was so effortless... He understood me. Wise beyond his years and huge heart. Thats the stuff dreams are made of. I wear his (in memory) shirt proudly because he is my hero and I will see him again someday. I love you Primo with all I got. (Cousins Forever) Edgar."
Edgar Munoz of Downey, CA 90242

"Dear family,I met Jose in airborne school,He was my airborne Battle buddy.He was the only friend I had there at the time.We left to FT.Bragg toghether and ended up goin to the same battallion by luck.We then were split up and shipped off into Iraq where I didnt see him for a couple months.Then one day during the hot month of june,he was bringing supplies to my unit and ran into him only for a minute or so.He threw me down my first coca cola since I was in iraq.It was warm but it was the best soda ive ever had.That was the last time I ever saw him.He was a great friend,a great solider and always thought about others before himself.I miss him so much and I still pray for him until this day.God bless him and all his friends and family.
My email is jokesta4life@aol.com"
Spc.Alan Norori of HHC 2BDE 3ID Ft. Stewart Ga.

"To the Casanova Family,
I attended Arroyo High School with Jose's sister Maria. I was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic news and wanted to pay my respects to a courageous young man. Thank you Jose for making the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country. You will never be forgotten!"
Lt. Cecil Banuelos of El Monte, CA

"Joe, I remember all the time we had at AIT and Jump school...I just want to let Joe's family know that you will always be in our prayers..Many times on the week ends at AIT we would go play guitar and drums together I will always miss those times, and Joe..We will always miss you, you were a great freind! RIP my Friend!"
SPC David Webb of Balad Iraq

"I am or was a Medic with HHC 1/325, Even in death he was a honorable man,"

"When I started my freshmen year at Arroyo I joined the marching band and met a lot of new people, among the many was Joe. He was a senior and a hell of a drummer. I never took the time to get to know him personally, but that didn't matter because some how I always knew the kind of wonderful person he was. His smile alone could fill the hearts of those around him with the warmth he kept inside. After my first year at Arroyo I moved to New York and didn't keep in touch with many people from Arroyo. I hadn't heard of Jose's passing until 3 months after his death. The moment that I found out I felt as if I had lost one of my own. The day after I spent hours on the internet, search after search, printing out any articles I could find and I keep them in my yearbook along with the message he had written me. It's unbelievable how someone I knew very little had such an impact on my life...that's something only few wondefully amazing people can do. I've seen him twice in my dreams and I know he is always with those people that he touched. I light a candle for him whenever I pass a little Greek church on my way to school, and everytime my eyes fall upon the flame I think of the warm glow of Jose's smile. Even though he's not with us any more, he lives on in our happy memories...I know I'll never forget the times we spent together at band competitions and never ending band practices. He was always so proud of us as a band, and I know we'll always be proud of him and always remember him."
Elene Frangos from El Monte of Athens, Greece

"Dear Family and Friends of Pfc. Jose Casanova,
My name is Kendra Witherspoon. I am currenly stationed in Yongsan, South Korea. I am in the 9th grade. My school Seoul American High is planning a 7K walk to raise money for a scholarship fund for the children of American military and civilian casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our goal is to raise $50,000. When students were asked to sign up for this event we were given a soldier to walk for. My soldier is Pfc. Jose Casanova. I promise to do my best and raise as much money as I possibly can. I would like to offer you my sincere condolences to you and your family. I would also like to add that I will keep your family in my prayers.
Sincerely,
Kendra Witherspoon"
Kendra Witherspoon of Seoul, South Korea

"Dear Casanova Family and Friends,
I found a web site called Herobracelets.org and I made a contribution. My Hero bracelet came in the mail today and has Jose's name on it. I actually try to read as much as I can about all of our heros who have been lost, and I remmeber being moved by reading a story about Jose and his familiy. I will wear his bracelet as often as I can and I will be sure to pass on his story to all those that I am sure will ask me about it. To his family and friends, God Bless you, and be strong. You know that he is never far. To Jose, although we never met, I am proud of you, and will never, ever forget you."
Murphy Tinsley of Morgantown, West Virginia, USA

"I remember Jose Casanova from AIT, we were good buddies since we were going airborne together. We had our little group with which we enjoyed every weekend at Ft. Gordon Georgia. We got along good because we spoke in spanish most of the time and that led us to be close buddies. I found out about his death this past june while perfoming a mission in Normandy France. I really couldn't beleive that the guy that I spent so much time with was gone forever. My heart almost stopped and felt bad for the rest of the week. Before I found out I tried to emailing him to his name on AKO several times and never got an answer. Just wanted to know where he was at and how he was doing. The lesson I learned is that we should never take life for granted because in this profession you never know what might happen. I'll never forget you Amigo.

Amaury Martinez
SPC USA"
Amaury Martinez of Kaiserslautern, Germany

"Its been a year now since the loss of my "Little Joe" my brother. Yet it still seems like yesturday. I have found comfort knowing how all of you felt about my brother. Just reading the messages tells me he left special memories of him in each of you. He was a great person, the best brother any big sister would ever want. My fond memeory of Joe is when he was a little boy, I would help my mom take care of him, from changing him to putting him to sleep. My dad build me a swing in the back yard and I remember holding Joe in my arms,swinging back and forth untill he fell asleep. I hold this memeory and many more really close to my heart. So please hold on to your memories of him and don't let them go because that's what he wanted us to do. In his last wish he asked us to say something special about the realionship we shared and to not cry because he was in a good place full of happiness, and he would live in our hearts forever.

For the love he had for music and the patients he had to teach others we have started a scholarship fund in his memeory, to help students go to college and students that want to pursue their career in music. If you would like to contribute to this cause please email me at pfccasanova@yahoo.com for more information or you can send contributions to:
Bank of America
11138 Valley Mall
El Monte, Ca. 91731
Account: The Jose Casanova Memeorial Scholarship Fund #020199-10637

In behalf of all my family I'd like to thank everyone that has left a message for us, we all visit the site on a regular basis and read the messages, I feel very proud to be his sister,and know how special he was to all of you.
I will do my best to not let his memory fade away. Which he told me in a letter he wrote me on September 2003
I don't want to be forgotten, like a whisper in the wind which is felt but not heard.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL."
Olga Casanova Castellanos of Baldwin Park, Ca. USA

"Its been a year now since the loss of my "Little Joe" my brother. Yet it still seems like yesturday. I have found comfort knowing how all of you felt about my brother. Just reading the messages tells me he left special memories of him in each of you. He was a great person, the best brother any big sister would ever want. My fond memeory of Joe is when he was a little boy, I would help my mom take care of him, from changing him to putting him to sleep. My dad build me a swing in the back yard and I remember holding Joe in my arms,swinging back and forth untill he fell asleep. I hold this memeory and many more really close to my heart. So please hold on to your memories of him and don't let them go because that's what he wanted us to do. In his last wish he asked us to say something special about the realionship we shared and to not cry because he was in a good place full of happiness, and he would live in our hearts forever.

For the love he had for music and the patients he had to teach others we have started a scholarship fund in his memeory, to help students go to college and students that want to pursue their career in music. If you would like to contribute to this cause please email me at pfccasanova@yahoo.com for more information or you can send contributions to:
Bank of America
11138 Valley Mall
El Monte, Ca. 91731
Account: The Jose Casanova Memeorial Scholarship Fund #020199-10637

On behalf of all my family I'd like to thank everyone that has left a message for us, we all visit the site on a regular basis and read the messages, I feel very proud to be his sister,and know how special he was to all of you.
I will do my best to not let his memory fade away. Which he told me in a letter he wrote me on September 2003
I don't want to be forgotten, like a whisper in the wind which is felt but not heard.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL."
Olga Casanova Castellanos of Baldwin Park, Ca. USA

"I just wanted Jose's family to know that Jose was our countries hero !!!! If by chance Jose has a pet dog left behind I think we have picked him up as a stray....please call 323-939-7500 if you can give us any info or verify the dogs ownership. Thank you !"
Alyssa Shah of Los Angeles, CA

"To the family of Jose Casanova,

I remember playing Little League Baseball and going to High School at Arroyo with Jose. He was a wonderful person and a caring individual. My sympathy and prayer goes out to the family of Jose as he will always be remembered. We will never forget."
Eddie Delgadillo of Rancho Cucamonga, CA

"Hello,

I'm writting to let you know that a small temple, Temple Beth Hillel, in South Windsor Connecticut honored Jose during out High Holidays this year.
We will be forever greatful to Jose for his ultimate sacrifice. The rest of us are enjoying freedom becasuse of Jose. God bless you and your family."
Darlene Sternberg of Manchester, Ct

"This old paratrooper will never forget the brotherhood of the greatest division in the world. Although I never ran across Casanova my heart still hurts for my brother. May you rest in peace. I would be insulted if I was remembered at an anti-war demonstration."
Anthony of Denver, CO

"To the family of Jose Casanova,
My name is Maria and today, August 29, 2004, my husband Steve and I marched in a demonstration in New York City on behalf of peace, and in support of bringing the troops safely back home.We were given a button to wear with your son's name on it. We did this to say thank you to Jose for the sacrifice of his life. It was a privilege to wear his name upon us and to honor him, as a man, an American, and a hero. We believe through this effort we have remembered your son in a way that keeps his spirit alive. We rest in the understanding that Jose is in God's care. May the love and support of family and friends ease your pain. May fond memories of Jose fill your hearts."
Maria & Steven Sacks of Westbury, NY

"I met Joe when i first started the third grade in Norwood Elementary, and he was my first and best friend for the time i was in that school but i lost contact with him when i moved during the 6th grade. I had a dream about him when i was Serving in Afghanistan right after 9-11(2001,02-03. Then i heard it in the news about him a while after but i didnt want to think it was him and this was soon confirmed by one of his friends who i now work with. My heart dropped to my stomach because i always wanted to visit him after i moved. I am very sorry i never did and I will always have him in my heart, and those memories of his sisters droping me off at home in the white truck. I want to offer my condolences to his family and all his loved ones. He was a great person and one individual who really stood out of the rest. He was and will always be remebered as a heroe and my first friend."
SGT Rick Ramirez of La Puente CA

"To the Casanova Family, I write this message as a stranger, but also as a distant friend. I'm the cousin of the Perez Family there in El Monte. I heard about Jose back in December when I was home on leave visiting my family. Patty and Claudia told me about a local boy that went away to the Army. By the time they finished the story needless to say, I was deeply saddened. I'm sorry for your loss. Just reading the entries on this site shows that Jose was kind and very strong spirited. He seems to have touched so many people from every place in the country, and countless others I'm sure. I didn't know him, but I speak of him often, just to remind others of the sacrifices we make and the hardships we put our loved ones through. He seemed to be brave about his decision to join the Army, and I'm sure he knew you were all proud of him. I sometimes wonder if I ever crossed paths with him, since I myself was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. What if, you know?....I'm so sorry once again, he was taken away from you all too soon. I hope to meet the Casanova Family someday to offer my condolences in person. God bless you all and may Jose be looking over us. "I hold it up and show my buddies, like we ain't scared and our boots ain't muddy, but no one laughs, cuz there ain't nothing funny when a SOLDIER cries.....and I just wipe my eyes..""
SGT. Miguel-Angel J. Gonzalez, Sr. of A. Co. 2-52 Avn. Regt., 1st Flight Plt., Camp Humphreys Korea

"I remember Joe as a student in my first grade class at Norwood School in El Monte. He was a sweet, shy boy who was a little reticent about jumping in to the usually noisy first grade routine. I am proud of him and his sacrifice and offer my condolences to his family. God bless."
Katherine Urquidi of Arcadia, CA/USA

"To the family of Joe Casanova,
I remember Joe from High School. I never really knew him but for some reason I remember him. As if I was meant to remember. I remember seeing him again a couple years after high school at a friends house. Maybe even more than a couple times. I had joined the Army by then and I remember being on leave when I saw him again. I believe i spoke of how things were in the Army with him. I remember hearing down the road that he had joined the Army and was going to the same unit I was in. The 82d Airborne. I remember wondering if he was there while i was in Iraq at one point. Not long after during a quick conversation I was having with my girlfriend(now my wife) she told me of the news that she had heard from my mom. I remember the first thing that popped to my head was " I drank beers with that guy". It seemed so unreal. Anyway I just wanted to share that. I think of Joe all the time. I wish maybe I had known him more. I also sometimes feel guilty about being thankful for being allowed to keep my life when others were not allowed that privilege. I will never forget Joe. This Memorial Day let us take a moment to honor Joe and all those other troopers that have become victims to their patriotism. Heroes they shall be in all of our hearts. Our fallen brothers shall not be forgotten. My condolences to the friends and families of all the soldiers who gave their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, all the sacrifices of days no more, and days to come. Rest In Peace Joe."
SPC King,Javier 2/319th AFAR of Fort Bragg,NC

"I can remeber the time when I met Joe. Even though we really didn't hang out, I met him through my husband Alex.(Alex's older brother is married to his sister Olga.) I would see him at the family parties, and sometimes he would talk to me when I was sitting by myself. Everytime when we went to Best Buy, where he used to work, we would always say "Hi!" to him. I know that his family is very proud of him and his memory lives through them. I think now that our families are brought together with a strong bond. Anytime when I hang out with his older sister Olga or his younger brother Jerry, I can see his presence, shinning through them. I will always remember him the last time I seen him, and think of happy memories of him. Until we meet again."
Jennifer Anuchiracheeva-Castellanos of Pomona/El Monte/Ca/USA

"My deepest sympathy and prayers go to the Casanova family for their lost of Pfc. Jose Casanova. I am an high school student doing a war project in honor of fallen soldiers and I find it a privilege and honor to do mine on Pfc. Jose Casanova. Last but not least Thank you Pfc. Jose Casanova for all that you have done for this country. R.I.P."
Bri Smith of Charlotte, North Carolina

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

"I met Joe in Basic training. we were extremely good freinds in basic. we were like glue. We would always talk about music, girls, and stupid guy anecdotes...I just heard over the phone from another freind what happenned to him. I couldn't believe it...I had to see for myself...and I found this website. I don't cry but reading his fathers statement up there and just the reality of it all. Joe was a good soldier, but most of all he was an awesome freind and an honerable young man. Mr. and mrs. Casanova my heart goes out to you."
PFC Marvick Burgos of FT. Bragg, NC

"I met Joe in Basic training. we were extremely good freinds in basic. we were like glue. We would always talk about music, girls, and stupid guy anecdotes...I just heard over the phone from another freind what happenned to him. I couldn't believe it...I had to see for myself...and I found this website. I don't cry but reading his fathers statement up there and just the reality of it all. Joe was a good soldier, but most of all he was an awesome freind and an honerable young man. Mr. and mrs. Casanova my heart goes out to you."
PFC Marvick Burgos of FT. Bragg, NC

"Jose. Mi amigo, que Dios te bendiga. LOL I hope spelled it right my friend. Even though I grew up speaking fluent spanish, over time i started to forget it. I met Jose in Kuwait. We lived in the same tent in Kuwait. Later, we fought next to each other. Jose thought it was interesting that a white skin, blue eyed, blonde haired guy could speak such good spanish, however, he was quick to correct me if I pronounced something wrong or forgot a word. Though he did need it, I promised to help him in english if he helped me remember spanish. We became like brothers.
I truely believe that he and "Weismantle" were keeping us safe for the rest of our time in Iraq. To Jose's parents... the 1/325th A.I.R and myself would like to offer our condolences. He's are guardian paratrooper and always will be. Jose era una buena persona, mi amigo, y ahora mi angel guardian. Until we meet again my friend."
Mike Flavin (close friend) of HHC 1/325 82nd Airborne Infantry.

"To the family of Jose Casanova,
My name is Ami. My cousin Christine was married to Army Spc Douglas J Weismantle, who was with your son on that fatal day. I want to send my thoughts and condolences to you and your family. I would also like to thank you for the flowers that you sent to Christine. It really meant alot to her. Thanks again and god bless Jose and Doug."
Ami Tolkacevic of Pittsburgh, PA

"To The Family of Jose Casanova:
I met Jose at Pasadena City College when we were both in the marching band. He was a terrific guy and I will always have a special place in my heart that will remind me of him."
Penny of Alhambra, CA

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Jose, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"It's always sad to hear of someone leaving this earth. My prayers are with the Casanova family and all of those who cared about him.

God bless you all"
Mike Martinez of Baldwin Park California

"I met Jose in Basic Training. Our drill sergeants had made us get in a circle and tell what our MOS was and where we were going to AIT. Afterwards, I ran up to him and said 'Hey! We're going to AIT together, isn't that exciting?' Jose replied "I am not moved by that." We were friends ever since. His humor got me through more than one tough time in the 6 1/2 months we were at training together. I never saw him get discouraged, or angry, or complain. He was very excited to start his career, and always spoke of his family with such admiration. So much so that I was impressed by them before I'd ever met them. Jose called me from Iraq shortly before he passed away. He still had the same humor, and told me I was crazy for being so excited by one phone call. He was very proud of what he was doing. He told me he was going to make me visit him in California, I told him I'd love to. So I was shocked and heartbroken when I saw his face staring back at me from a People magazine. I only hope that the pain his family feels can be eased even a little bit by this: Jose lived a full life, a very happy life. He touched everyone around him and I know I'll never forget him. Mr. and Mrs. Casanova, know that you raised an amazing man and that he spoke of you like superheroes. You can as proud of him as any parent ever was of their child. God Bless You. And Jose, I'd still like to visit you."
PFC Gabrielle Brockett of Helena, Montana

"My deepest sympathy to Jose's family and friends. I still remember how akward I felt when I picked him up the day he left to basic training, family and close friends where there saying their farewells. I still remember how his little brother used to look up at him with such pride. Everytime I spoke to Jose I could sense his peace, always calm. He was a young man who looked forward to his time in the Army, he had dreams, he had aspirations. May God bless his soul."
SSG Jorge A. Rivera of El Monte, California

"My daughter, Gab Brockett met Casanova in basic, & they were part of a group that were all buddies. We found out from the photo in People. She was shocked & very saddened. I met him @ graduation @ Fort Jackson, and he was someone any parent would have been proud of. We are deeply sorry for your loss."
Rachel Moore of Helena MT

"I think it's safe to say I knew Casanova pretty well. We had spent about 19 weeks together during AIT. I hadn't seen him since we graduated though. He was a good friend and a good guy. I'm sad to hear that he has passed on. Take care man."
SPC Scott T. Vincent JR of Oklahoma City, OK

"We just learned of "Casanova's" death. Our son was friends with him at AIT and airborne school. He spoke of Casanova often when he called. While we had never met him, we feel like we knew him because of our son. He cared very much for him, and shares a small part of your pain."
Mary Webb of Nederland, Texas

"Thank you Jose Casanova, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"I remember a little kid who wanted to always be by his mothers side, nothing gave him more comfort.He soon became a youngman full of ambition wanting nothing more then to make a father very proud of his accomplishments if life.Joe Joe, you not only made our Dad proud you made an entire nation be proud of your bravery, courage and ultimate sacrifice. I am proud to be your brother....and everyday that I place my firefighter badge over my heart. I am more proud to wear in in your honor....Thank you, to all that have given us their support and condolences on this site and to the creators of such a site. Let us not forget the other soldier who died with my brother Spc. Douglas Weismantle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and to all the other soldiers who are still outhere fighting. Sergio Casanova"
Sergio Casanova of Whittier, CA. U.S.A

"Joe, the day you left for boot camp I gave you my belssing as a big sister that I am. I put you in God's hands and told him to protect you. When I went to your boot camp graduations you looked so handsom and you wore your army uniform just as you hope to do. I knew it wasn't easy but you did it. You became a perfect example of a soldier. The day you called me from Ft. Bragg to tell me you were being deployed my heart fell to the ground and you said don't be sad sis I'll be home before you now it and when I do I'm just going to go to the back room and start playing my drums and you'll now I'm home. Well the months went by and by and you kept writing to me and telling me you will be home but for some reason your dates to come home were always changed. You were so home sick I could hear in your voice when you called I read it in your letters. And now Joe Joe your home you are finally home, your with God and I know thats where home is, your playing your drums I can't hear them but I know that you are. Thank you for all your support you gave me when I was down and all the times you baby sat for me when Ray and I wanted to get away. Anthony and Julissa love you so much and will never forget you. Your little Chris topher is too young to understand but he knows Uncle Joe is in heaven now. You will forever live in my heart. You gave your life for this nation and I know even though we are Mexican you stood tall and brave every single day in Iraq as American Citizen. You wanted to stand on your own two feet and you did and for that you know Mom and Dad are more than proud to have had a son like you. "Joe you will forever be America's Hero" I will always remember what you would say when we would be sad. "Smile Smile no sad faces" I know you'll smile with me."
Olga Casanova Castellanos of Baldwin Park, Ca.

"I remember Jose from high school. He was always a calm and respectful young man. It is such a tragedy for the world to lose another brave soul. May his family have the strength to get through this difficult time. Thank you for shaping Jose into the man that he became. We all thank you. His efforts will always be remembered."
Carla Manjarrez of El Monte, CA, USA

"Thank you for sharing Jose's photo and some of your memories of him with the media during what must be the most difficult time of your lives. My deepest sympathy and gratitude goes to Jose and his family for making such a tremendous sacrifice for this country. May God give you strength and comfort in the days ahead."
Kelli of USA

"My heart goes out to you in the loss of your loved one. I will hold you up in my prayers and ask for the God of comfort to keep you close to Him in your time of grief."
Connie Sylvester of Cynthiana, KY, USA

"I AM SO VERY SORRY FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR LOVED ONE.I GET SO UPSET OF ALL THESE LOSSES OF YOUNG PEOPLE."
BEVERLY ARNOLD of CYNTHIANA,KY

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Jose Casanova:
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 Jose for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Jose Casanova:
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 Jose, 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