Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Cpl. Dustin A. Derga

24, of Columbus, Ohio.
Derga died as the result of enemy small arms fire while conducting combat operations in Ubaydi, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Force Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Columbus, Ohio. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Died on May 8, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Cpl. Dustin A. Derga.

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Contributions to the Families of the Fallen

Messages:

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

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"Cpl Derga, I've never met you but I was with Kilo 3/25 in 2005. This weekend I ran with Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers to honor the fallen. I wore your name on my right shoulder and remembered all of the Marines I've known who left this world too soon. This world is a better place for the sacrifices you made."
Michael Darling of Alexandria Va

"I also wanted to say God Bless you and your family and brother Dustin."
Bill Miller of Wadsworth Ohio

"Robert and Stephanie. Please contact me. I am a collector of US military and had purchsed your son Dustin's Iraq journal (330) 608-2369 Bill"
Bill Miller of Wadsworth Ohio

"Dustin, I just wanted to say I still think of you and am so ever grateful for your sacrifice for all of us."
Kristen Rinehart of Pullman, WA USA

"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 never knew Dustin. I am just an average Joe.

Thank You Dustin.

Thank You to the entire Derga family."
Kelly of Overland Park, Kansas USA

"I didn't know Corporal Dustin Derga, but I remember his memorial service in eighth grade in front of Pickerington Junior High so many years ago. Thank You for your sacrifice sir, you will not be forgotten."
Nick Kondovski of Pickerington, Ohio

"One more thing, can you keep the crazy weather to a minimum this year...we don't need the hail, strong winds, or rain. Sunny and warm would be great. Thanks :)"
me again of pickerington, Ohio

"We are riding the 4th poker run tomorrow for you, but would be more fun with you there. You inspired Chris and Tim to get the Harley, so I hope you look down on us and keep all of the riders safe tomorrow. I'll drink one for you, Hooey!"
B.. Smith of Pickerington, Ohio

"Dustin,

I saw your Dad's bracelet recently and the words "ultimate sacrifice" rushed through my head. In his eyes I see the pain... and the pride. My family and I were lucky. I am an older guy now but that bracelet made me a better Marine today. Even in passing you are still leading Corporal Derga.

God Bless You Marine"
Old Marine of ....right here by your side

"May 30, 2008
To the family of Cpl. Dustin A. Derga:
Dustin 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

"To the family of:Dustin A. Derga 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"

"Still remembered. Thanks, Dustin."
Michele of Lancaster

"It has been 2 years, yet Dustin and the rest of the 3/25 HEROES are not forgotten. They will remain ever Heroes, and forever embedded in the hearts and minds of the rest of the 3/25 families, no matter where the families may roam. My husband was one of their Docs, and though he is no longer attached to 3/25, know that those who did not return home are always carried with him."
Lori Jenkins, HMC, retired of Bellefontaine, Oh

"I could not sleep tonight. Flipping channels and came across the A&E special about these brave men. These MARINES. I cried, cried hard. As I watched and listened to the story of Dustin's father holding his grown son in bed, on what would be his last Christmas, I cried like I had lost my own son and he is only a baby. These boys, these men, give their lives to give us FREEDOM and make us the country we are. DUSTIN DERGA. I never knew this young man and as of this moment I will NEVER forget him. GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY DUSTIN AND YOUR LOVED ONES LEFT BEHIND. THANK YOU FOR BEING A U.S. MARINE. THANK YOU FOR SERVING YOUR COUNTRY. THANK YOU FOR BEING BRAVE. THANK YOU FOR BEING SELFLESS. THANK YOU. Thank you, Dustin."
Priscilla of San Antonio, Texas

"Today my husband and I celebrated our son's homegoing today. Today is 3 years for this family. We spent the day at our boy's resting place, sharing stories that his Marine brothers shared with us, his love of the Marines and his willingness to go to a foreign land to defend his freedom at home. Thank you for being one of many young men willing to go in harms way for us. You have made a difference and your Marine brothers CONTINUE to make a difference. We will be thinking of you and your family tomorrow. Don't allow any ones negative, insensative remarks let you ever forget No words ever gave us freedom but those words have truly teared down the motivation of those who have went and fought for their country. Anyone can sit on the sidelines, critizes, tare down the people who get involved. But it takes real men to stand inspite of those very people and accomplish the mission anyway. To those who think they speak for all of us....dont. We can speak for ourselves... To those who feel this is about oil, you have no idea what freedom is ...because you never had it. Those who do, fight for it, preserve it and protect it. For you, Dustin's father, keep fighting the fight here while our boys fight it over there.
Semper Fidelis
(ALWAYS FAITHFUL) NOT QUITTERS!!"

"To Cpl. Dustin A. Degra and his parents,
I want to Thank all three of you for your sacrifice. Please know that there are so many of us who hold you guys in our daily prayers and will forever. Your son will never ever be forgotten.
God Bless You."
Diane Adame of Texas

"Our son was the first Marine killed in action in Afghanistan. The only one out of 2200 Marines that didn't come home. HIS NAME IS CPL RON PAYNE JR. HE was only 23. He was our only son.HE WAS 6'7 AND HAD 9 LETTERS TO PLAY FOOTBALL. AND HE CHOOSE... NOT DRAFTED BUT CHOOSE AT THE AGE OF 18 TO SERVE HIS COUNTRY KNOWING HE MAY HAVE TO GO TO WAR. And I will tell you from the family of THIS Marine......We are so PROUD of you, DUSTIN and PROUD of your parents. We of all people have the right to voice OUR opinion because WE have a stake in this war. WE WHO GRIEVE THE LOST OF OUR SONS....HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE SON'S THAT WANTED TO FINISH THE JOB. My son went to Iraq and VOLUNTEERED ....DID YOU HEAR THAT PROTESTORS, MR UNKNOWN....VOLUNTEERED TO GO BACK TO AFGHANISTAN. He told us WE WILL NEVER KNOW THE GOOD THEY HAVE DONE OVER THERE OR THE HARM THEY HAVE KEPT US FROM HERE IN THE UNITED STATES..BECAUSE THE MEDIA WILL NEVER AIR THAT. So if anyone had a voice it is the ONE WHO ARE PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE.....NOT THE ONE HOME ENJOYING THE FREEDOM THAT THEY DIDN'T FIGHT FOR......SO TO YOU WHO LEFT YOUR NASTY MESSAGE TO A GRIEVING FAMILY... SHAME ON YOU!!!!!! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO VOICE YOUR OPINION....DID YOU HAVE A SON GO OVER THERE TO GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DISREPECT THIS MAN'S FAMILY????? I THINK NOT!!!!!! MY SON DIDN'T DIE TO ALLOW YOU TO DISRESPECT HIS MARINE BROTHER'S PARENTS...... NOR DID HE DIE TO HAVE THE JOB HE STARTED END BEFORE IT WAS FINISHED.!!!!!!!
I SALUTE YOU MR DERGA, IF YOU NEED ANOTHER FAMILY WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO VOICE THEIR OPINION AND STAND NEXT TO YOU ....BECAUSE WE EARNED THAT RIGHT....JUST LET ME KNOW....I HAVE FAMILIES HERE IN FLORIDA THAT HAVE LOST THEIR SON'S TOO THAT WILL STAND WITH YOU AS WELL.....!!! I WILL LEAVE MY NAME,,,,,,I WON'T BE A COWARD AND PUT UNKNOWN....BECAUSE I AM PROUD VERY PROUD OF MY SON, WHAT HE STOOD FOR, WHAT HE FOUGHT FOR AND WHAT HE DIED FOR....AND WE WILL BE HIS MOUTH PIECE BECAUSE HE ISNT HERE TO TELL YOU MR. UNKNOWN...."YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!" AND BY THE WAY, THERE WERE 8 OTHER MEN IN OUR TOWN WHO JOINED THE MARINES TO PHYSICALLY TAKE MY SON'S PLACE ALONG WITH MARINE'S LIKE DUSTIN. THEY WOULDN'T GO IF THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE FIGHTING FOR A LOST CAUSE. PEOPLE LIKE YOU OUGHT TO GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND THANK THE LORD YOU HAVE MEN LIKE OUR SON'S WILLING TO GO, WILLING TO STAY AND WILLING TO FINISH THE JOB. THAT'S COURAGE, THATS CHARACTER THATS AMERICA!!!!! THAT IS WHAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON!!!!! YOU DO OUR SERVICEMEN HARM LEAVING MESSAGES LIKE YOURS ON THIS FALLEN HEROES'PAGE. DID YOU NOT READ THE TOP OF THE PAGE FALLEN HEREOS, WHY DON'T YOU GO HOME AND GET PACKAGES TOGETHER AND SEND TO OUR TROOPS AND THANK THEM FOR THEIR WILLINGNESS TO GO, THEN GO TO THE FAMILIES WHO LOST THEIR LOVED ONES AND SAY THANK YOU FOR RAISING A SON OR DAUGHTER WILLING TO FIGHT ON MY BEHALF, AND AFTER YOU ARE DONE WITH THAT.....GO TO THE VA HOSPITAL AND TELL THOSE WOUNDED SOLDIERS, THANK YOU FOR FIGHTING FOR ME AND I WILL CONTINUALLY PRAY FOR YOUR RECOVERY..... YOU WILL FIND THOSE WOUNDED SOLDIERS...IF GIVEN THE CHANCE TO GET OUT OF THAT BED, THEY WOULD GO BACK. HOW DO I KNOW THAT, WE GO AND VISIT THEM REGULARLY AND TELL THEM THANK YOU FOR FIGHTING FOR US!! SO TO YOU UNKNOWN, I HOPE YOU ARE ASHAMED, TO YOU MR. DERGA...WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU AND WHAT YOUR SON DID FOR THIS FAMILY!!!!
ronpaynefamily@yahoo.com"
FROM THE PROUD PARENTS OF A FALLEN MARINE -AILEEN AND RONNIE PAYNE of LAKELAND, FLORIDA

"Dustin,

Its been almost two years since we lost you and I still think about you all the time bud. The times when we had the entire crew together and just acted ridiculous will always be one of the best memories. It's hard to this day that you are not with us, but you always have place in our hearts forever. Love you like a brother, man."
Ryan Garland of Pickerington, OH

"Dustin,
I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones and fellow Marines from Lima Company, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. I saw the documentary on A&E about your unit and that's how I came across this page.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"I MISS YOU DUSTIN!"
NICK GARVER of NEWARK, OHIO

"It has been year and a day since you had left us. I think about you on a daily basis. I miss you so much. We saw your mom and sister yesterday. It was nice to see them. It had been some time since we had seen them. I hope that you know that I never hated you, or was ever mad at you. I never got to tell you that. You went away probably thinking that. I hate the fact that you thought that I hated you. I could never do something like that! I miss you so much. I know that you come around every now and then. Behave while you are up in Heaven. And I will see you when I get to the other side. Love Always!"
Sara Garver of Newark, Ohio

"I am so humbled to have known and loved such a wonderful person as you Dustin Derga. Your passing from this life to the next has left a hole in my heart that can never be completely filled. I knew you for 7 too short years. I wish it could have been 70 times 7! Not a day goes by that I do not think and cry about you Dustin. As your father and I go into this first Christmas without you the emptiness in our hearts can only be softened and healed by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. We try to remember each day that this Christmas you share the celebration of the birth of our Lord with Him face to face in Heaven! Until we see each other again in Heaven for Eternity. I love you always.
Sempre Fi,
Your Proud Marine Stepmom
Marla Derga"
Marla Derga of Uniontown, Ohio USA

"I give my condolences to the family and the nation on the loss of this Marine brother.

Timothy D. Hermsen, M.S.
Sgt USMC 66-69"
Timothy D. Hermsen of Kennewick, WA./USA

"Dustin, I was greatly saddened when I heard of your passing. I will cherish having known you, and working w/ you as a fellow firefighter. You are a hero, and shall not be forgotten. I will continue to pray for your family and their healing. You will be greatly missed."
Candi of Lancaster, Ohio

"Bob and Family,your relatives in Iowa have been deeply saddened by the death of your heroic son Dustin. We send our love and prayers. We, the children of Clarence & Augusta Derga Grobstick, would appreciate hearing from you. We are Clarence & Theresa Hermsen, Helen and Lucille. (Clara Mae is recently deceased.)"
Lucille Grobstick of Cedar Rapids, IA USA

"I was a former neighbor of Dustin and he was one of my first friends in Pickerington. You could not meet a better person to be around. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Derga Family through these incredibly difficult times. I can not thank Dustin enough for the service he has done to our Country and he will live on forever in our hearts."
Josh Petty and family of Chicago, IL

"Stephanie and Robert
My deep, deep sympathy for the loss of your sweet boy."
Kolette, 3/25 mom

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

"Derga Family:
My cousin Jeff Valentine is in the unit that your son Dustin was a part of. My Aunt Candy sent us the email you wrote after Dustin was taken home. I just wanted to let you know that it was one of the most beautiful things that I ever read. Peace be to you and may your hearts eventually rest. Dustin can never be replaced, but his memory will ALWAYS live on. I am praying for you. Thank you, and thank Dustin for fighting, along side my cousin, for our country and our freedom. God bless you."
Mandy Parsons of Douglasville, GA

"To The Derga Family,
Our Family, Our City, Our Country grieves with you. We are so saddened by your loss. Your Soldier is OUR HERO! We will never forget him or the others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless You and your Brave Marine..Semper Fi!!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

""Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" John 15:13

Dustin, I heard that you had went into that building to get someone out. You are a true hero! You stood up for one of our most sacred pacts...We will leave no man behind!
Rest in peace now, my brother, you have served your time in hell.
SEMPER FI!"
Fmr. Sgt McAllister J.N. (U.S.M.C.) of Columbus, Ohio

"Dustin to me this is all like a nightmare I still think every time I hear a door open I hope that you are going to come in and tell me everything is ok and tell me to calm down. I loved you Dustin."
Tristan of Ostrander,Ohio

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal. We are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
From the family of LCpl Branden P. Ramey, KIA 11/8/04"
Sandy of CA

"My husband and I would like to extend our deepest gratitude for the sacrafice made by your son and your family. My husband is a Marine who served in Desert Storm. We are so sorry for your loss and would like to say thank you for our freedom. We know how proud you must be of your brave son Dustin.
Semper Fi
David and Cheryl Pace"
David and Cheryl Pace of Columbus, Ohio U.S.A

"Rolland Hickory Ogle from Logan is how i know you.. he told myself and his girlfriend about you how you were a good man! My prayers are with you and i thank you for what you have done for us!"
Kayla Thompson of Logan

"THE JOB HE DID WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN ALONG WITH THE MEMOMERY OF HIM!"
KERRY SMOOT of BROOKVILLE, OH

"Never forgotten. You are an American Hero!"
3/25 Sister of Massillon, Ohio

"Our Prayers are with you.. C 4/1 Field
Artillery Fort Riley, Kansas/ Taji, Iraq. May he Rest In Peace. To the Fallen."
SGT. Joseph E. Lewis of Obetz, Ohio/ Franklin

"To the Derga family; We saw your interview on the CBS news last night, and heard you comment that the unit Dustin was with was very close. I have never met you, Dustin or his unit. You are right, the Marines are a very tight group. Our son was the first casualty of the Iraq war, and the Marines still check on us to make sure we are alright. I am not going to tell you that because of our son's death, we know how you feel, because we don't. Each loss is different, each family's pain is different. I can only say, I am very sorry you loss your son, We wish our son's death could have been the only loss of this war, so that no other family had to know what it feels like to receive the "Gold Star". We will be thinking of you as well as the other families who have lost a loved one."
Joe and Judy Childers (T. S. Childers KIA 3/21/03) of Powell Wyoming

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Cpl. Derga. God bless you."
DJ of Pickerington, OH

"I met him in passing a couple years ago at Friday's while there with my best friend, and she introduced me to him, I remember him very well. I knew the instant I met him this was a good soul, and from the stories my friend has told me, he was a great guy, compassionate, giving, and helpful. "No man hath greater love than this, that he lay down his life for a friend." We are all your friends here, and thank you for your sacrifice and your love of your family, friends, and the Freedom of the world."
N. H. of Westerville, Ohio

"His life will never leave your heart or mind, he is always there, he is always there."
Diane of Johnstown, Ohio

"Hey baby... Tomorrow is the day when we start to say goodbye. I dont know how I am going to make it though this. You are my world, my heart and soul. I am so proud of you and what you have done for your country. OUR family has received so much support from all over the country. You are getting all the attention you deserve baby! I just wish we could of had the chance to continue our lives the way we planned. But at least you are with Erdy. And dont worry Ashley and I will never forget you two. Life without you guys is going to get hard but we will both get through it. I love you CPL Derga... and I will always love you...."
Kristin Earhart of Pickerington, OH

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
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

"Our family will keep the Derga family in our thoughts and prayers. This is truly sad time - we completely understand what you are going through. We were very saddened to hear of Dustin's passing. Men like Dustin will never be forgotten"
A 3/25 Wife of Ohio

"To the friends and family of Cpl. Dustin A Derga,

You don't know me, but I understand your greef and pain. I lost a friend who was also with the 3/25 on April 13, 2005. My heart and prayers go out to you.
Please remember that we all are greatfull for the commitment and sacrifice that Dustin gave. It will never go unforgotten. My son will grow up hearing stories of men like your son, so another generation will remember and honor our fallen heroes.
My deepest condolances and prayers go out to you and your family."
Evelyn Meyer of Alanson, Michigan

"May Dustin be surrounded by angels and know a special kind of peace with God. As a military Mom, I understand worry but cannot imagine your pain and grief. God be with all of you who knew and loved Dustin."
Kathy Pelkowski of Halethorpe, Maryland

"My prayers go out to Dustin's family and brothers that continue the fight. I played soccer with Dustin in elementary school, have friends that swam with him in high school and I saw him around the Reserve Center on drill weekends- He was a great Marine and an even better human being. He will be greatly missed."
Jeff Schmitz of Minneapolis by way of Pickerington, OH

"To the family and friends of Corporal Dustin A. Derga,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please use our link and register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts "
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"I knew not your son or family but i want you all to know My heart goes out to your family and may God bless you all and give you the strenght to go on in this time of tradgedy...I found out today that a good friend of mine had been killed may 9th 2005, while serving in iraq, and the pain I feel and the confusion and reality of how this could happen has humbled me greatly,and i can't even fathem the pain you folks are enduring, but again my heart goes out to all his family and firends, I'm so sorry , and God bless you all... And thank you Dustin A. Derga for being the hero you are."
Keith Hamilton of ohio

"Marine Cpl. Dustin A. Derga, "thank you" isn't enough for the ultimate sacrifice you gave to each of us. Our prayers and thoughts are with your family during this difficult time."
Jerry & Ton Longville of Akron, Ohio

"MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOUR FAMILY. MY GOD GIVE YOUR FAMILY STRENGTH TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS HARD TIME. DUSTIN WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN AND WILL BE REMEMBERED IN HISTORY AS A TRUE AMERICAN HERO. THANK YOU DUSTIN FOR YOUR SACRIFICE FOR "OUR" FREEDOM."
KATHRYN of WARNER ROBINS,GA

"My heart goes out to Dustin's family and friends."
Marine MOM 3/25/4th of western NY

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

"Thank you Dustin Derga, 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 Cpl. Dustin Derga:
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 Dustin 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 Cpl. Dustin Derga:
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 Dustin, 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