Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Tomas Garces

19, of Weslaco, Texas.
Garces died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his convoy was attacked by enemy forces using an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1836th Transportation Company, Fort Bliss, Texas. Died on September 6, 2004.

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"Miss and love you Tommy boy!I will always remember ur great heart and that last hug u gave me the week u left. Your my hero"
Maria of Weslaco

"Garces, not a day goes by that I do not think about you in some way. It's hard to believe it has been 10 years ago today. You'll never be forgotten.

Years go by but we all share that bond. gary.davidson02@gmail.com"
SGT Davidson, Gary of Killeen (Fort Hood), TX

"2014 - Garces, the years may go by, but for some of us it stands still. When we lost you, we lost a part of ourselves. We lost our brother, our friend, our hero. My prayers go out to your family. You will always be remembered. You will always be in our hearts."
Leyva of El Paso Tx

"Tomas, just stopping by to say Happy holidays to you and your family. Your family is being prayed for always. God bless Brother, it's another day closer to seeing you."
Phillip Rafanan of Ft. Hood, Texas/USA

"Hey Tomas! It's your brother SSG Rafanan. I came by to visit you. I think of you often Bro. Time is going by. My back is still messed up from that collision me and SGT Farmer were in after that IED went off that took your life. I still see the landing legs of the TCN HET through the glass window of my HET. I still hear SGT Farmer scream as we both went smashing into the cab. I got thrown into the glass and then tossed like garbage into the rear seat upside down. Farmer smashed into the steering wheel and column. Our HET was pretty smashed up. The guys in the following gun truck with SSG Casteneda pulled us out of the cab. I was briefly knocked out and dazed where I pulled out of it as they CASEVACed me into the back passenger seat of the gun truck. I tried to get up and help the guys who came to disengage our HET trailer from the damaged cab, I was running on pure adrenaline Bro. My trailer was damaged on the gooseneck near the APU as the up-armored PLS truck we carried broke all the binder chains and ran up the gooseneck smashing into the APU. I guess we were pretty blessed because if we were going 50+ instead of the 40-45mph, that PLS truck would've been on top of our cab. I helped a little. I started feeling dizzy and my head was aching so I went inside the gun truck. They eventually got us into BIAP. I had saw all the security on Tampa where you were hit. I didn't know the IED blast that I heard right before my truck collided was related. But later I found out it was. Your vehicle that was hit caused the chain reaction collision where the TCN vehicle in front of me reacted to avoid your gun truck which apparently swerved on the road and caused him to brake hard to avoid hitting y'alls gun truck. Our HET doesn't have the same brakes as the new Mercedes-Benz HETs so we couldn't stop fast enough once everything happened so fast. I was up at an angle on the doghouse scanning the horizon as we heard there was contact ahead in y'alls convoy. But as soon as I heard that IED blast, I quickly turned straight towards the area I heard the blast and before I could blink again I screamed Farmer! As in an instant the red landing legs of the TCN Het were right there. I knew we were going to hit hard. I for a brief moment wasn't sure if Farmer got knocked out or stunned from the IED blast? But it happened so quick. Your Medevac held up Tampa and unbeknownst to me, I wasn't aware they took you up. I didn't find out it was you till getting into BIAP and your Platoon mates were huddled by one of the blast barriers where they just gathered to pray and mourn. I saw your name painted next to the RIP letters and it hit me hard. I wasn't even concerned for my health. As it was it took about two hours to get seen on Camp Seitz. They were just under a mortar attack and the lost some Soldiers, and we had to wait to get cleared to go to the lil hospital there. They did some X-Rays, gave me motrin and checked Farmer and I out. I survived. Everytime my back aches, I think of how that day went. It reminds me of you. It reminds me of how if just a few seconds later, I could've been hit? You are my hero. You protected our flank when we were on Tampa. You did your job. You served so bravely. I miss you Tomas. I will one day go meet your family, let them know how blessed I was to have served and befriended you. You are my hero! I know we will meet in heaven."
SSG Phillip Rafanan of Round Rock, Texas USA

"To the family of:Tomas Garces
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"4-2-11"

"Every time I saw SPC Garces, Tomas he had a smile on his face. He had a positive attitude no matter where he was at. He was a hard worker and an example to everyone who came in contact with him. We had talked about going to church together after our mission was complete. When we got inside Biap, a friend of mine showed me a picture of the RIP Memorial. I asked if it was true and was told that it was. I remember crying hysterically for about 30 seconds. I could not believe my ears. Time has passed and I still think about the day that SPC Garza, Tomas went home to the Lord. God be with his family."
SSG Peavy, Elizabeth - Retired - Former 1836th Trans Co Soldier of El Paso, Texas

"Garces, you will never be forgotten. Though it has been over 5 years since that day and I will always remember talking with you one last time that night before God called you home. You always had me laughing about something! You were such a good person Garces. Your pride in the Valley and Weslaco was so great, you made ME proud of the Valley and I wasn't even from there! You are sorely missed and I will never forget you. You and your family will always be in my heart and prayers."
Amanda Alvarado (formerly SPC Thomas) of McAllen, Texas

"WELL THOMAS ITS ALREADY 2010 AND THINGS STILL BRING BACK MEMORYS I STILL CAN REMEMBER US GOOFING AND JOKING IN MR QUESADAS ART CLASS LOL THOSE WERE FUNNY DAYS. I WAS LOOKING THREW SOME BOXES FOR SOME MITS CUZ MY LIL BOY STARTED BOXING AND FOUND THE ADIDAS HAT U GAVE ME WHEN WE TOOK THE ASVAP TEST TOGETHER AND JUST STARTED TO GET MAD AT WHY I DIDNT GRADUATE AND GO TO NATIONAL GUARD AS WELL U GRADUATED AND I GOT INTO A FIGHT OVER A STUPID GIRL AND GOT EXPELLED I SHOULD HAVE WENT WITH YOU OVER THERE.THE YEARS HAVE COME AND GONE QUICK BUT FUNNY HOW THAT HAT POPPING UP BRINGS BACK SAD AND ANGRY FELLINGS.TILL WE SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN REST IN PEACE AND I WILL BE PUTTING THE ADIDAS CAP UP IN MY SONS ROOM.AND TO THE GARCES FAMILY I KNOW TIME MITE NEVER HEAL THIS WOUND BUT REST TO SURE HE IS WITH GOD WATCHIN OVER US ALL."
ALBERT V. of WESLACO TX

"Tomas, thank you for sacrificing your life. It was an unselfish act that should always be honored and remembered. I miss you cousin. You were like a brother to me. I still remember our childhood memories and cherish them everyday. It's been years since we lost you. You're our precious solider that we treasure even after all this time. I keep you and Ruben in my heart. Please forgive me for not saying goodbye to either of you in person. I know that you're in a better place with our heavenly Father. Thank you for being my angels, Tomas and Ruben. I'll see you guys when I get there. I love you both dearly!!!

Thank you all for your gratifying support of my cousin's family. We appreciate your condolences. God bless you all!"
Cris Garces of Edinburg, Texas, US

"In loving memory of Tomas, it's been a little over 5 yrs, since the tragic incident, still you are in my thoughts, and still I haven't overcome the incident that has changed my life.
I was in 1836 Trans Co. also I was actually in 1st plt. gun truck, so as gun crews we had a bond that only we knew, just like one of the previous sargents wrote we pulled into Camp Scania that night, my platoon arrived later in the evening, Tomas was already in the 20+ man tent we were assigned to sleep in " since we couldnt sleep in the HUMMVEES" we arrived and had already missed evening chow and I laid my equip. on the cot(about 5 cots down for Tomas', we talked for a little while before turning lights out, my team and I were waiting to find out what time we were to roll out the next morning, we were told we were leaving 1st. As we all turned down for the evening we were then notified that we were leaving after Tomas' plt. In the early morning I remember Tomas kicking my bunk an saying "Wake up lazy it's morning already," I was upset since it felt like I just closed my eyes. Well we got ready to head out and waited for 4th plt. to head out. We finally left and that morining was cold and we left it was still dark, after being on the road for several hours in what seemed an eternity, is when we heard on the radio that one of our convoys was being hit, but before the radio call I heard in the very distance a bang, unaware what was about to transpire, our convoy stopped, with all the talking back and forth we couldn't figure out what occurred, I was injured (not combat related)as I sat in the turret, we finally were able to move again, as we came closer to BIAP-Baghdad International AirPort, there was a disturbing silence in my head, finally we pulled into BIAP and on the wall we could see spray painted RIP TOMAS GARCES, I felt chills run down my spine, my crew was uneasy being that although they were not my normal crew they were from the Valley and were closer to Tomas. We sat for a long while
awaiting news, we hoped that he was just injured, but then came the Worst News we could here, and that was that SPC. Tomas Garces was fatally wound and my heart sunk to my stomach, what I wouldn't have given for it to have been me, he was very young and had his whole life ahead of him still, I on the other hand was well past my teens, and he would have amounted for more than I have in these 5 yrs. post OIF 2, 2004-2005. Tomas you'll always be remembered, WE ALL GAVE SOME, BUT SOME GAVE ALL...you now serve a Greater Army!


MR. and MRS. GARCES, I know it's been 5 yrs. already but I too have recently lost a son and before I didn't know what to say and could have said "I know your pain," but when we met in Weslaco when they changed the name of the Armory in memory of Tomas, there wasn't anything I could have said, but now I can say I FEEL YOUR PAIN AND YOUR LOSS, my condolences!!"
Sgt. Jesus Guerrero of el paso texas

"I love you cousin! it's been years already since you've left!! you'l never be forgotten! now you and ruben are together!!! i love you both!!! You're our angel from above!! I LOVE YOU!!!!"
Jeanette Garces of Progreso, Tx

"Dear Garces Family, Please accept our condolences on your son's sacrifice. You are in our prayers.We have a memorial garden in our front yard for Tomas and all the others. Our son stills serves in the USMC. IN CHRIST,PAM AND DANNY REID"
PAM DANNY REID of SAGINAW, TEXAS

"Dear Garces Family, Please accept our condolences on your son's sacrifice. You are in our prayers.We have a memorial garden in our front yard for Tomas and all the others. Our son stills serves in the USMC. IN CHRIST,PAM AND DANNY REID"
PAM DANNY REID of SAGINAW, TEXAS

"I Did not personally knew Spc. Tomas Garces, but i served in Iraq with his cousin Major Garces and he will always be remembered. I was also involved in a vehicle bomb improvised explosive device..SPC. Tomas Garces you will never be forgotten! OIF 04-05
SGT. D.LINAN 961ST QM CO."TOUGH OMBRES""
SGT. LINAN of PHARR,TX

"I miss my brother's present's"
holmesalex of 14056 lago azul, el paso tx 79928

"August 3, 2008
To the family of Spc. Tomas Garces:
Tomas 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

"It's been awhile since I've been back on this site. However I'm back to let you know Tomas you are not forgotten brother! Everyday, especially with the war still going on, you are remembered. You're still my hero and I love you bro! I pray for your family still and everyone you touched. You are with are Heavenly Father now looking down on us this holiday season. I just wanted to share to thank Jesus for allowing us the time we shared while you were still here with us. Your presence was a blessing to us all and I look forward to the day we all meet up in heaven bro. Happy holidays and God Bless to all the Tomas Garces' family!"
Phillip Rafanan of Round Rock,TX

"Tomas you were such a great friend to have in chemistry class, I will always cherish our memories and jokes. MISS YOU BUDDY!!!"
Seyhan of Phoenix, Arizona USA

"To my cousin Tomas Garces, may you rest in peace. It will be three years next month and I still feel the pain. It is very difficult to have lost you while we were both serving in the same battlefield and at the same time frame. Sometimes I feel, why wasn't I in your vicinity when it happen so that I could of been there with you.

I did not know I had a cousin serving in Iraq while I was there. According to relatives, he went back home for R&R and found out he had a cousin in Iraq. He attempted to look me up. The day he passed away, that Monday morning I woke up around 5 am and couldn't go back to sleep. I felt something in my blood...something that is difficult to explain. Well, that afternoon, I was given the news."
your cousin Major Juan Garces (U.S. Army), of Laredo, TX

"To my cousin Tomas Garces, may you rest in peace. It will be three years next month and I still feel the pain. It is very difficult to have lost you while we were both serving in the same battlefield and at the same time frame. Sometimes I feel, why wasn't I in your vicinity when it happen so that I could of been there with you.

I did not know I had a cousin serving in Iraq while I was there. According to relatives, he went back home for R&R and found out he had a cousin in Iraq. He attempted to look me up. The day he passed away, that Monday morning I woke up around 5 am and couldn't go back to sleep. I felt something in my blood...something that is difficult to explain. Well, that afternoon, I was given the news."
your cousin Major Juan Garces (U.S. Army), of Laredo, TX

"I never personally talked with Tomas but i did talk to his brother Ruben. He would always say how great of a soilder and brother Tomas was. Yes, we do miss them both greatly but we know they are in a much better place than here. God bless you Garces family, you are in my prayers! Love you!"
Vanessa of columbus,ohio

"I remember garces because on one mission he had just bought a guitar from a gift shop, and was practicing playing it when I walked up on him leaning against his truck strumming it. I remember him saying "I'm going to practice this guitar so by the time I go home I will be good at it." That has always stuck with me. We all have our memories of him and it's good that we can remember the good times. He will always be missed. I don't think there is one soldier in the 1836th that don't think about him everyday! I know I still do!!!!"
Spc. Lance R. Fraga of Belton, Texas

"It was my great honor to have served with Tomas while deployed with the 1836th. I was a filler in the unit and assigned to Tomas' platoon. He was the first person to make me feel welcome. He always knew how to cheer me up when I was having a bad day. He is greatly missed. I think about him every day and draw strength from him memory."
Adam Raybin of San Antonio, TX

"Tomas i miss you so much you and your brother Ruben. We miss you a lot we wish you could be here with us in this beautiful times God only knows why he does this I wish both of you could be here with us i really do. God bless your family. I will always remember both of you. You will always be in my heart. See you soon Tomas & Ruben."

"Tomas was a great cousin, friend for everybody. He will always be remembered and he will always be in our hearts. We will always remember the good times we pass with him. He gave his life for us. God only left us a memory of him and that is we will always remember him for ever. God bless all of his family and protect them. And always remember one thing TOMAS GARCES WAS A TRUE HERO FOR EVERYBODY?"
? of Weslaco, TX

"To: The family of Tomas Garces

Tomas will always be in our hearts. God bless all his family.
Hasta pronto primo."

"Its been two years since your departure bro. I miss you even more. Thank you for being our gaurdian angel. Keep a watch over all of us bro. Thank you everyone for being part of our family for being with us when we most need it. Thank you."
Rafael Garces Jr of Weslaco, TX

"well for all the ppl who are reading this and didnt know tomas well he was the kind of person that would do anything for someone. he cared about everyone. he was so excited when he joined he would even go to school dressed already with his uniform he loved to laugh. loved his family.loved life. i still go visit his grave once in a while.. just to tell him thanks for everything he did for us and for me as a freind. he WILL be missed forever... but one day we'll see him again and everyone else we've lost thru out the years... so see you when i get there tomas
Class of 2003"
Yoli of Weslaco TexAs

"Everyday that passes I miss you more and more. It's not the say without you. Now you and Ruben are together. Take care of all us. We will never forget you. I love you bro. Thank you everyone for all your prayers."
Rafael Garces Jr of Weslaco, Tx

"To the Garces family...not a day goes by when I don't think of your son Tomas and all the other soldiers who never made it home. However, I truly believe your son was put on this earth for only a short time to teach us a little about sincerity and having a generous heart. From everything I have read or written, he will always be remembered for his true spirit and kind soul. Para sus padres, deberas criaron a un joven noble y con un corazon de oro. Dios los bendiga ahora y siempre. Tomas esta con nosotros cada dia, viendonos desde arriba.







Sincerely,
Miriam Ramirez
Staff Writer
The Monitor, McAllen, TX
(formerly of the Mid-Valley Town Crier 2003-2005)"

"In Loving Memory of Tomas Garces,
My fellow American Patriots and family of Tomas Garces, I just saw this site and I am amazed and blessed to know that Tomas touched so many lives and that his sacrifice to us all is always remembered in our hearts. I personally worked in the same unit as Tomas. I wasn't in his platoon so we didn't get to see each other much as our unit's missions had us on different schedules most of the time. However on the day of his sacrifice I was following his platoon in my own convoy approximately 30 minutes behind. My platoon was originally supposed to leave before Tomas', however because of circumstances of our units' command and the Groups' Convoy Movement decisions, his platoon was chosen to leave before ours from CSC Scania. I was kind of wondering why at the time? But at different times in our missions, convoy leaders and the above chain of command would make decisions like this and move another platoon ahead of another despite that they arrived later. I still remember the day like it was yesterday. My memory of Tomas was mostly from a previous mission before, when myself and SPC Neuman wrestled with Tomas at Camp Cedar 2. Tomas saw me and SPC Neuman in the camps' gym and both of them started talking wrestling from their high school days. I never wrestled but was challenged by Tomas to wrestle and was coached by Neuman to try moves and use my good muscular strength to overcome Tomas' wrestling experience. So we wrestled for about a good half hour until we both got exhausted and I was relegated to the fact I couldn't win as much as him. He got the best of me in moves and I could use my strength to escape but he was a warrior and loved the fact he could use his skills in a combat environment. After that day, I would see him on the way back from chow, or in the meetings and he would look at me and ask me "if I was ready to take a beating?" He reminded a lot of my Hispanic friends growing up in SE Los Angeles. He was tough skinned, not scared of a challenge, and I could see he had a huge heart. I could tell he loved his family a lot and was probably helping support his family back home? Tomas had mentioned to me that he had coached some HS wrestling back home and wanted to be a high school wrestling coach at his old school eventually?
The last times I got to see Tomas, was at CSC Scania as again we passed each other coming back from dinner and he mentioned if "I was ready for him again?" I just laughed and thought, "boy this kid is aggressive and cocky." My friend and co-driver SGT Farmer got to see Garces too that night. The night before we both returned from dinner chow at Camp Cedar 2 and saw Tomas by the tents where he was off-loading his PX bags, one that included his rug he purchased for his mother. Farmer joked to him and told him "that the rug is a Haji rug, ha, ha!" and we both parted ways as it was getting late. But the moment reminded me of my family values and how much I loved my mom and would do the same things before she died.
The day of Tomas' sacrifice, I was medevaced to Baghdad International Airport "BIAP" on a Gun Truck as my trucked was in a collision just short where Tomas was attacked. His platoon was ordered to seek shelter in BIAP and had pulled inside to stage. As I entered the staging area too, Tomas' platoon all was huddled around in prayer and had started spray painting a message that said: "In Loving Memory, Tomas Garces 9-6-2004." I proceeded to pray in solace and talk to SGT Guerra who witnessed Tomas' medevac and was in another gun truck within his platoon. He told me what preceded in the attack that took his life. Basically an insurgent on the route a few miles from the entrance to BIAP planted and detonated an IED on the center guardrail on the 3-lane highway heading north. The insurgent detonated the IED as the preceding lead 1/9 Infantry Gun Truck passed by. The explosion ripped into Tomas' Gun Truck that followed where he was the Gunner in the turret above with only his body armor protecting him. However, the side of the armor is the weakest and thus a blow from the shrapnel penetrated and Tomas slumped at the same time said: "I am hit!" He then passed unto our Lords awaiting arms. Tomas' members of his platoon and convoy all tried to do their best to save Tomas and they all did their best. It was an awakening to reality for the new 1/9 Infantry unit that had just arrived and was being carried into country by our unit. I'm sure they'll never forget either the young man who sacrificed for them to protect them on their journey north.
To Tomas' family, I wanted to share my memories of Tomas that touched my life in such a short time. Maybe the facts and a story from someone who was there will help you cherish Tomas in a way you never heard before? Tomas took the place of another soldier and sacrificed for all of our freedoms and safety, for that he is a Great American Patriot, forever my brother, and I will always pray and remember him always. I will pray that his family remains blessed and that your treasure in your son, fellow sibling is never forgotten, always in our hearts! You had a GREAT SON, SIBLING, RELATIVE. Be proud fellow Americans!, Tomas you're my HERO! "Peace Tomas!" "I Love You Bro, I'll be looking forward to that wrestling match again in Heaven, see you there!" "Jesus will our referee, and it's 0-0!""
SSG Phil Rafanan of Round Rock, TX USA

"MY NAME IS SPC. LEONE, JASON FROM ST. PETERSBURG, FL. I SERVED WITH YOUR SON IN THE SPRING OF 2004. THERE WOULD BE A FEW PICTURES OF US HANGING OUT STORED ON HIS LAPTOP COMPUTER. HE WAS MY FIRST FRIEND THAT I MADE WHEN I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE 1836TH. HE WAS A TRUE FRIEND WITH BRAVERY TO SPARE. I AM SO SAD AND SORRY FOR YOUR WHOLE FAMILIES LOSS. I WOULD LIKE TO COME OUT AND MEET HIS FAMILY, IF POSSIBLE. IF NOT I WOULD AT LEAST LIKE TO WRITE YOU AND GET TO KNOW ALL OF YOU. MY ADDRESS IS 7940 42ND STREET PINELLAS PARK, FL 33781 AND MY PHONE NUMBER IS 727-420-3935."
SPECIALIST JASON LEONE of TAMPA, FLORIDA

"Tomas you were like a brother to me. From playing beside you on the football field to sitting across in the classroom. I miss you so much. There is not a day that goes by that i dont think of you and your family. Every now and then i call your mom and see how shes doing. You are a great inspiration to many of us. I remember when joe and i would make fun of you for joining the military. But look at us now, Joe and I also joined. Watch over us. You are our guardian angel. You are my brother. We love you and miss you dearly.

PV2 Alvarez, Rolando
A Co 1 battalion 87th infantry regiment
Ft. Drum NY"
Rolando Alvarez of weslaco, tx

"SPC Tom Garces was a really GOOD kid! He took over my gun truck when my unit began to rotate out in February 2004. I wouldn't have ever thought that he was 19 by just talking with him. Yes, he was cheerful and exuberant and loved what we were doing (protecting our fellow soldiers), but he was also mature in his dealings with his fellows and with the people of my company.
I know that nothing I could ever say could lighten the Garces family's loss, but, folks, you raised a really fine boy. And, in that fact, you should be certainly and justifiably proud.

1LT(P) Jack Tyer
1175th HET Co
Tennessee Army National Guard"

"Tomas Garces is my brother. Thank you all for all of your prayers. Each day that passes we miss my brother more and more. Its hard to think that we will not see him here anymore, but one day we will be we him. He is my kids guardian angel and he watches over all of us. Thank you for everything bro. I will never forget you."
Rafael Garces Jr of Weslaco, TX

"A true hero will be missed, I will always remeber how tomas would give someone the shirt of his back and I will never forget the times we would talk we served together and we would help each other out whenever we needed help he will be dearly missed and never forgotten "hablamos despues Primo" and to his parents he sacraficed so we could have everything we have today that is freedom"
Tomas Garces JR of Mission, Texas

"A true hero will be missed, I will always remeber how tomas would give someone the shirt of his back and I will never forget the times we would talk we served together and we would help each other out whenever we needed help he will be dearly missed and never forgotten "hablamos despues Primo" and to his parents he sacraficed so we could have everything we have today that is freedom"
Tomas Garces JR of Mission, Texas

"My Heart goes out to the Garces family!My cousin Marine SGT.Juan Calderon is also from Weslaco.He also died for us and our country on August 2,2004.May God bless your family."
Nereo Calderon of Fresno California.U.S.A

"You will forever b in our thoughts and prayers..."
Chad and Katja Hinton of Killeen Tx

"To the Family of Spc Garces:
The Sellers family would like to extend their condolences as well as our prayers to you. The loss of your son has impacted many families...including the Texas Army National Guard family. We have lost one of our own, and though I did not get the pleasure of serving with your son, let it be known that he will live on through his actions and his service. You should be proud to have raised a true patriot. We are proud of him, and will never allow anyone to forget his sacrifice for our families, and our country."
Sgt Sellers of Temple, TX /USA

"To the family of Spc. Garces
I met garces in ait and we became close friends and we saw each other in baghdad and in my base in iraq he was a great person we got along great it hurts that one of my buddies from AIT was killed. it hurt me when i heard about it in iraq.
Spc diaz"
Spc Vicente Diaz of Southern Iraq

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

"To the family of Tomas Garces. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. My husband is in your company 1836 Trans Co out of Ft. BLiss, TX. My husband Sgt. Johnny Martin says that he was a wonderful guy & the company misses him. They've been over in Kuwait for 8 months & so far, he's been the only casualty. My heart goes out to your family & loved ones. We miss & love you. Sincerely, The Martin of Killeen, TX."
Marlena Martin of Killeen, TX USA

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

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

"To Tomas' 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. Que el Seņor los bendiga a todos!

Sincerely,

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
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"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."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you Tomas Garces, 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. Tomas Garces:
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 Tomas 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. Tomas Garces:
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 Tomas, 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