Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Air Force Maj. William Downs

40, of Winchester, Virginia.
Downs died in the crash of an Iraqi air force aircraft during a training mission in eastern Diyala province. He was assigned to the 6th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Died on May 30, 2005.

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"Brian was a great mentor to me when I first arrived at the 6th. He was humble, kind and a great person to be around. Gone, but not forgotten, may god bless his family always."
#236 of Fairfax, VA

"I served with Maj Downs in Iraq. I was there when they brought his body to Balad Air Base to begin his long trip home. I particpated in the Patriot ceremony that paid tribute to him and his comrades who perished in the crash. This is tough for me because I was there and was intimately involved in the details. Against protocol, I snapped a picture at the Patriot ceremony of the 4 caskets loaded on the C-141 for the trip to Dover AFB. The image that sticks in my mind the most is of his unit chaplain and his commander weeping while kneeling beside the 4 coffins. I am now serving in the ministry counselling military members returning from combat. To his family...I have never forgotten him or the day he left Iraq with his comrades."
Terry Hayes of Kenly, NC

"Brian was a great American, every Veteran's Day my heart is with Beth and the Kids, having served with Brian. He was everything we should aspire to be, a Great Air Commando, a Father, Husband, a Friend, a Man of Faith, and he was ever so humble about it.
My Family Wishes Beth and Kids the Best
"Special K and Family""
#162 of Tampa, FL

"Every time I step foot in Cebu Philippines (at least 2x a month) I remember Brian as my mission commander. Telling me to "put down the grenade launcher" still thinking of you sir. God bless you. You will not be forgotten."
Paul "heavy" chick -6 SOS pacom commo of Pampanga province, Philippines

"I knew Maj Downs only because he bunked in the room across from mine in Kirkuk Iraq spring 2005. It was very routine to run into him around the base. I remember one time he commented that he had the same Wiley-X goggles as me but he preferred his sunglasses because they were "cooler", I got a kick out of that. My deployment ended a week or so before his plane crash and I heard about it a few weeks after the fact. Rest in Peace Maj Downs."
Kamwren Nichols of Warrensburg, MO

"May 30, 2008
To the family of Maj. William Downs:
William 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:William Downs 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"

"Brian, it was a pleasure to serve with you in the 6th."
Michael Taysom of Holly Michigan

"My son, Sgt David Heinrich, served in Iraq from 2003 to 2005. My name is also 'Downs'. We're from Montana. I can imagine your pain, as I worried night and day, and I'm so very sorry. God bless your family with strength and comforting arms."
Cher Downs of Phoenix, AZ

"I HAD THE PRIVILEDGE OF FLYING WITH BRIAN AT US AIRWAYS,I JUST WANTED HIS FAMILY TO KNOW THAT HE WAS VERY PROUD OF THEM!"

"Brian, you are in good company in your final resting place. I am glad to have known you.

Seth Meashey - 6 SOS"

"It is difficult for me to believe that Brian is gone, and even more difficult to realize that a year has passed since the sad day that we convened at Arlington for Brian's funeral. I hope his family is able to find the strength they need, and know that they have friends here where he once served."
Steve of Martinsburg WV

"Memorial Day will never be the same. Brian is gone from earth, but never forgotten."

"It has been a year. Our prayers have been with for each and every dayy.
We miss him so."
Your friends forever

"To the Downs family-

I would like to extend my condolences to your family. I do not know any of you nor you me but, Maj. Downs was the name on the stainless steel bracelet I recieved in the mail. May god bless you and your family."
Torrey of Tucson, AZ

"TO THE DOWNS FAMILY, THERE ARE NO WORDS TO LET YOU KNOW HOW SADDENED WE ALL ARE AT THE LOSS OF A HERO. THERE ALSO IS NO WAY THAT WE CAN SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THE SACRIFICE. AS A VET WHO ALSO LOST HIS DAD, WHO SERVED IN WWII, WHILE I WAS YOUNG, MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU.
ON MEMORIAL DAY THIS YEAR, THE EXCHANGE CLUBS OF CHARLESTON, SC, HAD A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR ALL THE AMERICANS THAT HAD GIVEN THEIR LIVES IN AFGHANISTAN & IRAQ. WE POSTED 3'X5' FLAGS FOR EACH ONE, OVER 1850 IN ALL. IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST MOVING THINGS THAT I HAVE EVER DONE. WE LEFT THEM UP ALL WEEK AND CONTINUED POSTING FLAGS FOR AMERICANS THAT SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES DURING THE WEEK. AT THE END OF THE WEEK, MY WIFE AND I DECIDED TO SELECT A FLAG TO SEND TO A FAMILY. WE SELECTED MAJOR DOWNS' FLAG, BECAUSE HE DIED ON MEMORIAL DAY. THE FLAG WAS POSTED THE DAY HIS DEATH WAS LISTED. WE STILL WOULD LIKE TO GET THE FLAG TO THE FAMILY, BUT HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO CONTACT ANYONE. IF ANYONE READS THIS AND KNOWS WHERE WE CAN SEND THIS SPECIAL FLAG- IT MAY BE THE FIRST ONE THAT WAS FLOWN IN HIS HONOR- PLEASE LET US KNOW. WE DO NOT HAVE TO CONTACT THE FAMILY, BUT WOULD LIKE TO GET THEM THE FLAG.

AGAIN, THANK YOU AND OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY.

MR AND MRS REMLEY CAMPBELL CHARLESTON, SC, christopherschris@comcast.net"
REMLEY CAMPBELL of CHARLESTON, SC

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

"First and foremost, my Prayers go out to the family of Maj Downs. I worked with Maj Downs as a member of the 6th Special Operations Squadron. I count it an honor and a blessing to have known this man. He truely was one of the greatest officers I have had the pleasure of serving with. He IS missed, and will always be remembered.
GOD Bless the Downs Family."
TSgt Tony L. Jones of Djibouti, Africa

"To have known Brian is indeed a blessing. I served with Brian, deploying and flying with him prior to 2000. He saved me from my own stupidity on more than one occasion. I saluted him for the last time yesterday at Arlington National cemetery and Iím still unable to comprehend the magnitude of his loss to my countryís service and to his family. Standby fellow commando, keep a close watch over our camp - Iíll send you a SITREP in my prayers and weíll re-live those days again shortly when I join you up in the sky again for the best flight ever."
Commando 62 of Little Rock AFB

"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

"To the Downs Family,

My deepest sympathies in this time of sorrow. The news of Brian's death and his comrades greatly saddened me. I served as Brian's commanding officer several years ago in the 6th SOS; would that all officers had the same cheerful dedication Brian showed."
Col M.S. Pugmire of Bogota, Colombia

"To the Downs Family,
While it's been many years since Brian and I corresponded last, I and my family were very saddened to hear of the passing of Brian. Our family weeps with yours and we know you will miss his earthly presence. He died in service to his country and to others in the spirit of his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And because Jesus rose from the dead, we are certain that we will see Brian again (I Thes 4:13-14). In the mean time, we serve the living God who cares for the widows and the orphans (Ps 68:4-6). Continue to turn to Him and to his Church for care and comfort. Brian leaves a wonderful legacy of service and devotion to his God, his family, his church and his country. For that you should be proud. God bless you all"
Mike and Jenny Preston of Overland Park, KS

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

"6/3/05
To the Downs family,
We know your pain, and wish to express our deep sorrow for your loss. William is truly a hero and will be known forever for his bravery and willingness to protect our great nation. We pray every day for the families of lost soldiers. God bless and keep you.
'My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit;
God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.' Ps 51:19"
Webster and Ruth Reed (Father and stepmom of Jonathan Ray Reed who died in Iraq on January 28, 2005) of Krotz Springs, Louisiana

"When I arrive at a new squadron, I always seek out those that I can learn the most from. The more I can learn, the better I can do my mission, and the better chance I have of survival. Brian was one that I sought for such mentorship. He made his mark on the squadron long before his passing. He will be remembered by all those whose lives he touched. God bless Brian, his family, the United States of America, and the freedom we live and die for."
Lt Col Scott Graham of Las Vegas, NV

"Words cannot express fully my sadness. Yet I am appreciative that men of this calibre are U.S. soldiers.
You will never be forgotten!
May God bless this family."
Shawn Downs of Charlotte, NC

"TO THE DOWNS FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. WE ARE DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE LOST OF WILLIAM. AN OUR PRAYS ARE WITH HIM AND YOUR FAMILY. WILLIAM THANK YOU; FOR BEING A PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER. YOU WILL NOT HAVE GIVEN YOUR LIFE IN VAIN WILLIAM. THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING AMERICA AGAINST TERRORISM. SO THANKFUL OUR SON SERVED ALONG SIDE YOU. I REALIZE TWO DIFFERENT BRANCHES AND CERTAINLY, NEITHER OF YOU KNEW ONE ANOTHER. STILL MILITARY BROTHERS PROTECTING ONE ANOTHER UNIT. WE LOST OUR SON LAST MAY. AN OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY. GOD BLESS!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"Thank you William Downs, 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 Maj. William Downs:
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 William 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 Maj. William Downs:
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 William, 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