Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Gavin J. Colburn

20, of Frankfort, Ohio.
Colburn died along a supply route in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 542nd Transportation Company, Kingsbury, Indiana. Died on April 22, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Pfc. Gavin J. Colburn.


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"Salute to our modern hero. electrical repair"
Joshua A. Price of Los Angeles

I only had the pleasure of shaking your hand once at 2100 Hrs on April 21, 2005, several hours before your death. That was the very first time I met you before you departed for the convoy and it was also my very first day with the 542nd as a replacement soldier. A 5 minute conversation that later proved to be a catalyst to make Americans remember you and all the others on Memorial Day, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Over 600 flags in all, lining a road for 1 1/2 miles on every Memorial Day. 225 3'x5' on poles, and also 400 12"x18" flags on a very long fence. I may not be living near this stretch of road forever and I encourage everyone else who reads this to line another street wherever they live every Memorial Day in your honor as well. When people ask why we do it, I tell them your name and to remember the fallen. You may be gone but you aren't forgotten. Again, I wish I had known you like all the others did in the 542nd, but that 5 minutes was an honor and may you continue to rest in peace."
Giese of Golden Valley, MN

"Forgive me for the fact that it took me 7 damn years to stop acting like a chicken * and actually google Gavin! I served with him in Iraq and he was that good kid that didn't act stupid, and was such a genuinely good guy that his attitude was just infectious! I just toasted a shot of vodka to him and apologized for not looking him up sooner, because honoring a kid who had his entire life ahead of him was just too damn much for me I guess! It's kids like Gavin that make an old guy look at himself and say "wow, that's what I looked like before I became cynical!" Take care!!!"
Gene Bennett of LaCrosse, Wi.

"Gavin I can still remember when we use to go play football and basketball every weekend and when we finished we would always get doughnuts. I can remember it like it was yesterday so it makes it even harder to believe its been over 7 years since we lost you. We love you and miss you Gavin. I will see you again my friend."
James McQuiniff of Frankfort, Ohio USA

"Gavin was a great cousin and all around good person. When we were little we lived next door to each other and were like brother and sister. He was either at my house or I was at his. We graduated high school together and he even let me copy his homework every now and then. We had so many good times together. I remember one day I tried to cook and he was the only one that would eat my biscuits to bad they wernt done all the way and they ended up making him sick. I think of Gavin all the time and I miss him like crazy. Although I can't talk to him anymore I am glad that I have the memories of all the time we had together. I miss you like crazy cousin and I am so proud of the man that you had become. You will always have a place in my heart and will never be forgotten."
Valorie Colburn Morton of Ohio

"I knew Colburn as my buddy on guard duty nicknamed "Push-Up"...it was an honor to serve you with on the ECP buddy...."
adam culp of altoona. pa

"I still think of you often bro.. coming up on Christmas 09.. I thank god for people such as yourself! god speed brother"
Nick of Anderson, Indiana

"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"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH

"i went to your grave yesterday and left you flowers, didnt look like anybody had been there. i miss you."

"its been 4 years today. we miss you."

I feel saddened that I had not discovered this site sooner. It took me nearly four years from the time you passed to search for your name, for that, my friend, I am sorry. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. You were always the one to stay behind to help me, when noone else would. I have a few regrets. I regret the time that you had asked me to walk to the Haji shop with you while we were wasting time, waiting to leave, on one of our missions. I had turned the offer down because I was watching a movie with some other friends. How selfish of me. I try to not to take things for granted these days. I also regret not sharing my cookie with you just before we left for your last mission with us. I know you were only picking on me. There are not any words that I could say to bring justice to the kind of person you are. Until we meet again, you will not be forgotten."
Cobble of Burnsville, MN

"Its almost 4 years to the day. i know i wasn't the nicest guy to you and i take all that back everyday of my life. It was an honor to serve with you in Iraq. For you were more of a man and soldier i will ever be. You wont be forgotten."
Knabe of St. Louis, MO USA

It will be four years in a month since the day that you sacrificed your life for my sister. It is still as hard today to deal with as it was April 22, 2005. I am grateful for your sacrifice but sad that i never got the chance to meet such a wonderful, amazing young man. I miss you."
April M. Pfister of Sidney, ohio/ USA

"Gavin you were a great cousin, I will never forget all the good times we've shared at Grandma's, I will always miss you and hope I can be half the man you were. You will never be forgotten"
Bryan Cremeans of Chillicothe, Ohio

"Gavin, You are still here in our hearts."
Nathan Flannery of Frankfort, Ohio

"June 1, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Gavin J. Colburn:
Gavin 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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Remembering you with gratitude today and every day. 04/22/2008"

"2 years have gone by so fast. at times it all seems like a dream and that you are still here but your not =(. its just so hard to belive that you and gradma have been go for 2 years when it only feels like days.i really miss you and grandma but i guess some things happen for a reason in everyones life but i wish you were still here and that we would have spent more time together and their was still so much i still wanted to know from grandma to. i love the both of you."
loni of cape coral, fl, lee county

"he made me feel like i can make my dreams come true but all you have to do is try never give up i am trying as hard as i can i well never give up ever...... 1-11-08"

"I am still thinking bout him then when ithink bout him i cry and i have dreams bout him its so hard but i know that he wanted to do this so i sopported him as much as i can............ well bye bye"

"Gavin is my cousin & i loved him and i still do. He was the best he took me everywhere...... Well i wish he didn't die, but he died with pride & that made me happy & sad at the same time......"
Holly Fletcher of Chillicothe,oh/u.s

"To the family of:Gavin J. Colburn I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"I met Spc. Colburn in the summer of 2004 returning from Iraq. He belonged to the 656 tc in ohio and was being transferred to the 542nd for deployment. I belong to the 542nd but was deployed with the 656 tc. I worked with Gavin before his deployment and he truly was an individual filled with joy and spirit. He had a smile that would put a smile on anyone. God Bless you, my friend."
Miguel Sandoval of Portage, IN

"My mother sent me a link to this site as I am a Colburn and my father David Colburn was born in Chillicothe, so she thought that I might have a blood connection to Gavin... I do as a soldier, a veteran, and a brother.
God bless Gavin and his family."
Carl David Colburn of Orcas Island, WA

"There is not a day that goes bye that I don't think about Colburn. We had a very long discussion the night that he left with the convoy about his family and his visit home, he was very happy about seeing everyone and couldn't wait for our tour to be over (like everyone else). Colburn was a great person and friend and I will never forget him or the night that we spent talking, something that we never really did. Before that night our talking was limited to here is your inspection sheet and your dispatch, have a safe trip and see you when you get back. So when I say that I will never forget him or our talk it is the truth because I can rememeber our talk in detail and all his expressions and laughs and smiles and my reaction to all that he was saying. Thank you for raising a great son, friend, man and soldier. Thank you for allowing him to touch so many people, my blessings are with the family and my fellow 542nd TC family."
SGT Debbie Hall of Calumet City, Il / Q-West, Iraq

"No award or words can express the heartfelt feelings which all of us have endured. Now is the time to focus on the future and live another day in his light. He would have had it no other way."
1LT Morrow, 1st Platoon Leader, 542nd Trans of Fort Benning, GA

"gavin was like a cousin to me. He always put people before himself and that was what he died doing. i miss him but that is the best way to die with pride. "gavin" i will never forget that name. he will always be the hero in my family. i love gavin Colburn my cousin."
Ariel Caler of Eaton, Oh

"I knew gavin as a brother and i deeply miss him I dread april because of this

I miss you gavin
Nicole of ohio

"I know this a long time overdue. Gavin was one hell of a solier. Always did his job the best it could be done. We are all proud of him. He remains in our thoughts and prayers. Always."
SGT Fink David of Rochester, MN

"i knew gavin for 11yrs he was a great guy he would do anything he could to help everyone he was always trying to help some one. every time u seen gavin he was always smileing if he seen u where down he would do every thing he could to make u laugh or smile. gavin would give ya the shirt off his back even if it was his last one. i miss gavin alot and think about him often he was a great friend and a great person..i will never forget gavin and all the great times we had. when i have a son i am going to name him gavin . it is my way of honoring one of best friends i have ever had ...gavin will always live in my heart.."
james dearth of chillicothe,ohio

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

I'll always remember the times in the Chu's.. god speed friend!"
Spc. Patterson of Anderson, Indiana

"He is my best friend, I will never forget him."
SPC Otto Rios of Fort Hood Tx. 96th Trans Co. Heavy Truck!

"Spc Colburn was brave and dedicated. I spent some time with him during a trip down south. At first I thought this would be a long trip and time would go by slow, but once we got out on the road we started talking and the time flew by. Spc Colburn, I knew only from him going around filling the radios frequencys for each truck. That was Colburns pride he wanted to make sure that all that was done before everybody left. I am honored that I was able to know Spc Colburn as a soldier and a man. His honor for the army and his unit was the strongest I have seen in along time. My blessings and prayers go out to the family."
SSG Stevenson of South Bend, In

"i want to send my condolences to the family in writing. we had the opportunity to see you on the anniversary of gavins death at the cemetary and i want to say thank you for the chance to finely meet the parents of one of the greatest soldiers i had the pleasure of working with in my 20plusyear career in the military. he was one of the hardest workers i know even when it's something he really didn't enjoy doing.he was always trying to break the ice with comedy too when things were hard. i will always hold a special place in my heart for gavin like a brother. i feel he was our guardian angel and watched over us the ramainder of our time in iraq."
sfc begeman of south bend,in

"i knew gavin, he was a great friend in the short time we were friends he showed me how someone can be so special he will always be in the hearts of his family and friends i miss u gambino otto misses u to ,i hope were ever u are you can see how much we love u and pray for u and your family .
gambino was the second borther i have lost during this war, god bless you brother."
sgt Talavera of chicago

"My husband was Gavin Colburn's platoon sergeant in Iraq. Paul was 10 back in the convoy on April 22, 2005. I attended his memorial service.

He was a young man I think I would have liked—at times reminding me of a very young--a not so very young--Paul, the one to bring lightness to the heaviest occasions.

My husband doesn’t say words like “fine young man” lightly. They mean something when he utters them—that’s what he said about Gavin Colburn. He doesn’t get that crack in his voice often—maybe five times in the 25+ years I’ve known him, but it's there when he talks about Colburn to this day.

Rest in peace, Gavin Colburn. I never met you, but you changed my life. You changed my husband's. Godspeed, young one."
Julia K. Pearson of KY

"Gavin was a good kid. An honest kid, and one who seemed so inocent. I got to know Spc. Colburn pretty well while serving with him in Iraq, and even though we are home now, I still keep him in my thoughts, and I know that my bros of A7/5 do as well. He will always be missed and in our hearts."
Sgt. Greg Turner of Shelbyville, IN

"I stayed in the same housing as colburn for awhile, even though I wasn't with him more then a few months because of an accident, all I can say is Colburn was a person to admire. He put forth 100% effort all the time, and didn't complain, which is more then I can say for myself. He was allways happy, and cheerful, and brought up the morale of all those around him. He was a good man, and a good soldier. I only wish I would have been there, and I only wish there was something I could do to ease the passing, because he will be mourned allways and remembered allways. But when I think of Colburn, the only word that comes to mind is Best. Because he was the best all around caring person I have ever known. Pfister I am sorry for you're loss, because I know you lost a best friend and a battle buddy. I just hope someday I can come close to being as good a person as Gavin. Thanks for the opportunity to say what gavin means to me and God Bless."
SPC Simmons, Michael M. of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC

"I didn't know Gavin that well but he had something about him that everyone loved. He was such a giving and positive person it is unfair that he had to leave us so young. Gavin brought the best out in everyone. I remember one time Gavin, Lindsey and I went to the 7-11 so Lindsey could call home. We didnt have our kevlars and we got busted by a crabby First Sergeant. Gavin and I had to walk all the way from the 7-11 to the barracks in the pitch black to get our kevlars so we could drive back. That was the one time I truely got to talk to him, one on one. It was obvious that his heart was made of gold and he was going to do great things in this world. I am deeply saddened by his loss and my condolences go out to his family and loved ones. Gavin, thank you for sharing yourself with us. You touched a lot of peoples hearts and we are blessed to have you as our guardian angel."
Megan McDougal of Q-West Base Complex, Iraq

"I am Gavin's cousin loni I would like to thank you for your support."
Loni Fletcher of capecoral,FL.

"gavin was agreat person and solider, he gave his life to save the life of another. in my eyes spc colburn is a hero and always will be a hero god bless him, we will always love and miss him god bless and god speed..."
sgt Fore, Rickie J. of 542nd TC, IRAQ

"What a HERO!"

"This is Gavin Colburn,s Dad I would like to thank all of you for all prayers and thoughts. Tony and Rhonda Colburn THANK YOU"

"To the family and friends of SPC Gavin Colburn, I cannot even begin to find the words to express my sympathies to you. I was the Executive Officer (2nd in command) of the 542nd TC when Gavin was killed by a roadside bomb. The company commander and myself were relieved soon after this incident in an attempt to prevent a convoy from leaving to the same location without any air or armed escort support. I can tell you that prior to moving on the convoy we sent Gavin on that the soldiers were fully prepared and all support was coordinated. I can say from the bottom of my heart that we did everything we could to prepare the soldiers on the convoy the night Gavin was killed. I am so sorry for your loss. It was an honor for me to serve with Gavin here in Iraq and he will always have a place in my heart. You have my deepest condolences."
CPT Jason L. Dunning of LSA Anaconda

"I came across Gavin's memorial during a name search, and as a "namesake," he caught my eye. By the descriptions in the messages, Gavin was an American hero who was willing to place himself in harm's way, so that we can enjoy the quality of life stateside that our ancestors have so bravely shed blood for during the past two centuries, plus some. Thank you, Gavin, for making the ultimate sacrifice--your reward is in heaven; we honor you here. I wear a different kind of green...I am with the U.S. Border Patrol, as was my father and grandfather before me, and my son is now. We salute you as a protector and defender of this great nation. God Bless your family and compatriots....Honor First,
--Ron Colburn, Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, CBP/Dept. of Homeland Security, Yuma Sector HQ, Yuma, AZ"

"We will miss you"
Teresa of Tampa, Florida

"i dont know if i wrote anything here earlier but i just want to let you all know how proud of gavin colburn i am. he saved my life directly and lives of others in that convoy indirectly. i woll always love gavin because he was my brother. he was a great person and will always be loved."
spc michelle e pfister of q-west, iraq 542nd trans com

"You never know what to say to someone when this happens. Gavin was a brave soldier, a great person and had great honor. To the family left behind, I give my deepest sympathy. To Gavin's parents, I will keep my promise to you and take care of Michelle."
Spc Francis (1/12 CAV, currently 854 TTP) of Dayton, Ohio

"gavin was a very special person to me. i was in the truck with him on that night and if he would not have used his life to save mine i would not be here today.
gavin- i love you and miss you so much. thank you so much for keeping your promise to my family. you will always be my big brother.
to gavins family- thank you for bringing gavin into this world. he was a great friend, soldier, and all around person. i send my deepest sympothy. i love you all and thanks for all the help.
all the people who did not know gavin- you all missed out on meeting such an increadable person."
spc michelle e pfister of q-west, iraq

"To the Family of SPC Colburn,

I did not know SPC Colburn, but I did attend his service. He sounded like a great trooper. I wrote about the service. I know my words can’t bring him back, but I hope they help.

God Bless."
Mustang 23 of Iraq

"I wish I had the words to make this ache go away, but I don't. May God make your memories sweet and your hearts heal. Your son is a hero. He did his job and gave his life so others could live. We all salute you."
Bob Perrow of Austin, Texas

"I am the sister of SPC. Michelle E. Pfister who was in the truck with Gavin at the time of the incident. Had it not been for Gavin's selflessness, my sister would not be alive today. I am so grateful that he kept his promis to our family, which was to keep michelle safe. It is sad that he had to sacrifice his own life so that michelle could live, but i am truely thankful for his sacrifice. I will never forget him or what he did for our family. His truely a hero not only for sacrificing his life to save my sister's, but also for the way that he lived, selfless and honorable. He was an amazing young man who will be missed and never forgotten.

I love you and thank you for everything!

To his family- know that your son will always be in my heart and that you will all always be in my prayers. I hope to one day meet each one of you so that i can tell you face to face what your son's sacrifice means to me.

To his parent's- you raised an amazing man. When i have kids one day, i hope that they grow up to be half the man that he was. YOu will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

Gavin will never be forgotten. I will always be grateful for what he did. He is my hero!"
April M. Shah (aprilmshah@hotmail.com) of Fairborn, Ohio

"To the friends and family of Gavin. May God be with you during your time of sorrow. Our family shares in your pain. We lost my brother SPC Shawn Davies on 7-8-04. Gavin is a true hero and will never be forgotten. Keep the good memories of him in your hearts and minds until you meet with him again."
Toni Peters (toniannp@sbcglobal.net) of Concord, OH

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

"To Gavin and his family, Our prayers are with you. Gavin was a brave man whose Honor, Courage and Commitment will be honored always. We honor your Hero and his sacrifice will never be forgotten. God Bless Gavin and his family"
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays and family of Massillon, Ohio

"I just wanna say how sorry i am that this happend.. Colburn was a great kid, and an even better friend.. he was my bunkmate.. i just want to tell his family How sorry i am.. and send my condolences to you all.. He will never be forgotten"
Spc. Patterson, Nick of Q-west, Iraq


"To the family and friends of Pfc. Gavin J. Colburn. I'm very sorry for your lost, I know how you all feel to a certain extent. I lost my brother over there on April 12th, 2005. All I really want to say is thank you for letting him do his job to the best of his abilities."
Nathan Miller of Iowa

"My dear sweet Gavin. I shall miss you dear one . I watched you grow from a baby into a kind , and giving young man. You were just six days short of being born on my birthday, ( I teased your mom that you were my birthday present.) I am your little nephews Grandma, and I promise I will love and cherish him , and keep him safe. And yes, when him and I play with his toy soldiers ,the one in green will always be "Uncle Gavin ". And , I promise I will keep Matt, your big brother in line. That's what mother-en-laws do , right. And your mom and dad will always be in my life because we share the love of our beautiful grandson , and I will do my best to help her, and to be there for her, and your dad, and Matt.We are so proud of you , Gavin. You are our Hero. We will see you again. We will meet you in the air when Jesus comes. Until then I want you to know that you will never be forgotten. Love."
Rose Mary DeLong of Frankfort, Ohio, U.S.A.

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Gavin will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

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

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Gavin Colburn:
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 Gavin 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. Gavin Colburn:
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 Gavin, 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