Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army 1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza


43, of Robstown, Texas.
Garza was riding in a HMMWV that swerved to avoid a civilian vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. Graza fell out and was struck by a civilian vehicle. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. Died on April 28, 2003.

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"Missing you something fierce, Top. Its been 13 years..... Havent been right since. Nothings gone right. Glad youre not here to see me now."
Maxey of Las Vegas, NV

"1SG Garza was a tremendous leader and great person. He was extremely capable and provided excellent support and counsel during our push up to Baghdad and on many of the hazardous trips to push logistics to the rest of the BCT. We were devastated when he passed. Always in my prayers and particularly, always thought of in the spring, Memorial Day, Veterans Day. My heartfelt condolences to his family. Gone but certainly not forgotten."
COL(R) Katherine Cook of Washington, DC

"My name is Chelsea and I live in Southern California. Every Memorial Day, Riverside Harley Davidson hosts the West Coast Thunder Memorial Day motorcycle ride. This will be my 4th year attending. This year, as we signed up, we were assigned a fallen hero to ride in memory of. I received Joe Garza. I cannot express how honored I am to be participating in his honor. From reading the messages below, it is very apparent that he truly is an American hero. I am so thankful for the sacrifice Joe gave for this country and I will always hold him close to my heart.

Along with signing up for the motorcycle ride, I recieved a dog tag necklace with Joe's name on it. I will be wearing it proudly as I celebrate the lives of our fallen heroes. Thank you, Joe. You will never be forgotten."
Chelsea Drachslin of Riverside, California

"Thank you for everything! Miss your scuba PT. You did beat me in the run while in Kosovo. You were the best mentor I could have asked for in my career."
Johnny Roman of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

"This time of year is always hard for me ! I know it's even harder for your family ! My prayers go out to all of your family ! Saber 6 Pfc Stuckman"
Frank Stuckman of Durango , Co

"When We met you were SFC Garza, Platoon Daddy, Senior Drill Instructor...Black Knights Rule The Rock! I learned a great deal about myself,you challenged us, taught us to be leaders, held us accountable and made us better men. Although your gone the lessons you taught are not forgotten! Rock of the Marne!"
Greg W of Pennsylvania

"Dear Top (1SG Garza),
I know this may be late, but I have nothing but fond memories of you. We only knew each other for a brief time while being in 1st.30th, but I remember trying to leave HHC to come to your company because you showed interest in my ability and skills in leading men in battle. You will be sorely missed and I am sure we will all meet again when the good Lord calls for the final roll call for eveyrone!
Hooah and "Rock of the Marne"!!!!
SSG Reggie Brooks,Sr
Bronx, New York"
Reggie Brooks, Sr. of Washington, D.C.

"1st Sgt. Garza,
Sir, it has been 10 years since your death and you are still honored and remembered. I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF but also for your service in Desert Storm and Kosovo as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading all the reflections left for you all I can say is that I wish that I had the privilege of serving with you. You sound exactly what an NCO is supposed to be like.

Rock of the Marne!"

"1st SGT Garza.
I remember like it was yesterday staring at your boots and weapon. I was young and just a boy at that time but I was there with you. I still cut my mustache to Army Standards only after you made me trim it with a leatherman while pulling guard. Life lessons I guess. As a member of the scout Platoon Saber 6 I was proud and honored to know you 1ST SGT!"
PVT Frank Stuckman of Durango,Colorado

"I rember Joe as a person I could talk to and trust, I was there they day that God took him, and he got a great man. Not a day goes by that I don't remember you and you will always be with me, James 1-30 Infantry."
SFC James Coffell of Biloxi, MS

"I remember getting in trouble when my dad had justy died. i thought 1st sgt Garza was going to give me an article 15, instead he took me in his office and started telling me about his problems with his family. He was a good person something which is rare in todays society. God bless one of the last. I remember his funeral at the Mosque. God bless one of the good"
Spc Stallworth

"I remember getting in trouble when my dad had justy died. i thought 1st sgt Garza was going to give me an article 15, instead he took me in his office and started telling me about his problems with his family. He was a good person something which is rare in todays society. God bless one of the last. I remember his funeral at the Mosque. God bless one of the good"
Spc Stallworth

"First Sergent Garza the greatest person I have ever meet.Your smile was contagious.So reasuring.He brought soberity where there was chaos.You made me feel welcomed whenever I was going to the field ranges with B Co 1-30.You made sure my welfare was catered before yours.When we were on Iraq you braved hostile environments, sand storms and every other danger just to be sure your soldiers had a hot meal.I always remember; I asked my self why such a dedication? Now I know you're special."
SGT Ndungu "doc" of Riverside,California

"I still wear your bracelet on my arm, from March 19-April 28th every year. Today is marking 9 years since you were killed and each year passes I always remember the days in Baghdad and the Bulls. My brothers and comrades. You are not forgotten 1SG."
Zach Polachek, FF/EMT of DeForest, WI

"1SG Joe Garza, you will always have a place in my heart brother!You taught me quit alot while assigned to the BULLS! we use to see who would be the 1st one's to arrive in the morning to the company and at times it was a tied! Gopd bless you my friend!!"
SFC (RET) Jamie A. Carter of Copperas Cove,Tx.

"I STILL CANT GET IT THROUGH THIS THICK HEAD OF MINE THAT YOUR GONE. I ONLY KNEW YOU AT FT.BENNING FOR A SHORT TIME. YOU WERE MY DRILL SGT BACK IN 1995 ... YOU CALLED ME YOUR "STUD" .. I WAS THE KEEPER OF "BOB THE ROCK" .. WE WILL MEET AGAIN ON THE OTHERSIDE 1SG."
SFC JOHN WELCH of LOUISIANA

"Today marks 7 years that 1SG Garza was killed in Baghdad...he was truly a role model for young soldiers and epitomized everything that I wanted to be in my military career, I remember the memorial service there in Baghdad as one of the saddest days of life...But his memory lives on through every Battle Boar that he served with and I'm sure I can speak for everyone when I say it was truly and honor and privilege to serve with him...."
SGT James Thompson of Ft. Hood, TX

"Its been 7 years to the day that you were killed in Baghdad top, I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a long hot day, I had just got back from a mission and we got the news. 28 April 2003 was a sad day for the Bulls. To this day I still haven't forgotten you or any of my other brothers from the Bulls. We will never forget. Big Balls, Sharp Horns! Rest in peace top!"
Firefighter/EMT/Fire Inspector Zach Polachek of DeForest, WI

"Its coming up on 7 years and I know I speak for many when I say that your memory lives on. You are not, nor will you ever be forgotten."
SFC John Sochocki of Ft Bliss TX/COB Adder Iraq

"Hey Top...It's been several years now and still feels like yesterday! You will never be forgoten! "Big Balls, Sharp Horns"!"
Senior Officer Don Belcher Kingsland Police of Kingsland, Ga

"It's been over six years now and I still remember the heaviness that fell on everyone when we got the news that day in Iraq during OIF. There was no other 1SG who could fill your shoes Top. Your ability to chew someone a new one and then ask if they needed anything five minutes later. And who could forget scuba PT. You're missed greatly, but never forgotten. "Big Balls, Sharp Horns!""
Deputy (Spc) Jeffrey Scott of St. Augustine Fl.

"Its been 6 years Top and not a day goes by I don't thank you and our other Fallen Angels for my freedom especially when I'm looking at my wife and my beautiful 3 children. Thanks for getting me home Top. My oldest, Thomas Joseph got his middle name from you. I can't wait to see you on the other side. To your family, thank you for your sacrifice. It will never be forgotten."
Spc. Elias Maxey of Las Vegas, NV

"writing to tell you i missed you and ill never forget you Top. I named my son josiah(joe)j. bullins in your honor my friend and hero. Ill always remember you.BRAVO BULLS "BIG BALLS / SHARP HORNS''"
Jesse Bullins of Mayodan NC

"1SG Garza,

I just found out today that you were gone from talking with one of the Soldiers in our platoon. I served with you in 3PLT/A CO/1-15th IN "Gators", I was your PL. We had the best platoon and great NCOs and Soldiers. CPT Fox was the CO, 1SG Flowers was the 1SG. When I met you I remember you saying "Okay Sir" "You run the platoon in the field and I run the platoon in garrison". You always took care of me and would never let me worry. Thanks for your leadership, mentorship, and friendship. You will be truly missed and never forgotten. After you PCS'd the Platoon continued to do well because of the high standards you set for them. My heart goes out to your family for you were a good husband and father. I know you were doing what you loved best, taking care of Soldiers. Rest in Peace! It's been an honor to have served with you. Take care 1SG!

HOOAH!"
Blair Sawyer, MAJ, USA of Gainesville, VA

"Another year and always remembered. Long live your spirit."
Jason W. Hamm Senior of Kansas State University Kansas

"Top, it's been six years today since you were killed and as every year goes by I still remember that day and the day before when you talked to me about how you missed working with the bulls. You were a great leader, an outstanding mentor, and most of all you were a friend. May you rest in peace. "Big balls, Sharp horns!" you will never be forgotten!"
Zach Polachek, Firefighter/EMT, DeForest Area Fire &EMS of DeForest, WI

"It's been a long time since i've seen your face top. We served in the same company HHC 1/30th when we went to IRAQ. You were and always will be #1. Top you will be missed!!!"
SSG Patrick Peck of Fort Campbell Kentucky 1-187th INF

"January 12, 2009
To the family of 1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza:
Joe 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

"First Sergeant Garza was the man who first met with me when I was assigned to 1/30 infantry, bravo company. I served under him for the next year and a half. I was under him at the time he passed. I remember him as a moral, role model type man. He was among the finest leaders I have ever served under. Thank you, sarn't garza, for the time you took to teach us privates the ways of the army."
Ptl. Brett Sommer of Randolph Township Police Department, New Jersey

"1SG, you are often thought of, and will never be forgotten. My prayers, as always, are with your family."
SSG Maxwell, Phillip J (sabre 6) of Ft. Hunter-Liggett, CA

"We were in the PX at Fort Gordon and happened to find 2 bracelets with Sgt. Garza's name on them. We bought them and then came home to find out more about him. We will wear these bracelets to honor him and to honor our family members (3 of them) that are all serving proudly in the US Army."
Aimee Wood & Shannon Gillen of Grovetown, GA

"It's been over 12 years since I arrived at Ft. Benning for Infantry Basic Training with Delta 1/38 (Death Dealers). He was the Drill Sgt. for one of the other platoons in the company, I believe the Raiders. Truly and admirable soldier and a respectable individual. I recall his love for his knife and his Gulf War stories. I am really shocked to find out about his fate.

Rock of the Marne, Sgt!"
Yasser Heyaime of Hollywood, FL USA

"1SG Garza was my first experience with a line company Senior NCO. I served with him in Kosovo and up until our first deployment to Iraq. It is now 2008 and I still wear his name on my wrist, the band is faded, but his memory will never be. BRAVO BULLS!"
Justin Carter 2nd plt of Columbus, GA

"It was an honor and privilege to serve with 1sg Garza as a Squad Leader in Bravo 1-30 Infantry "Bulls". He trully was a dedicated professional who took care of the Soldiers and NCO's in Bravo Company. I will always remember 1SG Garza and my time as a "Battleboar!""
CPT James Earls of Fort Carson, CO HHC 2-12 IN

"Here it is another year!!! Your spirit lives on through many of us. It will always live on at the Hamm house. Battle Boars!!!"
Officer Jason Hamm of Fort Riley Kansas

"20 April 2008
Our most sincere condolences on the passing of your loved one. You don't know us but we are are the Parents of Sgt.Daniel Lee Galvan who was taken from us on 12 Aug. 2004 in the crash of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter that he was a Crew Chief on near Salerno,Afghanistan, the crash was due to Pilot misconduct. We have come to know a little about your family through your nephew CPT. Daniel Galvan. He contacted us to let us know how he and my son had come to know about each other and for this I am very grateful. Our Daniel was born in Ft. Ord, Ca. on Aug.10,1974 and was taken from us two days after he turned 30 yrs. We are a military family and our roots are deeply embedded in Mercedes, Texas with some Galvan, de la Cerda and yes Garza family on my side still living there. Again we send all of your family our most deep and sincere condolences on the loss of your loved one 1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza

Respectfully,
Blas E. Galvan MSG USA RET.
Nelda Galvan"

"1st Sgt Garza was one of my platoon sgts in A 1-18, I am proud to have served under him. Rest in Peace, 1st Sgt"
Raphael BIglefthand (406) 620-7195"
Raphael BIglefthand (406) 620-7195 & jckcarter@yahoo.com of Montana State Universty, Bozeman, Montana

"1st Sgt Garza was one of my platoon sgts in A 1-18, I am proud to have served under him. Rest in Peace, 1st Sgt"
Raphael BIglefthand (406) 620-7195 of Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana

"i cant believe its been so long since you passed away. i miss you very much. it has been so hard with out you."
Myra Garza- Cooler thepandawanda@gmail.com of Savannah, Ga

"January 12, 2008
To the family of 1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza:
Joe 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

"Top you kept me out of trouble before we left for kuwait. I appreciate that. There is nothing I can say or do for what you did for me before we left. I am soory this took so long to right. And to the rest of the family he will be missed by all 1-30 battle boars if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have made a third tour to iraq. You will be very missed top"
SPC Brown Geore of FT Benning Ga

"To the family of:Joe J. Garza 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"

"I just want to send out a sincere Thank You to Sgt. Garza and his dedicated commitment to the Armed Services. Also a Thank You to all he served with and his loving family. His service will not go unrecognized. We Veterans are all very proud of the service you all perform and appreciate the sacrifices you have all made. THANK YOU ALL and GOD BLESS!"
Chris Ginn of San Diego, CA

"First Sgt. Garza,
I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF, but also for your service in Kosovo as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading all the reflections left here for you all I can say is that I wish that I had had the privilege of serving with you when I was in the Military.

"Our Country, Not Ourselves"
(30th Inf. Motto)"

"To all who have taken the time to let the Garza family know they are not alone and their father and husband will not be forgotten. Sgt. Garza was the first fallen hero of Robstown and the community did not know how to react.
How do you honor him and not seem disrespectful to his family? I display St. Garza's memorial candle in our funeral home and many families that come through our doors comment on his dedication to our country with such grateful facial expressions. Keep your messages coming Mary and her family need you to continue to be her angels and give her strength to face tomorrow without her husband and father.

To all of our military men and women from the bottom of our hearts Thank you!!! But it's time to bring you home.
May God be with you always and protect you keeping you out of harms way.
We are so proud of you!!

Mary Ramon"
Ramon Funeral Home of Robstown, Texas

"I had the honor of serving with 1st Sgt Garza, when he was my platoon sgt. He was a great mentor and teacher, I would also know that since he was my drill sgt. He will be greatly missed. "Can Do!""
Tony Fernandes of Boston, MA

"Hey First Sergeant Garza, although you might be gone we will always remember you. We were never given the chance to truly know each other, but I would have rather known you for those few days that I did, then to have never known you at all.
I first met First Sergeant Garza in Kuwait at my very first unit with HHC 1/30 Scout platoon from Fort Benning, Georgia. I was a Pvt Straight out of basic, and he was basically my very first official First Sergeant from that unit. I didn’t say much when we first met, he just said to always be aware and to trust and learn from the NCO’s at our platoon, that they would take care of us and never do us wrong.
I will always cherish that for as long as I live. You are never forgotten First Sergeant and you’ll always be remembered."
Saber 2- D at that time. of San Diego, Ca

"To Mary and Family:

I know that today must be rough for all of you. I just know that this man was a wonderful leader and mentor. He was always there for us and our families. He always said, "Good things for good soldiers, and Bad things for bad soldiers" I can still here those words echo today. I always remember him encourage the good ones and give a good butt chewing who needed one.

Just know we are here for you now as he was there for us, don't ever hesitate to call for a need. Drop an email. Because as long as I am living that will be true. Thanks for you service TOP"
SFC Martin Dillon of Norwalk, Ohio

"Today mark the 4th year of this tragedy. I thank you for being a mentor to me. You once told a senior NCO to keep me in his platoon and teach me how to be an NCO, rather than kicking me out of his platoon. Because of that, I can say that I have become a far more better NCO from what I use to be. Thank you for taking care of me. You will always be missed."
one of your saber element from HHC 1/30th of Fort Benning, GA

"I was stationed with then SFC Garza at ACO 1/15 inf FT. Benning. He was acting 1st SGT and my wife was about to have our 2nd child,and having quite a bit of trouble.The unit was very busy and I had trouble trying to get away to take care of my wife.Even though I was not in his platoon, he was acting 1SGT' and told me to get "lost" and he would see me when and after the new soilder was born. Me and my wife still talk about this with freinds over dinner at times after all these years.We were, and still so gratefull.I was shocked when I heard about him. My family and I pray for the family of 1SGT Garza. HE WAS A GOOD MAN."
SSG. BILL CRENSHAW of NORMAN , OKLAHOMA

"I remember well First Sergeant Garza. Had the chance to serve under him briefly in S-3 before I was sent to Charlie Company 1-30 infantry. I loved working for him, for those few months that i did. He took care of his guys. I still remember the memorial ceremony at the lake near the mosque, in baghdad. Couldnt have been a more beautiful place in such a war torn country to have his roll call, and now that i think about it, i cant recall a dry eye in the whole battalion. His loss was taken hard by many, and to this day i still think of him as my old first sergeant before going to charlie. Youll be missed First Sergeant, but never forgotten.
Former Spc. James R. Cruzan
1-30 inf (mech)
Battle Boars, Hooah!"
Patrolman, James R. Cruzan of Silver City, New Mexico

"Hey top, it's me Polachek, you gave me my E4 in Kosovo. I remember that night you jumped the wire and went around with a red marker and drew lines on our throats to tell us we were dead. Remember how you had Biff take the humvee and distract me at the gate so that you could jump the wall, lucky you, I would've been the one to take you out if you hadn't of done that. Thank god you made him distract me. I miss having you as a boss, you were a good guy and you really cared for your men, and I owe you a beer when I get to heaven. I miss you top, all of us former Bulls do, you were a great leader and a true friend to those who loved you. It's been almost 4 years now and I still remember the day before you died when you walked the line at the little makeshift PX there behind our houses in Baghdad and you shook my hand along with every other guy who was in Bravo and you told us how much you missed being with the Bulls. We miss you top!"
Zach Polachek of Madison, WI

"hey 1sgt its me SGT ceja miss you"
SGT Felix Ceja of scottsdale AZ

"I Met Then SFC Garza In Schweinfurt I was e-2 Rank Didn't Really Matter he Made Me Feel Comfortable and i carry Piece Of him with me everyday when i heard of his passing i was in shock i was in iraq when we got the call"
SGT David Pisanelli of Ft Benning Ga U.S.A

"Our family sends our thoughts and prayers to you today Mary. I have thought about you all day long! I hope that you are well.
1st Sgt meant so much to our family. We were proudly under him in 1/30 at Ft. Benning. There were many days when 1st Sgt was my least favorite person as the wife of one of his soldiers. However, he made my husband the great soldier he is today. On two separate occasions, 1st Sgt Garza was there for us in a personal way. Quiet as he was, his mere presence calmed me in the time until my husband could arrive. He pulled Mart in from the field when Ellynn was hospitalized at 3 months and made him shower (Mart refused...1st Sgt. insisted!). When Stephen was life flighted to Atlanta from Ft. Benning after an accident, 1st Sgt stayed with me until Mart could be pulled from Master Gunner school. He made sure that Mart was there promptly to support his family.
On the day that 1/30 left for Kosovo, I stood by him in line with my husband. We all had a good laugh before they entered lock down. It was a memory that pushed me through that deployment!
Mary...thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration presently. You are a true "steal Magnolia"!
With Love,
Stef Dillon, Wife to SFC Martin T. Dillon, Norwalk, Ohio US Army Recruiting Command."
Stef Dillon of Noralk, Ohio

"To the family of 1SG Joe Garza,

Today I was reading a magazine that remembered those soldiers who sacraficed their lives for our county. As I looked through the photographs I recognized the familiar face of 1SG Garza, a hotflash consumed me and I felt an immense weight of sorrow rush over me. As a 2nd Lieutenant I served with then SFC Garza in the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3ID. I can recall many memories sitting and talking with 1SG Garza. SFC Garza was a soldiers' soldier who embraced the NCO creed and lived it day to day. 1SG Garza was a tremendous NCO who helped mentor and train me and countless other Lieutenants to become a leaders in today's Army. I am deeply saddend that he has left us, however I know in my heart that 1SG Garza passed away doing what he loved and he would have had it no other way."
Paul Nicolosi of McAllen, Texas

"I never met a prouder soldier than this guy. My Senior Drill Instructor at 1/38 INF in 1995. I was in formation when they pinned his new Sgt First Class on his Class A. I was just finishing my basic training. Few other NCO's affected me like this guy. After several weeks of basic and AIT I had stress fractured both feet. He called me into his office and asked me if I wanted to stick it out or recycle the training after I healed. I stuck it out. I don't think many D.I.'s would give you the option. This was a defining moment in my life. To this day (2006) I relate stories of this guy to my civilian coworkers. Work ethic, dedication, professionalism, and an awesome sense of humor. He held us accountable, was himself accountable, and represents the best of what I love about America's soldiers. Another soldier,a.k.a. "big country" left a message a while back on this website. A teammate from 1/38, this guy knows that 1st Sgt. Garza shaped up a bunch of people that now lead the fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere the U.S. fights. We should all sleep better knowing that soldiers like this man defend us. Thank you, Drill Instructor Garza. I'm sorry I had to find out you were gone 3 years after you left us. To his family I want you to know that this guy changed so many peoples lives, and years after his passing he still influences some of us."
John D. Peck of Orting, WA.

"1SGT GARZA, MAN MY HEART FELL AND MY RAGE ROARED ON WHEN I FOUND OUT THAT YOUR LIFE WAS LOST, YOU IMPACTED MORE LIVES THEN YOU KNEW. I WAS IN, A COMPANY 1ST 30TH INFANTRY FROM 1998-2001 UNDER THE COMMAND OF CPT BROWN AND 1SGT JOHNSON AND I REMEMBER YOU WELL, I'M SURE ST PETER GREETED YOU WITH GOLD TRUMPETS AND A CROWD OF PRAISE AT THE GATES OF HEAVEN, I'M SURE THEY OPENED FOR YOU, NO DOUBT BEFORE YOU EVEN ARRIVED. 1SGT GARZA YOUR A TRUE AMERICAN HERO. FROM BIG MOE A COMPANY "STRIKE FAST, KICK *"
ANTHONY MORRIS, AKA BIG MOE of PITTSBURGH, PA

"Hey First Sergeant, although you are gone, you are long from forgotten. I often think about the times we had in 1/18 in Germany. I remember the first day you got there and how you had the whole platoon under the gazeebo next to the barracks giving one of your long winded speeches, most of the soldiers were griping about how they might miss chow because you were talking for so long and the dining facility was about to close. Hahahahahaha..... and how you told us that we would be the best platoon in the Company. That we were my friend, that we were. ( except ofcourse for the time I got the links from the 25mm stuck in the receiver because I forgot to put the eject chutes on, and how you threatened me that I was going back to the ground). Oh man the memories that I have.... I could go on and on. When I get to heaven, the first thing I am gonna ask you is " You meant Choppers, and not SHoppers right stud? " Can't wait to see you again Joe. Tell the big man upstairs to save me a seat."
Dan Roark of Knox County Sheriff Department; Knoxville, TN (865) 584-8427

"we didnt get along too good , but you taught me alot of things while i was on extra duty all those times . you will be missed by all."
richard zick of coos bay , oregon

"TO THE GAZA FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. JOE IS NOT FORGOTTEN! OUR HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH JOE AND YOUR FAMILY. OUR GREGORY IS NOW WITH HIM. A COMFORT TO MY HEART HE IS WITH SOMEONE VERY SPECIAL."
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"I can still remember the day when he told me,"SGT Agosto, I heard you have some good movies that I want to watch"? I did not know 1SG Garza as long and as good as my fellow NCO's did, But I always trusted a Senior like 1SG. A smiling, loving man. Always giving without excepting something in return, but a smile and a thank you. I thank you 1SG, for the short memories and the laughs you brought to me while I was assigned to Bco 1-30 INF. Battle Boars."
SGT Moises Agosto of Columbus, GA

"First Sergeant...
I served with you in 1-30... I was in 2-69, but I was attached. You saved my life twice and then you left. I hope and pray that we can make our lives worth your sacrifice. Though, I know that we cannot. I have a son and his middle name is Joe. He is 6 months old now. I wouldn't have him if it wasn't for you. I owe my life to you, and you will never be forgotten.
SPC Russell
B Co. 2/69 AR
Our country not ourselves
Speed and Power...

If anyone would like to here the story or read a VERY emotional poem I wrote about him. Email me at bravocornelius@gmail.com"
Michael P. Russell of Ft. Carson, CO

"1sg Garza is a special soldier, one that should never be forgotten. I will always remember him and his dedication to the cause. I have erected a flag pole and small monument in my yard for fighting Joe. If anyone is ever in Iowa come take a look. Stanwood Ia."
Jason Hamm AKA Robo Doc of Stanwood, Iowa

"1SG Garza,
It’s been 2 years and two days since that fateful day on the highway into Baghdad, Iraq. I remember where I was and what I was doing when the call came over the net. LTC Gillman yelled out that you had been hurt and everything just smeared into memory after that. You have been an inspiration to me and so many others.
I still remember those long day’s in Kosovo when I worked for you in the Training room. I was up so early to get the office up and running, and sometimes a made a little too much noise and woke you up… :-) You would go off to do some PT around Camp Montieth and you would come back to antagonize me as I sat and typed out NCOER’s and DA 31’s for the rest of the Company. We had a great cynical relationship and I miss the verbal sparing matches we had… albeit I never won a single one, it was still enjoyable to see how far I could get.
I went off to the S-3 shop and became the Battalion Commanders Gunner and soon there after you became the HHC First Sergeant, bringing all those mannerisms and long winded speeches along with you.
You gave me my own copy of the NCO creed (which I have hanging in my room as we speak) with your signature on it. I revel at its words even today:
“…accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers…”
“I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own.”
“I will be loyal to those with whom I serve, seniors, peers, and subordinates alike.”
These are only a few of some of the best phrases the creed has… You lived and breathed every word, sentence, and paragraph of the creed, and I strive to only live up to as much as you have… you will always be in my memories until the last days of my own life. Thank you again from the depths of my soul First Sergeant Garza, and one day we will met again… in far better settings. Good bye… until then. If anyone would like a story of the events leading up to that day, I have created a story about it and would be willing to share it.... just e-mail me.... its about 25 pages of Text."
CDT Jason Henke, UCLA ROTC (Former SGT US Army,HHC and Bravo Company 1-30 INF, 3 BCT , 3 ID) JasHen4@aol.com , 805-558-0328 of Newbury Pary, California, USA

"Just about two years now, First Sarn't, time flies by and there isn't a minute that passes when I don't think about you. When I got a call in the hospital that you get killed I remember being distressed, shocked, destroyed...pissed, since you're one of the best NCOs I've ever met. I think back on the formation speeches where you told us to keep "doing your J-O-B's" and to keep "Hopping and popping," we used to poke fun at it and do impressions of you in the Scout Platoon, but it was out of good fun, since you were the only 1st Sgt we had that didn't hate us. I know SGT Swartz and I had a lot of respect for you, boss. And if we could, we'd trade our lame-* lives for yours if it meant you could be with your family again. You were too good to go that way.
"I wouldn't give a beeeeeeeaaaan, to be a FANCY PA-HNTS Muh-reeeeeeeeeeen....""
Charles Horgan, the Voice of the Battle Boars! of Bozeman Montana, tradskin19d@aol.com, 301-801-5458

"1SG Garza,
Well Top, it's coming up on two years now since you've been gone. I can't believe how the time has flown by! Alot has changed since I served under you back in Task Force Falcon, Kosovo....I am now a Paramedic for the State of Florida. I just wanted to tell you thank you for being one of the Best 1SG that the US Army could have had! You were always there for your soldiers, you had a way about you that you could "Scuff us up" when we needed it, but afterwards you acted like nothing ever happened. Top you will always be missed, and Never Forgoten! Battle Boars!!
Battle 6 Delta Ancient"
SPC. (Ret) D. Belcher, Jr. of St. Augustine, Fl

"To the Garza's family:
I was with 1SG Garza in Iraq. I was the driver for 2LT Stroik-Ramones and I remember when we were placed in 1SG Garza's convoy. We were the only females in the whole convoy and he was extremely protective. He checked on us a couple of times and made sure we had all the portection he could offer. I remember thinking he was acting a little bit sexist towards us but soon learned to accept his protective ways. I still think about the day they brought him in to our medical field after the accident. I didn't know what to do and all I could do was wait for the medical staff to try and save him. He will always be remembered and how I wish now he was here to make sure we all got home safe."
Marta of San Antonio, TX

"Dearest Family and Friends of 1st Sgt Joe J. Garza: I think of Sgt. Garza often, my son still wears Sgt. Garza's bracelet and will for a long time to come. My Son, Sgt. Justin Carter loved him and misses him on this, his 2nd tour to Iraq. Your Sgt was and is a Hero, a true Patriot and someone to be extremely proud of. He is in my prayers daily, as are you all. You are all in my prayers daily."
Barbara Christ of Hamilton, Montana

"To the Garza family, I extend to you my deepest sympathies. 1SG Garza was one of my PSGs in A/ 1-18 IN, and later the NCOIC of the S-4 Shop when I was the HHC/ 1-18 IN Commander. He was a standard setter and a true quiet professional. He was a shining example of a great infantry NCO who was respected by all in the battalion for his advice and council. All of us who served with him miss him very much. I think of him often and will always remember those good times we had in the Vanguards. See you on the high ground Joe."
MAJ Nick Vamvakias of FT Leavenworth, KS

"my name is mark murphy and i was so sorry to hear about 1sg Garza. when i knew him he was ssg garza and got promoted to sfc. he was my drill sgt at 1/38 at benning. he was one of the first nco's that i ever met and i didnt realize it at the time because i was new to the army but realized a few years later on how squared away he was. he was a superb nco and soldier. i even called him up a couple of years after basic when i was stationed at ft. stewart. he taught me the basics on becoming a fine soldier. so i just wanted to say that i am very, very sorry for your loss mrs. garza."
mark murphy (BIG COUNTRY) of campbellsville, KY

"Top,
You are my best friend, my mentor, and my leader. I could only hope and pray that some day I can become a mere speck in the shadow of what a great man and leader you are. Your heart and soul will live on forever in me, and the soldiers that you loved and cared for so much throughout your military career. You were always there to answer any question any soldier had, no matter how little it was. You were always there to share every piece of news with, or pogee bait. I'm sorry, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for not being there for you in the time when you needed me the most. I know everyone tells me it wasn't my fault, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you and replay that last day with you over and over again. Out of a thousand different ways that day could have gone, I wish a thousand different times a day that it would have gone another way. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I pray, it won't bring you back. I will continue to pray for you and your family everyday.

Thank You Top for all that you have done and for all that you have given to me and any other soldier that you have touched with your outstanding leadership and guidance, if it weren't for you I would not be here today, and I definitely would not be the man or leader that I am today.



Mrs Garza, and children ,

My name is SGT Thomas A. Sons, currently in 3rd BDE 3rd ID,
I know you do not know me personally, and you and I have never met. I know it has taken me a long time to be able to sit down and write this letter to you, and I do apologize for that. This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do, in my entire 29years of life. I was 1SG Garza’s driver. I have not been able to talk about what happened over there very much, and even now my hands are shaking uncontrollaby. I have wanted to do this since our return from Iraq, yet every time I tried to sit down and write this letter to you by hand, my hands start shaking too bad and writing becomes impossible, which is why I am typing this letter rather than handwriting it. If this letter is upsetting to you I do apologize, I am not trying to upset you by any means.
I know that probably one hundred different people have told you what happened over there, one hundred different ways. I would like you to know that if you would like to talk to me about it, I would be happy to discuss it with you. If you would like to contact me my email is tom300tt96@yahoo.com, cell- (706)527-2138. Please feel free to contact me at any time."
SGT Sons, Thomas of Ft. Benning, GA

"My condolences to the Garza family. The Robstown community should be proud that so many of their brave choose to fight for their nation. As a teacher there for many years, I have seen how Cottonpickers believe, fight for what is right.

FOR THE FALLEN

They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down on the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

---Laurence Binyon, English Poet 1869-1943""
Larry Knauff of Portland, Texas

"My brother, Sgt. Elias B. Maxey, served in Iraq with Garza, and he also told me about him. My heart goes out to Garza, his friends, and his family. For he will always be a golden star in our sky, always to be remembered, and always watching over us. Rest In Peace Joe J. Garza"
Jenni R. Owen of Las Vegas, N.V. USA

"Joe Garza was my Platoon Sergeant in 1-18 IN in Germany. Not only did he bring me up the right way in the Army, but he paved the road for my motivation to serve this great nation. He will never be forgotten."
CPT Ryan Vangel of 1st Special Forces Group

"To the family and friends of 1Sgt Garza, I too was one of those who experienced Drill Sgt. Garza when I was at basic training in 1996. While I wasn't in his platoon, he was part of C Co 1/38th Training Cadre, and I came to know and respect/hate him in that wonderful way every trainee did with their Drill Sergeants. His attention to detail and commitment to excellence were amazing, and his sense of fairness will stay with me for the rest of my days. I am glad I purchased our company video so I will be able to remember 1Sgt Garza..."
Bill of South Bend, Indiana

"Joe: I know if you were still with us you would have me doing pushups until hell froze over for calling you Joe. Upon arriving at Ft.Benning for my 1st duty station you were then 3rd platoon platoon SGT of the Alpha Company 1 batallion 15th infantry regiment 3rd brigade 3rdID. I had many friends in your platoon. They always spoke of your hard attitude. This was my first unit, and after meeting you I thought I made a bad decision in joining the military. But after being out for four years now. I am extremely grateful full all you taught me while I worked with you, thanks to you I am now a Group Leader over a manufacturing company which supplies automotive seats to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. SFC Garza, I would not be where I am today without your dicipline. I thank you. And after being out of the military for 4 years I have received many letters that I may be recalled any day. If I do get recalled SFC Garza I will be fighting for you and the Can Do Battallion and the United States. However I will never forget you Joe....

I offer my condolences to Joe's family if you ever wish to contact me, please do so at the following e-mail address Jmiller@tisa1.com

Sinceley ,

Spc Miller"
Jason Miller of Evansville, Indiana

"Thank You SFC Garza the things you taught me while I was assigned to th 1-15 INF have stuck with me to this day. I will never forget your face."
Jason Miller of Evansville Indiana

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier! We will NEVER FORGET!!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN (4/2004)

"It hardly seems possible that a year has gone by since we lost you. It seems like only yesteday we were doing "scuba" p.t. I never expected to lose you. You will always be with us Top. Never forgotten."
"Doc" Lovingood of Ft. Benning

"1SG Garza, was one of my Drill Sergeants while I attended Basic Training in 1996. I will always remember how he taught and motivated me. He made me realize that being in the Army is more than just a job. I was the shortest person in our platoon, and he called me Itty Bitty. I will never forget him and the lessons he taught me. Thank you 1SG Garza. To his family, I say thank you for supporting him and his choice to be in the Army. My prayers are with you."
SSG Pauley of Mobile, AL

"We 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, Joe will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

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

"I served with 1-30 in the Fire Support Element during OIF, I knew 1SG Garza for several years (dating back before the battalion went to Kosovo). He was always a man of great character, he loved his soliders and always took care of them no matter how far out of the way he had to go to do it. I am proud to have know him and even more proud to have served under him. My thoughts are with his family."
SPC James Thompson of Ft. Benning, GA

"1SG Garza was a man that touched us all. He always had a moment to say hello. His spirit was bigger than himself, and it is the most tragic loss that 1/30 could have received. He was known by all and will be missed."
James Mahurin of A 1/30 - Ft. Benning, GA

"I spoke to 1SG Garza the day before the incident. He was still determined to get every one of us home. That was his mission. He succeeded. He's a hell of a warrior. Not a day goes by I don't think of him and his drive to take care of his soldiers. On behalf of myself and the rest of Battle 66 crew, 1/30th Inf. our hearts go out to the family of a true hero."
Spc. Elias Maxey of Las Vegas, NV/Ft. Benning, GA

"1SG Garza
what can i say i can't believe your gone i first met then Sfc(p)Garza in 1-18 in schweinfurt germany he always was there fro the soldiers he told me to always strive for more and always believe in yourself"
David Pisanelli Spc of Fort Benning ga U.S.A

"1SG Garza
what can i say i can'yt believe your gone i first met then sfc(p)Garza in 1-18 in schweinfurt germany he always was there fro the soldiers he told me to always strve for more and always believe in yourself"
david pisanelli spc of Fort Benning ga U.S.A

"Thank you Joe Garza, 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

"I would like to send my deepest heart-felt condolences to the family of 1SG Joe Garza. I had the priviledge of serving with him in garrison as well as during the deployment in Iraq. He was one of the absolute greatest NCO's and men that I have ever met. He was a man of dedication, character, distinction, honor, principles, values, and morals. He truly put the needs of all others above his own. Joe was and always will be my hero. Thank you 1SG. God bless you."
Adam of Fort Benning, GA

"I did not know FSGT Garza but I do have someone very near and dear to me who did. My son served in Iraq with 1-30th. He spoke so very highly of him as well as all his buddies did. He will always be in the hearts and prayers of us all."
Debbie & Dave Stein of Longview, WA

"I had the honor to serve with 1sg Garza in Kosovo. And again in Iraq. He was my 1sg. He is a good man and helped me through my troubled times. He always took the time to talk to his soldiers. He would always give you a path to go down or suggest a way to handle a situation. I was attached to 3-7 INF during the war when we heard the news. I will forever be in debt to 1sg Garza. He is and always will be my hero. Will miss you 1SG Garza."
SGT Boer, Steven of Ft.Benning,GA HHC 1/30 INF

"I served as the 1-30 IN Fire Support Officer w/ 1SG Garza while he was the operations NCO for 1-30 IN. He was one of the finest men with which I have had the opportunity to serve. He will be deeply missed, but his loss was not in vain. He was doing what he loved, taking care of his soldiers in a hostile country. Always keep him in your thought so that he may continue to live."
CPT Jason Bender of Fort Rucker, AL

"My condolences and prayers go to the family that "Joe J."(as he was known to us in B Co. 1-30) left behind. We miss you top, and will continue to show you and the rest of the world that the Bulls are the best elite infantry soldiers the US Army has to offer. Thanks for being our First Sergeant. BULLS!!!
Big balls, sharp horns!!!"
SPC Z. Polachek, B Co. 1-30 INF of Ft. Benning, USA

"My husband is also in 1/30. My family would like to thank you for being such a courageous person and you will always be a hero. A new angel has gotten their wings."
Stefanie of Fort Benning, GA

"We thank you for the sacrafice Joe made for us. Our prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Thank you brave soldier!"
Ken and Maritza Holley of Pembroke Pines, Florida

"I did not know your soldier, but the husband of a friend of mine used to serve under FSGT. Garza. She spoke very highly of him and told how much her husband respected him. As part of the Benning family, my prayers are with you through this and for all time."
Christie Nestor of LaGrange, GA

"Dear family and friends,

I'm deeply sad for you loss. For I have lost another great hero too, my uncle, Marine Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley. He was killed in a friendly firefight and got strucked buy an american humvee. Both of these great heros will never be forgotten. May God be with you."
Lindsey Seamons of Allyn, Washington

"Dear family and friends,

I'm deeply sad for you loss. For I have lost another great hero too, my uncle, Marine Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley. He was killed in a friendly firefight and got ran over buy an american humvee. Both of these great heros will never be forgotten. May God be with you."
Lindsey Seamons of Allyn, Washington

"Our prayer for you and your family is that you find comfort from our Lord above at this time. Your son is a HERO in our book! We have a son who serves in the 1-15th from Ft. Benning and would have considered your son a "Brother." May the Lord comfort you and your family at this time and Thank You for raising a son who considered not what his country could do for him, but rather . . . "what he could do for his country." Thank You & God Bless You !"
Kathleen V. Sibert of Redondo Beach, California

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of my 1SG, Joe J. Garza as they face this difficult time. May the Lord keep you always."
Sincerely, Donald O. Belcher, Jr of St. Augustine, Fla.

"To the family and friends of 1st Sgt. Joe Garza:
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 Joe 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 1st Sgt. Joe Garza:
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 Joe, 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