Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Daniel A. Desens

20, of Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Desens died in Baqubah, Iraq when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry, Jacksonville, North Carolina. Died on June 24, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Spc. Daniel A. Desens.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


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

Please report inappropriate messages

"I think of you every memorial day...you are not forgotten...ever. You and your family are still in our thoughts and prayers."
Former 1LT, Lia Myott (Gilleski) 30BCT of New Bern, NC

"Spc. Desens, I had the privilege to run in your memory at the Annual Bataan Death March Memorial held at White Sands Missile Range, NM. Your actions to our country are never forgotten. You have my upmost respect and admiration. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Respectfully, Petty Officer Second Class, Heriberto Gutierrez, Coastal Riverine Squadron 1, Charlie Company, Second Platoon"
PO2 Gutierrez of El Paso, TX

"Danny, Sorry that I have not been on, But I need time. Its not that I done love you. I do love you my son and Miss you with all I have. Your sister Somer is doing so good, She has her 3 kids Kalie Kathleen and Daniel. Kalie not feeling to hot. Daniel been out of school. Dad doing good. I love you, Hope that your having a good time with Zoey, We all miss her, It was just time that she went home with you. Easter coming soon. Love and Kiss to you xoxoxoxoxo"

"It's just mom, It's Sunday time 8:01pm sitting looking at TV with dad, Looking at TV and I can see you so I thought that I would come in your room. If you were home you would be so happy with Somer, She a good mom to all 3 kids, She works hard. Why I'm I telling you this you know all about everything that goes on. My cancer is back again but what can we do. I love you my sweet son zoey goes into your room all the time, I think at times she looking for you. I know I do. I love and Miss you with all the I have. xoxoxoxoxo"
Mom of Jacksonville NC

"Danny, it's been 10 years now, and I still think of you all the time, and your service, and sacrifice. I know that no matter how much time passes, the wounds will never fully heal, but I try to keep your memory alive by telling all my friends, and the new friends I make, about my next door neighbor from Lejeune, that used to beat up the bullies that picked on me my freshman year. About the man I tried to model myself after, when I started getting bigger and, and returning the favor, helping the kids that were bullied by others in school. Honestly, you were my role model in school, and I was proud to call you friend.

Never Forgotten."
Michael Lee Pollock of Herkimer, NY (From Camp Lejeune, NC)

"9th anniversary. Never forgotten..."
Alex of Raleigh, NC

"RIP Danny - still wearing the bracelet of you and CPT Cash. Not forgotten..."
MB of Ft. Benning, GA


I remember when you and my brother used to pick with me! I remember you coming to our house, and it was like I had two brothers instead of one. I remember you going to church with us, and we still have the pictures of you all dressed up. You were such a sweet and caring person, and I still can't believe you are gone. My family and I will never, ever forget you!"
Kay Washington of Virginia Beach, VA

"7 years. Never forgive. Never forget."
M B of North Carolina

"Danny, when I heard the news, it was like an icepick to the gut. It's been years from that day but the wound is still fresh. I was in college at the time and the idea that my friend had died in combat was incomprehensible. I did not know how to respond then, but I would like to now.

When I think about the times we shared in highschool, I can't help but smile. Your wildman attitude was hard not to like. We called ourselves "The Wall" on the football field; and though we stood on a field of green, I would have stood with you in the sand.

There's only so much words can convey, how do you put grief for a friend in a paragraph. I like to think that the work I do now for the Navy and Joint Forces helps keep your brothers-in-arms safe and aids them in their fight. You are inspiration in my work and your memory is engraved on my conscience."
Gabe McLain of Fredericksburg, VA

"Danny, as the years go by I still keep your memory fresh in my mind and heart. I've grown so much closer to your family than I believe I was as a little girl. They are doing well though we all miss you dearly. You and your family are my heels. It takes more than just standing by our military. It takes strength, courage, and most important of all...love. Always in my prayers and thoughts Danny, hope you aren't causing too much havoc in heaven :)"
Ashley Anderson of Jacksonville, nc, USA

"The young man steps into the arena. He is filled with fear, heart pumping, hands shaking. It is all he can do to move, yet he does. He moves forward. He does so because he loves freedom more than his own life. He leaves the safety and security of his home and goes forward into the fray, willing to make the sacrifice. "For no greater love hath a man than to lay his life down for his friends." This can be said of Daniel Desens.
I knew him only by reputation and name and was saddened to learn of his sacrifice. I do know he was well liked by the men he served with and served his unit, country, and God honorably and faithfully.
To his family and friends I send my deepest regard and love. I pray God shelters you still and brings only happiness when you think of Dan. Some say angels only exist in Heaven, I believe God sends them to us in different forms and for only certain times according to His plan. Dan is now watching over you. Rest easy knowing he loves you and walks with our Savior. His love and peace be with you all."
Spec. M "Bulldog" Bullis (Ret) of Siler City NC

"Danny.... you were like a brother to me. I think about you all the time and I know that you are in heaven watching down on all of us. I talked to your mom the other day and she is always thinking of you. Each moment of each day you are still part of her life. You will always be remembered by many...even people that you have never met. Thank you for your sacrafice... wish it never happened but know that it wasnt for nothing. Love you!"
SSgt Pauline Rankin of Ft Riley Kansas

"Danny, We miss you so much, I can't believe how much time has passed. It still feels like yesterday I heard about it. I think about you a lot and hope you are looking down from heaven and watching out for all of your brothers. I pray for your family every chance I get and its nice to see your mother and father every once in a while. I am helping in keeping your memory alive and for as long as I live I promise to keep remembering you and making sure everyone else knows the greatest sacrafice one could make. Thank you for everything Danny."
Ashley of Jacksonville, NC/USA

"your valor will never be forgotten."
ssg john morgan jr ncarng ret. of winston salem nc

"Danny I miss you so much. Last time we saw eachother we climbed the Paradise Point water tower at Camp Lejuene, NC. That was 2001, and we were just kids. I think about you all the time. All the good times we had in class and playing football. Your high school friends miss you a lot. The friends you grew up with miss you a lot. I am proud to have known you. I am proud to have been your friend. See you on the other side brother."
Devil Dog of Camp Lejune, NC

"Danny, I try to visit you as often as I can. I know I was closer to your sister more when I was little be I will never forget you. Your family is extremely blessed as are you. Patty, We are always here for you should you need anything..that goes for the whole family."
Ashley Anderson of Jacksonville, NC/ the proud USA

I never had the pleasure of meeting you but I met your mom and dad at he cemetary while I was visiting with my husband. Thanks you for protecting our country and giving the ultimate gift. Patty and Dan, big hugs to y'all as the anniversary of Danny's death approaches."
Cynthia Leidner of Jacksonville, NC

"To My Dear Son Spc Daniel A Desens Jr. It's June again. But this June is your 5 years tha you got killed in Baqubah Iraq. But it feels just like today that they came to are door. We love are miss you son much. People tell me that I have to move on. But how do you move on when you have a childre. That got killed in Iraq. Our one that just died on you. You can't. You can't. I see his eyes look down at me time to time. I feel him in are home when am sleeping time to time are in my car. My son I love you so much. I love you so. Love and Kiss what all my Hugs. Your Mommy"
Patty Desens of Jacksonville Nc

"I never knew Daniel, but I met his sister playing backgammon on the internet. Words do so little to comfort, but they are all I have. SPC Desens left the world too soon. But he left it a better place for his having been here."
Scopedope of Atlanta

"Patty and Somer, Please know that you always stay in my thoughts and prayers. To Daniel - thank you for all you gave to us and this country."
Pamel Pidgeon of Ft. Wayne, IN

"28 September 2008
Danny loved to be a comedian about things and would always crack me up. He was one of those people that just makes you want to befriend him. The man did have some strange taste in music though...lol.. He was a great guy though, I didn't know a lot about his personal life just what I saw and talked about during training and over seas. I was out there with Danny that day and he fought till he could not, that is a hero. He would risk his own $%& to save ours that is what kind of man he was. We got em for you Danny, all of em. Oh, and that strange taste in music, that is what we listened to around a bonfire in his memory.

You will never be forgotten and always missed my friend."
Sgt. Lanier of Belmont, NC

"May 31, 2008
To the family of Spc. Daniel A. Desens:
Daniel 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 never knew Daniel or any of his family, but i have this metal "hero bracelet" with a random soldiers name on it, and mine says Spc Daniel A Desens. I just felt compelled to let the family of Daniel to know I've been praying for them.

I'm honored to wear his name on my wrist everyday. thank you for everything you've done, Daniel."
Alexandra Moncrief of Austin, Texas

"The term "hero" is tossed out far too casually these days. But, Danny is a hero in the truest and rarest sense of the word."
Army Afghan vet of Raleigh, NC

"To the family of:Daniel A. Desens 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"


"Daniel I will never forget you."
Sgt Sorensen Bco 3/20th SFG of Sarasota Fla.

"Thank you! you will never be forgotten."
rob willems of richlands n.c.

"We love you Danny."
Megan Smith-Winston of Raleigh, NC

"To our son Danny. We are going on are 3th year with out you. and it feels justed like today. They came to are home to tell us about you. Danny you are loved and missed so much. There are time that I feel like your going to walk in the door and call mom are you home. I need something to eat. I get up to go see and your not there. Danny I love you so. and you are the Heroe. Love Mom"
Your Mom of 205 Yearling Loop NC 910 577-9128

"With respect I pass this way."
Stewart Resmer of Santa Monica, California

"My condolences.


Started with a group of twenty-five
In the year of twenty-eight
By those whod lost a Son or Daughter
From the wartimes cruel fate.

When the Blue Star on the Service Flag
Was replaced with one of Gold
Everybody knew a Mother grieved
With a loss from that household.

Out of tragedy, we were formed
And, Out of love we continue.
This legacy of Gold Star Mothers
With the heartache, that they knew.

Its so sad, they still exist
And most likely always will
As long as, we go to war
Theres a need they must fulfill.

Their observance day is the last Sunday in September.


There’s too many Gold Star Families
Their numbers growing every day
Too much to ask those loved ones
Such a terrible price they pay.

All will say they are very proud
That their loved one knew the cost
That in the horrors of Wartime
Precious lives are sometimes lost.

But the death of a brave Hero
In the Service of this Land
Dying for some other country
Is oft times, hard to understand.

"In the name of Freedom!"
"For the good of fellow man!"
"To put an end to oppression!"
Or, sometimes some other plan!

There have always been those Souls
Who will rally to the battle’s call
Who will bear those deadly arms
Who will march and sometimes fall.

Some will just bear the wounds
Though, not always clear to see
Some will never return the same
As the people, they used to be.

But the ones who have that void
Of that hole in heart and mind
They are the greatest Heroes
That we can ever hope to find.

Maybe one day in our future
Peace will be the way we’ll live
But until then we’ll have those
Who give all they have to give.

Gold Star Families stand in front
And shed their tears of loss and pain
And as long as Man goes to War
We’ll see them time and time, again."
Del "Abe" Jones of TN

"I knew Daniel when he was younger and I always thought of him as my little brother.I unfortnely didn't get to see him the last ten years because my family moved. But he was always and still is very much in my heart.I miss you and love you and I can't wait to see you again we have alot of catching up to do."
Candace Pidgeon of Indiana Ft.wayne Allen

"I knew Daniel when he was younger and I always thought of him as my little brother.I unfortnely didn't get to see him the last ten years because my family moved. But he was always and still is very much in my heart.I miss you and love you and I can't wait to see you again we have alot of catching up to do."
Candace Pidgeon of Indiana Ft.wayne Allen

"its been 2 years...but it never gets any easier!....Man i remember the days back in Hawaii... but going to see ya Grad. from Basic in GA was really cool concidering our 2 families hadn't seen each other since yall left hawaii... Wish it didn't have to be you...Even though your dad was a Marine and you went Army you still can get the USMC saying "SEMPER FI!""
James Mauldin of Gardendale, AL

"Two years ago today, bro. RIP my hero."
Matthew of North Carolina, 120th Infantry

"Danny- I will love you forever and I think about you and your family always. I know you are watching all those who love you and I hope you know that we are thinking about you all the time."
Kate Desgrosseilliers (Heidel) of Des Moines, Iowa

"To the Desens family Your son will not be forgotten.He is in a better place now Just remember the good times you all have had when he was here your family will be in my prayers always!"
Maryann Robinson of Camp Lejeune,NC USA

"To the Desens family Your son will not be forgotten.He is in a better place now Just remember the good times you all have had when he was here your family will be in my prayers always!"
Maryann Robinson of Camp Lejeune,NC USA

"The Desens Family, Your son was a brightly shining light to alot of other soldiers and people. I never knew him personally, but I have heard nothing but great things about your son. I'm so sorry that his life ended so soon, we all believe we have another day. Thank you Daniel for your sacrifice, Condolences to your family.

Kelly Hines
Family Support Coordinator
HHC 1-120th Inf
Wilmington, NC

"To the Desens family,
Dan was in my company, Some of my fondest memory of him was playing softball in Iraq. We never played again after his passing. I miss him more and more each day. He was a good guy and I cried for him again tonight as I often do. May God be with you as he is with Him. My life has been truly blessed by knowing such a amazing young man.

Sgt Zack Pitts, A co 1-120th INF"
Zack Pitts of Raleigh, NC

"Mr. and Mrs. Desens, I met you 2 months ago at Quantico, and you told me of your loss. Please know that I have included you in my prayers and that I respect your tremendous sacrifice and loss. May God Bless and Comfort you -- CPT Matthew L. Delk"
Matthew Delk of Roanoke Rapids, NC

"Thank you for being a hero to all of us. We will never forget any of our fallen soilders. May god hold your family in his arms and you in his kingdom."
Tiffany of Houston TX

i know i have never met you but your sister is married tomy bro and i just wanted to say is that you r a hero to every body in the united states especially to your family. i wish i would of had a chance tomeet you but i guess that wish for me would never be fufilled so i hope someday when i meet you in heaven when my time is up here on earth you will know who i am. i hope you are looking down on somer and her family. kristi-lynn cosimeno"
kristi cosimeno of leroy new york

"To the Desens's Family, Daniel and I graduated form high school together. I'm so glad that I had a chance to know him. He was a great guy."
Qunna Whitaker of Columbia, SC

"Danny,thank you for doing what you did you are a real american hero we knew each other since we were 8 years old i am very proud
of you and i send deep condolences to mrs.
patty and dan sr.may god bless you.
airman first class steven hildt of little rock afb arkansas

"Dear Family of Daniel A. Desens,
I was working at Camp Warhorse in Baquba, Iraq the day Dan paid the ultimate price for Freedom for our Country.
I did not know Dan well, but I do know that he was a wonderful human being, the life of the party and a man that his fellow troops loved and admired. I know you know that, but as someone who was there in Baquba, Iraq on that day, I wanted to share my thoughts about Dan. He was really loved, and never will be forgotten."
Tim G. of Chicago, Illinois,USA

"To the Desens Family
Dan was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal place. All the peoples lives he touched are better for knowing him. For those 7 men who are still there they know they have a guardian angel watching over them. Dan is sorely missed and will always be a hero to his family and friends. We love and miss him and he will always have a special place in our hearts"
Tammi Kinsman of Hubert, North Carolina

"To Daniel Desens Family:
Time will heal our pain, but it never goes away. I pray that God will give you the strength. You also know that I have lost my dearest brother, Spc. Edgar Daclan, Jr. It's never easy to let go of those we love, but at least they are in a better place than we are. They don't have to feel any pain or sorrow anymore. Much love."
Iris Daclan (sister of a fallen soldier) of Annapolis, MD

"To the family of Daniel Desens, We hope the Lord will give you peace at this dificult time. Daniel is a hero to us and this nation. We too lost our son on Sept. 6, and we know how hard it is.
May God bless our Boys, we will see them again one day."
Mr. and Mrs. Boria of Broken Arrow, OK

"To the Desens, you are loved in the eye of everyone who meets you. You're son made a great sacrifice to which makes the world freer yet sader place. Let his love light shine down on you all. Danny is A GREAT AMERICAN hero to all. He has touched my heart and I will never be the same. God Bless you all!"
Crystal Durham of Jacksonville NC

I've known you for too long not to be able to forget about you. The one camp out night stands out though. lol. Danny, you are my hero and I will never forget about you. You've done something I may only dream about and will do, and that is to serve my country. But you've done something more...You've givin the ultimate sacrifice. And for that, myself and our country will be forever in your gratitude..."
c/ Gunnery Sergent Shane Barlow, MCJROTC of Camp Lejeune, NC USA

"To SPC.Daniel Desens family,
There are no words I can say to ease your pain, since my family is dealing with the same sorrow. On June 24th, each of our families lost a part of our hearts that day. Two BRAVE MEN, made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country! I thank you Daniel's parents for raising such a wonderful man! Daniel gave his life, for my family and me, to ensure our safety here! I did not have the honor of meeting him, but he will always be my Hero! May God Bless you all, and be with you through this very difficult time! Much love, SSG. Chuck Kiser's sister"
of Cincinnati, Ohio

I love and miss you very much, but i will help take care of your mom and dad!
your cousin,"
kim of colorado springs

"Daniel, You have an amazing family, and I'm sure you're watching down on them now. I'm sorry we never got to cross paths, having just heard about you from you family, I'm sure you were just as great as they are! Rest in Peace, Soldier, you're my Hero!! "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure""
Marcie Biskie-Widow of Sgt Benjamin Biskie Sr of St. Robert, Missouri, USA

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in arizona

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

Leonard T Wahl of valley stream ny

"death comes to everyone,but its an honour to die at the service of your country,in the books of history you will appear as an american hero"
gabriel okoth of denton,texas

"To Daniel's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for his bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (Ernie's mom) of San Antonio, TX

"To Daniel's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

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

"Thank you Daniel Desens, 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 Spc. Daniel Desens:
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 Daniel 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 Spc. Daniel Desens:
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 Daniel, 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