Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda

42, of Ledbetter, Kentucky.
Derenda died in Rubiah, Iraq, when a civilian fuel truck collided with his HMMWV while performing a convoy mission. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve's 1st Brigade, 98th Division, Rochester, New York. Died on August 5, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda.


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"Bob and I were in the same reserve unit when he left for Iraq. Tomorrow I will be taking 97 of middle school students and parents to place a wreath at his grave and 11 yellow roses for the 11 who were with him that day. We teach our students at Reidland Middle School that freedom has a price and this is our way to remember Bob and thank him for his service."
SFC Gentry, Jeff of Paducah, KY

"I thank God for people like my old classmate, Bob Derenda. I have thought of you and Chad Buehring a lot lately. We all grow older basking in the freedom that you provided to us. We still remember"
Chris Stadler 85' of Gastonia, NC

"Bob was my roommate at The Citadel for 3 semesters. He always wanted to be a soldier and will always be remembered as a brother and a fallen hero. God Bless him and his family and all who were privileged to know him."
Michael White of Denver, CO

"Bob, I think of you often and remember you fondly from our days at The Citadel. Your priceless sense of humor was always a welcome intervention in that place."
Stephen Volandt, '84 of Raleigh, NC


Thinking about you on the anniversary of your "going home."

PEACE Brother..."
Brian Kramer of Maryland

"To the family of:Robert V. Derenda
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""

"Bob, It is now 2011, and I still think of you often. A few years ago I made a bold life decision: to move to Colorado to pursue a girl I love who lives there. I know it sounds silly, but in a way I consulted you before making the decision.

Thank you for telling me to go for it. I couldn't be happier. I only wish you could come out here and visit. We went to Moab, Utah last month. So many times I thought of our crazy road trip out West, one Spring break while we were at The Citadel. Your three-on-a-tree truck with a lounge chair in the bed.

Thanks for being a great friend and for making the ultimate sacrifice. Life is strange.

Love you, brother,

Barry G."
Barry Giornelli of Denver Co

"A warrior senteced to hell by man recieved his reward of heaven from God on this day in 05. Once a warrior among men now a warrior for God stands ready to recieve his orders. Tho the tears of his brothers still pour we wait with repressed memories to join him in the final battle. You are missed my brother, Robert Derenda, may God have mercy on us all....Sfc Monty Otwell served with Bob in Iraq"
Monty Otwell of Huntsville Arkansas

"Bob, I visit you often when I travel to Washington. A few weeks ago I stopped in again, only for a few minutes, to leave a candy cane. At this time of the year when we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Bob, as I promised you nearly five years ago, I will never forget you, and will be sure to visit often, if only for a moment to let you know, you are not forgotten. I love you Brother... You are and always will be a hero to me."
Brian Kramer of Danville, Virginia

"I had the honor of going through infantry basic training with Bob in 1985 in Ft. Benning GA. We were in 2nd Plt of D-6-1. I was #208 and he was #209. The next year we did our AIT together and I was #207 and he was #208. It was absolutely the best time of my life all thanks to Bob. We could have not been more different, me from Arkansas and him from New York but we became best friends almost immediately! He could do all of the voices from any actor who had ever been on the Andy Griffith show. Bob kept the whole company in stitches all day; it not only made the day bearable but actually fun! Bob and I stayed close exchanging emails and Christmas cards and he even called my wife and me while we were stationed in Puerto Rico. I include your great family in my prayers and thank God daily for giving me the opportunity to know this Great American Hero!"
LTC Lew E. Cureton of Ft. Sam Houston TX. (San Antonio)

"July 1, 2008
To the family of Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda:
Robert 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

"I know it was my husband's honor to have Bob serve with his team. From all I have heard he was a brilliant man with witty humor. I was visiting both Bob and my husband SFC Brett E. Walden, yesterday, January 21, 2008. I saw your stone. Thank you so veyr much for visiting Brett and placing a stone on his headstone. It means a lot to me to know that people pay their respects to him at his gravesite in Arlington. You are a wonderful family with whom I have a great connection - our heroes. May God Bless you."
Autumn of York, PA

"It was a great honor to know Bob and having him as a student in my classes and as an intern in my research laboratory in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). He was a fantastic person, very fun to be around, full of ideas and dreams. He is a true American hero. I am deeply saddened by his death. My sincere condolences go to his family."
Prof. T.J. Mountziaris of Amherst, MA

"If there were more people like Bob the world would be a better place. I didn't know him very well but what I did learn from him will be with me forever. Bob was an educated man and had many options in life. He chose to volunteer and did what many would not. I was with
Bob that day, in the HUMVEE behind his. In my mind, he is a true "American" because he didn't have to but just did. God bless Bob and his family."
SFC Jeremy Troester of Fort Bragg, NC

"I too served with Bob in Al-Kasik Iraq and would like to express my deepest sympathies and prayers. Bob was a soldier, family man and individual that everyone should imulate. He made me a better person, father and soldier. My condolences go out to you and your family, may God Bless you with his presence for eternity."
Richard Anderson of Butte, MT

"Having just been assigned to 2/398/1/100th DIV (IT) at the time of SFC Derenda's death, I was not closely connected with the loss. During the past year I have heard many stories from those who served with him and returned, honoring his service. I wish to say thank you to him, his family, and the rest of the soldiers that served with him for being so willing to put their lives on the line in order for those of us left here, serving or not, to enjoy our Freedoms! I am proud and honored to be a part of the same Brigade that SFC Derenda hailed from. These soldiers have huge American hearts!!"
SSG Grace E. Goodenough of Hopkinsville, KY, USA

I was reading USAToday Newspaper and read the article about the street in Buffalo being named after you. I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"We were part of a ceremony for Sgt. 1st Class Robert Derenda being bestowed an honorary Green Beret this past weekend at Ft. Campbell, KY. Presentation of a beautiful plaque with a Green Beret within, was one of the most moving things we have witnessed. Meeting his family was a special part of the weekend. We were personally blessed by the Team that rescued survivors, and we are eternally grateful for their presence. Bob was an incredible hero, volunteering for duty that day. We are humbled by his heroism that awful August day of 2005. Bob was missed by his Team this weekend, and the words spoken for him were expressed with love and remembrance of an exempliary human being. Always willing to help whenever needed. God must have needed him that particular day for a more important mission. Our prayers are with Bob Derenda's parents and his lovely sister. May her sons continue the Derenda legacy of bravery beyond the call of duty in their long lives. May God grace the Derenda family forever."
Linda & Charlie of Croton on Hudson, NY

"I just want to send my prayers to the family of SFC Derenda. I attended the memorial service in Paducah, Ky and I must say that my heart was extremly touched. I am a native of Buffalo NY and moved to Tennesse in the year of 2000. And though I have never meet SFC Derenda I felt as though I was missing a family member! My God bless all of the Derenda family and thank you very much for letting be a part in your lives. SSG Christopher Garrett- A co 3/398th BCT. chrisgarrett_uk@yahoo.com"
SSG Christopher Garrett of 7 Robinhood Lane, Jackson TN 38305

"Bob is Fallen but not Forgotten. He will always be in our thoughts. Thank you to Bob for his dedication and service to his country and his fellow soldiers so that we can live in a free country. It was very nice to meet the family. Thank you for attending the service in Paducah. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
Beth Adkins of Metropolis, IL

"I am one of the Full timers at SFC Derenda's unit. I just want to take a minute and say thank you for attending this past weekend. I am sorry for your loss. Bob is and always be a hero to me and my family."
SFC Buchanan, Keith F. of Paducah, KY

"To the Derenda Family,

It was an honor to see you here in Paducah for our ceremony this weekend. I will always be grateful for Bob's service and for having the opportunity to have met you. You are a wonderful family and it is obvious that the reason that Bob was such an extraordinaty man was because he grew up in such a close and loving family. We will always remember and honor Bob here at the 3-398th and he, as well as all of you, will always be in our thoughts and prayers."
Lieutenant Colonel Don Stenzel of Paducah, KY /Champaign, IL

"Bob, I have always said that I have many, many aquaintances and a select few people that I call "friend." You were a friend Bob. Unselfish and charismatic. Humble and full of humility. A man of true character and integrity. You Bob paid the ultimate sacrifice so that all Americans can continue to live in peace and freedom and my daughter can experience the joys of freedom she may not know without your sacrifice. I cannot thank you enough. Know that we shall meet again. Untill then, I miss you my friend peace always... Brian Kramer 1SG 98th Division HHC, Rochester, New York."
Brian Kramer of Hamburg New York

"Your memory will not be forgotten here in Paducah with the 100th Division. My prayers and heartfelt appreciation are with Bob's family and close friends.
Jacque Buchanan of Paducah, KY

"To the Family of Robert Derenda,
My brother went to the Citadel with Bob and I had the pleasure of meeting him several times at the home of my parents during school breaks. Bob was always a friendly and delightful person to be around. His jokes made me laugh and his personality was most pleasent. Bob lived the words of honor, respect, duty and courage. Bob believed in what he was sent to do but was also concerned about his life. I am very sorry to hear of Bob's death and pray that family and friends will try to focus on the wonderful memories and not just on the tragedy. GOD BLESS all of you and Robert.
I thank him for all he gave.
Chris von Seebach of Alabaster, AL, USA

"The warm condolences from people through out the country for our son Sergeant First Class Robert V. Derenda have lightened our sadness as our family gathers at Arlington National Cemetary to say our last farwell. Please continue to pray for our soldiers who are away from their families."
Valerian and Loretta Derenda of Cheektowaga New York

"Bob Derenda was a soldier in my command, when he volunteered for duty in Iraq. I'm the one that put him on the plane and said goodby to him. I have thought alot about this since receiving word of his death, and I believe that Bob loved his country, his Army and his fellow soldiers. Thank you, SFC Derenda, for your ultimate sacrifice to your country, so that my daughter may live in freedom and from the threat of terrorism."
LTC Keith Abner of Nashville, TN

"I will remember Bob forever as "My Soldier." Though I never met him in person, I and the Cath Lab at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, KY corresponded with him and sent him packages after selecting him as our soldier in Lourdes "Adopt-a-Soldier" program. I was so honored that he corresponded with me through e-mails. I will forever be grateful to him for "giving all" in the line of duty. I am praying that God will give his family strength during this difficult time. You all are in my prayers daily. GOD BLESS AMERICAN! LET FREEDOM RING! Our freedom rings because of Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda and all men and women who serve in our armed forces.
Bob, MY SOLDIER, I will never forget you!!!"
Linda Haney of Ledbetter, KY

"Thank you for your kind thoughts for my brother Sergeant First Class Robert V. Derenda. Your words give my family strength. In our eyes he is truely a hero. He re-enisted in the reserves because he loved this country and wanted to make it a safer place for my chldren to live. I will be forever greatful."
Caroline Kibby of Cranberry Twp Pennsylvania


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

You are an American hero whose ultimate sacrifice will be be forgotten by a grateful nation. Rest well brave soldier.
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Robert and may memories comfort you in this most difficult time and always. I am so sorry for your loss."

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your
Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the loyal service and sacrifice that was made and
Our cousin LCPL Michael Smith Jr. gave his life on 4-17-04 fighting for freedom.
Please know that this was not in vain and these American Heros will FOREVER be honored.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio

"To the Derenda Family, I wish to extend to you my deepest condolences. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Your Robert is a true American Hero who will always be remembered and honored. May God Bless you all and God Bless Robert."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"Thank you Robert Derenda, 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 Sgt. 1st Class Robert Derenda:
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 Robert 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 Sgt. 1st Class Robert Derenda:
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 Robert, 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