Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Ryan E. Doltz

26, of Mine Hill, New Jersey.
Doltz died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery, Lawrence, New Jersey. Died on June 5, 2004.

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"To the family of:Ryan E.Doltz
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"2-12-11"

"Your picture is still up in my office Ryan. I remember how jovial you were, always smiling or laughing and as upper classmen, we could not figure out why. Who cares why...thats what I took from knowing you man...Who cares why ya laugh or smile all the time, just do it. I miss you and I think of you often. God Bless you and your imprint you left on me."
SSG Sean W. of Richmond, VA

"Everyone mentions Ryans smile, and sparkle in his eyes. It's true you couldn't help notice those big blue eyes with the yellowish green in the center. My favorite thing about Ryan was his ears. They were so cute, and I would make him tape them when he played rugby, because I was afraid they would get torn off. It's funny the silly things you remember about a person. I remember his hands. I loved them as well. He hated the scars he got from playing football, but I thought they were manly. It's hard to believe he's gone. I remember driving to VMI many times to pick Ryan up, and bring him home for sometimes just a day. One time, we spent a weekend in D.C. We walked all around and saw the great wall of all the soldiers that died in battle from Vietnam. I was so glad my dad's name wasn't on there. Ryan seemed so fasinated by it. He even made the comment that he would be honored to be on such a wall. I thought he was crazy. He spoke of maybe wanting to live in Washington when he graduated VMI, and then asked me if I would mind if he joined a branch of the military. When I asked why, he said it was so he could be burried in Arlington cemetary. I didn't know what to say. It was like he knew what he had to do, and where it would lead him. Ryan always spoke of the poem, "The Road Less Traveled". I know he wanted to take that road, even if it meant dying, as long as he helped someone along the way and did it with honor.
The years I spent with Ryan, were the best so far in my life. I will always remember our Cancun trip, and the dogs chasing us on the beach, and crazy trips to and from VMI and the HUGE phone bills, from hours of long distance talk....Sorry Cheryl! Too bad there weren't free night and weekends back then. Lol.
I dream of Ryan every so often, and he is always wearing blue jeans, white socks, and a white t-shirt, no shoes. He is always smiling, hugs me, but hardly say's a word. "Which is not like Ryan". I think he watches over all of us. I try to hold onto him to pull him from my dream, but I always wake up without him. I would like to bring him home again to his family. I know it's impossible, but I still wish I could. I visit his memorial tomb stone in Mine Hill, NJ. I have my memories of how good his family was to me, and pictures and letters, and that will have to be enough, until we meet again. I will keep your memory alive, speak of you often, and try to teach my son Daniel, how to be a gentleman like you, and live with Honor. You are missed by those who Loved you, and those who's lives you touched."
Sarah Pettenger, of Branchville, NJ

"To the Family of Ryan,
It has taken us years to leave this message. There are no word to say that are enough to fill the loss Ryan left in defending our freedom. We had the gift of knowing Ryan at VMI. His smile was infectious, his fun nature engaging, his friendship irreplaceable. It was a gif to to know him. I will fondly remember Ryan's visits to Mary Baldwin with his dyke and other friends. Although this is sad I think of Doltz and I smile remembering him with friends and how he was always a person to make you feel happy, engage you personally and find a little fun trouble. What a wonderful man he was, is, and forever will be in our hearts!"
Captain Eric and Mary-Margaret Marshall,USMC of Camp Pendleton, CA

"May 31, 2008
To the family of Spc. Ryan E. Doltz:
Ryan 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

"TO Ryan's Family,

My name is Kenneth J. Williams and I served with SPC Doltz. Although I did not know him well, he will never be far from my mind. He wil never be forgotten in my house hold. My kids and their kids will know about him and what he did for american freedom."
SGT Kenneth J. Williams of USA

I can still hear the echoes of the long stories and history lessons you would give us regardless of if we wanted to hear it or not. Our cans of tobacco and spit bottles strewn mercilessly across the room. It's almost 3 years now and I remember that terrible day as if it just happened. You had a huge heart and would do anything for soldiers around you. Thanks for being a friend. I wish we could have made it back together for those drinks at the local bars. You and your family know that I'm here for anyone of you. Fallen but not Forgotten, Ry. See you soon.
S of Northern New Jersey

"Yeah; military school grad and wanting to experience the enlisted life first.....somehow I never made the jump, but the short time i knew you I know you would have risen right up there! Peace, brother,I'm sorry I couldn't do anything ..... and see you up there!!!!"
gary lambert, medic of Camden NJ


"I daresay I will never again in this life see such a sparkle in someone's eyes as those of Ryan. He filled the world to the brim with his passion and zest for life, and joy always followed him into a room. We miss his confidence, his laugh, his patience, and his big teddy bear hugs. Knowing him was a gift and an honor, losing him has been the hardest lesson and has left the biggest hole in our lives. If we look up, the twinkle in his eyes lives on in the stars, and his presence is certainly all around us.

Heaven for all of us is a lazy afternoon on a porch in Lexington during summer session, a bonfire in Goshen, and knowing that you are still there, asleep on our couch after a long night out on the town with the crew. We miss you buddy. You were and are larger than life. We will meet again."
Shelley Cook of Richmond, VA

"We knew Ryan from the time he was about 8 yrs. old -- we moved into his home town and joined his family church. Ryan was a spirited boy and had a ready smile for everyone. He grew into a fine young man, and even though we moved away when he was in high school, we still bumped into his parents occasionally, and we could see the boy in the man from the photos that were taken of him in Iraq. Ryan, you are missed by all who knew you, by all whose lives you touched, even briefly. God bless you."
Laurie and Marshall McKnight of Princeton Jct., NJ

"I remember Ryan from VMI. Ryan, like myself, took a little longer than usual to complete VMI and graduate. But, he stuck it out and never quit... the true spirit of a VMI Man!! Ryan was humorous and truly a good-natured guy. It's so cliche to talk about someone and say how kind-hearted they were or how they were always smiling... not with Ryan. He always had this goofy smile on his face. Many from VMI (and the Army) can gripe and complain with the best of them. I can't say that I honestly ever remember Ryan complaining about anything. Ryan, your funeral was tremendous. Those who had attended other funerals at Arlington could not remember a funeral procession as large as yours!! That was the impact you had on so many lives. Take care, my friend."
JWH '97 of Richmond VA

"I did not know Ryan personally, but he is a hero and brother to me and the rest of the 3/112 family. He will be greatly missed along with our three other brothers who went with him that weekend. You all are heroes. Ryan's selflessness was evident by the number of people that turned out to pay their respects. To his family, I am honored to have been a part of his memorial and to have served in the same unit. My prayers are with you and all who know him."
SFC T. Falconer of A Btry, 3/112 FA, NJ

"'The Fallen'
Lo, I have stood my watch this day
I have kept our enemy at bay
God and Country I serve, so I swore
For peace today and evermore
A new watch I proudly stand
So glorious and bold, as God took my hand
With shield and armor, I now bear a sword
My comrades and I stand tall with the Lord
My eyes are fixed, my path is sure
My heart and mind so blessed and pure
As my God now dwells with me
My spirit with you will always be"
Amber Mans of Brick, NJ

"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. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom...the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

"Dear Doltz' Family,

Please accept my most sincere heartfelt condolences. When I found out about Ryan's passing, I was shocked and extremely saddened. Ryan was a friend of mine and I will never forget him. Ryan was one of those people whom you never forget. Eventhough I did not know him for very long, he still left an impression on me and I will not forget him. He had such a great sense of humor and such a friendly nature. He got along with everyone and made everyone laugh. He was a hard worker and always did the right thing. Ryan had Honor. He was dedicated in everything he did. Your family and Ryan are in my prayers. Ryan left this life too early, but God needed him somewhere else. May God give rest and blessings to his soul. God Bless you Ryan."
S.D of Sterling, VA

"Ryan, One of these days, you and I will destroy that 'ole Sentinel Box; when I see you again Brother Rat."
A BR of VA

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

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

"To Ryan'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

"Thank you Ryan Doltz, 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. Ryan Doltz:
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 Ryan 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. Ryan Doltz:
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 Ryan, 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