Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald

22, of Huber Heights, Ohio.
Fitzgerald died in a non-combat related vehicle incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/2, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Died on August 18, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald.


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

"As part of a Memorial Day Ceremony honoring all of the fallen of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, I am honored to read Dustin's name. I lost my own son, Neil, on Aug. 13, 2004 when he was KIA."
Diane Santoriello of Verona, PA

"To the family of:Dustin R.Fitzgerald
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"3-25-11"

"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

"Dear Dustin,
I just wanted to say thank you for the most honorable thing any one person could do. The courage it takes to be a Marine and put your life on the line each and everyday for our country is by far the most heroic act. I am sad that I never got to know how wonderful you were but I can see you touched many people. I look forward to the day we meet in heaven. You got your angel wings far to soon cousin."
Nutasha Sanders of Missoula, MT

"Dear Dustin,

Although I have never had the pleasure and privilege of knowing you, I am deeply sad you have left this world. What your family and friends have gone through is awful, but it is important to remember that you are in a better place. Although you never returned to your earthly home, you went on to your home with the Lord. I will always be grateful for your service to the USA and your sacrifice. You are in my prayers.

In honor of Veteran's Day, I am writing a letter to you to celebrate your accomplishments and all you have done for this great country. To all the family members who are reading this, you too are in my prayers and may you have all of God's blessings."
Mariel N. (High School Student) of Big Walnut School District, OH

"July 1, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald:
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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald I will always remember all the good times Fitz and I had. He was a good friend and we kept each other out of trouble. He was my best friend and I will never forget him. I have some picturs of him that you guys might want if you want them please contact me at my email rrosetl@yahoo.com"
Sgt. Tony L Rose of Quantico Virgina

"Its been a long time old friend. We had some great times together in 1/2. Driving our cars around NC and working up for the deployment, and the hot days spent in Iraq. Your a hero man and you are greatly missed. I think about you all the time, especially when I am driving my eclipse around town thinking about the times we used to have with them. Goodbye old friend.

Semper Fi you will never be forgotten. I tell all my car buddies you are the one that got me into it and I pass on your story every chance I get."
HM3 Joshua T. Chiarini of Newport, RI

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUSTY, Our precious Angel. We love you and miss you like crazy. You will be forever in our hearts. Love, Mom, Dad, Brandon and Shannon."
Melody of Ohio

"Our Precious Dusty, thank you babie for all you gave for your family and for your country. You gave all you had, and did it with such pride. You always shower nothing but Honor, Courage, and Commitment in everything you did....What A son , and a Marine. We will forever be so proud of you Dusty.We love you and miss you like crazy. Never good-bye, just apart for now. See ya in Heaven babie. Mom, Dad, Brandon, and little bro Shannon."
Melody of Dayton Ohio


ALYSSA of Greenville, Nc USA

"Even though it's been so long since Dustin went home to be with our lord, his death is still very fresh in my memory. I find myself thinking of him from time to time. Maybe it's because I knew him and it was close to home or maybe it's because I now have a husband currently serving in the Army. Who knows; but whatever it is, I just want to let you know that I am praying for your family. I sure do miss his heart-warming smile. He could just light up a room. He is definately a true hero. He died doing what he loved. God Bless You All."
Shannon Smith of Fort Sill, Oklahoma

"Our Precious son Dusty, Two years ago today you went to Heaven. We miss you so much. We know you are watching over your family and sending us all your love. So many coming to honor you tonight, and sending their balloons up to Heaven with so much love for you. We are trying to stay strong, just like you ask us to. We take one day at a time. We love you and miss you babie.See you in Heaven our precious son. Love, Mom, Dad, Brandon & Shannon."
Melody of Huber Heights Ohio

"lcpl fitzgerald is and still a great MARINE and he never will be forgotten in my heart SEMPER FI buddy Staff
Sgt Larry Trusty Young marine"
larry Trusty of Dayton ohio

"We would like to thank everyone for all the nice messages for Dusty. We miss him so much !!! All who knew Dusty, already knows Dusty was a Hero before the Marine Corp. After we lost Dusty, I did a web page on Dusty's life , even though we only had 22 years with this sweet Angel , he gave us so many wonderful memories for us to alway's hold in our hearts..never goodbye, just apart for now. We love you Dusty, and miss you like crazy. Beteen now and then, till I see your face again, I'll be loving you. From Mama and your family. Grunt forever 0311
Dustys web page
Happy Birthday Dusty...December 2, 2005"
Melody, Dusty's Mama of Huber Heights, Ohio

"dustin~ i love you so much: ) i am so proud of all you have done for our country:) i have always looked up to and honored you. youre in heaven now. a much safer and better place. thanks for making the ultimate sacrifice. i love you with all my heart and i will see you soon."
love always nina of huber heights ohio

"Well if it hadnt been for going into the ditch at waffle house we woulda never met. its weird how some things just happen for a reason. I was so frustrated and so tired that nite but you helped me laugh and things were all better. Thanks for being there to make me laugh. You and all your friends were very helpful that nite. I'm not even gunna say g'bye cuz for some reason i know we will meet again until then tata:)"
nicole macomber of ft bragg north carolina

"Dear Dustin & Family;

My name is Christina and my daughters Alyssa and Lauran reside in Greenvile, North Carolina where I had the pleasure of meeting your wonderful son "Dustin". Dustin was a very loving and compassionate Marine who came into our lives and brought us happiness. I can never think of a time that he was with us that he did not have a smile upon his face and was not laughing. Dustin always expressed how he was proud of being a Marine and keeping my oldest daughter interested in being a Marine after she graduates from high school.He also express the importance of her taking JROTC in shool. My youngest daughter Lauran has the desire of being a lawyer when she gets older and he explained to her that when he got out of the USMC in 2 yrs he wanted to attend college to be a lawyer also. Lauran is not only going to college to be a lawyer but also to carry on Dustins dream of wanting to be a lawyer. Dustins love for cars was his pride next to the USMC.

Since finding out about your loss of Dustin, my daughter Alyssa wrote a school paper on who she felt was her "American Hero" and she Choose your son. The story touched everyones lives at St.Peters Catholic School where my daughters attend school and in loving memories of Dustin the school and St. Peters Catholic Church awarded my daughter a Perpetual Membership in the Passionist Benefactors Society. The church has confirmed that Dustin Fitzgerald will have special masses, prayers and sacrifices dedicated in honor of him at masses forever. The award my daughter recieved she will be passing it to Mr.& Mrs. Michael Fitzgerald."An Everlasting Remembrance" Dustin was a Hero in everyones eyes even through the eyes of his fellow comrades. Dustin was the best of the best. The USMC lost a good Marine. My daughters and I will also be placing the American hero paper in honor of Dustin in our towns local newspaper to let everyone know how much he fought to protect us Americans. Dustin touched our lives and loved everyone in a way that will never be forgotten. I knew Dustin was a wonderful person from the first moment I met him and he was telling me how wonderful his Mama was and that she was his best friend. And his love for his mother displayed in the love he showed me and my girls. He had a heart of gold. The last four months Dustin spent with us will be memories that we will carry deep in our hearts FOREVER. The tears we cry everyday are tears of joy for the times he made us laugh and the inspirational love he gave us. He told me and showed me that TRUE LOVE can be found.

Our Hearts go out to the Fitzgerald family for life. We will keep you and your precious loving son in our prayers and may God help guide you through these trying times.

Everytime I LQQK at the stars Babe I will think of you and how my heart misses you and your cute smile. I will NEVER forget our long conversations. Till we meet again I will carry the special Love we shared and memories and the time we spent together. I thank God everyday for having the opportunity to have had you in my life. Our relationship was what all relationships should be about. True Love.:)Missing you so much that it hurts.Everytime your watch beeps I hold it close to my heart and it is like your heart beat going on deep within side of me.I will keep it going FOREVER!!

Love always Dustin,<3
From Chistina aka Your CrAzY/SEXY BABE

Christina Benn and Family of Greenville, North Carolina USA


"Dearest Dustin,
Sometimes you don't know how serious things really are till something totally hits you. We loved hearing your stories about being a Marine, and seeing that unbeatable grin upon your face. You loved what you did, and that deserves respect. I carry your picture in my wallet to remind me of life, and how precious it really is. We love you and pray for you and your family. You’re missed in our hearts, dearly."
Kenneth and Sabrina of Beavercreek, OH

"Because of your bravery and sacrifice, maybe none of my students will have to know war. Thank you."
Mrs. Arthur's 4th grade class of Nelsonville, Ohio

"Dear Family of Dustin,

My name is Jerry Baumgartner. I live in Portland, Oregon. I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Last Sunday, September 12, 2004, my wife Peggy and I visited a 9-11 memorial in Gresham, Oregon. The memorial was composed of a number of sections (Twin Towers, Pentagon, Pennsylvania Crash site, and a Military Section) where an American Flag flew for each person who has died. My wife and I walked through the military section because we have a Marine son, Sgt Gregory Baumgartner. Walking thru over 1,000 flags was very emotional and the impact very sobering. I greatly appreciate the sacrifice made by so many to safeguard the freedom of our county.

After walking thru the memorial we stopped at a donation table where you could purchase a flag. The proceeds go to help with hardships experienced by military families in Oregon. We asked for the locations of any Marines who had died from Ohio and we bought the flag that honored your son Dustin. The flag came with red, white and blue flowers and a placard with his name. We placed them in our front yard to honor your son and we will do so on the various “Fly The Flag” days for the next year. Today, September 19, 2004 is POW/MIA Recognition Day and the flag is flying.

We are so sorry to learn of the recent death of your son. I have read the messages about Dustin on the Fallen Heroes Memorial website. It sounds like you had a fine outstanding son and a Marine-something special to me. He gave the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our liberty (Jn 15:13-Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends). We so appreciate his service and may God bless your family in this difficult time. My family will keep you in our prayers. (9-19-04)


The Baumgartner’s - Portland, Oregon,
Jerry Baumgartner of Portland, Oregon

"My heartfelt condolences to Dustin's family.. My son Nick was with Dustin when his accident occured. He wrote home and told me of his pain at losing a good friend. That pain will be with him forever as your pain will be with you forever.He had only good things to say about Dustin and his family.. He said that Dustin would stay an extra hour at fire watch just so the rest could sleep a little longer. Such a generous person and special friend. Nick said it is true ( only the good die young.) Our prayers are with you."
Ann Jones and son Cpl Nicholas R. Jones of Olympia, WA USA

""I am 14 and a member of the OHIO 91st divison of JROTC and i would like to honor Dustin Fitzgerald in fighting for my FREEDOM.he was a good kid and a damn good PATRIOT."
Daniel Robl of Huber Heights,Ohio

"To Dustin/my Pookie
You will never be forgotten, how could anyone forget your smiling face, it's impossible:-) . As I've told you everyday, you have my heart. Although you are not here, I know you are looking down on all of us and part of you will always remain. You had told me up until our last conversation, "we have something special" and thats how I know that death cannot seperate us, because we are bound by the ties of true love. And you know what, you are tied by something special to everyone you've met because I know you have touched everyone of those people. You are truely a hero. God Bless you Dustin. I'll be seeing you soon. I miss and love you baby. Love always, Jessi/your buttercup :)"
Jessica Saunders of Beavercreek, Ohio

"To fitz You memory will never fade and your laughter never forgotten. Your passing leaves a hole in our lines and hearts. Semper fi.

Lcpl Christopher Neff of Bravo 1/2, Iraq

"Dustin, you will never be frogotten for your bravery and standing up for our country. To the family of Dustin, im so sorry for your lose, may GOD be with each and everyone of you and help you through this very hard trying time. your son will never be forgotton.DUSTIN IS IN GOOD HANDS NOW AND IS WATCHING OVER ALL THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY HE LOVED. I didn't know you personally but wish i had, my daughter and i were in the last pictures that were taken of you and it makes me proud to know i was there by such a brave person."

"To Lance Cpl Fitzgerald's family & friends you are in my thoughts and prayers. I to feel and know your pain and sorrow. Cpl Fitzgerald thank you soldier for your sacrifice for your country. You will never be forgotten. You are a great Hero.
The Widow of Robert J. Mogensen
3rd SFG KIA 5/29/2004 Afghanistan"
Tanya Mogensen & family of North Carolina

"When I heard about what happened to Dustin, I was immediately taken back to Junior High and early high school, when he used to hang out with all of us. He definantly stood out in our group with his sense of humor. He was genuine. Years after I knew him, I still remember how he made us all laugh...and how big a crush I had on him : ). He was a good guy and will be remembered and missed by his old friends in Leoti."
Brenna Downs of Kansas

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Dustin R. Fitzgerald,

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 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

"Dusty was a good kid and will be missed. We got to know him well when he moved with his family back to Dayton from Kansas in 1996. Dusty and his cousin Amy (my daughter) hit it off and she thought the world of him. She always got a big kick out of how he kidded his brothers. He was a Brave young man that died before his time. He had a unique sense of humor and a laugh that will be missed at all of our family gatherings. He was and is an "American Hero"!! He's in a better place, that's for sure and I know he's on the FRont Line of God's Army!! Where else would a Marine be. We love you Dusty, Uncle Dave, Aunt Cheryl and Amy"
Dave, Cheryl and Amy Jones of Kettering, Ohio

"I am so sorry to hear about what happened to Dustin. I went to high school with him but lost contact after graduation. He was a wonderful guy and I always knew that he would make something great out of himself. He will be missed greatly."
Kathy Robbins of Huber Heights, oh

"Dustin and family you all are my heros dustin man im gonna miss ya you made me who i am today ever since my freshman year ive looked up to you as a mentor and you will always be in my heart as a hero fitz and to the fitzgerald family if you need anything you call me and ill make my way home to ohio."
Philipino Phil aka phil malonjao of Ft Gordon ga

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Dustin. His sacrifice has made the world a better place and he is truly a HERO. He will be missed by all, especially his brothers in his platoon! God Bless."
Mark Thomas Family, (Family of CPL Spencer Thomas 1/2 Bravo ) of Tucson, Arizona

"Dustin will always be remembered as a proud, young Marine who gave his life for his country. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

William H. Bachmann, Sr.

Proud father of Cpl. Will Bachmann, Jr. USMC
Charlie 1/2 Iraq 2003
Fox 2/8 Afghanistan 2004"
William Bachmann, Sr. of Belvidere, NJ

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

"To Dustin's Family, Our hearts break for you and we weep for your loss. These are dark days but there are others who really do understand this pain and will lift you in prayer. Aunt of PFC Bradley Kritzer, killed in Bahdad, May 5th, 2004."
Laurie Miles, megsnana@hotmail.com of Coalport, PA

"I would like to extend my sympathy to the four of you & your extended family. My mom called & told me of your loss & we are all keeping your family in our prayers here in Kansas! It has been a long time since we have communicated, but your family has left footprints on our hearts in Leoti. We miss all of you!"
Marian (Riley) Hardy of Newton, KS

"To Dustin'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 your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.


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

"To the family of Dustin;
Our sincerest condolences for your loss.
Our family has also suffered the loss of a precious life in this battle for freedom. Dustin is a true American hero and he will always be remembered for his bravery and sacrifice he gave to our country. May God bless you and I pray you find some peace and comfort during this difficult time."
The McClain family--azquail@att.net of Tucson, AZ

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude.
May G-d provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten.
A grateful citizen and a Proud Marine Mom,"
Lily of Wakefield MA

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. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Dustin'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

"To the family, friends, and loved ones I would like to send my deepest sympathies I share your loss. My fiancee Spc Shawn Davies lossed his life in Iraq 7-8-04. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. May God bless and comfort you in this most difficult time."
Autum Shingler ashingler09@yahoo.com of Aliquippa, Pa

"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

"Thank you Dustin Fitzgerald, 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 Lance Cpl. Dustin Fitzgerald:
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 Lance Cpl. Dustin Fitzgerald:
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