Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Tommy I. Folks, Jr.

31, of Amarillo, Texas.
Folks died in Baghdad, Iraq of injuries sustained on October 18, 2005 in Iskandariyah, Iraq, when multiple improvised explosive devices detonated near his HMMWV during convoy operations. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Amarillo, Texas. Died on October 19, 2005.

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"It is Memorial Day, almost 11 years after we lost Tommy. Reading the posts below from his A Company peers and Soldiers, and his buddies from his days in 10th Mountain, I'm glad to see that he's still with us. What an impact he had on our lives....both in how he lived and how he died. I think about you and your family every day SFC Folks. But there really aren't words. Thank you doesn't even come close..."
Jeff Breor of McKinney, Tx

"I servered with Ssg Folks during OIF III he was one of the best NCOs I have ever met and had the pleasure of serving with. He always lead by example. Always made time for any soldier. You are sorely missed and and will never be forgotten."
Sgt. Gamez, Nicholas of San Antonio, Tx

"I will never forget.
Kyle Crook"

"Tommy,
It's almost ten years now since the world got a little darker and our Soldiers lost a beautiful leader. I have always strived to be the kind of leader that would lay everything on the line for his Soldiers, and give more than I ever asked of them. You told me once that you thought the very same.I am not sure how often or well I was able to do that, but I tried to make every decision that affected Soldiers' lives count. I watched you with your guys, and I knew that you were are rare man. In all these years, I've never known a more committed, selfless leader. You set the standard for us all to follow.
We were peers at 10th MTN, and again in the 36th, but I always looked to you as the kind of NCO I strived to be. Thank you, Tommy. You are remembered often.
"CLIMB TO GLORY!""
1SG Davis of Austin,TX

"SGT Folks,

Although I didn't serve under you at the time, you left one hell of an impression on me. I used to work in the Battalion TOC and see you when you would check in. I remember your work ethic and commitment to duty. You are admired and missed. RIP"
Dozier Summers of Plano, TX

"Wow, we are coming up on 10 years. It just seems like yesterday. The 1st NCO I meet when I transferred to A.co 2-142 in May of 2005 was SSG Folks. He made me feel at home and treated me like a soldier. My first mission with A Co. Was with his squad. It set the tone for the rest of the tour. He represented what Axe company was all about and tought me what the standard was. I will never forget you SSG. The night you passed I think you took a little bit of us all with you . Rip"
SGT Erik Fox (retired)

"https://www.facebook.com/WTAMUGolf/photos/pb.418209104956385.-2207520000.1422775512./636532279790732/?type=1&theater

This is our way of saying thanks. You will be with us as we start our spring semester! Thanks Tommy!"
West Texas A&M Mens Golf of Canyon TX

"I do believe that Tommy saved my life. I was just an arm reach away from him that night in his vehicle. I think of him everyday and give thanx to him for not only saving my life, but also his squad. He is missed, and I have the greatest honor to have served with one of the most professional NCO I have known. Gods speed!"
SFC Kyle Crook of Scania, Iraq CSC

"I do believe that Tommy saved my life. I was just an arm reach away from him that night in his vehicle. I think of him everyday and give thanx to him for not only saving my life, but also his squad. He is missed, and I have the greatest honor to have served with one of the most professional NCO I have known. Gods speed!"
SFC Kyle Crook of Scania, Iraq CSC

"SSG Folks,

Although I never met you personally, I was on Route Tampa that night your convoy was hit. We were just a few miles north of your location heading south. It saddens me we couldn't help you then. Every year at this time, I think of you and your team. RIP SSG Folks.

SSG Capuano of B 2-112 AR, 56 BCT stationed at Talil in 2005

Aka Black Knight 12
10/17/2012"
SSG Capuano of Houston, TX

"WOW, HERE DO I EVEN BEGIN....TOMMY, EVEN THOUGH ITS GOING TO MAKE SIX YEARS THAT YOU GAVE YOUR LIFE, THE PAIN I STILL CARRY AS THOUGH IT WAS YESTERDAY..i CARRY WITH ME THE GOOD MEMORIES AS WELL..I WILL ALWAYS VALUE THE LESSONS YOU TAUGHT US. YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE WILL ALWAYS STAY WITH ALL WHO CAME IN CONTACT WITH YOU..I REMEMBER WHEN TOMMY HUGHES AND I MEET YOU AND YOUR STYLE OF TRAINING..YOU MADE SURE THAT WHERE EVER WE WENT OR WHERE EVER WE WERE NEEDED AS A SQUAD OR PLATOON, WE WERE ALWAYS THE FIRST ONES TO SHOW UP, AND WHEN IT CAME TO TRAINING YOU EXPECTED NOTHING BUT 110% EFFORT AND WAS NOT SATISFIED TILL YOU GOT YOUR 110% AND THATS WHY WERE ALWAYS THE SQUAD EVERY OTHER SQUAD WANTED TO EMULATE..BECAUSE OF YOU TOMMY WE ALWAYS SET THE BAR..WE WERE ALWAYS THE FIRST TO TRAIN AND THE LAST TO STOP TRAINING, AS MUCH AS WE HATED THAT, IT MADE US WHO WE ARE TODAY..TOMMY, YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN..I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU, MY FRIEND..I WILL ALWAYS LOOK UP TO YOU!! AXE3-1..AXE3-1...AXE3-1A OVER....NEGATIVE CONTACT WITH AXE 3-1...AXE3-1A OUT"
MARCO MARTINEZ of LUBBOCK, TEXAS

"SFC. Folks,
I honed my leadership skills by watching you and through our conversations during the RIP (relief in place) in place at Tallil while the squad I was in turned over the KBR escort mission to your squad in March of 2005. I remember you as the quiet professional who always had a smile on his face and never failed to say "HI" or "good morning." You're gone but not forgotten and your leadership style lives on!"
Sgt. Felix, Frank E. of Tallil Air Base (COB Adder) OND 2011-12

"I had the pleasure of meeting tommy in iraq outside of the toc in tallil afb he was a good soldier and a great infantryman. R.I.P. tommy. you are missed"
SGT. Anthony Sills Bco 2/142 of dallas texas usa

"My heart breaks for his family! I can't imagine what they are going through! You don't here the name Folks too much! Since, that is my maiden name I felt a pit in my heart and soul for his family! As many that went before him, He died for his family and his country!
He is with God now! I know that my father, Kenneth Lyle Folks would be there to shake his hand! God Bless The Folks Family and God Bless America!"
Sheryl Folks of National City, CA

"Tommy and I were very close childhood friends. I was shocked and saddened upon discovering his passing. I still have the comic books he and I created together, 3rd or 4th grade, at Puckett School. I'll never forget him. My condolences to his very nice family."
Joel Jensen of Houston, Texas

"Fallen but never Forgotten my friend we miss you and honor you. You will always be with us!!"
Sgt John Castro of Grand Prairie Texas

"Still think of you. I named my new son Thomas."
Lt

"Just thinking of him. Bringing up put back emotions. Miss the man."

"Another year gone by. Still feels like yesterday. Ill never forget"
Hughes of Sweetwater, TX

"I served as an Infantry Team Leader in A Co. 2-142 IN, 1st platoon in Iraq, and was very fortunate to have worked alongside SSG Folks and several of his soldiers. Man, his guys were so...they had a driving spirit that only Tommy could have encouraged and nurtured. His leadership and inspiration was passed to several great soldiers who have become even greater leaders...I can only attribute this to Tommy's strength and leadership as a Non Commissioned Officer. He will always be remembered and revered as a friend, a brother, and as a Patriot."
SFC Rudy E. Rosales of Bagram, Afghanistan OEF

"ITS FATHERS DAY TOMORROW. I LOVE HIM LIKE MY OWN FATHER. LEARNED TO BE THE SOLDIER I AM TODAY FOR ALWAYS BEING AT HIS SIDE. WISH IT COULD HAD BEEN ME THAT NIGHT. NOPE, HE WANTED ME IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION. LOVE THAT MAN. THINKING OF HIM ALWAYS."
SGT TOMMY HUGHES of SWEETER,TX

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,450 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna"
Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"Re: SSG Tommy I Folks

Hello,
I represent PRAYER SHAWLS 4 FALLEN SOLDIERS (PS4FS), an organization that since October 2007 has sent over 2,800 prayer shawls to military families who have lost a loved one. We are an organization of over 240 groups from all over the country. We make every effort to reach families even when post cards are returned after they have moved. Would you kindly send me a contact email/address so that we may send a loving hand-made prayer shawl to the family? Thank you!

Cozette Haggerty, Prayer Shawls 4 Fallen Soldiers
Email: ps4fs@charter.net
Website Address: http://webpages.charter.net/ps4fs/shawls"
Cozette Haggerty of Wilbraham, Mass.

"4/18/09 Tommy, just thought of you today. Another friend in the industry had recently passed on and I'm in my office thinking about all the people who come and go in our lives. Rest in peace."
Eric of Los Angeles

"SFC TOMMY I FOLKS Jr MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND @ WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

As many of you know and for those who are'nt aware, a memorial scholarship fund was established for Tommy at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX.

Tommy was a student at this university and was on the verge of graduating when he was called for his second, and sadly, final tour of duty in the Global War on Terrorism.

The Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry - Texas Army National Guard - established the SFC Tommy I Folks Jr Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor Tommys commitment.

As of 18 DEC 2008, the fund reached its initial endowment goal of $10,000.00. The fund will grow @ a 5% rate for appx 15 months. Scholarships will then be disbursed in Tommy's name for an Education or Sports & Exercise Science Major at the university.

We have set a secondary goal of raising an additional $10,000.00. If youd like to contribute to Tommys fund, please contact Ms Jennifer Ashley @ 806-651-2912 or jrashley@wtamu.edu

Tommy, we still miss you brother. Gods Blessings upon all who read this message.

In Him,"
CPT James M. Campbell of Austin, TX

"August 31, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Tommy I. Folks, Jr.:
Tommy 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

"Still think of you, miss you "Stinky""
Lt M

"I still think of Tommy every day. I'll never forget how he left us -- leading his squad from the front, just like always. His commitment and leadership has become a standard for how I try to live my life. Like a previous post...I too am convinced that he was immune to cold weather. I never saw him wear any cold weather gear - ever...."
Jeff Breor of Dallas, Texas

"Tommy, today is May 23, 2008. It's memorial day weekend and around this time I've always think of you. It's been a few years since you left us and I remember those early years at UNT...we were just 18 or 19..kids back then...in any case, just keeping you in mind ... you won't be forgotten. I know Todd thinks of you too. He has a daughter now..Savannah..you would love his little girl. Bashful but with a big ol' smile...anyways, you're in my thoughts."
Eric of Los Angles

"I new Staff Sgt.Folks he was my uncles staff Sgt. he was known as Sgt. Martinez
Or Marco Martinez and thanks for all that you have done."
Michael of Lubbock Texas

"I had the honor of serving as SPC then SGT Folks' platoon leader in Hohenfels, Germany. Tommy was the most dedicated soldier in our platoon/company. To this day, I still think he was immune to cold weather. He was an incredible soldier and never ONCE complained about mission or conditions. I am at a true loss and cannot begin to understand what his family is going through at this time. I know it has been a few years, but I am only finding out about his loss now. I cannot hide my feelings as to how good a soldier and individual Tommy was to the entire platoon. He would accept any mission and complete it without fail. He was the silent, dependable soldier that always rose to the occasion. You are truly missed SGT Folks - my thoughts will be with you always. Apache 36 ~ Apache 5 Out."
Brian Reidy of New York, NY

"Sgt. Folks, its been long 2 years since that night. I will never understand and I truly miss you. You will never be forgotten."
MSR Warrior of Austin

"Everyone who served with Tommy is a better person for it. I only knew him for a couple of years but he set examples that will follow me for the rest of my life."
fellow NCO of San Antonio, TX

"To the family of:Tommy I. Folks,Jr. 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"

"Tommy Folks Sr., Tommy Folks was a great man (a true soldier). I was a fellow squad leader in his platoon in Iraq. He would always get us up earlier then other platoons when it was time to train (when he was plt. sgt) and I hated him for that. But I see now that he was only trying to prepare us the best way he knew how, and did an outstanding job at it. (We were the most prepared platoon there, mostly of yours son's leadership qualities you've instilled in him) He will surely be missed."
SSG. Parker, Levi of Arlington, Texas

"To Tommy Folks, Sr.:
You don't need me to tell you what a great man your son was. I will tell you how he affected those of us who served with him. I served as the Platoon Sergeant of 1st Platoon in Company A with Tommy. I frequently had dealings with Tommy as he was senior squad leader of 3rd Platoon. I remember a conversation in Ft Hood that Tommy and I had where we discovered that we had served in the same battalion in Hohenfels, but never knew it prior. We always had a laugh about that afterwards. It never ceased to amaze me how committed Tommy was to his men, his mission and his company. You never saw one of Tommy's men working without Tommy right next to him. He had the rough hands of a true working man. I was often humbled by the way basic leadership skills (that I had to learn and work at) came so easily to Tommy. Tommy always put the needs of others and his unit above his own. I will never forget your son. I was in Al Asad on another mission when Tommy gave all, he was using the truck I had left behind when I left on the 6 week mission to the Al Anbar province, bumper number TA 19, sitting in my seat. For the rest of my days, Tommy will ride with me."
SFC Erik L. Felde of Austin, Texas

"To SSG. Tommy Folks family,
I served with Tommy in 1-4 Inf BN. Hohenfels, Germany. He and I came up through the ranks together. I PCS from Germany to Ft. Bragg and unfortunately lost contact with him. We had some great times together, I will never forget. I also served in Iraq. Much of that time I wish I could Forget. Tommy was a great friend, and an even better soldier. I miss him, and think of him often. I learned of his death by watching the evening news. I didn't sleep well that night. He will be missed."
Scott Kainz of Stoddard, Wisconsin

"I didn't know him as well as I should have. But he was a great squad leader for our company. My prayers are with your family"
Stewart of beaumont, tx

"I knew Tommy from the time he was just a boy.I have never been more proud or saddened by his death.Tommy was a very private man. Learning of his heroic actions in Afghanastan, and then in Iraq, was both comforting and amazing. Hearing from his brave brothers and of their respect for him meant so much to all of us in our home town of Amarillo. I hope no one ever forgets TOMMY. His three sisters and father never wiil."
Leslie Wilkerson of Amarillo,Tx. USA

"I knew Tommy in college back at UNT. I was in my freshman year. He and I were in the same collge organization along with my friend Todd. Todd and Tommy hit it off and later became roommates at College Inn, I used to call them Beavis & Butthead because they both loved watching the show and making noises like the two....

Todd called me today to let me know he found out about Tommy's passing and I sat in traffic thinking about the times back in '92....

I'm sending my prayers to his family .... I wish I had kept better contact with him . If his family is reading this, I have videotape of him back then. I was a film major so I've video many of my friends and I still have it somewhere, if you wish a copy, I will gladly have it made to a DVD or a VHS tape. I can be contacted at echang1988 (AT) yahoo.com.

Thank you. God bless...."
Eric Chang of Los Angeles

"From all of us troops here in Iraq from Wellington and surrounding cities, we deeply miss our fallen hero. We pray for his family and friends. May God Bless and keep us."
1LT Jeff Karl of Scania, Iraq

"Rest in Peace Tufelhunden...
J and T Taylor USMC
Sister of a Fallen Marine"

"I am deeply sorry for your loss and the loss of a great Texan. May God give you the strength and courage to face the days ahead.

Michele Carter
Sister of CPL Gary Walters
KIA in Baghdad on 24 April 2005"

"To the Folks family,
Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the loss of your beloved TOMMY. We hope you find some comfort in knowing he was an American Hero.
TOMMY - thank you Brave Soldier, for your courage and service to our country. We celebrate your life and honor your memory. May the Angels surround your family as they try to heal.
From a grateful family of a US Army Soldier, Ft. Campbell 101st AVN Regt, now serving in Iraq, 10-20-05"
---The Erwin Family of Oregon, United States of America

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

"TO THE FOLKS FAMILY FROMTHE WAHL FAMILY. DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE NEWS. OUR FAMILY HEARTS AND PRAYS ARE WITH TOMMY AND YOUR FAMILY. WE LOST OUR SON GREGORY LAST YEAR IN BALAD, IRAQ. WE ALL DEAL WITH OUR LOST VERY DIFFERENTLY. STILL FALLEN FAMILIES ARE WITH YOU. TOMMY THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY. ESPECIALLY, FOR BEING A MILITARY BROTHER TO OUR SON. THAT I GREATLY, APPRECIATE. I NEVER WORRIED ONE MOMENT. KNOWING HE WAS SERVING WITH THE ELITE OF ALL AMERICANS. THAT YOU ALL WATCH OVER ONE ANOTHER AS OUR SON DID FOR YOU. YOU ARE A HERO ONE THAT HAS NOT GIVEN HIS LIFE IN VAIN: TOMMY! I HOPE YOUR FAMILY REACHES OUT TO YOUR COMMUNITY AND POLITICAL LEADERS TODAY. TO REQUEST A STREET BE NAMED IN YOUR HONOUR! THAT NO ONE IN YOUR COMMUNITY WILL FORGET. THE SERVICE TO YOUR COMMUNITY, COUNTY, STATE ABD COUNTRY. IT IS THE VERY LEAST YOUR COMMUNITY CAN DO FOR TOMMY! YOU AHVE TOUCHED MANY MANY HEARTS TOMMY. ONCE THAT WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU BY. YOU ARE APART OF MILITARY, IRAQI, AMERICAN AND WORLD HISTORY. TO FIGHT OFF TERRORISM AND GIVE THOSE IN IRAQ HOPE TO LIVE IN PEACE. TOMMY THANK YOU! MY TEARS NEVER STOPPED FOR OUR SON AND FLOWS DOWN MY CHEEK FOR YOY TOMMY. YOU ARE SOMEONE'S SOMEONE AND SOMEONE TO ME!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"To Tommy'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 as we mourn the loss of yet another of Texas' sons. Our boys are truly heroes!

By His Grace,

Gloria Caldas
Proud Mother of Fallen Hero
Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas
"The Big Ern", 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
San Antonio, Texas
gloria.caldas@sbcglobal.net"

"Thank you Tommy Folks, Jr., 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 Staff Sgt. Tommy Folks, Jr.:
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 Tommy 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 Staff Sgt. Tommy Folks, Jr.:
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 Tommy, 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